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. 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.

Your amazing habits

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We all have some things we do that we don’t even think about.

These are our habits.

Hopefully they’re good ones and not habits we need to break.

The best thing about habits are that once they’re ingrained, you don’t have to expend mental energy to make those good decisions on a daily or weekly basis.

Here are some of my current good habits to give you an idea:

  1. drink 2L of water daily
  2. go outside for at least 5 minutes a day (you might have seen some of my instagram stories where I literally just stand outside, breathe and look at the view, listen to the birds, etc.)
  3. connect with someone every day
  4. focus on one thing at a time
  5. set my intentions by making an eat the frog list every day
  6. charge my phone outside my bedroom
  7. read before bed, and at any other time I can
  8. hug and kiss the kids, and say I love you in their love languages
  9. put things away; don’t just put them down
  10. be authentic

We always remember the bad habits we have so let’s flip that around.

Tell me about some of your daily, amazing habits.

Are you a lark or an owl?

I finished listening to the audible version of Gretchen Rubin’s new book, Better Than Before, on the very last day of May.

I really loved it a lot and can thoroughly recommend it to all of you, because you all want to improve your lives. I know this because you read my blog.

One thing she says is that that it’s a good thing to know yourself because that informs how you make changes in your life. Strategies that work for one person will not work for another (which we all know, and that’s also the type of thing I say all the time in my books and courses).

I’ve known from the beginning of time that I’m a night owl.

I’ve even written an article about how doing things at the right time of the day… for you… will make you 50% more productive. Go read it – it’s a good one 🙂

Night owl or lark | Organising Queen.com
And then I ran across many other books and e-courses online (I can think of 3 off the top of my head) where the authors believe you can change your day by maximising your morning and so on.

Which always made me feel a bit of a failure because try as I might, I am not a morning person.

People said to me pre-kids, “just wait. Once you have children, you’ll become a morning person”. It didn’t happen.

I woke up 3 times a night, sometimes more, for the first 10 months of my kids’ lives, and groggily attended to my allocated baby (we were each allocated one to listen out for) but once they were sleeping through, I went back to being my normal sleep-through-anything self.

Night owl or lark | Organising Queen.com
The interesting thing to me about this book is Gretchen says that there is research (!) proving that a lark will always be a lark and an owl will always be an owl.

Such freedom for me.

No more of the slight guilt that I wake up when I do and that I’m actually quite useless before 9 am.

Tell me your story.

Are you a lark or an owl?
Have you tried to live the opposite way? How did that work for you?

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 🙂 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.

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