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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.

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
SANDICANE 11/21/2012 7:40AM

    Organizational skills I have...perhaps some assertiveness training to be able to implement them would be in order.

I love your 10 mins of exercise a matter what!

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DMEYER4 11/21/2012 7:38AM

  never really thought about it but i guess my organizational skills . it helps me to keep on schedule with exercise ,meal planning and fitting everything into a 12 hour day without being overwhelmed

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JANEMARIE77 11/21/2012 7:36AM

    well said thank you

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LISADAWN1312 11/21/2012 7:35AM

    Nicely done

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GARDENCHRIS 11/21/2012 7:29AM

    good things to think about.

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JEANLUC12 11/21/2012 7:27AM

    And now to answer Oliver's question (I had to think a bit). One thing I do for my work is to check my e-mail first thing in the morning to see if there's something urgent to answer or that I need to do that day. And I address them right away to get things out of the way.

Signing in to receive Spark-e-mails with tips for exercises (and videos) is a way to include exercise first thing in the morning - no excuses. And because they're 10-15 minutes long, is doable. So, even if the day gets very complicated and I don't find more time to exercise, I've covered the minimum goal I set.

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INTJDRE 11/21/2012 7:10AM

    Great Article. I discovered Spark People yesterday because my wife heard about it the day before. I am hooked. You have made a clear point. If we have a job, we have a skill that is transferable to our weight loss mission. We do it for others to earn a paycheck, why not do it for ourselves and earn a new life.

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JEANLUC12 11/21/2012 6:56AM

    I had never done this: "write constructive feedback/complaint to food manufacturers (either to give praise or request change)", but I thought it to be a great idea - being more proactive. Living in different places in the world I've realized not everywhere are food manufacturers / business / restaurants up to date with providing healthy options. Sometimes, you just have to make it happen!

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LOSE15YES 11/21/2012 6:42AM

    Thx for the share...and the good question. I was an accountant before retiring. I brought the following work skills to my home life. (Specifically to my healthy way of life. ). General daily to-do list making...step by step instructions for each task.....after two hours was a time to evaluate if my daily goal is on time or needs to be modified, taking time to leave my office for a walk which is usually around my office building. Finding a quiet place to have my salad and fruit for lunch. Congratulate myself in a day of doing my oersonal best. In retirement I bought myself a super Vitamix blender and enjoy researching and making very healthy yummy foods. Imagine making applesauce with only apples and cinnamon. Exploring different parks and neighborhoods on foot. Gardening gives me exercise and brings extra happiness to my spirit. Life is short, lets enjoy every aspect if it!

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GRUMBLEGIRL 11/21/2012 6:30AM

    Thanks for sharing!

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    Great post

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SUNNYLIFE72 11/21/2012 6:23AM

  Great post. Skills I use: doing research, setting goals, identifying triggers, being prepared with healthy snacks, not setting myself up for failure, accepting what I can't control, having a back up plan, making healthy choices and being accountable.

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LEANJEAN6 11/21/2012 6:18AM

    When you set a goal, it is like you are almost successful----something to think about--Lynda emoticon

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THEIS58 11/21/2012 6:14AM

    Great application of principles to entire life. It works!

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GRAMPIAN 11/21/2012 6:09AM

  Interesting thoughts.

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ONEKIDSMOM 11/21/2012 6:03AM

    I too am involved in project management at work. I quipped to my brother once that the secret of is that it truly is a goal-achievement-process site, disguised as a diet-fitness-tracking site.

Good thinking and good execution! Excellent blog!

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SANDYCRANE 11/21/2012 5:59AM

    I liked how you spent time planning before you started your health plan. I think too many of us just start something only to quit in frustration due to lack of planning. Great blog.


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TRYINGHARD54 11/21/2012 5:45AM

    great blog.. I like walking alot.

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TEACH68 11/21/2012 5:37AM

    Good insight. Thank you for sharing.

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MRE1956 11/21/2012 5:34AM

    Thank you for sharing!

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THEIS58 11/21/2012 5:24AM

    Just great!

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NCSUE0514 11/21/2012 5:08AM


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7WORSHIPS 11/21/2012 4:19AM

  emoticon great advice to help bridge the disconnect between knowledge and practice!

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REGILIEH 11/21/2012 4:15AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SWEDE_SU 11/21/2012 3:50AM

    great blog - makes you think about integrating parts of life, making things that work publicly work privately too!

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LIFETIMER54 11/21/2012 3:33AM

  Fantastic blpg, your truly an inspiration.... emoticon emoticon

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KRISUA 11/21/2012 3:23AM


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BEATLETOT 11/21/2012 2:57AM

    This is an awesome blog! It's given me a lot to consider. Thanks, Oliver!!!

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AMANDACOETZER 11/21/2012 2:44AM

    Thanks for the tip!

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KALISWALKER 11/21/2012 2:30AM

    You are so right!

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AJB121299 11/21/2012 1:25AM


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KRISZTA11 11/20/2012 2:34PM

    I too often wonder why I can't apply my skills, or at least rational thinking in my personal life : )
I'm looking forward to hear how you are doing!

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    Awesome bl0g! :-)
And great question. I think it was the personal skill sets that I hold that led me to the career I chose. I could say that the computer knowledge that I acquired in corporate america has helped me navigate SP and also allowed me to do research on various topics as I have progressed in my journey of being healthy.

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PEPPYPATTI 11/20/2012 11:45AM

    Awesome blog! I do not work outside the home but I take a lot of online courses for self improvement, the latest being Overcoming Procrastination. It is easy to apply all my learning to create a healthy lifestyle for myself. Sounds like you lead an exciting life!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SP_COACH_NANCY 11/20/2012 11:02AM

  It's all a learning is key to embracing the habits of healthy living!


Coach Nancy

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JILLIEWILLIE1 11/20/2012 9:40AM

    Nice blog.
What I have bought from work to my personal life is: Kindness to my family and to myself. At work, being kind to patients is a must. Not having a rushed or impatient attitude. Making my husband feel important to me by listening to what he is saying, not just hearing him talk.
I do data entry all day and being accurate is essential. So tracking my food and exercise accurately has involved learning to measure the food I am preparing and being honest with what I am consuming.

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