Organizing

Working on Goals

This is the time of year that many of us reflect on our past and begin to think about the things we want to accomplish in the next. New Year’s resolutions are somewhat of a failed tradition, so this year I have decided to look at things a bit differently and instead reevaluate some of my existing goals. 

Today in my writing day. I need to set aside a time and for months it has been, “sometime during the week”. The thing is I let everything get in the way… I must do the dishes or the laundry, I need to pick up my daughter at school or I need to go grocery shopping. This is all true. It all needs to be done but not all by me and not right at this moment. Well, certain things do like meeting my daughter after school and appointments.  A friend pointed out to me though that it is a time management problem. She said it and I was embarrassed at first but then admitted to myself that she was right. I want to get better and I have been trying. I admit that I am an expert at procrastination. I have and always done it. I use planners and make lists but where can I improve?

I have to set a routine and realize it takes a while to stick. I have to remind myself to make an effort so that over time it will become a habit. The definition of a routine is:

Noun 1. a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program.

Adjective 1. performed as part of a regular procedure rather than for a special reason.

It is a poor excuse to blame the world and everything around us. We all just have to make it work. It is too much energy to not be happy because you pushed aside doing what you love – I’m thinking of my writing and photography.

To simplify life this year – that is my goal. Granted, it is not new. I have been working on this one for a while now and have made some gains, but feel like a renewal of this resolution needs to make. Hence, I am making yet another list. So here is my plan, or goal if you will, to make life more fluid and hopefully fulfilling.

In no particular order these are my goals:

  1. Contentment with our space – getting rid of stuff, all the excess. I am really struggling with this one and I am not sure why. I have theories but it should not be so hard to get from here to there. It has been years of wanting to reclaim my space but I still am just scrapping that wall of excess. I thought maybe slow and steady was the way to go but maybe for me, it really is quick and painless. February 5th is Chinese New Year and so my goal is to have a lot of this place cleaned out before then. It gives a month and a half to just diligently follow a process of picking up an item and asking (Queue music), “Does it stay or does it go?”. Maybe I need some form of a support group to hold myself accountable. I am not fooling myself – it is a mental shift and a way of living and thinking that we have to live by. Ten years later we could be in the same boat if we don’t make ongoing daily changes.
  2. Simplify my cooking – cooking meals for myself and my family should be healthy and straightforward. I never have started the week with a menu but I feel that I need a plan a day or two ahead of time instead of going by the seat of my pants, cooking meals and what we eat can be simple and it usually is but it would be nice if I was a tiny bit more prepared on this one. Sometimes I feel like I am in and out of the kitchen all day making or getting food. And when family members are doing the same the kitchen and eating areas are in a constant state of disarray. What I need is a book or a list of my go-to meals that I can go through when I am stuck.
  3. Take care of myself  – eat well, exercise, meditate, etc.
  4. Photography and writing
  5. Delegate household responsibilities – It is a shared living space and respecting that is part of it. When it comes to maintaining a clean living space, everyone should take part. You are not doing any favours for your children if they don’t learn to recognize and live by this rule. Leave the bathroom the way it was when they went in. The same for the kitchen. Now, this is a bad one in this house and I grumble under my breath, sometimes aloud, about this. Pick my battles, right? This is one I put up with for years but with needing to set a good pattern for my daughter, I think this is a battle that needs be fought.
  6. Greening up/cleaner living – making those lifestyle changes that affect our environment, health and finances. For me, this is switching to reusables. Using less plastic and trying to lessen the amount of waste our household creates. This means critiquing the way I shop for food and other things such as clothes. It means this website and feeling the need to share these ideas, not for validation but for influence. I am also using essential oils to get rid of chemicals, replacing store-bought cleaners and replace some of the medicines we use such as cold and allergy remedies. Preventative measures. Aromatherapy is somewhat new for me. I’ve been exploring the possibilities of essential oils in a therapeutic sense.
  7. Create a routine – this goes back to where I started. I have to make an outline of my week and stick to it somewhat. Let that be the guide instead of the other way around. I am too flexible with my time and so when I shuffle my blocks of time around something gets pushed off the grid and either forgotten of the next time I come to it there is double or triple the amount of work to do. That is in part why I can never catch up. Something is always falling to the wayside that shouldn’t.
  8. A good weekly planner to make my days run more smoothly – writing down things has always been a thing with me. Whether is list scrawled on a back of a piece of mail or written neatly in a planner it helps me through my day. As well as keeping things organized there is a great satisfaction to crossing items off or looking at it by the end of the day and seeing what you accomplished.  I am a visual and kinetic learner, so it also imprints a virtual list in my mind when I physically write it down. This is why lists on my phone or the apps don’t work the same way. I need the actual action/sense or holding a pencil and paper. I have had a hard time finding a planner that works for me. I have tried many that left me dissatisfied with wasted columns and pages or layouts that just did not fit my lifestyle and actually distracted me more, instead of assisting me. I tried bullet journals, and this did not work for me either.  I journal a lot. Sometimes a short scribble or thought, other times it is a full out article.  So, what do I do?  I created my own planner.  It was a bit of work, in the beginning, to lay it all out, and I still fuss or tweak something occasionally, but it doesn’t waste my time and aggravate me when I am using it.  It is beneficial that I can make changes as needs evolve.

DECLUTTERING

Counter Space

A constant source of aggravation for me is always having very little to no table space. I am continuously having to move things over to make room to work whether it is preparation for meals, eating, work or a place to set down a book.  I realized this was a problem long ago but it wasn’t until my daughter came along that I saw the real negative implications of this habit. I call it a habit because it was really just procrastination of putting things away.  Things are always just being set down to put away “later”. The problem with this is that later comes much-later, most likely during a cleaning blitz that I feel forced into and resent. Housework and maintenance should not be so negative.  I don’t want that for my family.  I want to provide an environment that is comfortable – not with the noise and chaos of clutter.

The Decluttering Plan

I tried some different approaches already.  I tried focusing on an area of the house. I tried dividing it into sections like kitchen supplies, office supplies, clothing, etc. – you get the drift. They all worked for a bit but then I lost steam.  That’s OK because I figure as long as I keep going, slow as it may be, it will gradually turn into a lifestyle. My approach these days is to keep reminding myself to be ruthless in my decision of whether a particular item stays or goes – yes or no. The yes is fine and if I am right it will find a home. The no’s are another story and post, but it must go out the door.

My biggest stumbling block is distraction.  Sometimes it is a physical interruption such as a call, text or email I need to deal with or some sort of mom duty – even letting the dog outside.  More than likely it is me getting stumped by “where do I put this”, or “should it be donated or tossed in the trash?”

And then my train of thought is off … rambling down the tracks.

This brings me to my next big block which is not to be wasteful. I have trouble carelessly filling up our landfills with things that are not broken. I am always wanting to pass things on somehow but sometimes junk is junk and other times it can be put to good use by someone else. So I have to decide whether it truly is trash or worth something to another.

And again, my train of thought is off.

Minimizing our stuff is all about discovering what we want to have around you – getting rid of all the excess. I am by no means looking to be a minimalist. I won’t get into it right now but I recognize that there is a difference. What I want is to just be thoughtful about the choices we make and the materials that buy.

I made this list of some of the reasons I have been drawn into this idea of minimizing/purging/decluttering/simplifying. They overlap and are integrated with each other. I don’t really think you can have one without the other, but for the sake of the list here it is.

  1. Healthy body
  2. Healthy mind
  3. Family
  4. Organization
  5. The environment
Organizing

Planners & Bullet Journals

Over the years I have tried many types of planners. I have looked at numerous types from dayplanners to bullet journaling but the ones that work best were the 9″ x 6″ lined blank note books where I could fill with lists and notes each day. The only problem was constantly having to flip back and forth when trying to organize a week. I loved having blocks where I could not thoughts or plug in a bit of writing. So began another search for something that would allow me to look at the whole week, write down to-do lists but also keep track of appointments. I wanted something that left me room to jot down ideas and thoughts without having to dig out a separate journal. I also have one of those for when I need to sit down and do a lot of writing. Often though I need to just quickly write a few quick notes that I can followup on later.  Hence my “Ordinary Modifiable Weekly Planner”. I know it’s a bit wordy…

It has a super simple layout that allows me to create the rambling lists that I usually have. A shopping list, daily blocks for appointments and daily notes. An idea block which can be for anything, from a quote of song title, goal or just extra space to write. The layout for me was somehow important just as important as what blocks were added.

I see people often posting that they are having a tough time finding a planner the works for them. Everyone ha different needs and different types of schedules…it only makes sense. There are so many out there but with the way my mind works it had to be basic with no distractions of fancy fonts and time slots (I am better at remembering if I handwrite the time down).

Home

New Routines

Today is about reinforcing new routines and to put more things into action and stop thinking things through so much.  This is a start. Writing stuff down. Realizing my habits and doing what I need to do to move forward. I spend way too much effort thinking up plans and wondering if they’ll work – trying to make them perfect and procrastinating to the point that I talk myself out of things never fulfilling that promise to myself not to ramble myself out of things.

This is my roughed-out schedule:

  1. Wake up early
  2. Get my kid ready and off to the bus
  3. Eat my own breakfast and tea
  4. Get myself showered, dressed and ready for the day
  5. Sit down and plan out my day (journal)
  6. Writing/typing
  7. Blog post on (?) Tuesdays

 

The first thing I need to do is get my weekly planner/journal going again.

Update: done

 

Some truths about myself are:

  1. I just need to write thing out on paper. I need to see and physically do list on paper of else I will not remember. I get a kick out of writing a to-do list and crossing it off when it is done. I have tried so many times, so many calendar and list apps that it makes my head spin. Simple works best – the old standby of pen and paper. I am putting away my attempts to organize my life by fruitlessly downloading apps and trying to instill them in my daily routine. The technology is just too distracting and not productive for the way my brain works.

 

  1. I am a pack rat that needs to move on. This is not new to me. I’ve known this for a long time but what is new is understanding the impact that it really has on me.  I feel trapped by how much stuff needs to be done (which really isn’t that much compared to what some people have to accomplish in a day).  We have too much stuff in our house which we don’t need or want, and I get overwhelmed looking at it, struggling over what to do with it.  Too many clothes to wash. Too many things to dust. To many bits of garbage and recycling to deal with.  Too many things that I want to get rid of, sell, donate or up-cycle but am too busy taking care of the rest of the stuff that belongs here. Then there are the objects that have sad or bad energy – the ones that tell a sad story and are a reminder of something that doesn’t sit well. An example would be that gift that was given that slightly insulted you or came to your possession during a bad circumstance. For someone who is highly sensitive having these things around is just asking for it.  What is its purpose in our house other than to remind me and bring me back into that moment. Those feelings all get dredged up every time I have to touch and move the associated object aside so I can reach some other item that I need.

 

And so it goes over and over… no wonder I feel spent by the end of the day.  I ride an emotional roller coaster.  This is what it is about – trying to find a path that is more easily traveled because that is how I will get to where I am going. That is a challenge.

Cleaning house and getting on the purging bandwagon. For the past year I have been working on shifting my mindset to this idea of simplifying our house and our lives. We are by no means extravagant people who go out a lot and have all the newest and finest, but we have somehow accumulated a lot of excess that really needs to go.

  1. I get totally bogged down by details. I am not a perfectionist. It is about myself and how the result of whatever I am doing. I am driven by what makes me comfortable.  It is not about having it write or wrong. I accept and am perfectly fine knowing that there is never a correct way to do things and everyone has their own vision. I am not such an egotist that I think my way is the best. If I am picky about how I layout my spread sheet or what font I use, how I stack the dishes or sort the laundry, it is purely for selfish reasons. It is about how that impacts me and makes me feel.

 

I need to let go of some of that and find short cuts. Pick and choose my battles because like relationships we can only win some. Some you lose. The rest is compromise.