July has been an incredible month. I have been posting primarily on my other 27 Things blog about decluttering the Lillie House so we can get it ready to sell. That blog had been dormant for years, since 2011, and this spring I read my old posts and got totally motivated again to declutter using my 27 Things approach. As a result, I’ve accomplished a lot in the decluttering area and then decided to update this blog too. They are really complementary blogs – one is specifically designed for decluttering, organizing, cleaning and is focused on daily tracking. This one has a broader view of things I want to accomplish each month.
The biggest accomplishment by far this month has been the decluttering I’ve been doing. Yesterday I reached the 999 mark on items I’ve released from my space. It is amazing really and of course, the Lillie House made that possible since we have been using it as a storage pod the last few years. I don’t think I could have accomplished what I have done without the 27 Things approach. I find it anchors me and gives me the immediate gratification of getting things done and spurs me toward the next 27 Things. It works!
I also have maintained my Duolingo French Language lessons since the beginning of the year and haven’t missed a day. I’ve learned a lot but fear that I am in the consciously incompetent phase meaning I know what I don’t know and it is a hard place to be. Yesterday’s lesson was a review and I realize I may need to spend more time writing things down to really anchor them. Regardless I am far better off than I was and I know so many more words. The daily 15-20 minutes has been incredible and it hasn’t been hard to do with the phone app I have.
In October 2015 as part of a yoga challenge I started keeping a Gratitude Journal and I have been consistent in keeping that journal every single day. It has been a very positive thing to do and I think has probably created an internal shift in my perspective even though I have generally always been somewhat positive. I list 10 things each day and when I first started this I thought 10 was way too many but in practice it isn’t. I enjoy thinking of the thinks I’m grateful for. I plan on continuing this.
At the Joshua Tree house we have revamped the office and it is a pleasure to work in this room now. We removed a lot of crap (sorry but we had been using this room primarily as a storage room). We needed to repair one wall which we did in April. We painted the walls and replaced the carpet. We got two desk at Ikea, one for me and one for my husband. And we bought a nice credenza which is used for storage. The desks were just put together a few days ago and it feels comfortable to work in this room.
So July has been a good month with lots of accomplishments.
Leap year and an extra day in February! My goal for February was to build on my success in January and keep the new habits I had established and focus on eating more healthfully. I was able to continue my January habits and so I consider that to be a success. However, the eating healthfully fell short after the first few days of the month. Overall I didn’t gain weight and that is something I am monitoring. However, my eating was unsatisfactory in so many ways. So what did I learn? I kept a journal through using a private blog and I did discover some things that I hope will provide success in March. I think that going in to February my goals were too broad. In fact, it was just to eat more healthfully as well as eat at the dinner table and take pictures of my meals. Taking pictures was hit and miss and as a result that did not work for me. I did sit at the table for the first few days and I liked it but as soon as I fell away from eating thoughtfully prepared meals, I didn’t even think of the table! Boo!
The learnings are important though and I think I have a better plan for March. First, I will use more quantitative goals and I will limit them to just a few things. First I am going to drink at least 8 glasses of water. I do think that at times I was slightly dehydrated this month that led to a feeling of hunger. Hydration will be important and I will track the number of glasses I drink each day. I expect to be successful in that endeavor. Second, I will eat at least three pieces of fresh fruit each day. I know I can do that and fruit is very satisfying to me and helps reduce my cravings. I will track my fruit consumption as well and I expect to be successful in that goal as well. Finally I will eat at least three vegetable servings with at least one green vegetable each day. Again, that is doable. This approach doesn’t deprive me of anything else but I believe that adding these three things to my diet, I will eat much better each day. That is my March goal but I would not have gained that knowledge except for my attempts in February – so in my opinion, February was a success as well!
January was an explosive month in terms of setting goals and keeping them. I love new beginnings and so January was the perfect time to put some of my plans into action. A whole new year to achieve some of my important goals. When I consider my overarching theme for the year, I identify both Action and Acknowledgement. They are important themes for me and I plan to weave them into my daily actions.
January successes include:
- Daily meditation – 15 minutes each day
- Daily French language skill building – generally 15 minutes but no less than 3 units a day using Duolingo
- Daily water pik and flossing – I’ve consistenly used the waterpik but my hygenist suggested that I floss too
- Evening skin treatment
- Daily walking – at least 5,000 steps but my real goal is 10,000
- Actively participate in the yoga challenge
- Daily gratitude list
These may seem simple, but they have made a big difference in my life. I recognize that doing something everyday works well for me and provides a consistency that I need. The daily French lessons have provided a nice language foundation and since this is a long term goal, I know by the time I visit Paris again my language skills will be much improved.
Daily meditation is something I have tried to do forever, but it was really only committing to doing it every day, and generally is it the first thing in the morning, that has made it really work. The impact is subtle but profound. I focused on Anxiety in December and Creativity in January.
My walking is now a well established habit and I’ve been fairly consistent through 2015. However, I have raised the bar and set some weekly goals that I am reporting out on Facebook each week and that has been affirming. The walking has insured that my weight is managed fairly well too.
The yoga challenge started the 2nd week in January and I took 8 classes the first week. My goal is 6 classes a week and I’ve completed several doubles to reach that goal. Yeah! After a break in December, getting back to the studio felt great.
The gratitude list was started in mid-October as part of another yoga challenge and I liked it so much I though I would keep at it. It is remarkable what we can be thankful for and I do view the world in a more appreciative way. I’ve always been positive but this has deepened that feeling.
It has generally been hit or miss with my skin so this month I decided I would be sure to moisturize my neck and face each night. I’m not sure how much good it does really but I do feel better with this evening routine.
Action speaks louder than words and that is oh so true when it comes to organizing. Last month I did focus on gathering information, listening to podcasts on organizing, reading articles and blogs, and getting ideas from Pinterest. The ideas were good for the most part and really much of it I already knew. I came across a quote at the beginning of the month and although I can’t remember where I heard it, it was powerful. Basically it is that Knowledge is not Power, taking Action on Knowledge is Power. I must have heard it in one of the podcasts I listened to but it stuck with me and at a deep level I knew is was true. So … my mantra, theme, and code word for the month of August was ACTION. And that is what I did. I dug in and started clearing things.
Well I am one-third the way through July and I have been enjoying my organization journey very much. The last few days were somewhat hectic with a funeral yesterday and a ball game in San Francisco on Wednesday. I was able to fit in yoga and some walking but didn’t focus too much on organization podcasts and the break was fine. I have been following the self-talk recommendations from Zig Ziglar with a morning and night-time ritual of reading several paragraphs of positive self-talk and I find it really helpful. It is subtle in a way but I do feel a difference. Today I thought I would continue with a couple of episodes from the Stop Procrastinating Now Podcast and I was happy to find the sentiment of positive self-talk surface in both episodes I listened to today. The first was on Emotional Intensity and talked about both internal and external intensity and the importance of fueling that to get things done. Steve talked about low intensity and lack of motivation and that it is often learned which means we can learn to be more intense in how we approach life. The next episode was on the idea of Reference Emotion which was described as an opportunity to control how you approach your day. In other words, starting the day with some thought of how you want to feel and how you want the day to go is important. This is where the parallel came in with the Ziglar Self-Talk approach. I know in my own experience I used positive self-talk before important meetings and work presentations. I learned that way back in college in a speech class I took and how important it was to visualize a successful presentation. That was probably one of the most important things I learned in college and I consistently applied that principle in my work. Many of the concepts, ideas, and principles I am listening to in the podcasts are things I already have heard or learned but hearing them again is a reinforcement and is helpful in moving me toward a successful July project. Lastly, I listened to Zig’s podcast on Balance in Life and I think that is always a good thing to revisit. Balance is important for our health and well-being and should be an element of a successful life. In retrospect, I was not as balanced as I should have been in my career. I regret that I spent more time at work than I should have. I felt at the time that I needed to do it but I wish I had practiced balance more. In the end, the work organization never really appreciates it or cares. You can sacrifice yourself for work but it is an empty sacrifice as the organization moves on and generally forgets. Your family, as well as yourself, are much more important and that is why balance is so important.
I think this week I will re-group and set a few concrete goals for the remainder of the month. I’m enjoying this July journey.
I have been busy listening to podcasts about organizing, procrastination, and getting things done! There are actually some good ones out there and although most of what they share I have heard before, it is nonetheless motivating me to get things done. Since my last update on July 4th, I have listened to approximately 5 podcasts. All of them have had a little nugget or two of good information. The main thing I am finding is that it is making me think about what I want to do to organize my home and my life, and it also helps me understand that this is something that people do have a problem with so I am not alone.
Organizing 365 Podcast with Lisa Woodruff in a whole house challenge with an episode to deal with each specific issue or problem. Lisa shares her experiences and offers some advise which is pretty good. The episode I listened to was #001 (I like to start at the beginning!) and tackled kitchen paper. At first I didn’t know what to expect — kitchen paper, wallpaper, wax paper, what?? However I got it immediately as she discussed the paper that accumulates in the kitchen, mail, notes, receipts, etc. I thought I was the only one with that problem but no it is real for a lot of people. She provided information on systems to help manage the paper and a definite weekly review so that the paper does not get out of hand.
Stop Prograsting Now Podcast with Stephen Stavrekis from Canada. I listened to the Premier Episode and this podcast is only comprised for 10 episodes — similar to a training module. It was actually very good and enlightening. I know I am not the only person who procrastinate so there was no aha there. I did learn though that procrastination is a feeling and that visualization of completing the task successfully is very helpful. He cautioned against forcing ourself to do something where we have procrastinated and instead, look at it positively and visualize success so that you want to do the task. I thought this was an interesting perspective. I know that many times I procrastinate about something because it is unknown, or the outcome is unknown and there is an element of fear associated with the task. I liked his approach to positive visualization and that resonates well with the self-talk concepts presented by Zig Ziglar. I think I will listen to the remaining 9 episodes in this podcast.
Organizing Mindfully Podcast – Episodes #4, #5, and #6. I listened to these while I cleaned my house on Monday, 7/6/15. Episode #04 was titled Organize the Clutter with Julie Ulmer. Episode #05 was Learn About GTD – Get Clear Space and Be Present with David Allen. I liked that one as it refers to the benefits of being organized in that we have more space in our brain for other things. Getting clear is a great concept, and it is something that can be achieved on a regular daily basis instead of once a year when we go through everything preparing to go on vacation. I think everyone has experienced that. It is an intense period of organizing and making decision so that you can relax on your vacation. It generally feels very good as you think you have a handle on everything. Well, following the GTD system, that can be an everyday feeling. The last episode was #006 Organize then see Transformation and Obtain Goals with Sarah Buchwalter.
I am also working on the Motivated Moms app to keep things up around the house and although I’m not doing each and every task listed for the day, I am doing quite a bit and it does make a difference in the house. There is a satisfaction in feeling like you have mastered the house routine and that things are generally clean. So from my perspective, the Motivated Moms app is really a maintenance app and I need to do maintenance even as I organize. I think maintenance is in some ways harder to manage and to get motivated about so I consider this an important component of my July project. Maintenance, along with organization, should help me move forward.
This is a good quote for where I am right now – July 2015
July 2015 – I know it is July and I feel a little regret that I didn’t record any of my May or June activities for 27 Things. I don’t feel big regret, just a little twinge of the r word in hindsight. However, I am keeping a journal, a daily journal, that I have been pretty committed to and find that I like doing that. But this blog was designed to help me do bigger things, track my progress, and help me feel somewhat accomplished. Maybe 27 things is too many things to try and cram into a month. I don’t know but I would like to continue to identify things I want to do and record my progress. At this point, the beginning of July, I don’t know what I really want to do for the month. Retirement has done funny things to my sense of getting things done and it is a more relaxed way of approaching life and actually, I think that is a very good thing. Maybe I don’t need to feel accomplished! Maybe I feel okay just the way I am living my life today. I could toast to that! Cheers.