Tag Archives: planning

Winter Survival Guide (18) ~ Plan Ahead.

It’s 12th November 2019 as I write this. We’ve already heard it so many times now: “I can’t believe it’s November already!”. People tend to say things like this a lot, commenting on ‘how fast’ the year has flown in. It’s all a matter of perspective, I suppose, but we’re undeniably bedded in now in the latter part of the calendar year, and before we know it people will be saying “I can’t believe it’s 2020!”.

This means that ‘before we know it’ we’ll be in the midst of the Christmas, festive, holiday, New Year (and other, depending on what this time of year means to you) season.

It’s a good ‘survival’ tip to plan ahead a bit so that things don’t unexpectedly creep up on you and you find that anxiety is knocking on the door of your heart.

Let me break this down a little, just to give us all a bit of perspective, and help us to visually see what and where we might gain from a little bit of forward planning. Keeping it simple, here is a visual representation of the next few weeks ahead:

November 2019:

Tues: 12th November (today), 19th, 26th

Wed: 13th Nov, 20th, 27th

Thur: 14th Nov, 21st, 28th

Fri: 15th Nov, 22nd, 29th

Sat: 16th Nov, 23rd, 30th.

Sun: 17th Nov, 24th

Mon: 18th Nov, 25th

 

December 2019:

Sun: 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th

Mon: 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th

Tue: 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st

Wed: 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th

Thur: 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th

Fri: 6th, 13th, 20th , 27th

Sat: 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th

 

January 2020:

Wed: 1st.

 

Maybe you float through your days, and planning isn’t much of a priority, but personally as someone who has anxiety (and who also incidentally can be a bit forgetful), planning is pretty essential for me, and I like to break things down into smaller more manageable ‘chunks’. Together with the fact that I’m a bit of a perfectionist, I like to make the most of the time I have and to do things well, and encourage other people, so that’s another reason I need a bit of an idea of what’s ahead of me, and what I need and want to do, as well as how this fits in with the needs and expectations of others, and my general obligations.

I’m not sure what the next few weeks ahead look like for you, but here are some of the things that I personally will need to factor in and begin thinking about and preparing for:

Work:

  • Finish up work projects (I’m usually ahead of schedule as I am just now, so I can relax with this one, considering nothing new or major lands on my plate) and tie up any loose ends before the office closes for Christmas.
  • Complete my personal work review which is just something I do for myself and is not a requirement, as it helps me to see just how much I have been involved with, what I have learned, and how to go forwards. Sometimes we fail to realise or appreciate just how much we have accomplished in a year, and it’s good to review that at the end of the year.
  • Support colleagues / team with anything we collaboratively need to accomplish / tie up.
  • Take annual leave that I have remaining from mid-December.

 

Social:

  • End of November, early Christmas work lunch out with colleagues.
  • Mini reunion with friends visiting from another part of the country, but just for the day.
  • Christmas dinner out (mid December) with a couple of close friends.
  • Catch-ups, exchanging gifts and doing some fun Christmassy things with various friends before we head our separate ways for the holidays.

 

Charity:

  • Plan and carry out some acts of kindness to help those less fortunate, and encourage others with ways we can all help.

 

Personal Devotions, Church and Fellowship:

  • Only six more Sundays before Christmas, so it would be nice to spend some time in advance really preparing myself spiritually, thanking God and reflecting upon the year gone by, and prayerfully looking at what is ahead. The Centre of Christmas and of Life for me Is Christ, so it is important that He Is my Focus throughout this whole season, filled as it is with distractions aplenty.
  • Connect with friends, encourage others who are struggling this season, and participate in the many beautiful events celebrating Christ, as He leads me.

 

Prepare for Birthdays, Christmas Presents, gifts for God-children, friends’ kids, and prepare / recycle things to create Environmentally Friendly Packaging:

Pack and plan for a short holiday to see Christmas markets in Europe – finances, clothes, etc. all to be prepared.

Hospitality and Home:

  • Decorate, have people over for festive fun.

Pack and prepare for visiting family.

Reach out to support friends who are grieving or struggling this year.

Other bits and bobs: plan some crafts, use up coupons before their expiry dates, send things in the post on time, and create a photo book of memories for 2019.

red ceramic mug on white mat beside notebook
Photo by Anna Sommer on Pexels.com

 

 

 

Set a new (small) goal – inspiration and a list of ideas! :)

white tablet computer beside white notebook
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We need to keep growing and changing and improving in order to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. Otherwise, the tendency is to stagnate, to get ‘stuck in a rut’, and become bored, apathetic or disillusioned with our lives. To be alive is an incredible gift, can we really afford to take it for granted by just trundling through our days? I don’t think anyone of us wants to do that.

Goal setting, and taking on new challenges is a good way to move onwards and upwards and helps us to live more intentionally, more fully and deeply. However, it can be quite daunting to consider setting goals, we might think we need to do ‘big’ things, make grand gestures, take great leaps forward. Yet small goals can also play an important part in rekindling our curiosity, our creativity and ‘spark’. These small goals can be so small that we don’t even consider them anything out of the ordinary, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a place in engaging our minds, our interest and our skills. By giving ourselves the chance to ‘step up’ and step forwards, without the pressure of having to do any grand things, we give ourselves the permission to set in motion the momentum that will continue to take us forwards. One small goal accomplished might well spark the motivation and inspiration to take on something new until those wonderful, creative, inspiring and well lived moments add up to an engaging and well lived, inspiring life. These little actions don’t even need to be something new, we can do things we’ve done before, but that we’ve drifted from, and so bring back a fresh dose of that creativity and engagement with our own lives.

So what might be on your ‘list’ for intentionally setting a small goal? And how might these things add up to other opportunities and new or deepening connections with other people?

I’m going to give it a go to come up with something for myself just now, and hopefully spark some inspiration for us both. Happy planning! 🙂

  • Go to see a fireworks display with a friend (already in the diary! 🙂 ).
  • Finish listening to the audio book I started.
  • Catch up with friends over dinner, and get to know new people that my friends invite.
  • I recently went to a pottery painting place and told my friends about it. One of my friends wants to go with me, and to bring a friend along who I don’t really know but have met once, a person who is very creative but in different ways from me. Who knows what opportunities of a happy, relaxing time with good conversation, creativity and inspiration, with potentially the seeds of a new friendship, might come our ways?
  • Plan some small craft projects and make personalised gifts for friends.
  • Write a new blog post.
  • Print out photographs from this year to make an album of memories to look back on, and maybe do some creative things with them like scrapbooking, personalised Christmas photo gifts for friends, or putting them on my wall to make me smile when I remember the good times.
  • Plan or get involved with a charitable event for Christmas such as the Christmas ‘shoe box’ appeals, food ‘advent calendars’ to collect items each day for homeless people or others in need.
  • Write a thank you card and send it to someone to show that they are appreciated.
  • Learn a new song on the violin.
  • Try out another new type of craft.
  • Do a jigsaw puzzle.
  • Arrange a ‘games night’ and bring some friends together for a relaxed and cosy evening, which might give an opportunity to invite people who don’t yet know each other but who might ‘gel’ as friends and extend our friendship group, potentially leading to new fun times and adventures in the future. All of our friendships had to start somewhere, right?
  • Tidy a small area of that room I’ve been meaning to get to for a while. Maybe this will lead to a bigger home project in due course, or lots of little efforts adding up over time can lead to decluttering, reorganising and refreshing that ‘problem space’ or area in the home.
  • Make time to read that book that I’ve somehow forgotten about.
  • Have 15 minutes of creative writing time.
  • Have a ‘colouring in’, arts and crafts afternoon.
  • Visit family.
  • Learn a new recipe.
  • Cook something to share with a friend at work.
  • Find out about a topic that I don’t know too much about at the moment and educate myself in new things.
  • Set aside time to exercise.
  • Set aside time to read some of the amazing blog posts from other bloggers out there! 🙂
  • Plan a ‘random act of kindness’ for someone.
  • Get creative with expressions of gratitude. Journal, scrapbook, write out letters, prayers, or draw a ‘gratitude tree’ and fill in new ‘leaves’ every time I want to write down something I’m thankful for and appreciative of.
  • Think of 5 people I want to encourage and / or compliment and make the time and effort to sincerely encourage them.
  • Have a film night by myself.
  • Go out for lunch with a friend and catch up.
  • Think of things I’d like to do as Christmas approaches.
  • Plan out an outfit for work.
  • Visit someone I haven’t seen for a while.
  • Start taking a small notebook around with me to ‘doodle’ in, draw and write down inspiring thoughts and ideas, or interesting observations.
  • Have a ‘musical’ afternoon with other friends who play instruments.

So there are a few things off the top of my head to help get us started. The lovely thing with little goals is that they take the pressure off us from feeling we need to take great big steps or even leaps forwards in our lives in order to make a positive change. They also, by nature being something more attainable and achievable that we can fit into our everyday lives and also include other people in, can lead to the introduction of new and special elements into our lives. For example, by trying out something new in doing the pottery painting earlier this month (which is reasonably priced and affordable), I have ignited interest with friends, and this could lead to a regular creative part of our lives where maybe once a month or every couple of months we can get together at this pottery place and be creative, chat, and bring along friends who the others may not yet know, thereby increasing and deepening our connections and bringing value to all of our lives.

Who knows what amazing things can result from the ‘smallest’ of actions, or the littlest of goals set and acted upon? 🙂

So over to you….what little goal are you going to aim for?

“Travelling Teaches You” (9).

backpack bag blur commuter
Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

Life as it happens to be

Travelling teaches you to plan ahead. Travelling also teaches you to leave your plans behind. 

There is so much to explore, and limited time, so we may find we gain the most from our experiences if we have in mind what we most want to see and do and focus on those. These lessons in planning and preparation can be useful and transferable into our ‘ordinary’ lives. We are so ‘wired up’ in the 21st Century to try to have multiple ‘tabs’ open in our lives, however, just as our computers and devices can only handle so much, so too we sometimes need a ‘re-boot’ or to close down some of the tabs we have so that we can enrich our experience of the fewer things we actually choose to do, and be more productive and efficient in making the most of our time in doing so. 

However, travelling…

View original post 163 more words

Sunday reset afternoons.

Do the thing that your ‘tomorrow self’ will thank you for doing today! 🙂

Sunday afternoons are a good chance to ‘reset’ and reorganise to be fresh and ready for the week ahead, especially if you’ve had a busy week, and weekend. It’s a nice time to chill out, tidy up, and try to get into a positive and productive frame of mind for the week ahead. Yet, it can be hard sometimes to feel motivated. I know the feeling, but I’m going to try to not put unnecessary pressure on myself so that even if things aren’t fresh and ready for Monday and a brand new week, they will be ‘fresher and more ready’. One thing I like to do if I have a lot of tidying or organising to do is to break things down into smaller more manageable tasks, or set a five minute timer so that I can do a bit of work, and then do something relaxing or creative that I enjoy, and then get back into another task. This is especially helpful on those ‘lazy days’ when you need a little bit more ‘oomph’ and motivation. I also like to think of how I’d ideally like things to be, in my home and living space, and work towards that and it’s nice to know there is a whole world of inspiration out there on YouTube and elsewhere on the internet to help get back on track and make our surroundings a little more beautiful and our life that bit more organised and productive. I’ll give it a go, and see how much I can get done this Sunday evening while still staying in a reasonably chilled out frame of mind, and feeling grateful for the blessings and with the intent of doing the best with what I’ve got. A little at a time, right? So what helps you stay motivated? Do you have a Sunday afternoon / evening ‘reset routine’? 

beige table lamp on table with chair in room
Photo by Chris Gonzalez on Pexels.com

Retreat Reflections – Day 2 (Part 4) ~ Lunch, Rest & Flexible Planning.

2.25pm

Lunchtime is a helpful divider within the day. Being creative and freely exploring our creativity is often, as contradictory as it may seem, benefited by having boundaries. Even if you don’t have an ‘itinerary’ as such for your personal retreat to begin with, you can develop flexible plans as you move through your days. 

As to lunch, food and sustenance in general during a personal retreat it helps to do a bit of preparation beforehand, or to cook something you can eat over two or three meals, have something you can easily make, or buy some sandwiches from a shop and to keep your fridge stocked with what you will need. It’s helpful to minimise the time spent having to run errands because we necessarily will be compelled to engage and interact with the world in a way that may interrupt what we hope to experience on our retreat. 

Not only that, but if you’re like me, when you get absorbed in a creative project you can ‘forget’ to eat, or if there’s nothing readily available you might just ‘power through’ and your creative work might actually suffer because you are low on energy, tired, ‘hangry’ or lack concentration. So keep things ready so that you can grab a bite and continue with your project uninterrupted. 

It is nice though, not to rush through lunch, but to use it as a time to rest, relax, maybe look at other sources for inspiration (I was listening to some music, and looking up retreat videos on YouTube – I didn’t quite find what I was looking for in terms of the retreat videos, but it was good just to move into a state of mind where I didn’t have to concentrate so much). 

Now that I’ve eaten, relaxed a bit, I find myself beginning to ponder my next steps. Yesterday I met my ‘writing goal’ of 3,500 words, and slightly exceeded it. This morning I was intentional to not set any writing goals, and focus more on slowing down and engaging more fully with myself and the process. I had some prayer time, and some quiet reflection.

Having had personal retreats before, I am aware that the final day, which in this case is tomorrow, requires a slight shift in gears. If you are on retreat somewhere away from home, then you will have to pack, tidy up and make your journey back home on the last day. If, like me, you are having your retreat in your own home by yourself, then you may find that you have a bit (or a lot!) of tidying up to do, and preparing for the day ahead if you happen to be going back to work, or ‘re-joining the world’ in some other way. 

I recommend valuing your purpose for your retreat and allowing yourself not to focus on tidying up unless you naturally keep everything neat and clean as you go along. It’s important to have a clean, neat retreat space, but if you’re like me you do have that, but you also have dishes piled up in the sink. Your focus is your time alone to reflect and work on your creative projects or self development, etc, and you will have to attend to the housework afterwards anyway, but don’t let it distract you or interrupt your creative flow, as quiet times can be hard to come by in our busy lives.

As to flexible planning, I’m aware that tomorrow I don’t want to use the whole day for tidying, so I want to set aside some time later today to do a bit of that. I also don’t want to do anything too ‘heavy’ in terms of writing, as what I am working on involves being engaged emotionally and mentally on a deep level. I like to keep the final stages of a personal retreat for something lighter, more care free, with times for prayer, thanksgiving, gratitude, reflecting on what I have learned and planning ways in which I can take forward some of these lessons into my day to day life where possible. As such, I have made a preliminary decision not to work on writing my novel tomorrow after morning time, so that I can ‘decompress’ and gently change gears.

Therefore, to avoid unfocused and unstructured time today, my plans are changing somewhat organically as day two progresses. I may not get time like this for a while, so I am reinstating my ‘goal setting’ with my novel writing this afternoon. This is what I love about a personal retreat in contrast with group activities which have their own unique positive aspects – when your time is your own you can work with the ebb and flow of your own creative processes, ongoing learning, and practical concerns, rather than having to adhere to a set timetable. 

So to make the most of the remaining time, and to have a lighter more carefree day tomorrow, I am going to work creatively within some parameters this afternoon, being flexible once again with those plans.

It’s 2.50pm now, and the sun is shining, but I have chosen to stay inside and focus, and set aside novel writing time from 3pm to 6.30pm. In that time I can take my time, linger over words and ideas, look up sources for inspiration, take short breaks, but that time is a gift that doesn’t come often. Knowing that, I will savour it, and whether I write much or little that is fine either way. 

At 7pm the coach will turn into a pumpkin! 🙂 Just kidding, by 7pm I will down tools with writing my novel for the rest of the retreat time, other than if I have anything I feel I want to do tomorrow morning, but that leaves me free the rest of the time to work on some less mentally and emotionally challenging projects and prepare for concluding the retreat time on a reflective and carefree note. 

food salad restaurant person
Photo by Stokpic on Pexels.com

 

“Travelling Teaches You” (9).

Travelling teaches you to plan ahead. Travelling also teaches you to leave your plans behind. 

There is so much to explore, and limited time, so we may find we gain the most from our experiences if we have in mind what we most want to see and do and focus on those. These lessons in planning and preparation can be useful and transferable into our ‘ordinary’ lives. We are so ‘wired up’ in the 21st Century to try to have multiple ‘tabs’ open in our lives, however, just as our computers and devices can only handle so much, so too we sometimes need a ‘re-boot’ or to close down some of the tabs we have so that we can enrich our experience of the fewer things we actually choose to do, and be more productive and efficient in making the most of our time in doing so. 

However, travelling also teaches us to sometimes leave our plans behind, to go with the ebb and flow of experience, and to discover these new experiences organically rather than rigidly trying to set our own timetables, schedules or expectations of how we think things ‘ought’ to be. Sometimes we are enriched by being open to possibilities in the moment, to saying ‘yes’ when it is safe to do so, and to being truly present and alive in the here and now. 

We all have different and unique preferred styles of learning, experience and also in our approach to travel. These may shift and change, or we may lean more heavily towards one side more than another…yet it is good to be open to learning from both, and enhancing the depth, and quality of our experiences as we do so. What is your preferred way and approach to new experiences and travel opportunities in your life? (c). 

P1300028

(c) Photograph I took in Bellagio, Italy, August 2018.

 

Staying Motivated…

All content (c) copyright – ‘Livingfully2017.wordpress.com’ – Life as it happens to be. birds

I’m guessing if you’re reading this blog post, that you may be looking for a little nudge in the right direction for plans or projects that you have either started or hope to embark upon. 

Seeking out motivation in itself is a good start. But how do you keep on going, or take those first steps to action, especially if the task or tasks ahead seem a bit daunting and overwhelming to you?

One of the key elements to finding and maintaining motivation is to strategize. Your goal or goals may be many and varied. Perhaps you are seeking motivation to tackle a home project such as decluttering, reorganising, renovating or tidying in some way. Maybe you are thinking more along the lines of project management, planning and organising an event, going on holiday, raising money for charity, hosting a party, meal planning and preparation, writing a book, a blog or pursuing a hobby. Whatever it is that you would like to take on or persevere with, strategizing is a key element to any such endeavour. 

I have come up with the following ideas to help both you and me to get started and keep going! I hope you find them useful 🙂 

S – tart with having an idea in mind of what you want to do, create, pursue, achieve or accomplish.

T – ake note of the key elements that this endeavour will entail. Initially you may have to use quite ‘broad brushstrokes’ to get an idea of the main elements to your project, but then break things down into smaller, specific, more manageable steps, and make sure to write them down as this really does help the brain to process and work in stages and will help enable you to overcome any feelings of being overwhelmed or out of your depth. You can do it! 🙂

R – efine these steps as you get a clearer idea of the practicalities of your pursuit, and keep refining these as you continue. And always write it down (preferably in one place)! 🙂 This is key. If you are feeling a little more advanced and are getting to know your own ways of working better, then add timescales and ‘deadlines’ to work towards that you know are achievable, allowing a bit of leeway for other things that might unexpectedly encroach upon your time.

A – ctively pursue inspiration and seek to learn from others who may have more experience or a different way of looking at things. The internet makes this so much easier to do, and you will never be short of places to find motivation. But look beyond the internet as well – talk to people, research in other ways, explore, be creative!

T – ake time out for yourself. The earlier stages of breaking down your main goal into smaller, more manageable steps and ‘mini goals’ will hopefully have given you a sense of accomplishment and an ability to enjoy the process and not just think about the end result that you are aiming for. These mini goals might be something small such as making a list, taking inventory, writing a plan, or making a small purchase to help with the project. ‘Tick’ these off along the way, or record them as you go, this way you will be able to see progress. And if or when you begin to feel overwhelmed, unclear as to what to do next, or simply tired or uninspired, then just take a break. Take time out, do something relaxing that you enjoy, and then go back over the earlier steps to bring you back into a more motivated frame of mind which will help you to feel more energised and refreshed to tackle the next steps with greater clarity, focus and determination.

E – njoy what you are doing! Be mindful of the process, remind yourself why this is important to you, think about the opportunity you have at hand, be grateful, and cheerful as you do each small task in your pursuit of your greater goal or goals.

G – ive something back. There are so many ways that you can find of doing this as you pursue your own projects. For example, if you are doing a decluttering project at home, perhaps you can give some things away to people less fortunate who may be able to make use of what you no longer need, or what you have not made use of for a while. Whatever your endeavour, you can also give back or ‘pay it forward’ by way of sharing advice, the experience of what you have learned along the way, and seek to help someone else who may be on a similar journey. You can blog about your experiences, talk to and encourage other people, give your time, or give to others opportunities, something you have created, or the gift of your company. If you have been working towards a tidy home, maybe you can share with others by having a friend over. If you are making something maybe crafts, knitting, artwork, maybe you can give some of these as gifts, raise money for charity, or teach someone your skills. If you are learning to cook, share your food with someone. If you are skydiving, share your expertise, fundraise, or…well….the sky is the limit!! 😉

I – nspire others. You uniquely can do this in a way that no one else can….and I don’t have a ‘formula’ for how you can be your amazing, inspirational self – you just do your thing, friend! 🙂

Z – ealously pursue excellence in each task you do, be it great or small. And do it with all your heart, being thankful that you are able to do what you do in the first place.

E – ndeavour to continue your learning, growing, goal setting and sharing with excellence and passion which will be a blessing not only to yourself but to those around you and further afield who your life may touch.

Much love. xx

Travel Snaps ~ It’s all in the Preparation…

I recently returned from a fortnight traveling through the European cities of Prague, Budapest, Vienna, Moselle, Frankfurt, Delft and Stuttgart. I’d love to share with you some of my travel experiences, however, I realise that with so many experiences to share it may be best to post perhaps a longer series of individually shorter posts. You can let me know what you think.

So, to get started, I thought it might be helpful to look at the preparation side of things. Traveling can take a lot of organisation. I do have friends who on an impulse can take a plane somewhere and go on a real adventure, meeting locals and hardly knowing what they are going to do from one day to the next. However, for most of us who aren’t quite like that it takes time and preparation to save money, decide where we want to go, find out when we are able to go and then take all the necessary practical steps to organise such an adventure.

One of the often last minute things we look at is packing. I have still not mastered the fine art of packing light, however, I do seek to pack smart, by having an idea of what the weather will be like where I’m going, how much I need to take and to pack things I will actually use. I am pleased to say that having set myself the challenge to wear almost all of my clothes that I took with me on my journey, I did surprisingly well.

Here are a few pictures to illustrate how I pack, try to maximise space and take into consideration some of my personal needs, such as managing a skin condition and not taking any risks with hotel bedding by bringing my own sleeping bag (and it was a comfort that I am so glad I brought with me, making it so much easier to rest and relax).

I used the roll rather than fold technique in packing, and having tried it a few different ways, I can say that this saved me a lot of space and helped to organise my clothes. Added to this I made sure I took only miniatures for toiletries, also making use of small containers that I already had and filling them up accordingly.

So for now, as I get set to lay my head upon the pillow for the night, I wish for you also to have sweet dreams, perhaps imagining your next great adventure. x

P1170444P1170445P1170449P1170457