{my year of happy} April update and May project – physical space

So as some might remember, my April project was to look at what was not working for me and to fix those things.

Before I tell you about that, let me give you some fabulous news about my no-spend month for books. I did buy 4 titles from my list before our holiday because I wanted a good holiday read. But I still ended up only spending 66% of my allowance this month. It’s the first time in years I’ve come in under-budget so I’m doing the happy dance.

Personal email

I got completely up to date with my email. It needs a tweak now so I’ve put it on my weekly goals list for next week to spend 30 minutes saving documents to sort it out

Blogs in my feedly

This one I’m particularly proud of. I started off with 80, deleted 20 and could probably delete about 15 more. I also reordered them all and deleted some categories so that I have fewer, more descriptive categories.

Podcasts

Here I started off with 20 and I now have 12 I’m subscribed to, and 4 occasional ones.

I was also supposed to go through my instagram properly but I’m doing that more organically, like if I notice I’m following an account that I’ve already commented on from my other profile, I’ll just pop into the other profile and unfollow from there.

I was on such a roll that I also went through my Kindle sorting the entire thing out. The good news is it’s super sorted but the bad news is I had many more books unread than I thought I did, so am working through those now. And until I get where I’m happy with the number of unread books, I’ll be continuing my no-spend on books.

So that was April and I’m very happy with all of that sorted.

What about May?

In May, the OrganisingQueen intentional calendar (which you can get here) says:

It’s time to focus on your physical space. How can you make your space more inviting? How can you make your physical environment work better for you?

  1. I’m going to get up some blog posts this month focussing on physical spaces.
  2. I need to buy some Queen-size winter sheeting.
  3. I want to buy a few throws for use in the lounge. Is there anything better than cuddling up with a warm blanket, tea and a book? No, I think not.
  4. There are two things on my car that need sorting out.
  5. Our fridge is leaking. We just put a mat underneath but I need to get a fridge person in to look at it.
  6. Before any of those things can get done though, I need to sort out our budget after our holiday ๐Ÿ™‚

What’s on your list for May?

5 favourite posts about…. how I do my goals!

If you’re a longtime reader, you’ll know I’m fairly passionate about goals, but not only for nerdiness’ sake, but because I’ve seen and tested them in my own life for over 20 years.

Here are 5 of my favourite posts on goal-setting (and goal getting), basically how I do goals:

How I choose my goals for the month

My favourite night of the month, Goals Night

I started doing my goals like this, and it continued into this year

A mind-shift to change your thinking about goals

Weekly goals

Which is your favourite post?

Really easy goal-setting

The thing with life (and with goals) is that you can make it as complicated or as simple as you like.

I try to not overcomplicate things so this system is, hands down, the easiest way to set goals for the year.

Have a notebook and pen handy, some quiet space and a nice cup of tea.

  1. Think back over the year thatโ€™s been and write down what went well and what didnโ€™t. This could take up to an hour or longer, depending on how the year went.
  2. Then look forward and think about what you want for the year ahead. I like to really spend time getting clear on my vision, fleshing it out fully. This is also when I think about my ONE word for the year.
  3. Take a goals form (you can also use a notebook) and in each of the areas of your life, like Family, Health, Spiritual, Business, I write down 1 โ€“ 3 broad goals. My free Let’s Do This guide works well too.
  4. Now check each of those goals and make sure they align with your One Word or theme and more importantly, that youโ€™re excited by them and that they feel authentic with who you are. E.g. One of my values is balance so if I have too many goals, I start to feel out of control and therefore, inauthentic with who I am. So if this happens, I go back to the drawing board to simplify some more.
  5. Make sure that your goals are within your control. E.g. with my business, I can only control my actions. Yes, I do set the intention to have x clients bringing in y money but the things I can control is how much marketing to do, in which ways, how often, etc. I canโ€™t actually control the clientsโ€™ behavior. Does this make sense?
  6. Then choose 3 – 4 goals to work on for the first 90 days, schedule the work and get to it.
  7. A suggestion is to add one or two quick wins to get started so that when you achieve those goals, youโ€™re motivated to persevere with the harder ones.

Thatโ€™s it. Easy as that, your system is set up. Now you just need to schedule your goals and work your system.

Have you set any goals for 2017 yet?

If not, let this be inspiration for your weekend organising project. It’s never too late ๐Ÿ™‚

Andddddd….. October goals

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October is the point where people definitely think, “what’s the point?”

There is a point. Trust me.

If you get just one thing done every month, that’s 3 things this year.

3 things more than you would have got done!

Now if you’re even the slightest bit more ambitious than that, you can end 2016 well.

So forget about the first 9 months in the past and look forward to the rest of the year.

Answer this question:

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What would have to happen this month for October to feel like a good month?

  • a date with friends
  • sorting something out at home – organising
  • buying something for your home
  • making a budget
  • increasing your bond repayment
  • making plans for Christmas

Write down 3 things (goals) for October and stick that note up somewhere. Even better, write those things on 1 – 2 post-it notes and put one on your bathroom mirror and one at your desk or in your bullet journal.

Will you do it?

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Now onto some of my goals for October:

  1. Learn and perfect the dance for my Spanish dance exams – I have 5 (very short) weeks left… but I do know 1/3 now.
  2. Book December leave and decide where we’re doing for Christmas, etc.
  3. Decide if I want to do a workshop this year – either on Love Languages or Bullet Journalling
  4. Schedule socials for the rest of the year
  5. Buy new bed
  6. Do whatever it takes to sell house

Care to share some of your goals?

PS Theses photos are from last year – there are almost no jacarandas in Johannesburg due to the drought ๐Ÿ™

Happy Spring! And my September goals/ August review

Well, friends, it’s the 1st day of September, so Happy Spring!

September goals | www.OrganisingQueen.com

Spring always surprises me because even though we might feel like it’s still too cold or winter hasn’t properly passed, no one gave the trees that memo because they’re all blooming.

I only had my phone with me at the library the other day but I was overcome (in a good way!) at all the amazing and beautiful blooms in the grounds.

Just gorgeous.

It’s a reminder also that things change. Just when you think you can’t do another day of _____, a new season is right around the corner.

What is fascinating to me is how quickly things change. Just a few days ago I drove by a tree in our neighbourhood that still had magnificent winter branches and today, more than half of it is already green.

September goals | www.OrganisingQueen.com

Let’s review (some of) my goals for August:

  1. Sell old house (please pray – the pray without ceasing praying – for God to send people who will love that house and who can afford it)
  2. Organise handyman to put up shelves and get all our photo frames up The existing list of things was much too long and we could only afford a certain number of hours.
  3. Write the paying off the house post – this may be more than 1 post, depending on how much I have to say.
  4. Participate in #AugustBreak2016 on Instagram. I think this is my third year and I love it. I enjoy the prompts, the community and it’s a good time of year for me as I’m feeling reflective (it’s my birthday on Saturday!) and the weather is still cool enough to wander around getting nice photos.
    Yes, and it’s been SUPER fun. Go have a look at my Instagram.
  5. Organise July photos and select photos from Ballito holiday for printing.
  6. Write for 20 minutes a day. I did this but only during the week. There were a couple of days I missed due to headaches but I’m calling this done because I think it got me back into the habit of writing.

September goals | www.OrganisingQueen.com

A few goals for September:

  1. Sell old house – this one is staying on the list until done. Please continue to pray for my peace of mind. The scripture I am clinging to is this one: John 14:27 My peace I give you. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. If you pray, I’d appreciate your prayers too.
  2. Take a weekly walk with the kids to explore our new neighbourhood. The “problem” with having a house we love so much is that we don’t want to leave it at all. But I dragged (bribed) the kids to go for a walk with me on the weekend and all 3 of us said it was one of the weekend highlights. It’s about creating a new habit and takes just 20 – 30 minutes. I’m all about making things super easy.
  3. Try the new barre class at least twice this month. I can only make it to the one weekly evening class but it is early so will require the effort of driving to work in my own car, and leaving early to get to the gym in time. I feel like I have to give it at least a good shot to know if I’ll like it because while I did ballet for 13 years, I kind of hate yoga and pilates.
  4. Survive at work with an under control inbox. Aug and Sept are some of my busiest months with lots of travel…
  5. Explore the possibility of hosting a Love Languages workshop.

That’s not all, but that’s all I’m sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

Would you like to share something on your list for September?

How did your August go?

PS I’ll be writing more about my monthly review process on Monday, so look out for that post.

July review and August goals

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July was interesting ๐Ÿ™‚

It felt a lot worse than it actually was.

But actually, when I stopped and did a proper review writing it all down, I realised that I actually got a lot done.

This is the point of doing a monthly goals review – to stop and notice the things you did do, instead of only the things you didn’t.

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Just a few highlights:

  1. we had a wonderful family holiday in Ballito – lots of good food, walks, times of connection and reading
  2. we moved house (!) – I think if we did nothing else this is AWESOME ๐Ÿ™‚
  3. I met up with 5 different friends, all one-on-one
  4. I read 8 books, none of them audible books. I bought 3 books on Tuesday morning because this month is a normal working month, not one where I take 2.5 weeks holiday.
  5. I got my hair done. My appointment was moved out due to the holiday and move, and you know how you can’t WAIT to get your hair sorted again? Yes, that was me ๐Ÿ™‚
  6. My tax was done!

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A few goals for August:

  1. Sell old house (please pray – the pray without ceasing praying – for God to send people who will love that house and who can afford it)
  2. Organise handyman to put up shelves and get all our photo frames up
  3. Write the paying off the house post – this may be more than 1 post, depending on how much I have to say.
  4. Participate in #AugustBreak2016 on Instagram. I think this is my third year and I love it. I enjoy the prompts, the community and it’s a good time of year for me as I’m feeling reflective (it’s my birthday on Saturday!) and the weather is still cool enough to wander around getting nice photos.
  5. Organise July photos and select photos from Ballito holiday for printing.
  6. Write for 20 minutes a day.

Over to you.

What are you going to read, what are you going to listen to and what will you do to keep yourself sane this month?

And a very happy birthday to Terisha who started out as a reader and has now become a friend!

We’re halfway through the year. Let’s take stock.

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I know, right?

We all can’t believe half the year is done.

So it’s time to take stock.

Doing a review and looking back is something I am not naturally good at. I’m usually all go, go, go, move forward, but I do find that when I make the time to reflect, I appreciate the good things more and the not-so-great things get put into perspective.

Also, I find that the month/ year/ half-year (in this case) has gone better than it feels. Recency makes you remember the very last things that happened and somehow there’s always a bit too much rush to feel like things went well.

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Why don’t you grab a nice mug of tea/ coffee, a notebook and gel pen (!) and join me as we do our half-year review.

  1. On a scale of 1 โ€“ 10, how have the first 6 months of 2016 been? Why did you choose that number?
  2. What is going well in your life? Do you know why?
  3. What could be better? Could you make those changes?
  4. If you chose a word of the year, how are you living out that word? Has it been guiding/ inspiring/ clarifying things for you, or do you maybe need to choose another word? (there’s no rule that says you have to cling to a word that is just not working for you, so if you needed permission to let it go, do so :))
  5. Looking at your goals for the year, are they on track?
  6. Are there any goals you need to let go of? Be kind to yourself and let them go.
  7. Do you know why those goals were no longer motivating you?
  8. Looking forwardโ€ฆ what are the 3 main things you want to focus on for the next 3 – 6 months?
  9. Do you have the support you need? I have the space to take on 3 clients on a short-term basis. Please contact me if you’re interested.

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Are there any goals you need to let go of?

(I let go of a lot of the house things once we bought the new house but I did complete about 20 of the 32 items on my house list during the first quarter of 2016 – I could tell you the exact number but my file is packed :))

Or please share any one of the questions above…

What I learned in April and… my May goals

I spent this morning completing my goals review for April and setting goals for May.

A Goals Night, of sorts, but on a Monday morning.

To be honest, I can’t think of a nicer way to spend a Monday morning, unless it’s at the beach ๐Ÿ™‚

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April was a great month in many ways; here are some of the things I learned:

  • A friend and I FaceTimed (?) and it was such fun. I also had numerous phone dates which is a new thing for me but it was surprisingly fun. I say surprisingly because normally I’m not a fan of the phone. I think what made it different was that I was not taken unawares, and the expectation was to sit, chat and connect. In other words, it wasn’t a sales person trying to sell me something ๐Ÿ™‚
  • The house-buying process has changed a LOT in the last 11 years. My word, one needs hours and hours to complete application forms by hand or on the telephone, and a TON of paperwork. I created a folder and there are over 20 documents in there!
  • Seeing friends after nearly 24 years is just as wonderful as you’d imagine it to be. We had such fun that the intention is to now do something together every 2 – 3 months.

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    • D and I had our 21-year anniversary. The three friends in the pic above saw the whole thing unfold and I remember Thembi (bottom left) saying, “finally!” when I told her we were officially “going out”. Ha! Fun times. Fun fact – Linda (pink dress) and I share the same birthday.
    • Show houses are so much work. We had two this month and I’m hoping that the person gets a bond approved otherwise it’s back to the drawing board ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
    • It really is very easy to read more books. I read 9 books in April. The key is simply to spend a lot less time on social media and more time with your nose in a book. I used to have the excuse that my phone had to be right next to me so that I could activate “sleep” on the Fitbit app. That was true but they updated the app so when the device syncs to your phone, it picks up the sleep cycles automatically. Now I don’t need my phone with me anymore and this is a good, good thing. Try sleeping and waking up without it and see ๐Ÿ™‚
    • Bullet journals are a lot of fun to read about, talk about and try out. I’ve written two posts so far – have you read them? And my third one will publish on Wednesday.

And now, for my May goals.

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I mentioned before that this year I’m focussing on 3 – 4 key areas and I set goals within those areas.

What are those areas for you?

        • Health?
        • Family?
        • Work?
        • God?

This month, try to set just one goal per important area of your life to keep you focussed throughout the month.

What did you learn during April?

PS the notebook above is a Piccadilly one. I LOVE them, because they all have the same format – a blank page for mindmaps (or doodling/ sketching) and lines for writing the notes. I haven’t bought one for years, but I’ve seen the A5s at CNA for about R90, which is a complete bargain.

Goals for kids

I’m passionate about goals and goal-setting, so it’s only natural (to me) to talk to my kids about goals, and help them to start setting their own goals.

I didn’t set out to do such-and-such at a particular age; I was just winging it until it felt right to me.

For the past couple of years, just at the beginning of one year/ end of the last, I have done a very brief review/ goal-setting thing with the kids.

Goals... for kids | www.OrganisingQueen.com

There are many free printables for end of the year reviews for school. I just used these ones.

Aside from the usual questions on favourite foods and such, I looked for some that had questions like “this year I want to do x, y and z”

The kids have said things like “learn to swim/ ride my bike” and “we want to go on a holiday to the Drakensberg” and so I take it from there, probe a little more, as I see the child is into it.

This year I did talk to them about having a word of the year, and we decided that LISTEN was a really good word ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m taking it a step further this year by doing about 2 – 3 monthly goals with them. And of course, then we schedule them in my diary (!).

We started in Feb and I typed it all out… but I didn’t get to the typing out this month.

Goals... for kids | www.OrganisingQueen.com

So what kinds of things could you help your children decide to do as goals?

  1. We do individual dates with our kids – we have done since they were about 2 – and they each had specific things they wanted to do with each parent. These are not crazy things; Connor wanted to do a wordsearch with me and play a board game with Dion. We do these things anyway but it’s a way to make sure we get that thing done if it means a lot to the child.
  2. Kendra wanted us to have a playdate for their friends, so since it was February, we arranged a Valentine’s playdate.
  3. The kids like to ride their bikes with D at a particular park in the area. It’s not far and is very pleasant to go there, but it does take some working out of logistics because of loading bikes in the car, etc. So we put these things on the goals lists.
  4. We also have things like photowalks, painting fingernails, going for ice-cream, on the lists.
  5. Kendra has also mentioned going for a sleepover at Granny’s house.

Goals... for kids | www.OrganisingQueen.com

I’ve already noticed a few good things:

  • the kids remember and remind me to do things (accountability is a good, good thing)
  • they’re asking the right questions, like why can’t we do that? What will have to happen to do x? I love possibility thinking. I don’t think x is a good use of money! (this is priceless! Connor told me that R60 is too much to pay for a hand towel :))

The possibilities are endless – I can’t wait til they start setting their own reading goals ๐Ÿ™‚

Do you set goals with your children?

What kinds of things do you put on your goals lists?

PS I’m completely practising on my kids because I have a dream of holding very basic goal-setting workshops for kids for two reasons: I think goal-setting is a very valuable skill that we should be taught early in life, and kids are fearless so they believe they can do anything much easier than adults do. I would love to work with that kind of CAN DO-it ness.

Feb review and March goals

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February was a good month. Here are some of the highlights:

  1. I had a crafternoon with a friend and organised all my iphone photos for Jan. Yes!
  2. We had a Valentine’s playdate for the kids
  3. I discovered Woolworths beetroot crisps…
  4. I had two dates with Dion – we watched “Joy” (nice… but not fabulous) and went to the theatre to see “Bye, Bye Baby”
  5. I read 7 books
  6. We set up savings accounts for the kids (more on that later this month)
  7. Reduced a financial obligation to a vendor by a third (that is the highlight). The fact that we even have to pay it is not a highlight but it is noticeable and I’m writing it down because I want to remember never to use them again.
Valentine's Playdate | www.OrganisingQueen.com

Valentine’s playdate – red, pink and white foods only ๐Ÿ™‚

I saw this verbiage on Instagram and I love it, so here’s the game plan for March:

  1. Do three things on our house to-do list (I had 33 at the beginning of the year and I have done 16 in the two months – wow, that’s impressive, looking at it in numbers like that)
  2. Read 7 books
  3. Take 6 walks (we’re behind on our 52 walks due to the never-ending summer)
  4. Organise the dampproofing
  5. Start my Project Life album for 2016 (low, low expectations). Bonus points for actually getting Jan and Feb photos printed for said album ๐Ÿ™‚
  6. Try my version of a Bullet Journal for at least a week

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Tell me, friends, about 3 things that happened in Feb – highlights, lowlights, whatever.

And what is your game plan for March?

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This is part of my house planning. It’s a page from my Amazing Life workbook.

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