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I am the project - walking the work talk at home

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

One of my daily work activity in the past years have been project management. It's about creating a plan about something to reach, and then follow that plan until it is reached. Often the plan needs update, and the goal changes, but at the core, I see it as this planning-doing the plan.

However, it seemed difficult to use some of those "work skills" in my personal life. Because it's personal, so it's free, finally I don't have to focus, finally I want to do something that is not "work".

I have many friends, who implement a lot of planning and structure in their work life. Dealing with budgets, sticking to deadlines, figuring out ways on how to overcome obstacles. But to use these same skills in personal life - I don't know many friends who do.

For myself, it took some time until I discovered that I can use the same approach for myself in my healthy lifestyle that I use at work. To benefit from all the knowledge I acquired at work for my personal life. Set a goal, create a plan, and just go with the plan until I reach the goal to be healthy. In fact, the change started to happen when I first spent time, about a month planning how I will be healthy, instead of starting it right away. It was rather accidental, not intentional. Instead of reinventing the wheel, I used something I already have, but in a new way, reinventing the path.

Last week I was in Leuven, Belgium. One of my healthy habits is 10 min exercise, no matter what. My colleague was not able to run, so we made a loooong walk together to move some calories.


Now, in maintenance mode, I intentionally channel many of my R&D project manager "work skills" to be healthy, like:
- look up research articles on healthy living
- understand food labels in depth
- write constructive feedback/complaint to food manufacturers (either to give praise or request change)
- coach others for being healthy to keep my energy around healthy living and motivation
- use tracking and data analysis to understand what's happening
- explore new healthy technology/gadgets/ideas to give motivation (as an R&D engineer, I explore a lot of new technology and ideas)
- use Gestalt OD approach for my own process
- and so on

These are all things that are easy to use for me, because they are already in my skill-set. A discovery for me is that it doesn't feel "work" at all, it's fun.

I was wondering, what do you use from your "work skills" in your personal healthy lifestyle?

==
Small update 21 Nov 23:02 Paris Time
Thank you for all the comments! You make me really happy! :-) :-)
I will be travelling this weekend for an MMFC event in Germany, I can come back to you to reply only on Monday and onwards.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GOOSIEMOON 11/21/2012 9:38PM

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THOMS1 11/21/2012 9:34PM

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NEWTINK 11/21/2012 8:53PM

    Wonderful advice !!! emoticon

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ONLYTEMPORARY 11/21/2012 8:52PM

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BARBARASDIET 11/21/2012 8:32PM

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THEBESTISTOCOME 11/21/2012 8:25PM

    Great blog!

Thanks for sharing.

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KENWANNE2013 11/21/2012 8:06PM

    Thank you a really useful blog. I also use my project management skills in my new approach to my my weightloss plan. One thing that struck me though when reading this was at work if there are setbacks e.g. staff of sick, or meetings rescheduled (or someone moves the goalpost), it never occurs to me that the plan wont be delivered (it's not an option) or to just forget it go do something else. So I'm now going to apply this to principle to my weightloss plans e.g. if I go off plan for a day, then I just carry on or adjust the next day...

The other 'work related approach' I apply is about the quality of the information I read about weightloss. In my job I have to gather information to inform policy, and the information or evidence base has to be a valid base e.g. formal research or information from a known and established professional. I apply this to my weightloss approach...so no more buying into the 'buy this tablet at 40 a shot and you'll lose 2 stone in a week, or drop 4 dress sizes by only eating one type of food etc... I now use established nutritional advice, backed up by the real and day to day experiences of people committed to adopting a healthy approach to weight loss (folk on Sparkpeople).

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Thank you

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HEALTHY-SPARK 11/21/2012 7:43PM

    Fantastic! Thanks for sharing!

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MARISPHERE 11/21/2012 7:33PM

    What a simply brilliant way of looking at healthy living! As I'm starting over again...again, I think this approach will be very useful. Thanks for posting!

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BARBANNA 11/21/2012 7:00PM

    You are totally intense and your blog was great! Thanks for sharing!

Happy holidays!

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LJR4HEALTH 11/21/2012 6:49PM

    Great post Oliver

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MANILUS 11/21/2012 6:17PM

    Loved the writing! I have memorized the portions of food I have to eat healthy.

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TEEBEE44 11/21/2012 5:52PM

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ALIDOSHA 11/21/2012 5:36PM

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PCASEY7 11/21/2012 5:06PM

    Great blog, thanks!

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ELEGANTFLOWERS 11/21/2012 4:22PM

    Great blog

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KARRENLYNN 11/21/2012 4:08PM

    Good job, finding ways to use you business skills in your personal life getting healthier. :)

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MARGARITTM 11/21/2012 4:07PM

    Great use of your skills!

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PENOWOK 11/21/2012 3:44PM

    good for you for using your skills to accommodate other needs in your life. I use routines...exercise first thing, eat breakfast, quiet time, etc. The structure keeps me ordered.

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4KWALK 11/21/2012 3:40PM

    Thank you for putting it down like this. Makes sense. emoticon

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NEWCHINELO 11/21/2012 3:40PM

    I try to do a 15 minute walk to my office

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JIBBIE49 11/21/2012 3:35PM

    emoticon Great to see your blog featured in the Spark Mail. What an honor. emoticon

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MARYJEANSL 11/21/2012 3:32PM

  Very good ideas - it sounds like this is an approach that will work well for you. Good luck!

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MARYHENNIG 11/21/2012 2:54PM

  Great blog! emoticon

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KACEYSW 11/21/2012 2:54PM

    Wow, Sounds like you are a busy person!

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ROCKYCPA 11/21/2012 2:44PM

    Great blog! Thanks for sharing!!

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NEWANDHEALTHY13 11/21/2012 2:39PM

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TRAINER_T 11/21/2012 2:25PM

    I use my work organizing skills, and time management. (Administration and Personal Trainer)

1. I always lay out my work clothes the day before with a slight alternate incase weather is "iffy" such as light jacket/ heavy jacket

2. Make my lunch the night before

3. Have my workout outfit ready to go

I do this because anything I can do to save time the night before to de-rail any excuses of no time the next day.

I get up starting my day un-rushed and focused. I put on my workout clothes laid out, and get busy with my 45-60 min workout or head to the gym.

Get back, shower and put on the clothes I already picked up, grab my healthy pre-packed lunch and go. You never know when life will give you a curve ball and pre-planning (taking 20 mins the night before) helps you to handle that.

Call me OCD, ACD or whatever you want to call it but I have been a fitness trainer for over 20 years and I teach the same thing to my clients because it works.

Great blog!

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MOMOSG 11/21/2012 2:02PM

    Very interesting!

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KIMBOLEAN 11/21/2012 2:00PM

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ADRIENNIE 11/21/2012 1:58PM

    What a great blog!

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KHALIA2 11/21/2012 1:56PM

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SHARONPENNING 11/21/2012 1:54PM

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JACKIE542 11/21/2012 1:53PM

    emoticon I no longer work, but I have made many healthy lifestyle changes that I do everyday. I consider it my job to live a healthy life. emoticon emoticon

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DIANNEMT 11/21/2012 1:39PM

    Industrial engineering background--have done project management. I make sure I have a plan and carry it out!!

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CTUPTON 11/21/2012 1:25PM

    emoticon emoticon chris

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PEGGYO 11/21/2012 1:25PM

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SWAN47 11/21/2012 1:14PM

    Great blog and right on... emoticon Thanks for putting it into a different perspective. Have a wonderful day - many blessings!

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LKG9999 11/21/2012 12:58PM

    I loved this blog. I'm also a project manager, and you are absolutely right that losing weight is another project to be managed! In many ways Sparkpeople helps to set up weight loss/maintenance as a project:

- Define an end goal and how long you would like to take to reach it
- Define smaller intermediate goals that will help to reach the overall goal
- Define the actions that need to be done to reach the goal(s): calorie range, exercise minutes
- Track food, exercise and weight to see how one's actions are working towards meeting the goals, and make adjustments as necessary.

I think the hardest part is learning the difference between staying accountable to oneself and beating oneself to a pulp when you don't stay on the project plan. That, and making adjustments when what you are doing isn't working.

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4GREEN4 11/21/2012 12:42PM

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JANETTEB553 11/21/2012 12:24PM

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IRONBLOSSOM 11/21/2012 12:23PM

    Great points, thanks for sharing! emoticon

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FIRECOM 11/21/2012 11:57AM

    It is great when a plan comes together. Well done.

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JOHNMARTINMILES 11/21/2012 11:51AM

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NANNYWM 11/21/2012 11:50AM

    Inspiring! emoticon

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DONNABRIGHT 11/21/2012 11:45AM

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FAVORITEAUNT84 11/21/2012 11:44AM

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PMFISH 11/21/2012 11:31AM

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SHOYER 11/21/2012 11:23AM

    I like this idea, but have had somewhat of a difficult time in deciding to commit myself to the structure. I know this seems counterproductive, but I'm trying to focus my attention and energy to the right place. Wish me luck!

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