Lena Corazon

Flights of Fancy

ROW80: Taking Stock

Whew, it’s just been one of “those” weeks, one where I feel like I’m racing along on the hamster wheel, only to find that I haven’t actually tackled all those things that really need to get done. I’ve done well on the exercise and eating well goals; written consistently each weekday with the #ROW80 sprints; graded a ton of papers and lectured in my prof’s absence on Wednesday (we’ll ignore the anxiety attack I had beforehand, and the caffeine-induced freakout I had afterwards); and watched 3 movies (Haywire, The Woman in Black, and the 2006 version of Jane Eyre) and read 1 book (Lindsay Buroker’s awesomesauce steampunk/fantasy novel, The Emperor’s Edge) towards my 50/50 challenge goals. Oh, and I wrote some flash fiction, too.

Given that we’ve completed a full month of Round 1, I thought I’d do a bit of a pause-and-reflect to consider what I’ve learned and where I’d like to improve in the weeks to come.


  • Sloths are amazing. See Exhibit A and Exhibit B.
  • Working out in the morning makes the rest of my day better, partly because I just feel better about myself, and also because I end up with more energy.
  • Eating well also makes me feel better. Strawberries and spinach belong together, goat cheese is magical, candied ginger is the best candy replacement ever, and I actually think I’d rather have baby carrots than potato chips (shocking, I know).
  • Creating a to-do list each night helps me to evaluate what I’ve finished and what I need to tackle the next day.
  • Reading a good book almost always makes things better.
  • When I feel listless, crabby, oddly emotional, or like someone’s gummed up my brain with a bucket of molasses, I almost always need a nap. Naps are good things, and I am going to stop feeling guilty about taking them.
  • Hanging out with my #teamsprinty buddies each day has manifold benefits. Even if I’m not 100% thrilled with my output (quantity and/or quality), I always finish the hour with a giant smile on my face from all of our antics. If you ever need to be entertained, make yourself a #ROW80 column on your Twitter app of choice, and watch the nonsense flow. Last week we all took a trip to space on a book-shaped rocketship (powered by Dr. Pepper), accompanied by paper bags and vodka and chips. Good times, folks, good times.


  • That to-do list I mentioned above? I’ve faltered on that one big time, and I’m really feeling the pinch of not being well-organized. I need to get back on track with prioritizing my tasks and making myself a loose schedule.
  • My research assistantship, not to mention my dissertation brainstorming, have fallen by the wayside in the past couple of weeks. I have to push both of these projects back up on my priority list (there’s that list again…) so I can make sure that I get things done.
  • Writing blog posts has also been challenging. I know exactly what I want to post for the rest of the month, and I even have some half-finished drafts sitting around… but finishing and posting them is proving to be close-to-impossible (Exhibit A: My Hugh Jackman post that was supposed to go up on February 1st, which is almost done, but not quite, and is currently collecting dust in my drafts folder). My perfectionist streak must be rearing its ugly head, because I keep scraping everything I try to write because it is not exactly perfect. Pfft.
  • I’ve been utterly pathetic at making the blog rounds, and at responding to comments on my posts, which makes me feel all icky. But I have a really hard time marshaling my thoughts to say anything that intelligible when I’m tired, and lately my brain has been like a fifteen-ring circus on Red Bull, with too many thoughts whirling around for me to get much of a handle on anything.

So… yeah. That’s where things stand at the moment. Now that I have a few of my goals seemingly under control, I’ll be concentrating on everything in that second list. Hopefully in the weeks to come, I’ll find a way to at least somewhat manage everything. 😀

Don’t forget to swing by and see how the other ROW80 participants are doing!

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  1. Hey, Miz Lena…I’m looking at your amazing “done” section for the week and thinking you’re being too hard on yourself. You got a ton done (way more than me) and I’m delighted to know that candied ginger rocks. Where do you buy yours?

    Give your perfectionist a nap and finish that Hugh Jackman post. Just think about what kind of love muffins you’d love to lay on the man and get it DONE. Who cares if it’s perfect…blogs can be changed (thank the Lord). 🙂
    Jenny Hansen recently posted..Nifty Links and Tools For Tax Season (Pay attention, Writers!)My Profile

    • I ditto Jenny’s comment Lena! I’m looking at her amazing “Done” list too. It looks good to me! Can’t do everything girl. But I have to say that I miss your blogs girl! Just give us one a week. Please. That’s all I’m asking you on bleeding knees. 🙂
      Karen McFarland recently posted..ROW80: Kicking and ScreamingMy Profile

      • Haha, Karen, you are cracking me up! Yes, I think I can commit to one post a week, beyond my silly Monday video clip post. Can’t refuse a gal begging on bleeding knees!

    • Ohhh, thank you, thank you, thank you. It seriously helps my mental health so much to see that I am being too hard on myself. One of the hardest things that I’m finding about working from home is that I expect myself to basically work all day long… and that just isn’t realistic. Whew.

      Okay, Mr. Jackman will be getting some hard-core loving from me (tee-hee) in the next couple of days. Wednesday, the post goes live, and I will NOT worry about perfectionism. 😉

  2. Consistency is a good achievement. I’m getting through ROW80 on super massive productive days that average out my 1000 word a day goal.
    Audrey Tomorrow recently posted..{goals} so naughty…My Profile

    • Oh gosh, I totally know what you mean. That’s *usually* how I get things done, but there are just so many things on my plate right now that I’ve realized that I have to be consistent about tackling them. Still, it chafes my inner “stay-up-till-3-am, do-things-at-the-last-minute” gal.

  3. Hey Lena! I agree with Jenny. You are being too hard on yourself. You have accomplished a fantastic amount of stuff. Dang girl! If only I could get 1/2 as much stuff done as you, I’d be a happy little mama. 🙂 You are rockin’ your talent and I can’t wait to see what you come up with when Hugh finally hits your blog.
    Debra Kristi recently posted..Row80 Check-in 2/5 Finding Something to InspireMy Profile

  4. I have to agree with Jenny. You seem to be being too hard on yourself this week. You’ve done a lot and I still say you’re my hero for working on your PhD, teaching AND writing at the same time. Great times with #teamsprinty. More to come this week. See ya there. 🙂
    Nicole Basaraba recently posted..Book Review: Will Write for Shoes – How to Write a Chick Lit NovelMy Profile

  5. Spinach and strawberries together? Really? *side eyes* Also, thanks for the sloth videos, they were adorable!

    I really need to remember to join in on the #ROW80 Twitter adventures, I keep reading about them after they’ve happened.
    Emily recently posted..#ROW80 – Courses and plotting, though no actual work…My Profile

  6. “A fifteen ring circus on Redbull”…love it, sounds fun 🙂

    I’m finding that a schedule is less conducive to productivity then having a list of daily priorities. I’ve been using Jane Friedman’s task sheet since the beginning of the year and it’s kept me with a visual reminder of both my daily needs and longer range ones. Linkage if you want to give it a look (it’s in Step 1) -> http://janefriedman.com/2011/10/21/secret-for-battling-procrastination/

    I’m glad you survived the lecture, I’m sure you were great. Keep up the excellent word, Lena, you are doing fantastic!
    Gene Lempp recently posted..The Tiger Warrior & ROWdate 2-5My Profile

    • Thanks for that link, Gene! Jane Friedman’s system looks pretty awesome, and very doable. I’ve been using a schedule because I’m pretty terrible when it comes to spending ALL day on a single task, and then realizing at the end of the day that I haven’t finished anything else. 😉 Setting a timer and making myself focus for an hour or two definitely helps.

      Have a wonderful week!

  7. Flippin heck – you rock lady! Whats up with that (imagine some rapper saying this begin all cool stuff, innit)?

    Okay – moving on 😛

    You are clearly an over achiever and know not when to say, “Hey, I’m doing fantastically, thanks very muchly.”

    Now take a nap! 🙂
    shah wharton recently posted..ROW80 05/02 and fiftyfifty.me Challenge UpdatesMy Profile

    • Yeeeeeah, you’ve got me pegged just right, Shah. I’m definitely guilty of being an overachiever, and because I’m friends with a bunch of grad school overachievers, it gets really hard to figure out what’s “normal.” :/

      Have a wonderful week!

  8. I think you’re doing fabulous, Lena! I always see you guys going about your sprints while I’m at work, or I’d join you! You guys all crack me up. 🙂 Good luck with the rest of your goals.

    • Haha, I’m so glad that we’re entertaining! I always feel a teeny bit guilty that we’re flooding the stream, but it’s just sooooo much fun. 😀

      Have a great week!

  9. #1) Your energy is incredible.

    #2) Thank you for the reminder about strawberries and spinach!

    #3) You get as much done as 3 people combined on most days. You are an impressive woman, a committed learner, a devoted writer and beyond that, a pleasure to write alongside.
    Julie Jordan Scott recently posted..More Living & Writing Into the Question ~ Themes ~ Actions ~ and #ROW80 February 5th Check InMy Profile

    • Oh man, Julie, you are definitely one of MY inspirations! I am so very, very glad that I’ve gotten to know you, and I adore getting to sprint with you. Also, I am glad to know that there is another lover of strawberries + spinach — isn’t it the most amazing blend?

  10. someone’s been peeling in my bedroom – that sloth looked so like me first thing:) be kinder to yourself girl

    all the best and keep smiling
    alberta ross recently posted..guide dog seems to like us:) ROW80My Profile

  11. Maybe you didn’t get as much done as you wanted, but you still did a lot, and that’s something to celebrate! I don’t know how I’d accomplish anything without my daily to-do list. Like Gene suggested, it’s not really a schedule, but more a list of priorities (usually with bonuses that seldom get done, but that’s why they’re bonuses). It sounds like you may be doing the same thing I usually do, in that there’s simply too much on the list to reasonably accomplish in the time we have. This is a new week – good luck with the goals anew! Loved the cuteness this week – squeee!
    Jennette Marie Powell recently posted..ROW80:Just RightMy Profile

    • Yaaay, I’m so glad you appreciated the cuteness! It was seriously something that I just HAD to share with everyone. 😀

      And thanks so much for all the affirmation. You’re right, there is definitely way to much for me to get done in a single day. I’m definitely working on trying to break things up each day, so I don’t get too overwhelmed.

  12. I know this makes me sound stupid — but what’s a sloth? Surely you don’t mean a lazy creature?
    Diane Capri recently posted..Don’t Know Jack: Behind the BookMy Profile

  13. I absolutely agree reading a good book can make everything better 🙂 It is my therapy to read!

    You are doing amazingly well juggling all your commitments and am inspired by your exercising and healthy eating (she says through a mouthful of crisps). Keep up the good work and I will see you at the sprints!
    Em recently posted..ROW80 Check-in 5th February 2012My Profile

    • Haha, after I wrote this check-in, I ended up going to the beach and drinking lots of beer and eating lots of tortilla chips, and it was amazing!

      All the sprinting seriously makes my day. So much fun to blab with you each week. 😀

  14. Jamila, I think you have done amaziiiiiiiiiiiing! Don’t be so hard on yourself (I know being a perfectionist -maybe even a tad OCD about being a perfectionist; can be draining -I honestly do; so advice from moi: CHILL & DON’T STRESS).

    I also agree to-do-lists are great (when put into practice; I fail this one regularly too; it must be something to do with having lots swimming inside our brains 😉 ). Stay positive sweetie. 🙂
    yikici recently posted..Guest Posting over at Rance Denton’ The Action ProseMy Profile

    • Oz, you’re awesome. I think I am going to have to post a sign up next to my desk that says “CHILL AND DON’T STRESS.” Definitely advice that I need to keep in mind. 😀

      Have a wonderful week, my dear!

  15. I hear you on the fifteen-ring circus. Good luck in the next few weeks! Take care of yourself! 🙂

    I gotta get in on the #ROW80 sprints. Mental note.
    J.R. Pearse Nelson recently posted..Sunday Update: ROWers Take Care, and Take HeartMy Profile

  16. I really enjoyed this post. I especially like the Stuff I’ve Learned part because it gave me some ideas about some things I need to be doing. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Good luck for the rest of the week!
    Lauralynn Elliott recently posted..ROW80 Check In 2/5/12My Profile

  17. I hope that Hugh Jackman post includes eye candy :-D.

    As for your to-do list…I hate those. I’ve hated them ever since my mother used to leave them for me as after-school chores when I was little. 1. Clean dishes. 2. sweep floor. 3. mop floor. 4. vacuum. *shivers* *runs from nightmares*

    On the other hand, checking off stuff on the list sure feels good!
    Melinda recently posted..ROW80 Update Week 5My Profile

  18. Hey sweetie – sounds like you’ve had a whirlwind week! Naps, exercise, reading, and healthy eating are all good for you, kudos for keeping up with it all. Love sloths…especially Syd in Ice Age, lol.

    Keep up the awesomeness, and when you feel like you’re doing too much – take that nap 🙂


  19. Okay that’s it. When are we gonna see that Hugh guy around here? Next week? Did I hear you say next week? You are talking about Hugh Jackman, aren’t you? Now that you told us. We’re waiting. Yep, tapping toe and whistling, get a move on that blog girl. We ain’t waitin for Hugh forever. I’m just sayin. lol!!! 🙂
    Karen McFarland recently posted..ROW80: Kicking and ScreamingMy Profile

  20. Now, ROWsis, you have to listen to the chorus of us saying you are being too hard on yourself! We can’t all be wrong! Seriously, I can totally relate–I am like that myself–but you got a lot done this week–go shackle that perfectionist in the closet and put in earplugs so you can’t hear her bi**hing.

    Take care of yourself; get organized if it helps clear your brain, but don’t let it make you crazy! *hugs*
    Elizabeth Anne Mitchell recently posted..British bride WIP excerpt, playing with POVMy Profile

  21. You are rocking the Row, Lena! I’m with Jenny – you are too tough on yourself. The goals on your list are quite substantial so give yourself a big pat on the back when you get each and every one crossed off.

    I love candied ginger and, like you, prefer baby carrots over chips 🙂

    Have a productive and happy week!
    Angela Orlowski-Peart recently posted..Traveling To Europe? Visit a Castle.My Profile

    • Right on Angela! See, another one with Jenny! Lena, tough on herself? Nooo, not Lena! lol Where’s Hugh? Angela, you didn’t ask Lena about Hugh. You know who. Hugh!

      Have a good week Lena! And it was my pleasure to torment you today! Silly me. 🙂
      Karen McFarland recently posted..ROW80: Kicking and ScreamingMy Profile

  22. all of the ROW 80 contestants are so incredible. moving forward and getting things done in a way that’s measureable. You’re in with a top group, Lena. Well done.
    Louise Behiel recently posted..Liebster AwardMy Profile

  23. Ok. A) sloths are freaking adorable and amazing! Thanks to you, I now have a new obsession and hubby keeps sending me links. Did you see Kristen Bells sloth meltdown on Ellen – OMG – I near died! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5jw3T3Jy70&ob=av3e
    Now, B) girl, you are being way to hard on yourself on stuff you can do better. I think you are blowing it out of the park on your complete tasks. I mean, it’s great to strive towards more but…know that you are only human!!!
    You are doing FAB girl…pat self on back! 🙂
    Natalie Hartford recently posted..Author spotlight and a book giveaway!My Profile

  24. I feel like I’m constantly chasing my tail (and tale, pun intended) lately! And I so agree about exercise in the morning and eating well (and reading). I’ve just been so out of any kind of routine and letting things go that actually help me. Thanks for the kick in the pants.

    Hope you find your groove, although I always feel you are doing great! I’ve been slacking on #teamsprinty and hope to get back to them from Wednesday on.
    Tia Bach recently posted..Join the Campaign–Build Your PlatformMy Profile

  25. Hi Lena! You are doing great! BTW I totally understand about being behind on blogging and responding to comments and leaving comments. What seems to work for me is to read other blogs and comment during my lunch break at work and right before bed. Since it just a few min to read the work of others rather than composing and writing for yourself it works for me better.

    Keep it up!!
    Natasha recently posted..She Had Given Him Her Entire Life In Those Final Moments…My Profile

  26. Lena, You and I share a disturbing personality trait (all our other traits, similiar and otherwise are absolutely won, won, wonderful! – ha!) We seem to heap our plates with tasks, and projects until we ‘feel-the-pressure’. Now, being a task oriented person is a good thing – a blessing really – as I am highly motivated, goal driven, and mostly successful at things I try. It’s that old TYPE A personality ….. always pushing, driving, compelling.

    But…the dark side to the trait is that we can push too hard, take on so much that we steal from the needful things. Fellow guilty party here…heh heh. I love seeing that you are making time for naps, reading, and relaxation. Keep it up. I attempt to honor the Sabbath – (not very well, I add) – and when I do, I feel fantastic.

    Anyhoo…I’ll keep you in my thoughts as I live out my own version of crazy-busy – and ask you to do the same. I will teach a women’s class tonight on the Sh’ma. Tomorrow is wrestling, so cooking for the concession stand and arriving home at 10pm. Thursday is looking good for restoring balance. Ack! I’ve got to finish up my lesson plan….(blushes)
    Nadja Notariani recently posted..An Unveiling, A Prediction, and AppreciationMy Profile

  27. Well for me, this is very inspirational…Thanks a lot for sharing it to us here…
    drenouch recently posted..claiming ppiMy Profile

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