As a short reminder, I wrote last week about my horoscope of 2017, which talked about it going to be a tough year, with many ups and downs, heavy challenges at work, and which would make me feel quickly overwhelmed if I didn’t prepare for it. So, knowing my own tendency to set unrealistic goals, plunging myself into insurmountable workloads and projects which usually make me end up in a depressed and crying heap of misery, I thought I’d try to tackle this year a bit more cleverly.
The main goal will basically be to be more strategic and productive, while keeping things simple. (Oh yes, I forgot that the horoscope also said something about some health issues – I interpreted it as a mental or physical breakdown, always the pessimist).
This by simplifying so life at work and at home. We tend to create more than necessary stress by self-imposing us projects that nobody needs or wants, by putting standards on things such as household or how family and work life are supposed to work and thus making us slaves of our own ideals that we’ll never reach. Keep things simple. No need to prepare food for three course dinners for the entire week. That’s not going to work. Never. Get rid of the stuff that is cluttering my brain, my home and all of my working places. Avoid producing even more clutter.
And here are a few of the principles that I hope I will manage to apply, at least in a teeny tiny bit, into my daily life:
- decluttering the house and workplace
I’ve already started cleaning out my closet to fit in the new stuff bought on sale, so I guess that’s a good start. Bit by bit, I try to think of the “get rid of 5 things a day” concept, and look for things that have been lying on the kitchen table for a week only because nobody cared to get it to the bin…
- using up the things I already have and not buying anything new without a plan for a use for it.
This applies mostly to my craft supplies… the plan is to start working on the three boxes of yarn skeins and two boxes of fabric that I have left from other projects or bought just because, you know, well you never know what you might do with it! I’m afraid that also refers to notebooks. For every new writing project or idea I have a new strategy as to how to write the story, or keep a hold on the ideas, scraps of plot and characters, but these notebooks simply end up in yet another drawer. Not buying any new for a while at least should force me to get done with my writing project at hand, and to avoid losing myself in notebooks with scribbled pages I can’t read anymore anyway and that I forget to use in my writing in the end.
- make another attempt at food prepping
Having enough food in the freezer for lazy evenings (most evenings), prepping some salads and soups to take to work, as well as snacks. I’ve tried this many times before, but then always gave up as soon as life got tough. I’m thinking of simply doing a preparation for two or three days at a time, and have some stock of readymade healthy meals at hand. That should avoid all these binge-shopping trips to the store across the street, when I get frustrated at work and need a chocolate-chips-sweets dose to feel better. Which I never do afterwards, of course. Oh and yes, one important think. Not freeze leftovers of recipes that weren’t really any good. Because merely thinking about eating those meals again makes me reach for the phone to order a home-delivered pizza.
- divide all these tasks that are waiting at home for me and never get done into small tasks
Like sorting out some papers, organizing all these cut out recipes and other fascinating stuff, and divide them into manageable portions of 15 or 30 minute-tasks. This I have already done, and jotted them down in my Wunderlist app, so I can simply chose whatever I’m in the mood to do and tick it off. The idea is to get at least one annoying task done every week, which should be manageable. I might have been a bit magnanimous when it comes to the amount spent on some small tasks, but I’m working on my unrealistic time management scheme, where I always forget that I don’t have any speed-of-light related abilities. Yeah, it’s tough when reality kicks in, each and every time…
- trying to keep onto my running schedule.
This one is going to be the most difficult, because the lunch break runs always get dropped and I only exercise in the evening at home if I’m in a good mood and feeling fit anyway. As soon as the energy level goes down, so goes all the motivation. So I’m still working on a plan as to how to get a healthier routine going… work in progress I guess… If someone out there has a realistic plan to get this done, or anything done, I’m really interested. I just can’t take downloading yet another app with workouts, that will just add up to the others crowding my phone…
- avoid financial stress by trying -really really hard – not to buy stuff.
This applies to expensive lunch snacks and meals, but as well as to books (yes, I know, that one’s harsh), beauty products or running gear, and of course any craft supplies. It’s a main weak point I have. I’ll always promise myself to be more reasonable the minute after spending a 100 € on Amazon or some other shop. Or after strolling by an English book shop, only to walk out with 6 new books (they were on sale!!). This also happens when I think I absolutely need another running t-shirt, only to make a two-month break shortly afterwards. When it comes to beauty products, I don’t use very much, but somehow seem to feel the urge to buy lots of stuff only to add it to the bottles still unopened at home. I have all I need when it comes to running and beauty products, and as for the books, there are at least 10 novels waiting to be read on my bedside table. And if only I am a little less lazy, I can take the 5 minute walk to the library and find something there, it should really be doable. Not to forget my audible subscription, where I get one audiobook every month. Nothing to complain about, right?
- setting up a realistic writing and crafting schedule
Uhm yeah. Well, about that writing… I’m still trying to get my head around a way to research and create the backstory of my novel, that has only about 50,000 words until now (a NaNoWriMo baby). But with very limited time at the moment, I haven’t figured out how to tackle that monster baby yet. I have decided to do it in small portions, something that I can force myself to do every day, and where I’ll have no excuse of not doing it (so no 7,500 daily word count this time around), something along the lines of 30 minutes a day. But of what? How? I don’t know. Still figuring it out.
Meanwhile, I’ve tried to resuscitate my blog a little bit, because it also makes me feel more accountable, and because it simply does me good and keeps me in the creative writing spirit. And I like the community and the positive aura that surrounds it, so clearly something to do myself some good.
When it comes to the other crafts or rather obsessions, I’ve decided to try and get one knitting and one sewing project done every month. This by planning ahead, thinking about which project to do with which supply already at hand (yeah, clever right?), and so by doing so I will declutter my crafting space, my ever buzzing mind overcrowded with “oooh, I could do that!” ideas and avoid spending any money on projects I just can’t do right now. It should help prioritize my passions, putting writing in the first spot, and the other things behind, without deleting them completely from my life. Because I know very well that they will simply come hitting me back with doubled force. And that will mean a severe spending spree and hours lost on the internet surfing for THE perfect pattern. It’s a drug, sort of.
You’ll see that I haven’t resolved my main issue, and my biggest goal of all after all : how to get that writing schedule in place. But maybe if I get rid of some of these energy and time-consuming tasks that are heavy on my mind all the time, I’ll manage to free some space for it soon enough. As I said, work in progress…