Well, hello to February!
So glad you’re here because January really kicked me hard in the backside and I need to hit the reset button. Between client bookkeeping deadlines for year end tax work and coming down with a chest cold that really sapped whatever energy I had left, I’m ready to say goodbye to the first month of the year as I look forward to good things I have planned for my home and myself.
Taking January off from trying to keep to a twice-a-week blog schedule took immense pressure off of which allowed me to focus on what was priority. It was recovery from a hectic December for which I not only embarked on making homemade, edible gifts for the first time, but also the stress of having my phone stolen. However, it also caused me to ponder what direction I want current content to go in or….if I even want The Weekend Wife to go on at all. I must say that my hiaitus really allowed me to relax and even caused me to reflect upon what kind of interaction I want to have and how often (and where) I want to engage. Because my blog is nothing but a personal, little place to share various things that work for me (and what doesn’t) while trying to balance a job, a business and a home, I don’t have the stress of driving it full time to make money. I do this for me and the humble following I have reading.
But the time off also made me ponder what I could possibly have of interest to offer that the bazillion other blogs out there on productivity, managing home and job, planning, cooking, gardening, etc. do. “What can I say? How can I make a difference? What possible impact could my tiny guppie of a blog have in a sea of many big fish? ” I then perused my posts for the last year which caused me to roll my eyes (and also hit the ‘trash’ button). I was all over the place and the time I had spent faffing back and forth between planner systems made me cringe. It made me ask myself, “is this all I’m about? Is this what I’m offering? If I can’t find consistency in my own life, who am I to give advice to others on how to make their lives more productive and efficient?”
Yes, January helped me to learn a lot about myself – especially my faults and short-comings. ‘Focus’ is my word for the year, but I also realized that by removing things which caused that focus to waver, I was able to put blinders on any outside influences. I began to pare down even more, beginning with interaction on social media. I removed TWW from Twitter as it really just seemed redundant as well as removed the pressure of either scheduling posts or remembering to post something so it didn’t lay dormant. Although I have a personal Facebook account, I rarely check in with the whopping 15 (mostly out-of-state family and clients) friends I have. I never felt the pull of FB and I’m probably better off for it.
Where am I then? Well, on Instagram, which is where I engage the most and, even then, I want to enforce a ‘no-more-than-3-posts-per-day’ limit on myself. Time management is useless if you’re a slave to your phone. I even did housecleaning there as 90% of my posts emphasized my fluctuating planner woes. I kept the ones that didn’t reflect my Jekyll & Hyde persona and deleted the rest. But my love for planners and maintaining an efficient schedule is only part of who I am. I’m also making a conscious effort towards personal journaling as of the beginning of the year in order to have some kind of documentation of my life. I think about the years I hadn’t done this and all the tiny happenings and little memories that peeped in along that way that I mostly likely forgotten because they weren’t documented.
I’ve also been recently fascinated with the idea of self-sustainment. I got bit by the bug end of last year when we realized that the tree bordering ours and our neighbor’s property (well, really it’s ours!) produced the most fabulous apples! All these years we had thought they were crabapples, but turned out that they weren’t. The ones that hadn’t fallen to the ground and eaten by the deer were collected. Some we gave to neighbors. The rest I made into homemade applesauce. So far this year I’m re-growing produce such as romaine lettuce, celery and scallions – in only water!
……as well as preparing to root sweet potatoes to produce slips and seed potatoes to grow in pots in the backyard. And with Punxsutawney Phil not seeing his shadow, signaling an early spring, I’m quite excited to start seeding, germinating, transferring and growing come March!
I’m also on Google+ and really enjoy it for the community insight and Pinterest for the plethora of information – especially for my first-time vegetable garden. That’s pretty much it. I even pulled back on YouTube, sticking to instructional videos and ones of interest that will help me grow in the direction I’m heading. Narrowing down my choices has allowed me to engage where I enjoy the most while getting rid of apps and sites that just took up time I didn’t need to waste. The result is a more calm, relaxed, focused and happy ME!
And the downsizing didn’t just stop at the ‘net. This past November I imposed a 30 Day Declutter Challenge on myself and wound up ridding my house, basement, garage and yard of useless, broken stuff. At the end of the month, it felt as if my house took a large breath of fresh air having been rid of the suffocating clutter. There’s still more to do and am currently dedicating the 29 days of February to tossing even more, especially storage boxes full of old files and records for shredding.
My planner also went on a diet. For almost 20 years I had been using personal-sized planners, however, after the first week of January, I purchased a pocket-sized ringed planner. During my reflection time, I honestly asked myself what I ‘need’ to have in it at all times. Did I need my 30 Day Fitness Challenge chart? Did I need our television show schedules? Did I need my cleaning chart? Did I need a section for notes, for ideas, for projects? Did I need to record my food intake? And with deciding whether or not to continue TWW, did I need a blog posting schedule? Did I need a month-on-2-pages along with a week-on-2-pages? Did I even need a week on two pages?
Amazingly, I answered a big, fat NO to all of the above. Why had I stuffed my planner with all these useless pages and sections? All it had done was add additional weight to my work bag that put a strain on my shoulder (as well as the tendonitis in my right elbow). I eventually weeded it out and, once I did, wasn’t left with much in those big ol’ 1″ rings. That begged me to question whether I could get along with a pocket size where I could also combine my wallet, thus alleviating another piece from my bag. And, so I did and the result so far has been successful. If you follow me on Instagram you can see various photos of progress. And should I decide to continue here, I’ll be sure to weave in planner posts along the way, but you can most definitely keep up with my happenings and goings-on over there. But….here’s a little sneak at my daily trifecta that comes with me always: Markings grid journal, Filofax Pocket Malden and my $1 pen case. It’s super slim thus forcing me to carry only what’s necessary.
Time off was a good thing. It’s what was needed. It helped me to really figure out what I needed and what I could do without both personally and social media-wise. Pare down. Simplify. Downsize. Delete. Unsubscribe. Remove. Deactivate.Condense. Compartmentalize. All good words of choice to become a mantra for the rest of the year. The less you have cluttering up your life, the more you can dedicate to what remains. And what remains is most important because it survived the cut.
Till next time – and hoping things continue to go smoothly so there will be a next time 🙂