Thursday, January 29, 2015

An Organized, Focused 2015

I'm happy to report that 2015 is off to a good start in terms of being organized, productive, and on top of things. I'm an organized person by nature but I've always struggled with feeling properly prioritized and unstressed in my life. As a perfectionist I've often fallen victim to feeling unorganized and out-of-whack if everything's not, well, perfect, but over the last year I've been able to let go of that impossible ideal and it's been truly freeing. I think I've finally found a way of getting the things done that matter without feeling overwhelmed and overly busy. I'm not going to go into particulars here, but these things have been very helpful:

1. The Mind Organization for Moms (M.O.M.) program from Power of Moms. I was skeptical about this program for a long time because I had organizational systems that already worked pretty well for me, but I finally decided to give it a try last fall. I'm so glad that I did. It's greatly added to my system of being organized and getting things done by filling in the cracks of what wasn't working with my own methods.

2. My Frankin Planner. I've been using it since college, and I have no plans to stop. A lot of people are going digital with their calendars and lists, and there are some really cute paper planners out there, but my Franklin planner works so well for me, so I see no reason to change it. I don't know what I'd do without it. #franklinplannerforlife!!

3. I read the book The Art of Extreme Self-Care by Cheryl Richardson last year and I'm re-reading it month by month this year. There are valuable lessons in that book that have helped me to simplify and live a life that is more true to me and to what I value.

4. A few weeks ago I read The Power of Less by Leo Babauta. It's really been helping me in my quest for simplification and prioritization, and it's helped me to realize the true power of focus and of narrowing your focus to the essentials. I've decided that 2015 is going to be a year of focus--focusing on getting things and projects done that matter, focusing on what really matters, focusing on simplifying so that I can focus better on what really matters to me. Focus, focus, focus is the name of the game.

The next book I'm going to read on this topic is Essentialism by Greg McKeown. One of my New Year's goals is to simplify, and it's off to a good start this month. For some reason I thought that with simplification there'd be less productivity, but the opposite is true. I'm getting more done than before, and I have more free time. Although I can't quite articulate the "how" of it, I think I'm finally finding the magical formula of organization, productivity, balance, and overall good, happy living--ALL AT THE SAME TIME (for the most part)--that has eluded me for so much of my life. It wouldn't necessarily work for everyone, but it works for me.

These are some of the projects I got done in January:

  • Decluttered from Christmas, found places for the new stuff from Christmas, and did a much needed cleanout and reorganization of the playroom.
  • Started cleaning out and organizing my project room (this is going to be a yearlong project).
  • Cleaned out and organized all of the kid books in the house (we have a LOT of kid books!).
  • I started regularly teaching Sam to read. I believe that most kids pick it up organically when they're ready if they're read to frequently, which mine are, so teaching them to read has never been a big priority for me. However, Sam is a little sponge who loves learning and activities so I decided to see how he'd respond to actual literacy activities (like letter and word puzzles and the BOB books), and he really likes it, and it gives us some good one-on-one time together, so this is something we'll continue with. 
  • I took care of putting together Yogi's mementos and pictures and things. In the past this is something I would have put on a list and procrastinated doing for a long time because of its emotionally difficult nature and because I'd want to do it perfectly. No longer. I felt much peace and closure in remembering Yogi in meaningful ways in the weeks after his passing.
  • Cleaned out my 2014 emails.
  • Made blog books for 2013 and 2014.
  • Started taking fitness classes at a gym for the first time ever, at the encouragement of a friend who was doing it. I've never been a gym person so this may or may not stick, but it's fun to try something new and I'm enjoying it more than I thought I would.

I was able to do these things while keeping the house clean and organized (not perfectly, but at a level that made me happy), and doing the "everyday" things like cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, errands, making meals, etc. I also had time for fun stuff, like reading, Pinterest, and bubble baths, all things I want to make more time for in my life because they make me happy, and a happy me makes me a happier mother, wife, and person.

So I guess this is all to say that 2015 is going well, and I'm excited about the year to come!

P.S. As part of my newfound focus on priorities, I will still be blogging, but it won't be as frequently as before. I'm going to do it when I have the time to do it instead of feeling like I need to do it every other week or whatever like I did before. It will probably be about a week a month on average, and it will probably vary in frequency depending on the month. We'll see what happens!