Tag Archives: System

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

 

 

 

Calm amid Clutter: How to keep calm when decluttering and clearing out the messiest areas of your home!

 

pexels-photo-54283.jpeg

With spring just around the corner, many of us will be turning our thoughts towards spring cleaning, re-evaluating our homes, and seeking ways to get rid of the old as we welcome in the new, and how to make the most of our living spaces. 

I hope you’ve already joined me in my new Home & Lifestyle series based upon my theme and goals for February to declutter and ‘clean up my act’ at home 🙂 If not, you might find some inspiration from my last few posts, and may have some of your own inspiration to share with me. 

As yet, apart from the before and after pictures of one room that I have worked on, I haven’t got into the ‘nitty gritty’ of my process so far. However, I have spent a lot of today sorting, recycling, discarding and making a dent in the seemingly grand task before me. 

And I doubt that I’m the only one who has ever been in the midst of the process of decluttering and reorganising, who has felt those moments of ‘despair’ at the task taken on, especially when tackling the “stuff” that has built up over the years, stuff that we don’t even really know how it got or stayed in our homes, and yet stuff that seems to be clogging up our lives and living spaces in some way.

So for those of you who are in the same boat as me who also feel that they are close to drowning in that sea of “stuff”, and beginning to lose sight of how we’ll ever get out of this mess, here are a few words of encouragement from someone who is in that boat right now! 🙂

1. Firstly, have a vision of what you want and desire your home to be like. I have created a ‘wish list’ on Amazon that I add to with ideas of what I want my dream room (as I am working on a specific room that has become the ‘junk room’ just now, having already tackled and more or less succeeded with my main bedroom) to look like and contain. I don’t really have any real intention of purchasing any of these beautiful items at the moment, especially considering they wouldn’t be able to go anywhere until I have cleared out the space, but it is inspiring nonetheless to dream a little amid the reality of semi-chaos.  You might store inspiring pictures on your phone, or have a scrapbook or sketch book of ideas, or even blog about your home / living space dreams and goals here on Word Press for a sense of community and accountability. Or maybe you like a good old ‘vision board’ to kick start your imagination. Whatever it is, have something to aspire to in making the changes to save you from doing what I too often do by way of simply tidying up a bit, moving the mess about, or covering it up somehow!

2. Be sure to take ‘progress’ pictures, including before and after shots. I have already found this to be an encouragement as I mentioned in an earlier post when tackling a new area that seems ‘impossible’ and deflating to deal with to look back upon areas in which I have already made some progress. It really helps to think ‘well, I’ve done it before, so I can (and will) do it again’ – even if the how of getting there isn’t all too clear to you in the moment. 

3. Strategize.  Everyone has different ways of organising, and you’ll find what works best for you. However, I have found that starting with a particular room or area, getting everything out in the open so that I can’t escape it, and then categorising things into ‘like for like’ (for example bags with bags, shoes with shoes, books with books, etc) and create one particular named space to store and / or display the items of like kind that you have decided to keep (letting go is also part of the process if you have accumulated more stuff that you need or can handle, and letting someone else benefit from those items). You might like to create labels for those areas, and a storage solution or system so that they don’t just get heaped up and piled chaotically, but so that there is a place for everything and everything in its place. This really helps mentally if you are tidying a new area and see an item of a particular category and then can think ‘ Hey, I know where that goes, there’s a place for that!’, and then immediately put the item where it now belongs. I have sorted out my bedroom and created a system for it, and having done so, I have written in the back of my planner what each area of my bedroom contains so that having identified and named a system and locations of items by type, I can hopefully maintain things by knowing where there are and where they should go. 

4. This point is the one that I have been leading to, as it is so important to your sense of calm and motivation throughout the whole process. Have, create and maintain an area of your home where you are happy in your surroundings. Perhaps this could be your bedroom or living room, or if not an entire room, a ‘cosy corner’ or small space where things are ‘just so’ and where you feel calm, happy and inspired. Strive to keep this area just as you like it and clutter free, even if in all other areas of your home there is chaos. This is so important, as I am learning, due to the fact that if you are tackling large volumes of ‘stuff’, mess or items accumulated over the years, and especially if you have ‘hoarding tendencies’ (in which case, you might like to ask someone for additional support, guidance and accountability), this can be quite a daunting task and you might find yourself feeling overwhelmed, discouraged and / or self-critical. 

When you do find your motivation beginning to drain, and negative thoughts and emotions surfacing, go to your cosy and calm spot, whether that is a chair or a room, whatever you have been able to manage to carve out for yourself, and take some time out. Maybe you could make yourself a hot drink, watch your favourite programme, read a book, and feel just as you would desire to feel in that ‘dream home’ that you have in mind. Remind yourself of your vision, look at those inspiring visuals, encourage yourself with those before and after pictures if you have got that far and feel good about how far you have already come. Think about the strategies you have put in place and are learning about, and maybe note them down. Read articles or watch videos of other people’s ‘decluttering journeys’ and be inspired to know that there are so many tips and tools and hints to help you along the way. And take time just to breathe, relax, enjoy just being, pondering, praying and doing something entirely different that brings you enjoyment ~ for as the poem Desiderata wisely instructs us, we should enjoy our achievements as well as our plans. So amid all your hard work, remember to take a break, and find some real calm amid the chaos. You can do it!! 🙂 xx