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This weekend, I did only two things:

1. Prepared for the two back-to-back presentations I had in class on Saturday.


2. Recovered from the pure exhaustion that two back-to-back presentations created.

I have never called myself a strong public speaker. One of the things that I’ve been forced to work on in grad school is my ability to stand in front of an audience. Despite the fact that the people I present in front of are the same group I began the program with a year and a half ago, I still get nervous. No matter how much rehearsing I do, my voice sometimes still shakes and I still move around too much to get rid of the excess energy. And when I’m done (combined with working the usual full-time job and training a new hire), I am completely drained.

I’d like to think that for the most part, I’ve come a long way from where I started. If practice makes perfect, this is pretty much the only way I’m going to improve. So I’ve tried. I’ve taken every opportunity on a group project to be part of the presentation. One of my classmates mentioned that she always pretends the audience knows less about the subject than she does, and it makes her feel less on edge. I found that between having my notecards in my hands versus not, I’m much more relaxed when I put them aside. Loosey-goosey.

None of this really has anything to do with DIY, but sometimes my life isn’t revolving around the house. I’m feeling wiped out. And it’s the reason why you may see fewer posts when I have only two weeks left of summer classes (thank God!). I decided to let myself pretty much nap the day away yesterday. And I was much happier for it. Just like I mentioned last week, sleeping can really restore your energy for tackling that next item on the to-do list. Already, I’m back to giving the attic hatch (my next project) the stink-eye:

This afternoon, the plan is to run some errands for remaining supplies during lunch, and get right to work when I get home. I’m trying to keep myself focused on completing small items that all belong in the same general area (in this case, the upstairs hallway). The agate slice art that I posted last week gave me a small jolt of the kind of DIY excitement I haven’t felt in a while, so I’m hoping that I can build on that, complete this project, and build on that momentum even more. This whole balancing thing isn’t really a balance at all; it’s really just experimenting over and over again. Here’s hoping your Monday is productive too!

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  1. Keep up the great work! You are an inspiration to many and SUCH a HARD worker! You are woman, hear you roar! Ok dorky…

  2. Way to keep it real! Sometimes I feel like other bloggers (although I love them all) are able to whip out more projects than I can even think about and it makes me feel like a bad blogger (how dumb). So it’s a nice reminder to read about real life getting in the way. Congrats on your presentations and getting over your timidity of public speaking!

  3. Is it possible for you to go to a yoga class or do something to burn off that excess energy before your presentation? You make a lot of feel like slackers with your posts (in a good way) but you have been an inspiration for me to work on my house.

  4. Sarah ~~ good for you to work on your public speaking. I can remember many years ago that my hands shook and my voice faltered now when I tell people that they act like I am lying. I have no fear about talking in front of very large groups at all. It definitely takes practice but also confidence in yourself. I used to pretend I was a girl I went to school with that appeared to have no problems talking in front of a group. It helped me.

    I’m working on a fixer upper at the moment and it is good to see how you combine that. I keep saying I wish I had this fixer upper 20 years ago when I had a lot more energy. It just takes me a little longer to get things done and that is okay. You are an inspiration to many.

  5. I have the same public speaking anxiety issues and all the presentations during an MBA program were great practice for me as well. Here are two things that really helped me. Find three people to make eye contact with (in the middle of the room and on each side) and only look at them. No one in that room is hoping that you fail so if you lock eyes only with those three people, then it’s like you’re just having a conversation with them and everyone else just sort of falls into the periphery.

    The second thing I would recommend is an improv class (once you’re done with grad school maybe). I took one in downtown Atlanta recently (but there are lots of places around town) and it really helped me with presentations at work because it forced me out of my comfort zone but in a low pressure (non-work) environment.

    Keep up the good work. I went through all of this a few years ago….working and going to grad school full time is very difficult but it’ll be worth it!

  6. Good luck with school and definitely get some rest! DIY is fun and rewarding (sometimes) but you can’t do it right/the way you want if you’re a zombie!