Getting Ready For The New Year
I have spent quite a bit of time in the last few days thinking about this past year and how I am feeling at the end of it. Somewhat less than spectacular. And why is that? I have been using a planner, I have discovered other means of cleaning besides the FLY Lady, I have been staying on top of my house cleaning and laundry, I have been cooking...I have been running a household.
What I haven't been doing is fun projects. I still have the same list of projects in my planner that I started the year with. Somehow, I lost time to do them. I am not an idle person; I don't spend long periods of time sitting on the sofa reading or scrolling Pinterest. Surely, I can do more in one day than I really do.
I mean, think of Grandma Sally (or anyone of that generation). When could she ever sit? Probably not until everyone else was in bed, and she was probably up before the sun. Having productive days is valuable to me. The more I do the better I feel about myself. I am certainly happy! There is no doubt of that. I just am not satisfied with how my year went, and I am determined to have a better year next year.
To make sure I have a better year next year I did some searching around to see where I went off track. I thought that with my Bulletproof coffee and The Miracle Morning on top of my Franklin Covey planner, I would have had way more blog posts and recipes and even some tutorials shared. I love to write, and I write a lot more than I publish, but I don't get to spend near as much time on here as I would like to. So I figured I must have an issue with time management.
I typed up a list of my daily activities and I printed it out for quick reference when I fill out my daily planner. It has helped, for sure. I actually made two lists: one for each day of the week and one for morning, afternoon, and evening routines.
I seem to work well under pressure, so I started giving myself deadlines. I have to have breakfast cleaned up before the kids go to school. This means unloading the dishwasher, clearing the table, and re-loading. If I am doing laundry I have to have it started by 8:30am. This is good because it means that I'm usually finished with everything by nap time.
After I get the laundry started I make myself a cup of coffee and fill out my planner. I check what is on the menu for dinner and see what I will be doing for the day. When my coffee is finished I do my daily tasks. This all sounds so nice and quick, but remember, I have a toddler at home who is super demanding for attention, so I seem to be constantly pulled from my task to tend to his all important needs.
And then lunch time is upon us. I fix lunch and clean up and finish up the laundry and then usually read a story. As soon as that little boy is asleep I lay him on the sofa and make myself another cup of coffee.
Afternoon coffee sipped in a quiet house with a bit of dark chocolate...bliss. If the sun is shining and I do have a book I will read for a bit, but usually I will come to my desk and write, ignoring anything that didn't get checked off in my planner. I think about taking a nap (I'm into my third trimester), but with the house so quiet I can't stand to give up my 45 minutes of silent solitude to sleep. Besides, my toddler doesn’t nap everyday.
I certainly think of that list of projects, but I find it difficult to do any of them. I have come to the bottom of this: my sewing room (also my project + writing room) is just too messy. There are still piles of things for the kitchen remodel in here. Plus, when I re-did this room I wasn't yet aware of the whole Kon-Mari way of tiding, so there are random things placed in spots where they shouldn’t be. I really should tackle it again. One more thing to add to my list.
I noticed that when I avoid doing something I can easily find a million other things that need doing instead. All those so-called urgent but not important things. So, I decided I don't have a time management issue, I have a planner issue. I'm not using it correctly. Sure, I use it everyday, but I don't really use it. I re-read that information about Benjamin Franklin and his list of virtues. He read his list every day and focused on one virtue every week.
I wrote mine down when I got my planner and really haven't done anything with them since. Yes, they are things that I value, but some of them aren't so prevalent in my life. There's something wrong with that. Our values are the most important things in our lives, they need to be prevalent. I have to make what I value be valuable.
This is how I am going to start the new year (starting NOW). I will read my list of values and focus on one each week, just like Benjamin Franklin did. I have so many resources that all seem to be saying the same thing: FranklinCovey or 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, The Miracle Morning, MindValley, Carol Tuttle, The Not So Big Life,... I suppose I could go on and on. Taking bits from all of these, I made up my own way of journaling. It is important to journal because writing things down makes your mind believe it more, and it becomes a concrete part of you.
The first thing to do is to establish what value I am focusing on for the week. I ask these questions:
What is my value?
What is my belief about this value?
Why do I value this?
What is my vision for this value?
For example I will share my value of solitude. I believe that I need to have a regular solitude time in my week to maintain a healthy mind and to stay balanced. I value my solitude because it revitalizes me, making the next week so much lighter and easier to get through. My vision is that every week I will be given about three hours to spend at home alone doing whatever I please.
Then I move to my second set of questions:
What one thing can I do in this area that I know will produce positive results?
What can I do to make sure that happens?
What has prevented this from happening in the past or could prevent this from happening now?
This probably sounds so simple to everyone else, but sometimes it is difficult for me to voice my needs. If I open my mouth and tell Sky that yes, I would love some alone time and could he please take the kids out for breakfast or whatever, then he is more than willing to do that for me.
I know I will get positive results if I just open my mouth. I just have to make sure I do that. Why don't I always? Sometimes I think he doesn't feel like going out with four kids. This is assumption on my part, and most likely I'm wrong. Sometimes I feel like I don't really deserve my solitude because I haven't kept up on housework, which should really trigger me to know that I need some solitude. These are good things for me to remember. It is so important to take care of yourself.
And then I have three last things for my value:
What can I do on a daily basis to implement this value?
Write and say affirmations for my value.
What I do on a daily basis might only be giving thanks for those times I do get to spend alone and my affirmations. I will do my writing on Monday and review it all week. The fist time I focus on my values may take a little more of my time, but the second time around will be easier. I'm hoping that by implementing these things that I value I will find myself taking on goals.
I will probably treat my goals the same as I do my values, writing and answering a series of questions and ultimately working down to what I can do on a daily basis. That is what the planner is all about, breaking your goals (or projects) into baby steps and accomplishing them. An important thing to remember was said by Hal Elrod:
The purpose of a goal is not to reach the goal; The purpose of a goal is who you become in the process."
I hope you are satisfied with 2015, and if not, join me for a great 2016!