Challenge 9 – 30 days of undone things

It’s time to start work on 30 things I’ve been putting off and that are annoying me.

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Here’s my complete list of things I am going to finish before 31 December:

  1. Sew button onto black top
  2. Clear stuff off bench top
  3. Book skin check
  4. Order pen from Notemaker
  5. Order yoga shoes
  6. Clean out the freezer
  7. Make card for Kramstable’s 4th Grade yearbook
  8. Print photo for a project that has been going on way too long
  9. Make a list of jobs that I can do in 5/10 minutes for when I have a short gap in my day
  10. Make a list of things I can do when I have low energy rather than go on my phone
  11. Put the instruction book and receipt for the whipper snipper with all the other instruction books
  12. Sort out the pile of receipts on my desk
  13. Update my name with my credit card bank
  14. Go into phone company and update my name
  15. Confirm blood donation
  16. Get my baby slides scanned
  17. Finish the Facing Fear worksheets (there are 6 so is this 6 things?)
  18. Get new cord for Kramstable’s greenstone pendant
  19. Get desktop drawers for my study
  20. Buy new towels to replace the ones that are falling apart
  21. Wash the fruit & veg bags
  22. Clear all the stuff off the couch
  23. Take my headphones into my study
  24. Sew buttons onto purple shawl
  25. Make a list of the beers in the beer books
  26. Sort magazine rack
  27. Sort cookbooks
  28. Clear off coffee table
  29. Clean and sort cutlery drawer
  30. Wash baby mat
  31. Take empty folders to school
  32. Take coins to bank
  33. Get battery for scale

I felt a bit inspired today and crossed four things off the list. Ideally I’d do one a day, but I know this won’t always be possible, so the idea is to have the list finished in 30 days. Some of these things will take longer than a couple of minutes to do. Clear off the coffee table for example. This might take several days of gradually moving stuff to its proper place. Or the bin.

Anyway I’ve committed to doing this, so do it I must. Feel free to join me and we can be each other’s cheer squad! I’m tagging my posts #30undonethings on Twitter if you want to play along.

it’s been a busy year

Regular readers of this blog (if I still have any left) will notice that this is my first post in over three months.

I’m not really sure where to take this blog now. In 2011 I achieved my goal of blogging my 365 Project every day, and earlier this year I managed to post semi-regularly, which dropped down to almost never.

As the year went on I felt like I didn’t need to blog like I did last year. It wasn’t as important, and there was no real incentive to do it. So I didn’t.

Part of me says maybe it’s time to get rid of it. I don’t really see myself as a “blogger”,  I don’t interact with a lot of people’s blogs (and those that I do are mostly people I know personally), and I’m not really into the blogging “scene”.

On the other hand, I like having this space. I can post things when I want to get something out there, or share stuff with my family, friends and readers (and any random strangers who happen to pass by . . .)

The upshot is I’m not sure. If I do keep it, I want to try and post more regularly than I have this year.

So while I’m thinking about it, here are some of the things I might have posted about this year if I’d been blogging more often.

First up, we moved house in October, so from the time we made the offer on the new house in July to now, when things are almost as we need them to be in the new house, my life has been mostly packing, decluttering, getting a house ready to sell, more packing, moving, unpacking, moving stuff around, more unpacking, more decluttering. And that has resulted in me being six months behind in my Project Life album for 2012, among other things.

Just some of the packing that had to take place

 Following in Slabs’ footsteps, both Juniordwarf and I started our own radio shows on the local community radio station.

We opened the bottle of Millennium Ale that we’d had sitting around since, well 1999.

I had a hair cut after about nine months of not being bothered to pick up the phone and make a hair appointment. Goodbye long hair (again).

 We chased a rainbow up the river.

 Juniordwarf turned six.

 We made the occasional visit to the Two Metre Tall Farm Bar, and Juniordwarf enjoyed the puddles.

I participated in the Walk To Work Day photo competition and my photo collage made the Top 20. I also participated in a 10,000 Steps pedometer challenge and (just) met my goal of 1 million steps in ten weeks.

My boy picked me some flowers

Juniordwarf continue to improve his swimming.

We had a weekend in Launceston to celebrate our wedding anniversary

Re-enacting our wedding. What?

Family snapshot

We saw a baby monkey at City Park

The Chairlift at Cataract Gorge

Stopover at Holm Oak Wines . . .

. . . and Moores Hill

Willow Court Open Day. This is the Barracks.

I got to know Mrs Spider (with seven legs), who resided on my kitchen window, until I had to move her so that we could fit the window screens, and sadly she never came back.

We got some chickens. Say goodbye to the vege garden.

A new local market was set up in December and I was the lucky winner of their first email prize. It’s a great idea and I’m looking forward to seeing the market grow in the new year.

Merry Xmas from Juniordwarf!

Yes, it really is Xmas.

And that’s the past six months in a nutshell.  As to where I go from here, well I’m still thinking.

Happy New Year everyone 🙂

P365 – Day 275 – MORE housework!

Today I decided I really needed to follow on from last weekend’s cleaning frenzy 

On today’s list were Juniordwarf’s bedroom

and the laundry. 
Both of these are rooms that kind of terrify me.

With Juniordwarf’s room, I think it’s going to be a matter of working with him to make sure he puts things back where they’re supposed to go after he’s finished with them.

This is a habit I’m trying to get into myself as well. It’s not always easy, especially when I think that I’m going to use that thing/do some more work on that project/ read that magazine/whatever in the next day or two, so there’s no point putting it away.

Only I don’t do it, so the project/magazine/book/thing just stays there.

And then there’s the next thing that I’m going to do/finish/read/work on, and the next one and the next one . . . and before I know it, the room is back to where it was before I cleaned it, I’m getting stressed at the mess, and it takes all day to clean it up again.

Believe it or not, there are things I’d rather spend my weekend doing than tidying up the house.
Today was a really concentrated effort to not only tidy things, but to find places for things that will mean they can be easily put back once they’re finished with.
I hope.
By the way, after I’d cleaned the laundry, I could see the pattern on the floor tiles. It’s kind of cool, I think.

P365 – Day 171 the clean desk policy (um, what?)

This is the sight that greeted me when I walked into work this morning.

Just as I left it on Friday afternoon. 
Two projects in progress scattered around, a letter I was supposed to have started last week, left over papers from something I finished a couple of weeks ago.
It’s really a bit of a mess (you don’t say). It’s actually worse than in the picture because the mess extends on both sides to the edges of the desk (and the drawer unit on the left hand side). The only thing that’s constraining the mess on the right hand side is the partition.
A long time ago, in another job in another town, I participated in a program called the Personal Efficiency Program. (I know what you’re thinking . . . ) Some of that program has stuck in my mind, and one of its principles was that you only have on your desk whatever you’re working on at the time. You keep things you reference regularly in easy reach and the rest of the stuff should be out of the way, off your desk.
The idea always sounded good to me, but I’ve never managed to stick to doing it. I tend just to leave things where they are because chances are I’ll need them in the next day or so and if I put them away I might forget about them.
The PEP has lots of other tools so that you don’t forget things that aren’t immediately in front of you, but that’s all about time management.
I don’t have the luxury of a lot of off the desk storage, which is a bit of a limiting factor, but I do have those handy desktop step file holders so I can at least keep things in manilla folders, labelled and still visible. But even so, I still have trouble storing things in them. It’s just easier to dump them on the desk.
So the first thing I did this morning when I got in to work (after getting my coffee), was to put everything back into its folder, put the folders into the desk file and throw out all the stuff I didn’t need any more.
It felt good and I had a productive day.
Unfortunately by the end of the day, my desk looked similar to the way it looked this morning – although the things I put away that I hadn’t used today were still in their handy storage spot, so there wasn’t quite as much mess.
But it got me thinking that if I have a commitment at home to tidy my kitchen surfaces at the end of the day, so that I don’t feel so overwhelmed at the start of each day, maybe I should try the same thing at work.
It’s worth considering.

P365 – Day 145 it’s all too much

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how I’d come to the realisation that ‘life is now’. It’s not something that happens once you’ve worked out what you want to do and how you’re going to do it. Although I was feeling pretty unwell that day, I appreciated having some uninterrupted time to think about things and be a little reflective for a while.

I came up with the ‘life is now’ mantra, which I think I’ll turn into a nice wall plaque or something for my crafty space to keep  it at the front of my mind.

After that day, I had a couple of ideas about what I needed to do and where I wanted to go from here and I was feeling quite positive about it all.
Only real life interfered and pushed all that stuff to the back of my mind, where everything that is ‘on hold’ sits.
Right now it seems to me that I can’t even do the simplest thing to make my life easier, and that I’m hell-bent on sabotaging everything. I don’t have time, I don’t make time and I can’t be bothered anyway.
I’ve lost count of the number of time management, how to prioritise, how to get things done, how to manage your life, secrets of organisation books and websites I’ve looked at, how many times I’ve seen a great idea and thought I want to do that, how many times I’ve started something that’s fallen by the wayside . . . you get the idea.
Every time I see a new book or a new website, I think, yes this is the one that is going to work for me. And what happens? I read the book, print out all the worksheets, start to fill them out, maybe even start to do one or two things, and then it all gets too hard and I slip back into my old ways and life goes back to normal.
I don’t know if it’s because my life doesn’t immediately change as a result so I don’t think the strategy is working, or if it’s because it’s just so hard to break an old habit and replace it with a new one.
(I know, I know! It’s flawed logic. You don’t put on that extra 15 kilos overnight, so you can’t expect to lose them after one session at the gym.)
Here’s an example of what I mean: I want to drink more water during the day. I make it as easy as possible for myself by taking a full water bottle to work so I don’t even have to go to the water cooler. And still some days that bottle can sit in my bag, right next to my desk, all day without me having a single drink from it. I don’t think I could make it any easier, unless I got one of those beer caps with the tubes running straight into my mouth.
So if I can’t do something as simple as drink water, what hope do I have of doing anything that actually will get me to where I want to be?
I’m feeling quite disheartened about it all.
All I can think of is that for me to be able to work out where I want to go and how I’m going to get there, I need to get out of the real world for an extended period, sit down and work this all through. I can’t do it while I’m tending to my day to day responsibilities. It’s too much. I don’t have time.
A week in a secluded retreat, with no phone, no contact with anyone, days to think and write, quiet uninterrupted nights, blissful silence. Wouldn’t that be great?
It would, but it’s never going to happen.
Still I keep thinking to myself, if only I could somehow get to that place, then I could sort myself out and things would be better. I could work out which dreams I want to pursue and which ones aren’t me any more.
The result is I don’t do anything, and things stay exactly the same, and I keep wishing they could be better.
This week, however, I’ve read two things that give me a glimmer of hope that I might be able to find a way through it.
The first was a comment in (yet another) book about decluttering (from Simplify 101), which was the very simple and very obvious premise that you have to actually do something. All the reading in the world won’t help if you don’t get out there and start doing it.
That is: to create change, you must take action. Or in motivational speak ‘if nothing changes, nothing changes’.
And to do that, you have to make a commitment to take action, and then do it. And doing it once and sitting back and thinking ‘that’s it’ doesn’t work either. You have to do it again the next day, and again the next day.
It’s not rocket science is it? And I bet every book I’ve ever read says the same thing. I’ve certainly heard it many times before.
But what am I going to do? There’s so much I want to do, so much I need to do and so much more I don’t even know that I want to do yet. It’s all too much. I really need that week-long retreat to work out what I want to do, so I can work out where to start.
Really?
Since the retreat is not going to happen, at least not now, if I want to do this stuff (a lot of which is just vague ideas of future plans, goals, dreams and hopes), I have to do it within my day to day life. That is, now.
I actually have to make time to do it. Gretchen Rubin came to the same realisation when she was embarking on her Happiness Project
And since changing everything at once is way too much (and I don’t know what ‘everything’ is that I want to change yet) and is completely unachievable, I need to take one step.
I need to make the time to take one step. Surely that’s not too hard.
And here’s the second thing I’ve found helpful. An email from the Planning Queen (aka Nicole Avery, who runs the Planning with Kids blog and has just released a book called Planning with Kids).
She said what she did was focus on the things that made her grumpy. Being grumpy was making her day worse and dragging everyone else down too. But if she could find the things that triggered her grumpiness and work out something she could do to deal with those triggers, in a 15 minute timeframe, which would be manageable in a busy day, she wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed or be as grumpy.
One of her examples was not having cluttered bench tops.
I totally relate to that. Just the fact that the benchtop is cluttered seems to make me (more) tense and anxious. It makes preparing meals more difficult and is a particularly unpleasant sight first thing in the morning, when I’d rather still be in bed. Looking at a clean benchtop is somehow calming. It makes me feel like things are under control, even if they aren’t.
Cluttered benchtops are definitely a grumpy trigger for me.
It seems to be a common thing among organisation books and websites that clearing your benchtops (and kitchen sink) at the end of every day is a great first step to making your life more manageable. I made one of my resolutions earlier in the year to wash up and clear up every single night, and I stuck with it for a while, then it fell away.
So today I’m returning to that resolution. It’s the one thing I commit to do every day, starting today. I will do it every night immediately after dinner or, if I’m putting Juniordwarf to bed, as soon as I’ve done that.
This is my first step. It’s action.
And to make sure I stick to it, I’ve made my own version of Juniordwarf’s rewards chart. I made a resolution chart earlier in the year as part of my Happiness Project, but I always kept it in my journal or somewhere else out of reach and always forgot to look at it or update it.
It’s now in full view. I hope this will make me more accountable and that by taking this first step, I’ll be inspired to take the next step.

P365 Day 122 – tidying and sorting

Now that I have my new scrapooking space, I thought I should sort through the bags full of paper and half-finished layouts that I’ve been accumulating and get them in some sort of order.

So I tipped them all out of the floor and sorted out the layouts in progress and the paper to go back to the paper storage rack.

I found several almost complete layouts and several where I’d matched up the paper and the photos but got no further. I was surprised (no, actually I wasn’t surprised) to find layouts I’d started that I’d totally forgotten about and paper I didn’t know I had.

Now all the unfinished layouts are in ‘work in progress albums’ and next time I want to work on one, I’ll be able to flip through the album and find one, together with all the bits and pieces that are supposed to be added to the page.

At least that’s the plan.