All posts by preregistered

My Personal Strategy to Stop Procrastinating…Tomorrow

My life in a nutshell:

Procrastination has always been an obsession of mine. And, as aggravating as it is, I must love doing it,challenge accepted because I am an always putting something off till later. In school, I was always the one who accepted the challenge of “don’t wait till the last minute to start that paper”.  I did this, somewhat, because writing comes easy for me and, also, I think, that I thrive under the pressure, to a point. But, for the most part, I think it was because, when I start to work on a project, something more pleasant to me than the current project presents itself  and I follow after it, instead of the project. This happens to me whether, I’m doing housework, looking after the kids, doing a school project, or any aspect of my life. In fact, in the course of writing this post, I will, undoubtedly, go get a drink, go to the bathroom three times, and pause for thirty minutes to watch a video of Darth Vader and some storm troopers dance. It doesn’t help that I, also, have Anna and Matthew, who are endless sources of distraction. For most of my life, it has been something that I really haven’t given much thought, but, lately, I realize that it is one of the habits that is, really, keeping me from being where I could be in life.

So, I need to change, or, at least, work with this tendency in my life. Now, this hasn’t just happened overnight. I’ve been this way from the get go. In elementary school I used to daydream during class and then bring all the classwork home and work on it there. This isn’t intentional, it’s just the way a procrastinator’s mind works. Earlier this year, I stumbled across a fantastic article by Tim Urban called, Why Procrastinators Procrastinate. If you want a diagram of Justin Register’s brain and how it works, just click on the link.

Changing the paradigm, or making the current paradigm work:

list picSo, the reason I’m writing this is that  I want to change this or at least create a system that will help me manage this problem. I’ve researched some strategies on the internet, (there are tons of them) and have come to 5 strategies that I’ve personally seen work in other people. Over the next month or so I’ll try them and see if this helps any.

  1. “Own-up” to the problem: They say the first step to changing a behavior is to admit you have it. So, here it is. My name is Justin Register….and…I’m a procrastinator. Okay, there! I did it.  This seems simplistic, but if you choose to ignore a problem or put it off, you’ll never begin to change it.
  2. Make lists:  I am a visual person. If I see something written down, I’m much more apt to remember to do it, than if I just commit it to memory. (In fact, the act of writing something down often allows me to trigger that memory later, even if I don’t carry the list on my person). On this list I plan to put down everything I do then, place these activities into two categories; “what I must do” and “what I want to do”.  After this, I will prioritize these items and schedule a portion of my week to doing these tasks.
  3. Make a Schedule: Now that I have a prioritized list of my activities I will then make a schedule for each of these tasks. Some of these will be routine, others will be things that only have to happen on certain days.  On this schedule, It is important to make sure that I make significant time for things that are “not as fun” as well as things that are, actually, fun. Otherwise, I won’t stick with it. This is important because it allows me to break, particularly, scary or daunting things (like housework) into manageable chunks and still have some fun.
  4. Actually do the schedule:  A problem with numbers 2 and 3 is that they involve planning only. A, true, procrastinator is actually a master  planner, because planning distracts from doing. So, this has to be a separate step for me. I have to go through and start checking items off these lists and schedules. Am I going to be able to follow them exactly? No! Will there be things that distract me? Constantly! I can’t be rigid, but I can follow it as close as possible and not allow the distractions make me afraid to get back on track. Then, once these items start going off my list, doing becomes fun. The “instant gratification monkey” becomes gratified by accomplishing not only the things he needs to do, but also the things he’s dreamed of doing for years, but has put off.
  5. Be Accountable: I am blessed to have many people in my life that are here to help me. They, undoubtedly, know I have this problem and they will keep me on track if I come to them with issues. They may even be able to help me accomplish some of these tasks I’ve been dreading.

This post is an effort, on my part, to “own up” to my problem. Maybe I’ll, finally. be able to manage this procrastination problem if only I begin this, well-researched, strategy…tomorrow.

Best of: Moments with Anna (February 12, 2014)

sippy cupTonight on Moment with Anna:

[Anna is standing in the living room with Matthew. Anna takes a sip of her sippy cup, swishes the contents in her mouth, and sprays it at Matthew’s face. There is now expectorant all over both kids.]

Anna: I’MMMM WET!!!! Teeehehehehehee !!!!!!

Matthew: Teeheehehee byahbyahbyahbyah!!!!! (happily)

Me: [wiping both children down with a wet wipe] Anna! The next time you do that I’m going to take your cup.

Anna: Okay. [ several minutes later, Anna takes another sip from the cup and sprays] I’MMM WET!!!!! TEE HEE hehehehehee!!!

Matthew: Badaaah badaaah badaaahhhh he he he he!!!!

Me: [ Reaching down to take the sippy cup from Anna] I told you if you sprayed your drink again that I would take your sippy cup

Anna: OHHHHH NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! MY CUUUUP MY CUUUUHUHUHUUUP!!!!! YOU STOLE IT DADDY YOU STOLE IT NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

Me: Okay, do you understand why I a took your cup? I told you not to spray your brother or I would take your cup. I will give it back if you stop spraying it. Are you going to stop spraying it at your brother?Anna in the tunnel

Anna: No Daddy, just take it! (dramatically)

PRO Recipes: Homemade pizza crust

I had some requests for this recipe over on Facebook so I thought I would post this as well.

Justin’s Pizza Crust

(Developed from Fleischman’s 30 minute pizza recipe) pizza1

Prep time: 1hr 15 min

Bake time: 15- 20 min

Ingredients

¾ cup of all purpose flour (to start off with)

1 envelope of Fleischman’s® Pizza Crust Yeast

OR

2 ¼ teaspoons of dry yeast (I always use the envelopes)

1 ½ teaspoons of sugar

1 ½ teaspoons of salt

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

2 teaspoons black pepper

2 leaves of fresh basil (chopped)

3 tablespoons of olive oil

2/3 cup of piping hot water (about 120°)

Extra all purpose flour (as much as needed)

A little cornmeal

 

Directions

Mixing: It is important that you add all dry ingredients first. Once the warm water is added to the mixture the yeast will begin reacting to the warm water. After adding dry ingredients add the olive oil then add the warm water. If you have a mixer with a bread hook you can use that, but I just use a glass mixing bowl and my Grandmother’s wooden spoon. Stir the ingredients a couple of times. If it looks soupy add more flour gradually until it looks right. (Careful, don’t overdo it). If it’s too dry i.e. it crumbles when you stir, add just a bit more warm water. Mix ingredients for about 2 to 5 minutes until you have a nice little ball in the rolling around in your bowl.

Kneading: It is here that most people will tell you to put flour on your counter or a cutting board, but why needlessly mess up your clean counter tops or another dish. Grandma always said, “don’t make a bigger mess than you want to clean up.” And, while that usually doesn’t stop me from making a mess, there is an easier way. First, put some flour in the bottom of the bowl, as the dough ball will still be a bit wet. Coat the outside of your dough ball with the flour. Second, pick the dough up with your washed hands and make a nice ball out of it. (If it’s still wet, coat some more flour )Now, place the ball in both hands with your thumbs on top of the ball and your fingers on the bottom and pull the top of the ball down towards your fingers and into the underside of the dough ball. (Be careful not to tear the dough as you work it). Continue kneading the dough for 5- 10 minutes and add more flour as needed.  You’ll know it’s time to stop when you can poke the dough and the indentation stays mostly in place. You CAN overdo it, so I wouldn’t work the dough for more than 10 minutes.

 

Proofing:  The type of crust you want or how soon you want to use the dough will affect how we proceed here. If you want a dry, thin crust just roll the ball into a pizza crust and put it in the oven.

If you want a thicker, more bread-like crust it’s best to let it proof (or sit) a while. How soon you want to make your pizza will determine how we do this. If you want to save it for a later date, just put in a Ziplock™ bag, seal it, and put it in the freezer. When you’re ready to make pizza just move it to the fridge and let it thaw for overnight, by dinner time the next day you the dough ball should be perfect. Just roll and bake.

Chances are, you are going to want it sooner than that, though .  Spray some cooking spray in your mixing bowl, place your kneaded dough ball in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Then, Let it sit in warm place for about an hour. (We used hot water, so this will decrease the proofing time).  At this point, I like to preheat my oven to 400° and set the bowl on top of the stove.  When ready, the ball will be about double its original size.

Baking: First preheat your oven to 400° It is here that most people will tell you to put flour your counter again. But, instead well will get out a pizza pan. Scatter just a little cornmeal on your pan. (This will keep the dough from sticking to the pan). Place the dough ball on the pan and flatten it with your hand. (No rolling pin required, unless you just want to). Your once-ball should now be a disc shape. Now, with your hand,  spread the dough from the center out in all directions until it is the diameter you want. There should be slightly more dough at the edge of the pizza than the rest of the pizza. (It should look like a wide, flat bowl). Before baking, spread some olive oil onto the “bowl” part of your crust.

Now, it is here that I differ from most pizza crust recipes. I like gooey cheese and at first I had trouble accomplishing both a well baked crust and pizza2gooey cheese.  After many attempts, I finally discovered that I need to cook the pizza in two stages to accomplish my goal of gooey cheese +thoroughly cooked crust. Before topping the pizza I bake the crust (with the olive oil) for ten minutes. Then, I remove the pizza and top it. (I like to add sauce first, toppings second and then the cheese).  When it’s topped with your favorite toppings put it back in the oven and bake for another five to ten minutes. When the cheese and the toppings are cooked to your liking, remove from the oven. Before cutting the pizza, I suggest brushing some melted garlic butter on the thick edge of your pizza. The result is a bread stick on the end of your pizza slice.

This recipe looks really involved, but it’s pretty easy once you do a few times. It’s well worth the effort. Enjoy!

PRO Recipes: Justiloaf: Meatloaf preregistered style

I had a request from one of my friends for this recipe so I thought I would post it.

Preperation time 1hr 30 mins

Justiloaf Ingredients

1 lb ground beef

½ cup bread crumbs

½  cup all purpose flour

1 tbsp Italian seasoning

1 egg beaten

1 tbsp spicy brown mustard (or ground mustard if you have it)

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp soy sauce OR salt

1 Onion diced

1  Green Bell pepper diced

1 Red Bell pepper diced (optional)

½ cup catsup OR Bullseye™ Barbecue sauce (Barbecue sauce is perhaps the ingredient that most distinguishes Justiloaf  from a traditional meatloaf)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350⁰ F. Mix all ingredients together with your hands until all ingredients are completely blended. Place the giant meatball you made into a greased (or buttered) meatloaf pan, (preferably glass or ceramic).   For best results, place the meatloaf pan into a larger pan of water to prevent the outside of the loaf from overcooking.  Place the pan in a preheated oven for 45 minutes to an hour. Flip the contents of the meatloaf pan onto a large platter and top with extra catsup or barbecue sauce. Let stand for a few minutes  Enjoy

Note 1: The likelihood of this turning out to be a perfect loaf is moderate at best. I go for taste not beauty in this recipe

Note 2: minus the catsup (barbecue sauce) and mustard this would also make a great meatball recipe.

Note 3:  Sorry no picture available