What I learned through writing every day in November

Many of you know that I chat to Beth, my accountability partner and friend, every week.

On Thursday 1 November, I’d only completed my personal goals from the previous week and no blog goals, which all involved writing.

On a whim, I mentioned to Beth that I wondered if I could still actually write every day. And right there and then, I decided to try.

You see years ago, for five years in a row, I blogged 324 or more times every year. For two of those years, I blogged every single day.

Also, here on Organising Queen, I’ve twice participated in the 31 days series – once I wrote about easy organising solutions, and the other time I wrote about having enough time.

It is never hard for me to write, especially if I know what I want to write about, so I thought I’d give it a bash again.

So what did I do differently and what have I learned?

  1. I set two daily reminders in my phone – one at 6 pm and another from 8 – 8.30 to come write. The 6pm reminder was to start thinking about what I want to write about. And the 8pm reminder was to actually sit down and write.
  2. I used a habits page (I have no idea where I found it – I’d printed off a whole year long ago and not used all of the monthly pages) to cross off my progress daily. I also recorded my progress on my Instagram stories every 3 – 5 days, or thereabouts.
  3. I was conscious about my “difficult days” – weekends when I’m too relaxed, and Tuesday nights when I’m exhausted from my two dance classes, and so I made sure to have something easy to write about on those days. This was a great idea.
  4. I brainstormed some topics at the start of the month. I ended up with 17 topics but as is often the case, I’ve since deleted about 5 that sounded far too boring even to me, and added a couple of others.Β I scanned my book notes from recent non-fiction I’ve read to see if there was anything I really wanted to blog about.
  5. The point was just to write, not to create beautiful blog posts. Some nights I just wrote; most of them I also added photos and tags for a blog post. Having my standards low meant that I actually got things done instead of obsessing about perfection.

A few notes:

I’m an Upholder on Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies framework so strategies that work REALLY well for me are clarity, scheduling, pairing and monitoring.

Clarity – I very clearly defined what “success” on this project would look like – actual writing on a keyboard for 15 minutes, and having my blog post ideas list

Scheduling – reminders in my phone

Pairing – I knew that at 6pm I’d be home from work but low energy, so the first reminder would go off while I was cooking or otherwise having a cup of tea with the kids (I could start thinking about my topic) and the second reminder was just after the kids went to bed (well, in theory)

Monitoring – I was checking off my list of blog post ideas as I completed writing, and also the occasional posting to Instagram stories, and my weekly accountability chat with Beth.

Any upholders out there? Did my approach resonate with you too?

How about the other tendencies? What would your approach have been for creating this new habit.

You can do the same for any habit you want to create either now or in the new year. I will help you clarify your tendency, and put structures in place during our coaching session.

Please contact me as soon as possible to schedule your coaching session as I only coach a limited number of sessions weekly.

Being intentional with friendship

What does intentional friendship mean to me?

It means being purposeful about cultivating relationship and connection with like-minded friends. It also means making time for friends even though it might not be convenient. Read half of my friendship manifesto here.

What does intentional friendship mean to you?

As an upholder, these are some of the things I do to be intentional with my friendships

  1. I decided what I needed to do to feel happy about seeing people enough, and once I had clarity, I got busy executing on it. I’m an extrovert and I want to have at least 4 friend dates a month, preferably 6.
  2. I schedule recurring friend dates to connect with some friends and I leave space to meet up with about 2 – 3 friends every month outside of those set times.
  3. I am the initiator about 90% of the time. I would prefer if that percentage was different but I’m looking on the bright side in that at least if I initiate, I actually get my extrovert fix in. I will say that I only initiate these days as much as I am comfortable. I have learnt over the last 2 – 3 years that I am enough and if I don’t feel like I’m getting any reciprocity, I won’t keep inviting.
  4. Monitoring my friend dates works for me. You can read more about my friend spreadsheet here. I’m sure it seems a bit over the top to some of you, but it really works for me, and helps me to be more intentional. Also, as an upholder, the strategy of monitoring realllllllly works for me.

Obligers

Here’s how you make yourself accountable to your friendship needs. Set up recurring friend dates (first Wed of every month, or last Saturday of every month) and you’ll naturally pitch up.

To prevent your boundaries being crossed, also decide what you want and don’t want from your friendships, e.g. since my budget is Rx per month, I can’t eat at restaurants with mains of more than Rx. Otherwise you’ll just say yes and feel resentful the entire time.

Yes, a friendship is give and take, but since obligers lean towards meeting other people’s expectations first, boundaries are definitely something to bear in mind.

Questioners

Questioners are the first ones to abandon friendships that no longer work for them. They don’t have problems hanging on like some of us …. but would always want to make sure that they’re in a specific friendship for the right reasons.

I know a questioner who is very specific about meet-ups. If people cancel on her at the last minute, she gives them one more chance and then stops initiating. I know another questioner who is also very clear that some friendships will probably not continue once circumstances change, e.g. work friendships.

Rebels

Rebels approach friendship according to their identity. If they think of themselves as someone who makes time for their friends, for example, then they will live up to that identity. if they’ve decided that they’re terrible at initiating, then they just won’t initiate.

As a rebel, consider defining your friendship identity. Or not πŸ˜‰

If you’re friends to a rebel (I have two friends! possibly 3!), try not to box them in. They need their freedom!

And that’s it for now.

Tell me again, if I don’t know, what is your tendency?

How can you be more intentional with your friendships?

The best book I read in January was….

That’s a serious question for you, dear reader.

What was the best book you read last month?

Before I tell you about the best book I read, I want to check in with you.

Could you take away anything from the two posts I wrote on how to increase your reading this year? If you want to, of course. No-one’s forcing anyone to read.

I just feel compelled to ask because so many people always tell me they want to read more and I’d love to know if those posts were helpful.

Back to this month, which was a great reading month for me.

I finished reading 11 books, 4 of them non-fiction.

Kindle/ Audible/ Physical = 8/1/2

As you can see, I’m working very hard on getting through all my Kindle books.

My favourite non-fiction read and the best book I read in January was The Happiness Project.

I read it on Kindle in 2011 when it first released, but this time I borrowed it from the library (Overdrive – here’s my post explaining how it works) and I ADORED the audible version. I gave it 4* last time around but this time (maybe because of the listening factor) I gave it 5*.

Highly, highly recommend you have a read if you’ve never read it, or even a re-read.

It really is the perfect book to read in the beginning of the year.

I read 4 Irish/ English fiction books this month and it was a glorious time of reading for me.

I think I enjoyed Meet me at Beachcomber Bay by Jill Mansell the most, probably because it’s set in a holiday place and I was on holiday at the time of reading. I always enjoy a good summer read when I’m actually on holiday πŸ™‚

But actually I recommend all of the fiction! Let me know if you choose to read something from my list.

So tell me, what was the best book you read this month?

Are you a moderator or an abstainer?

If you look in my bin right now, you’ll see two empty chocolate wrappers (Cadbury’s Dairy Milk bubbly – mini!).

In my defense (and I need one!), the bin hasn’t been emptied for 3 days.

Create a beautiful life | www.OrganisingQueen.com

However, there’s another side to this issue – if I hadn’t bought them, I wouldn’t have eaten them.

I only eat what’s there – I would never drive to the shops just to buy a chocolate bar.

I’m a clear abstainer with chocolate. Gretchen Rubin talks about this inΒ Better Than Before.

It’s easier for me to totally not eat that chocolate (and chips!) than try to eat just a little of it.Β  With junk food, I seem to be an abstainer. Although I do think I’m more of a moderator because extreme diets just don’t do it for me.

I’m on Weigh-Less and we eat from all the food groups. This is not a food blog but many of the popular diets prohibit certain of my favourite food groups πŸ˜‰

(Interestingly, in the book, she says all dieticians are moderators!)

Coaching and the Four Tendencies | www.OrganisingQueen.com

With everything else though, I think I’m a moderator. Just think about the things I say:

  • Baby steps!
  • Do things 15 minutes at a time
  • Only put 5 things on your to-do list
  • A little bit is better than nothing.
  • Even if you only achieve 3 things this month, it’s better than having tried nothing.

πŸ™‚

Coaching and the Four Tendencies | www.OrganisingQueen.com

Which one are you – moderator or abstainer?

PS I’ve been very on the fence about The Life Changing magic of tidying up largely because of the extremist nature of the method. But some of my very favourite bloggers have totally bought into the idea so I think it’s worth checking out. All in the name of research for the blog πŸ˜‰ I’ve just bought the book and will listen during August.

Gretchen Rubin and the 4 tendencies

Help! I need more time

Long-time readers of my blog will know I love Gretchen Rubin’s work.

I loved reading The Happiness Project and while I didn’t enjoy Happier at Home as much, it was still worth the read.

It just so happens that she’s got a book about habits coming out tomorrow and wait for this – the cool thing is that writing about the 4 tendencies has been on my editorial calendar since the beginning of the month, and I just checked Amazon to look for a picture and I see it’s releasing tomorrow. Too cool.

This book is about habits and how to create ones that work, and the loopholes we use to get out of good habits. I personally can’t wait to read it and I’m wondering if I should just get the audible version and listen to it on my way to and from work. That is a topic for another post – my foray into audio books …

Anyway, the real point of this blog post is that Gretchen’s been blogging about a theory she calls the 4 tendencies for months and months, maybe even longer than a year.

I’m firmly in the camp of finding out your MBTI profile, your love language, and any other sort of style going around πŸ™‚ so when she first came out with these things, I tried to find my tendency.

I thought I leaned one particular way and it was indeed confirmed when I took the test two months ago.

I am an Upholder.

It’s all about how you respond to expectations – both inner and outer. I find this FASCINATING (and so true) and I would love to know if you’re an obliger, an upholder, a rebel or a questioner.

I don’t want to spoil it for you, so go read Gretchen’s post and take the free quiz to find your tendency. 70 000 people have already taken the quiz.

When you’re done, please come back and tell me what you are.

Did your tendency resonate with you?

PS The links to the books are affiliate links. You won’t pay any more than you will going directly to Amazon but I’ll get a few cents per book if you buy through my link. Thank you for supporting this site.

PPS Please spread the word about Help! I need more time. It starts next Monday and if it’s not for you, I guarantee you have a friend who needs this. Thank you!

Edited to add:

I just saw Laura Vanderkam posted about this too. She shared an interesting thought in her post about Upholders, since Gretchen is one, Laura is one and as I said above, I am one. Apparently, so is everyone who writes about goal setting, time management, habits, and the like.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...