2015 – learning to follow a routine

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I decided to recenter in 2015.  I have been putting a lot of focus onto my monthly projects, which has been fun, but it’s been taking time away from a lot of the things I really care about.  It was important for me last year to expand and not feel like I was only thinking about work all the time. Now I feel I need to focus on creating and maintaining a better routine before I continue to branch out in my free time.  I also feel like I a lot of my projects were for naught – I wasn’t able to add it into my daily life in anyway.

I’ve also really started to examine the simple truth that I can not learn everything and I need to let go of that impulse.

In December I created a daily schedule.  I have been tweaking it for the last several weeks and I will probably have to continue to tweak it over time.  I really do overestimate the amount I can do in a day, but underestimate what I can accomplish in a month or more.  I think the hardest part so far for me it slowing down my expectations and just committing to the knowledge that it’s a long process.

My focuses are: stretching, training, more time spent on the business side of work, and improving my spoken french.  I also have a couple minor focuses that I want to do everyday, but are more mindless: recording my business expenses daily and doing my rehab exercises.

To spend more time on these areas means creating habits for them in my everyday routine. It also means working on my largest undoing- procrastination by research.  I get fearful when I don’t see instant progress, which feed into my need to research, to find the perfect training method before beginning. I need to break that cycle. I am beginning to really realize that beginning is more important than perfection.

Area #1: Stretching

When I say stretching, most people probably think of this:

Stretching

However, I am definitely thinking more like this:

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I have an on-again, off-again relationship with stretching, but I’m in for the long haul… for a year.  I want to truly see what stretching 3-5 times a week for a year will change.  I’ve had high expectations for a long time, always telling myself “if I only trained a little harder”.  However, I might have to face the reality that I will never been as flexible as I want.  Before I can tell anything though I need to test it.  So here’s my goal:  I will aim to stretch 5 days a week, with 3 as an absolute minimum.

So, in the spirit of beginnings, here is a video of my starting off point for consistent stretching:

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Hello December, hello routine

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As I mentioned in my last post, in December and for the next year, I am trying to focusing more on my day to day routines than on a specific project.  I want to change from marathoning through projects to doing a set amount of work everyday.  I make schedules all the time, however I usually end up making impossible to achieve schedules, then get frustrated that I couldn’t achieve them.  In retrospect that seems pointless, but I really always put the blame on my effort instead of looking at making the schedule more reasonable.  And then assure myself that next time I would try even harder.  It’s part of a perfectionism trait of mine, that I have only recently seen how it can negatively affect me.  So I’m going to make the schedule easier.  There is a part of me that it really pains to do that… but I’ve been up against this wall so many times I have to make a change.  I am prepared for it to be difficult and I’m prepared to work at it all year.

Monday – Friday:

30 mins/1 hour – emails and businessy work

4 hours – training

30 mins – French

30 mins /1 hour – Projects

15 mins – money

5 mins – rehab

Saturday:

30 mins /1 hour – emails/business work

15 mins – money

5 mins – rehab

FUN!

Sunday:

1 hour – reset for next week

15 mins – money

5 mins – rehab

As for monthly projects, I’m going to change that a bit too.  I am going to focus on a couple themes over the year that I think will make me happier in the long run.  Although I might have to throw some instant gratification projects in there too. Long term growth may be make me happy eventually, but I’ll never make it if there isn’t fun along the way.

I’m still working on my themes so I’ll write more about them in another post, but here are some of the ones I’m think about:

Love my home

Love winnipeg

friends

family

communities

causes?

nagging projects

Letting go & using up

I feel like the last couple years were very externally growth oriented.  Learn skills, try new hobbies, add, add, add, more, more, more.  They were all really fun, but I was always left with a feeling of, how will I possibly add this into my day, into my life.  I’ve only recently really accepted that I can’t do everything and begun the process of letting go. This year I want to focus more on routine and inward growth.  A year of getting closer to what I care about and whom I care about.

personal-growth-quote

I hope I grow as fast and strong as bamboo!

The myth of multitasking

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I don’t think I can even count the number of times my dad told me not to watch TV and do homework.  I did it anyway, as often as I could get away with it.  Then when I moved away from home, I could do it all the time!  Now it’s hard for me to get to work without something going on the in background, but I am noticing more and more how much it really does take my focus away.

There is just something really comforting to me about having sounds in the background while I am working.  Music works better than TV (in terms of staying focused), but that can still distract me more than I would like.  In fact there is some research that suggests multitasking can actually make you 40% slower at completing a task!

So this month I would like to look for ways to cut out the multitasking in my life.  I have a feeling I am not actually gaining anytime by multitasking, but since it’s so comfortable for me I have had a hard time changing this habit.  I’m going to start with focusing on my work habits, but I am sure multitasking bleeds into all corners of my daily life.

Also in the spirit of not multitasking I am only setting one goal for this month… and hopefully for now forward!

 

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Meditation and tea

wellness-and-meditationPeople think meditation is a huge undertaking. Don’t think of it like that.

~ Deepak Chopra

I don’t know a lot about mediation, but I am looking for a way to quiet my brain. Lately I feel all over the place and it’s exhausting! I have been curious about mediation for awhile now, but I really don’t know anything about it and it always sounded like an overwhelming commitment to get into. I just know that I hate silence and down time… it’s not just  that I hate it, I’m scared of it.  I always fill it.  I want to look into that.

To ease into mediation I bought the book, 8 minute mediation

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At first I have to admit it was the “8 mins” part that caught my attention.  But the book also seems pretty highly reviewed especially for people just starting to look into mediation (hey that’s me!).  Basically he guides you on a 8 week journey of different mediation styles ( 1 week per style) so you can see what you like and and what doesn’t suit you so much.  Also it’s only 8 mins a day… I mean everyone can find 8 mins. I’m only part way through the first week so I don’t have much to report on yet, but I am optomistic about how it will go 🙂

big-tiny-buddha-headerThis little Buddha believes it will go well!

As for tea…. I have been a coffee girl for quite awhile now.  But I have a lot of tea and I do really like tea.  So I’m going to drink it this month, figure out my favorites and empty that tea cupboard!  First up since it’s midnight already: sleeptime tea!image001

So one month to delve into two things I know very little about!

Doubling down

febAs February was approaching I had lots of ideas for projects this month.  Then we decided to stay in Montreal for another month (which is actually really exciting news, more on that later).  I decided that since we are staying to focus on training, it would allow for a fun month of continuing French and upping my stretching.

Almost a year ago I made stretching my project for the month.  It went really well and I kept it up pretty well for the next 6 months or so.  Sadly after that I fell behind.  The short month of February seems like a great time to keep up the stretching and the French.

Making them part of my day and schedule has been working pretty well so I’ll stick with that, French in the mornings and Stretching at the end of training or end of the day.  I think it will also be a good test to see if it is practical to keep language studies as a part of my day even while adding another project on top.

The Goals:

  • 45 mins of French a day
  • 45 mins of Stretching a day
  • End the month with a set stretching routine I can continue with after

I’m not going to put any specific outcomes on increasing my flexibility other than “becoming more flexible”.  Even though this is in incredibly vague goal, at the moment I am more interested in consistently stretching than being able to reach certain positions.  At least for now 🙂

…Oh yeah Montreal… we decided to stay another month!   The training has been so great here and we decided to make the most of it while we have the time and we’re already out here.  I feel pretty lucky that we are able to travel the world like we do, but we couldn’t do it without the help from our family… THANKS GUYS!!!

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2014 – How to learn anything

2014

Usually around this time of year I get über excited to write out all my new years resolutions… but this year was a little different.  It didn’t take me any time at all because I already knew what all of them were and I already had a plan to accomplish them.  I’m not sure if anyone reads this, or if it helps anyone else, but it sure has helped me.  In 2013 I accomplished so many of my random goals, and I know writing about them here made a big impact of actually following through and doing the work.  I self titled 2013 – the year of achieving forgotten goals and growing up, here’s a look at what I did:

I made new promo videos and websites

I learned to keep better finacial records and just general good finance rules

I learned how to do more hairstyles

I learned how to I tried to go greener and be more environmentally conscience

I wrote about Japan, learning Japanese and Japanese cooking

I used all my spices

I also relearned 2 important lessons that have been hampering me most of my life:

1.) I always try to do too much, and it always ends up costing me.

2.) I get more excited about planning work than consistently doing it… I tend to get distracted and keep reworking the plan to make it perfect instead of just putting in the hours to accomplish the task at hand.

So while I have many many smaller goals and projects that I want to tackle in 2014, I want to try my first attempt at really learning from my past mistakes and focus on

1.) Not planning too much each month, no multi-tasking

2.) Make your plan, then put in your 20 hours, then stick to it.

The first one may seem a little vague now, but hopefully as the year progresses I will be able to catch myself over-planning!  In the second one, you may wonder why 20 hours?  Well it’s based on this guy:

Josh Kaufman suggests you can learn the basics of anything with 20 hours of real practice.  I’m interested in how well this will work, but since it’s basically what I am trying to do anyway… I’m keen to believe it!

Please watch the video as he can explain it far better than I can paraphrase it, but the basic steps he suggests seem to be:

  1. Deconstruct the skill: Break down the parts and find the most important things to practice first. If you were learning to play a musical instrument, for example, knowing just a few chords gives you access to tons of songs. If you want to learn a new language, learn the most common 2,000 words and you’ll have 80% text coverage.
  2. Self-correct: Use reference materials to learn enough that you know when you make a mistake so you can correct yourself.
  3. Remove barriers to learning: Identify and remove anything that distracts you from focusing on the skill you want to learn… the internet, TV, ect.
  4. Practice at least 20 hours.

20 hours amounts to just 40 minutes a day for a month, or an hour a day allowing for some days off.  At the very least, it can’t hurt 🙂  As I’ve known for a long time there is no magic pill for learning anything.  You put the work in and you get results out.

I feel pretty excited about 2014 (I’ve always loved even numbered years) and while I am riding this new years resolution high, I am going to try for a project that I have been putting off for almost a decade… learning basic French.

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we interrupt your regularly scheduled broadcast …

…to talk about make up, rationalizations and box subscriptions!

packages

I really like make-up in every way except wearing it.  I love looking at the packaging, I love shopping for it, but then it usually gets put away for “later”.

I have a strange habit with any kind of body product.  If I really like it, I want to save it because I don’t want to use it up.  If I don’t really like it, I want to save it because I might like it later.  So I end up using mainly products I kinda like, but mainly want to use up.  I have a really hard time throwing away products, even when I don’t like them.  I have less of a problem with buying new products that might work better 🙂  SO I guess I have a hoarder/accumulation problem.  Especially for small and cute or well packaged things, it’s a major kryptonite for me (Japan required constant vigilance to not buy everything ).

SO where is this going… Over the past year you might have noticed the popular “box” subscriptions all over the place.

boxes

I certainly did, and I wanted one.  It represents everything exciting about make-up to me.  First it’s a present, who doesn’t like receiving presents?  Second, it’s a surprise… it could be anything, it could be that one product that fixes all your problems.  Third, they all seem so well packaged and adorable.  But just before I click “subscribe” I come to my senses and realize I have a large box full of unused products and these new products will probably find a home among them.  But no presents is just a sad and unsatisfying conclusion to my quandary.

Product shopping and research have a lot in common with each other for me.  It’s putting off the hard work of actually doing anything and just living in the new exciting feeling/ daydreaming aspect of aquiring a new skill.  No book by itself will help me learn Japanese or French, just like there is no superior eyeshadow that will help the fact that I need to learn to apply make up better.  But that knowledge alone isn’t going to stop me from clicking “subscribe” so I had an idea.  I’m going to make my own box subscription, from things that I currently own and don’t use.

This may not seem exciting to everyone, but I think it will make for a fun experiment and my first yearly challenge!  Yes, I will try to make a new box every month, the hope being I either use up the product or throw it away, but it will not go back into my storage bin!

I also want to say I don’t think there is anything wrong in getting box subscriptions, I just have such a back log of unused products I feel I personally need to address that first… before I subscribe 😉

December’s DIY Box

mybox

So skimmed right off the top of my unused bin was:

Merry early Christmas to me!