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Old Dog, New Tricks.

It’s no secret that if you’re busy running around and doing things, you don’t have time to binge eat. Everyone with an unhealthy relationship with food knows that. Now, there are some people who hit Drive Thrus on those kind of days, but – THANK GOD – I’ve never developed that habit so a busy day usually means I’m grabbing a Lara Bar at Target when I run to get groceries. I’ve had many a successful eating day because I’ve stayed going all day. That’s why my weekends are usually better than my weekdays, I stay very busy on the weekends! The weekdays I tend to sit in my house all day, working a job that often requires me to clear my head to solve a problem. Those two things combined means that I get up quite often during the day and head to the kitchen for what I call some, “Debugging Binging.”

Yesterday was different! I had one specific goal with work: Build a different compose screen in WordPress for this one job we’re working on. If you use WordPress (or any blogging platform) you know there’s a big box for your entry. Yesterday, I wanted to take the information people enter in that box and break it up into a bunch of other types of boxes so that I could do different things with it in our template. If you enter all of your content in this one box, that one box goes in the same place on your page. But we wanted different information to go in different places, so I told my boss and coworkers to give me Wednesday to re-build our templates and our compose screen to fit what we were trying to do with our templates.

Wednesday. I knew enough about the basic gist to be confident I could get it done in one day, but I had never done it before and you just NEVER KNOW. I spent an hour trying to italicize something once.

(Don’t ask.)

I woke up at 4:30 yesterday morning, sat down at my desk and basically didn’t move for almost 12 hours.

I actually got the compose screen and everything figured out before lunch, but I wanted to test it on various types of content so I spent the rest of the day implementing and fine-tuning it so it would be flexible for all different types of situations. I stayed in the zone and focused all day and it felt AMAZING because I learned something new, I accomplished a huge task, and I didn’t overeat. I actually had to force myself to eat because I was so into what I was working on that I didn’t even want to stop.

So! I can be busy even when I’m at home, which I don’t think I realized before. Home is my weak spot…food is always there and when I run into a roadblock with work, I can go grab a bite. But, it turns out, if I don’t run into a roadblock (because I’m a GENIUS, OF COURSE) I stay in the zone and I don’t even think about food. Which means I need to figure out how to translate that to every day. Some days work is not as stimulating, and other days I’m not as successful troubleshooting problems, so there are always going to be days where I scratch my head, take a deep breath, and head to the kitchen.

Now I have to figure out how to maybe just redirect my attention. Sometimes you have to step away from CSS or HTML or PHP, but maybe there are places to go that are not my kitchen? I’m a big believer in walking away from a problem that is stumping you to let your subconscious work on it while you do something else. I’ve programmed a lot in my sleep that way. But how can I stay focused on something (other than the kitchen), while giving my mind a break from lines of code? When I hit a bump in the road, how do I find a different road instead of just getting off on the shoulder until someone moves the bump?

I’m thinking today I’ll start by making a generic “To Do” list of mundane task around the house that I tend to every day anyway, but if it’s in a list, I’ll just go straight to the list when I need to get up and clear my head. Maybe not give myself a chance to think, “Snack…then vacuum.” Instead, I’ll go straight to the list and vacuum before my brain thinks…”Problem with code…must eat to solve problem…”

Basically, I’ll be adding stuff on my “To Do” list that I do daily but maybe just at random points after I’ve already made my 13th bowl of applesauce oatmeal. Because that’s how I tend to prioritize. Need a break from work…get up from desk…grab a bit to eat…while eating contemplate a chore that needs to be done…do the chore. Maybe today I can go Need a break from work…check list…do item from list…sit down and get back to work.

I don’t know. We’ll see. Sometimes I feel like I’m training myself like I would train a dog. And I’m a very old dog trying to learn very new tricks.

1 thought on “Old Dog, New Tricks.”

  1. So, I suspect trying to go from working to a chore without a break might be tough. It sure would be with me. but, as critical as exercise is to your stress management, couldn’t it be part of how you clear your head? Everyone at work knew that “I’m going for a walk” meant I was struggling with something, because I literally needed to walk around the block and clear my head while things brewed. Maybe, when you find yourself heading to the kitchen, you could stop and do some stretches or shift and head outdoors instead. And then you could always vacuum that floor after.

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