My half-year word of the year review – “give”

My word for 2017 is give and I wrote all about why I chose it and what it means for me this year here.

I took stock at the end of March and that post is here.

Spoiler – it was going very well. But I set a few challenges/ focus areas and not all of those went this well the next 3 months.

And so, how have the last 3 months gone?

To be honest, as a big picture theme, “give” is working well for me, but on the day-to-day, I think I need more of a daily, in my face, reminder. In years past, I’d order a piece of jewellery and by wearing it, I’d see my word all the time so it reminded me daily.

I haven’t done that this year but about 3 weeks ago, I saw this notebook and a keyring, and I bought them. I’m going to be using the notebook for my computer book and, of course, I see the keyring every time I drive my car somewhere, around 5 days a week.

(I keep a notebook on my desk at home so that I can keep all notes in one place. I think I’ll use this one for podcast notes too ;))

That’s a change that I think will be a good reminder to ask myself daily, “how can I give to God, family, friends, myself, my body today?”

On the big picture things, some highlights:

  1. I’m giving myself grace when I’m tired and just need to sleep.
  2. I’m giving myself the gift of relaxation even when some things are not done on my to-do list.
  3. I’m giving my body a good workout every Saturday morning, no matter how much I don’t want to go.
  4. I gave myself the gift of bravery by doing the podcast. I need to still listen further than 3 minutes in but I will do it 🙂
  5. My Spanish dancing partner and I gave ourselves the gift of fun and no pressure by deciding not to do exams in June. It was the best decision because we are loving class again.

If you haven’t yet thought about your word as it relates to the first 6 months of the year, now would be a really good time to do so.

How’s your word been working for you?

PS Book a half hour session with me to get a refresh on your word and your purpose/ goals/ intentions for the remainder of 2017.

{My year of happy} June update and my July project – refresh

My June project’s theme was to nourish myself in 3 main areas – more sleep, more walking and eating better.

The sleep was excellent – I ended off the month on an average of 7 hrs 45 minutes. It is exactly what I said before – if I don’t track it or intentionally go to sleep more, my sleep is awful.

My goal was 4 walks and I managed 3, so not bad, but could be better. I feel really good about one of those walks though because it completely nourished my soul.

The eating better? Yes and no. I chose better meals on the whole, but I could have done much, much more. It’s just so darn cold to eat salads at home during winter. I don’t mind in an airconditioned office but at home I don’t want to see a vegetable straight from the cold fridge.

Onto July…

This month I’ve set a theme of refresh for my life.

  1. We’re going on a family holiday and I want to use the time to completely relax, read some unputdownable novels and rejuvenate my spirit.
  2. I intend to take at least one walk every day with whoever’s game, no matter the weather 🙂 I’m putting this here for accountability.
  3. I’ve been doubting my value in friendships recently and God’s been whispering to me that I am still enough (word of the year – 2015!) so I want to spend time writing down these truths and meditating on what He says about me. I feel like this is the perfect time to get filled up on His Word, just before my birthday month.
  4. We’re coming up on one year in our house so I also want to take the occasion to refresh areas of my home by doing a bit of decluttering, reorganising, sprucing up, etc.
  5. Our house also needs its upstairs outside windows cleaned. Desperately. What is the point of a house with a view if you can’t see properly through the windows, right?!
  6. Then, I think I will try one last time to get my book back from a PR company who has not returned it for a whole year. After that, I’m going to let it go.
  7. And besides all that, I have some birthday parties to throw to celebrate another circle around the sun for all 4 of us.

How are you going to refresh during July?

What I learned in June

Quick reminder – my newsletter goes out tomorrow. If you’re not yet subscribed, you can get on the list here, and  your free goodies will be delivered to you immediately upon signup.

It feels like just the other day when I was writing the what I learned in May post :0

I don’t have many things this month but they are big ones.

I will survive when my children go away and leave us at home alone

My children have probably only spent about 5 – 6 days away from home in their entire nearly 8-year-old lives. This month they spent 3 days away from us and yes, it was super quiet, the house was immaculate, everything stayed as it was and that was kind-of nice, but just for a few days.

I hardly cooked because Dion and I just went out all the time :0

I discovered voice to text

So you may know this already but I didn’t. When you tap in your text field of an email, text, Instagram or whatsapp message, and a little microphone pops up right next to the box, you can tap the microphone, talk and the phone types what you said. (I should try blogging while driving to work!)

I’ve known this for about a week but it’s wonderful. The kids think so too. We’re all sending useless text messages all over the place because it’s SO easy now 🙂

Did you know this trick?

(I don’t know how it works on any other phone, only my iphone 6)

Podcasts can also be listened to like radio

Due to my immense love of podcasts, I keep finding episodes I want to listen to. I have a few regulars I subscribe to but quite a number of them where I check every couple of weeks or so to see the topics, and then only download the episodes that interest me.

Now here’s the thing – I’ve been telling myself they’re like the radio. I don’t have to hear every single sentence and have everything noted down. That’s given me some freedom because if a child comes into the kitchen and talks to me, I don’t stop the podcast – I just switch my attention to the child.

But…. it’s still a really great accompaniment when I clean, organise, or edit photos.

Speaking of podcasts, in case you missed it, I’m on Monday’s episode of the So Suzy Podcast.

What have you learned this month?

Share anything – big, small, silly, serious – I want to hear them all.

How’s your word of the year working for you, Cassey?

As you saw in my post earlier this week, I look at my word of the year at the half year to see how it’s been working for me.

I decided to also ask a few readers if they were interested in sharing their experiences. (If you’re interested in sharing your thoughts, it’s not too late – please email them to me on marcia AT organisingqueen DOT com)

So today, let’s welcome Cassey to the blog.

What is your word for 2017? 
Achieve
Why did you choose this word?
A combination of putting my goals out in the world for accountability, and I realized that my year is being driven by a desire to achieve things that have been hanging over me for ages. I wanted to get my thesis done in time for December graduation (Cassey is doing her Masters full-time), get the yoga habit to stick – by doing it everyday for a month – and to not drive my family or myself batty in making it happen.

Do you do anything on a regular basis to consciously live out this word?
Daily – or near daily – I work on my thesis. The yoga plan has been sidelined till my thesis has been submitted. And my thesis goal has been changed to getting it submitted this year – getting it done for December graduation was just not going to happen.
I love that she adjusted her goal to make it realistic to fit in with her lifestyle as she’s also a wife to J and a mom to a pre-schooler.

How are you feeling about your word half way through the year?
A bit stressed, but it’s still do-able. But I have to work so hard to avoid my self-sabotage tricks. I’m avoiding thinking about just what this will all mean for my self narrative when I get this right. It is ridiculously scary that the way I see myself will have to change as it won’t be true anymore.
These insights are fantastic in that she recognises what might pull her off track. Awareness is half the battle so good for you, Cassey.
Any other comments?
It turns out that planning and just doing it works out…odd right? :p
Cassey, I have every confidence in you and you are already achieving a lot.

How is your word of the year working out for you?

PS Cassey has been on the blog before when we spoke about Konmari and Myers Briggs. Go have a read – it was very popular at the time.

I’m on the So Suzy Podcast

Is anybody out there still reading from 10 years ago?

If yes, you may remember my organising buddy, Suzanne Moore.

Suzanne and I both blogged about organising way back in the day when people still commented on blogs. Ah, it was a glorious time back then.

We even met up in Scotland in 2008 and spent 3 wonderful days together in Stirling. Here’s my favourite photo of the two of us at Loch Lomond.

Suzanne also had a podcast back then called Let’s Talk Organizing but nobody knew very much about podcasts back then.

Anyway, Suzanne invited me onto her new podcast and, after some wrangling (what could I possibly have to say?!), I accepted her kind invitation and it was So Much Fun.

Please go and listen at any of these links

iTunes

iHeart Radio

Stitcher

Go have a read and let me know what you think 🙂

Suzanne’s instagram

 

6 questions to ask as you do your half-year goals review

As many of you know, I do a monthly goals review every month before I set goals for the new month ahead.

I find that it helps me take stock of what went well and why, and what I need to work on.

We’re now half way through the year and my question to you is this – are you on track with your goals?

For now, go through these questions with me about the 6 months that have just passed, and answer them honestly.

1. When I think about the last 6 months, what do I feel? Am I excited, disappointed or apathetic about my progress?

You want to get an overall sense of the feeling of the half year. Was it too busy? Did you get big things done? Was it a period you just want to put behind you so you can move on?

2. Which areas of my life are working well, which are neutral and which are not doing so well?

This is to drill down into the areas making up each category so you can fix the not-so-good areas if there’s something you can do about them.

3. Why? Or why not?

For this one, write a little bit about the reasons you feel the way you do about each area.

4. What do I need to let go of or are there places I need to lower my expectations of myself?

These could be actual goals or projects, or unrealistic expectations.

5. What can I do differently to make sure the next 6 months move me closer to my goals?

These are the things you know are true for you.

Some of my ideas are:

  • First work on my own goals and then scroll social media.
  • Schedule important project work.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others.

And the last question…

6. How am I living out my word of the year?

If you chose a word for the year, are you living it out intentionally? Do you think about how to incorporate it in your daily life? Is it just not working for you? If yes, here’s your permission to change your word.

Over to you.

My challenge to you is to answer these 6 questions honestly to take stock so you can have a successful second half of the year.

What’s in my handbag?

I showed you what’s in my handbag just over two years ago.

I can’t believe I used this small handbag 🙂

What's in my handbag? | www.organisingqueen.com

And then I bought a brown leather handbag – I still have it – that I used non-stop for about a year and a half before I started swopping out bags again.

The brown bag | www.OrganisingQueen.com

And then a colleague brought in a bag she’d bought online that was so soft I couldn’t stop touching it, and smelled so good that I had to put in my own order.

Here’s a picture of my bag!

But this post is not about the bag, but about the contents. Although you should get one or three 🙂 This post is not sponsored but I’m a huge fan – customer service is outstanding and the quality of the bags is amazing. Please sniff and feel mine when we meet 🙂

I tend to keep two sets of items in my handbag:

1. things I always have with me

  1. wallet
  2. phone
  3. make-up
  4. tissues
  5. charger and powerbank
  6. glass microfibre cloth (for glasses and iphone)

2. things I add when I’m going to work

  1. bullet journal
  2. Moleskine
  3. pencil bag

I keep the first set of stuff in a silver pouch except for my phone which always (no matter the bag) belongs in its own separate pocket.

I toss the silver pouch into whichever bag I’m using.

Then if I’m going to work, I add the second set of things, or if I’m going to gym, I have a water bottle and sweatshirt instead.

If I’m going to church all the things go in, but I add my church notebook and the water too!

I will add that I always have an apple and bottle of water with me, but not when I’m going to work since I take a whole lunch bag (which has an apple) and there’s water there 🙂

It’s very simple and yet works so well for me.

What’s in your bag? I’m really keen to see what is different for you.

And please, as always, ask me any questions in the comments!

My moleskine happiness

At the beginning of the year I told you all about how my actual favourite planner wasn’t available in our bookstore, and how I was using the shining planner instead.

That is all still true.

I’m also using a hybrid bullet journal/ planner system for this year.

What I may have not mentioned on the blog but my Instagram friends have definitely seen in my weekly planning posts is that I bought myself a Moleskine weekly notebook diary.

A local bookstore had a sale during February and had all their 18-month 2016/ 2017 diaries on special.

When I saw a nice purple one, I grabbed it and have been happily using it ever since.

So what do I now use for my weekly planning process?

  1. Shining planner
  2. iPhone
  3. Moleskine
  4. Bullet journal
  5. Delicious gel pens

(this seems like a lot but it only takes me 5 – 7 minutes after I uncomplicated my life again)

The Moleskine is thin enough that I can easily carry it around with me, together with my bullet journal, and it makes me so very happy to have all of my life visible and in one place 🙂

The point of this post (and today’s life and organising lessons) is to say this:

You can change your mind. If you thought something might work for you and it’s not doing its job quite like you envisioned, feel free to change it.

There are no gold stars for sticking with something that’s clearly not working.

Also, if there’s a tool that will make your life easier and you can afford to get it, do so! I’m talking about a planning tool here but I remember DesignMom once saying they had 5 hairbrushes in her girls’ room to make getting dressed easier.

In the comments do let me know if you’re doing something that’s no longer working for you.

Is there a place in your life that could work better if you bought something to augment your system?

PS next year (or later this year, I should say) I’m not faffing around – the minute the diaries appear in the shops, I’m looking around for the Legami and I’ll just hand over my card 🙂

What’s in my pencil bag?

I have this thing where I really don’t like to be without things I like to use.

Some may call that crazy; I call it being prepared 🙂

Some may think I carry too much around with me (that may be true) but I just really like knowing that I have exactly what I want or need.

Today I’m going to show you what I keep in my pencil bag.

It is true that the bigger your pencil bag, the more junk you’re likely to carry around with you.

(have you seen those enormous A5 pouches? They actually call them pencil bags!)

This pencil bag is actually a makeup bag I bought at the end-of-year cosmetics sales.

I manage to squeeze quite a bit into it:

  • 2 small post-it pads
  • a flash drive with photos I need to print next time I’m near a photo print place
  • flags for reading or writing a short note
  • Fitbit charger
  • permanent marker
  • wax highlighter
  • 6 pens – yes, I do need them all. How will I know if I feel like making notes in blue, green or pink?

Let’s take a look at those pens:

And that’s it – my standard daily planning arsenal – pencil bag, Moleskine weekly planner notebook and my bullet journal.

Do you like stationery? Do you carry a pencil bag with you?

Mental nourishment in the form of unplugging

My year of happy project is nourish, and for me, a huge part of nourish is making sure you’re in a place where you feel mentally and emotionally nourished.

Today let’s talk about social media 🙂

If you’re on any of the social media platforms, you’ll regularly hear your friends/ followers mention that the noise is too much.

The social media noise, that is.

We’re all aware of Facebook envy, where you imagine that people’s lives are the sum total of their updates, because nobody posts about the flip side of the coin, real life.

Instagram has made it a little worse for some people, I’d imagine, with beautiful pictures of families, homes, baking, and so on.

I remember when we went on a beach holiday, scrolling through my phone pictures, I’d see both Instagram-worthy photos (the beach…) and also the moments between Instagrams, like time outs and laundry day craziness.

The truth is I’ve never really felt like I needed to unplug because I try to live life on my own terms and not compare myself to others… and I feel relatively well balanced.

You see, I set up some boundaries for myself years ago which are now very firmly entrenched habits:

  1. I like to be more of a contributor than a consumer on social media. If I’m on a particular site, it’s first to contribute (post, photo, etc.) and then to consume (check other people’s pretty pics and status updates).
  2. I also use social media to connect with people. So if I scroll through my feed and see something I enjoy, whether a post or a photo, I’m probably going to comment or “like” that snippet. I want people to know I’m reading, watching and enjoying catching up with them, no matter how superficial.
  3. And of course, being a time management coach, I do have very firm time boundaries for myself.

Also, very old-fashioned of me, but I actually still use Pinterest for my original reasons, storing bookmarks and websites I may want to reference again, and of late, as a search engine for pretty things.

I have, in the past, prayed and felt like I couldn’t hear very well because my brain felt too cluttered.

I sensed then that I should take a bit of a social media fast to clear my head a bit.

Since I didn’t feel that it was completely necessary to not have any involvement, I did a “light version”:

  • I blogged in advance for the week ahead.
  • No internet at night after supper. Night times were now reserved for cooking, husband and kids, gym, photos, prayer and Bible reading and other projects… like the good old days!
  • When I’m at work, I only read blogs while eating my lunch so if I could only read and comment on three blogs during that time, then so be it.

What were the results?

  1. I got a ton of things done around the house.
  2. I heard a lot from God – I journalled too so I wouldn’t forget it all.
  3. I felt calmer and more peaceful.
  4. There was more time so I slept more during that week. My usual was 7 hours back then and I was getting in 7.5 – 8 hours daily.
  5. Of course my Feedly had about 200 items in it (I was subscribed to about 75 blogs) and I unsubscribed from a few feeds, the ones where I wasn’t even slightly tempted to do some catch-up reading.

I still don’t think I’ll do it very often but I think I’m sold on doing at least a quarterly social media fast.

What about you?

How do you think this could benefit your life?

Is it time to do a social media fast?

 

PS I’ve even heard of someone who does one every weekend, and another who does a week once a month. If you’d like to chat about getting help with your own time boundaries, contact me.

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