Tag: decluttering

Time and Project Management: Time to compare time blocking or a timer?

Note to self–PROOFREAD before saving and uploading…luckily I caught my error before hitting ‘publish’…I think I may need more coffee tomorrow.

So we’re going to be entering the third new moon cycle this weekend…just in time to set the clocks ahead an hour and screw up our natural circadian clock for several days. I would really like for Congress to get off their asses and pass a bill that would have things either totally standard time or day-light savings time—pick one….while I’d like standard time to stay…I could adapt to day-lights savings time…but I’m getting tired of the bouncing between the two. Also…the change was ‘good’ back in the day—before headlights were added to farm equipment, allowing farmers to work past sundown. 

I’m not holding out high hopes for 2024 to be a stellar year…hell, I’m not sure if I’m going to hold hopes for the decade ending on a decent note (and we still have a little over five years before we hit 2030).

So, before looking ahead to the Pisces new moon, I need to look back at the few goals I’d set for the Aquarius new moon and see how I did with each of them. I didn’t set many goals for the Aquarius new moon—mainly because I’m still working on figuring out the best time/project management system for myself.

So what were the few goals that I’d set for the Aquarius new moon? They included:

  1. Continue working on my ‘long-term’ vision/plan (and brainstorm what the smaller milestones will be)
  2. Continue trying to organize the files on the computer (see what is actually needed/worth keeping and what can be deleted), and the backup external hard drive.
  3. Finish ‘reorganizing’ the bedroom (again)

So how did I do with each of them?

Working on the ‘long-term’ (aka two-to-five year) plan:

Where do I see myself in two-to-five years? I see myself having two successful blogs/websites that have helped me par down on my debt, embrace my own vision of success & minimalism, and am living life more or less on my own terms. Do I have each ‘goal’ totally broken down into objectives & key results/milestones…not quite—I’ve got objectives (and sub-objectives) for one or two of the goals. I’ve been slowly spending about an hour a day reading through the document, editing, and then brainstorming what key objectives (and sub-objectives) would work best for each goal. Then I will go back and brainstorm the key results/milestones for each.

I wrote out five ‘big’ goals—or goal like statements. I’ve got objective (or mini-goals) for two of them written, along with some sub-objective. I’m hoping to have the rest fleshed out by next weekend and having them posted somewhere I will see them daily.

Organization of files on the laptop…and hopefully the backup hard drive:

I’ve managed to get a good chunk of files organized on the laptop…due in part to the fact that I didn’t transfer over all the files from my backup hard drive. So…there are still files/folders that I need to organize on that hard drive (namely all the pictures from the digital camera), and I should probably think of possibly getting another backup hard drive for this computer as well. The biggest thing I’ve found is that I have the terrible habit of labeling almost all projects ‘rough draft’ and I don’t know which is the actual rough draft & which one was the one that I’d published on LI (several years ago). 

So this is something that I’m going to try to be better at—creating folders and then actually having all the correct files within those folders (say notes in one folder, rough draft & edits in another, and then file drafts in a third; but all of these folders within a folder for that particular blog post). This will be extremely important as I start branching out and writing on different platforms, trying to find clients and so forth. 

I still need to look at the backup hard-drive, which has all the files from the older laptop on it–along with ALL my pictures. Now, that is one task I’ve been trying to accomplish for a couple of years–organization of the pictures and deletion of blurry pictures. I’d say deleting duplicates…but I don’t really have ‘duplicate’ pictures–I just have a whole of pictures of birds…and I think there could be a GB or two on just the ruby-throated hummingbirds that show up in the summer.

Reorganizing the bedroom (again):

I’ve almost got my room put back together (after having to move stuff around early last month due to getting new windows in). Though it will become disorganized again as I work on decluttering my room…so I can start bring boxes from my storage unit home to sort through and decide what can be kept, discarded, sold, or donated. One really big plan for the year is to try to get things decluttered enough—that I may actually be willing to dust the house (more than just maybe once every six months or so).

I’ve got ideas for making use of scrap cloth and other material—I just need to figure out where I can set up my sewing machine, and have a storage area for not only sewing supplies—but other craft supplies as well.

Conclusions:

Three goals…and I would say that I managed to get about 75-80% done on each one. The bedroom will always be semi-disorganized (at least until I get everything out of the storage unit and into the house), and I’ve gotten rid of things that I either no longer want, use, or have need for (though I’m going to try to repurpose and reuse things).

Organization of the computer files went a little better than I thought it would…but then I realized that most of the files are still on the backup hard-drive (which I haven’t started working with yet). The two-to-five year plan is slowly coming along. I just need to spend a couple of hours brainstorming ideas for the objectives for a few of the goals, and then figure out the sub-objectives and key results for most of them.

But I made progress on all of them…and that is progress in and of itself. The past two years have been hard, and trying to find a new normal isn’t always easy…sometimes it’s easier to fall back into procrastination corner instead of working towards being in productivity central. But I’m making that progress.

What did you manage to get accomplish during the Aquarius new moon?

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Aquarius Goals: Organization & Planning for the year(s) ahead

So the moon has entered the Aquarius constellation over the weekend (Saturday night for those within the Central time zone in the US), and I’m several days late with the post. This is the first new moon of the year, and I can hope that things will start to mellow over the next few months…I’m not going to hold my breath though (I gave that up as a child—it never got me what I wanted)…

Is 2023 going to be better than the past few years? One can hope, there are so many problems going on in the world—that the only thing we can control is our responses…and I am working on better control of my emotions (especially when in stressful situations).

Looking at “Moonology: Working with the Magic of Lunar Cycles” by Yasmin Boland, there are again several things that one can do during this period:

  1. Detach ourselves from things that are no longer serving us
  2. Be true to ourselves
  3. Be inventive
  4. Be charitable
  5. Be social

So, I’m still somewhat semi self-isolating. I leave the house only a few times a week—and that is to go visit my mother (who is still in a hospital). I do try to meet up with a friend once a month for lunch (but haven’t gotten around to that so far in January). Other than those few times—I’ll walk at Boomer Lake (but I try to avoid sharing the sidewalks if possible).

I’m still working on trying to detach myself from negative self-talk and stories, diet culture and mentality, and various other aspects of society that just really do a number on my mental health.

Being true to myself, also requires quite a bit of work—mainly on figuring out who I am…I’ve realized that I spent a large number of years, burying parts of myself to blend into the surroundings/background and not call attention to myself…so at times it is hard to be true to myself, when I’m not sure who I am.

Aspects I’m working at being ‘true’ to—my spiritual health (I’m more Wicca/pagan than following a monotheistic religion), my career direction (freelance writing), mental health (dealing daily with burnout, anxiety, depression, stress, and a dollop of PTSD), and personal/professional development path(s).

I’m trying to be ‘inventive’ in those areas—foraging my own paths (while asking for advice when needed from people I trust and respect).

How do you go about trying not detach yourself from things that no longer serve you? How do you ensure that you’re being true to yourself?

Then I turn to see what zone (or house) the moon is moving into in regards to everything. Remember there are basically three ways to determine which house/zone the moon is in for any new/full moon: your star sign, your rising sign, and your moon sign. I usually go with my rising sign, which is Scorpio; while my star sign is Virgo, and my moon sign is Pieces. 

So this means that the moon is entering into my fourth house, or the home and family zone. So this can also be a time when one can spend cleaning (getting rid of things), possibly moving, and spending more time with family. So there are several suggestions from “Moonology” on what one can do during this time:

  1. Have a garage sale
  2. Hug your parents
  3. Sort out your photo albums/digital photo files
  4. Invite friends over
  5. Renovate or redecorate so you’re more comfortable at home
  6. Sell your home and/or change locations, or even countries
  7. Ask your grandparents about your family’s history

So, there are several things from the above list for my fourth house that I probably won’t be doing this year:

Well, if I feel like hugging my parents—it is fairly easy to hug my father, but hugging my mom is another issue (she’s in the hospital in an ICU unit).

Inviting friends over—hello, we’re still in the middle of a pandemic, and if I’m going to be meeting up with friends, I’d prefer a ‘neutral’ location that neither of us has to clean.

Both sets of grandparents are deceased, but we do have some family history from my father’s side (my grandfather started putting together a family tree), and I have a letter he wrote me back in the late 1990s that talked about life during the Depression, ‘Dirty Thirties’, and fighting in World War II.

I don’t think we’re going to be selling the house, and I currently don’t have plans for relocating anywhere (yet).

Things that might happen this year (not necessarily during the new moon):

Garage sale—there is a talk of doing a garage sale at some point this spring, to hopefully earn a little money back in terms of what we’re going to be having to put into the house to semi-remodel a bathroom (or two).

I’m in the process of rearranging my bedroom, and semi redecorating it—just need to finish organizing the desk area and closet.

I do need to sort through my digital pictures. I have way too many Gbs of pictures on my one external hard drive (and I haven’t downloaded the handful of pictures I’ve taken up at Boomer Lake this month).

I noticed that sorting digital pictures has been mentioned for a couple of years in a row—and I do sort through some and slowly get rid of them. My problem is that I take so many walks at Boomer Lake, I literally have probably four or five dozen folder of pictures from my walks up there and I have trouble deciding which pictures to keep and which ones to delete.

Since I’m a few days late in posting my goals for the Aquarius new moon, I’m going to keep the goal list fairly short:

  1. Continue working on my three-to-five/ten year vision/plan
  2. Continue going through my clothes and decide what I’m keeping and what can be either sold in a farage sale or donated
  3. Finish organizing the desk area of my room so that I can hopefully start working from said desk (at least two or three days a week).

Finding a new normal is one of the big goals for this year…but also remembering that it may be slow, winding, and at times possibly even backtracking slightly—but if I keep striving to making forward progress and focus on my strengths it will lead to this being a year of happiness and prosperity.

When doing long term planning–vision board, goal lists/to-do lists, or something else?

No Comments AstrologycareerLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesNew Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Photography Challenge Day 170: A Book Review: Outer Order, Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin

The winner of today’s photography challenge—is the following book that I managed to finish about two weeks ago: “Outer Order, Inner Calm: Declutter & Organize to make more room for happiness” by Gretchen Rubin. This is the second book by Gretchen Rubin that I’ve read over the past year (the other was The Four Tendencies).

Kindle books are great; this was one of the two books I finished during July.

This particular book deals with the issue of getting rid of excess belongings and organizing what you keep in a manner that makes you happy (and others living with you). Society as a whole owns way to much stuff—and there are people who rent storage units to store the excess that they can’t fit in their houses. Now I’m currently renting a storage unit, but that is because when I moved home—my room had been converted into a guest room (and I had only planned on being a guest for a few years tops). So my bed, a large bookcase, some other furniture and other belongings (dishes and such) have been sitting in a storage unit for six years.

I’d realized out in Boston that I had too much stuff, and got rid of some of it before moving back (in hopes of savings some money), but I still have too much stuff—especially if I add in what is in my bedroom to what I have in my storage unit. I’m going to slowly be going through things and paring down on what I have (as I realize I probably don’t need forty different t-shirts). That way if I do head back to Boston and have a smallish apartment—I can fit everything into it, without being overwhelmed.

So the book has five chapters, each covering a specific point/topic in the path of creating outer order, and hopefully inner calm.

The first chapter basically lays out the facts that you have to make choices on what you’re going to keep and what you’re going to be getting rid of; also when you’re getting rid of something you shouldn’t feel guilty about the fact that the item no longer has a place in your home (as the author points out—you can out grow things, or just decide that it isn’t necessary to keep a gift just to keep someone happy (who may or may not remember giving it to you).

The second chapter talks about creating order, and just lays out some simple guidelines that once can follow: such as if you can’t retrieve an item you probably won’t use it—which makes sense, we have one cupboard over the fridge that I forget what is stored in it (obviously we aren’t using the items, and it probably wouldn’t hurt to get rid of the items). Another guideline is to avoid buying souvenirs, or if you are going to buy souvenirs one should go with ones that are small and easy to display.

This is one area I will have to deal with once I’m settled (as I don’t plan on really unpacking all the boxes in my storage unit & repacking them)—I have a lot of little knickknacks that I’d bought over the years; I do have a small number that I’ve bought since I’ve moved home—but for the most part they’re packed in my storage unit.

I think I’ve come up with an idea on how to display them nicely—making use of my large bookcase, but at the same time I will probably try to sell some of them depending on how I can display them. Having little things showing your personality is good—you just need to be able to take care of them (such as dusting)—and if you have too many of them, you might fall down on that task.

The third chapter talks about knowing yourself and others. Basically—know what you consider to be clutter, what others consider to be clutter and if they don’t agree find some type of middle ground. The fourth chapter talks about cultivating helpful habits (such as tossing junk mail right away, making your bed in the morning, putting dirty dishes into the dishwasher, and so forth) to help keep the clutter down to a minimum.

The fifth chapter talks about adding beauty to the spaces. This can include adding a signature color (or pattern) to the rooms, arranging the displays on a tray, having a theme for the picture frames and so forth.

Basically the book walks you through the steps/thoughts of starting to declutter your home and/or workspace. Decluttering isn’t for everyone—you actually want to be doing it, or if you start you might find yourself with even more stuff (as you feel guilty for getting rid of things, you end up bringing in more to make up for it); also it doesn’t have to happen overnight. I’ve been slowly (and I stress the word slowly) working decluttering my life for the past year—I’ve gotten rid of some stuff, but I also know that I have a lot more that I can get rid of and still be happy. How I’m going about it: I’m asking myself—does this have more than one use? If I find myself in an studio apartment—things will need to be multi-functional (and maybe even multi-storage). Having multiple collections as a teenager or young adult is fine—but now I have to ask the question: do they have a place in the life/home of someone who will be hitting their fourth decade next year?

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is thinking of embarking on the journey of decluttering.

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Review: Aquarius New Moon Goals

Well we’ve starting to wind up the first quarter of the year (January through March).  There are twenty-seven days left in March, and then the year is a quarter of the way over (where does the time go?).  So the moo will soon be entering into the Pisces constellation (March 6th), and that means it is time to reflect back on the mini goal list that I set for the Aquarius new moon in February.

Those goals included:

            Selling back DVDs via decluttr (nice way to make a little bit of money).

            Continue working on my transition plan (getting my value list down to say five to seven, and then the daily steps that I should be taking to meet my goals).

            Reorganizing my closet & the overflowing amount of clothes (maybe set up an ebay account and sell some on there?)

So how did I do with each one?

            I have a box of DVDs to finish inventorying via decluttr to generate the order form & mail them in. This hasn’t been done mainly because the weather has been crazy (and I usually take the box to work and walk it to mailing and ship it from campus). So what I may do is just break it into smaller orders (use more boxes but hey), and do it in several trips. But this is a big thing I’m trying to do this year, is cut back on the amount of stuff that I own.

            In terms of the transition plan, I have my key value list (see the post on values) that I’m going to try to ensure that I’m focusing on over the next few years. Now I need to make chart on how to ensure that I’m focusing on the values and working towards my goals as well. I’m also fine-tuning my definition of “professional lifestyle” and will be looking now towards different companies to see if they match the values (determining if they match the lifestyle will require setting up informational interviews).

            In terms of my closet & getting everything reorganized and sorted out—this is still another work in progress. I do realize that I have way to many t-shirts (I should probably count them and see how long I could go before having to do laundry), and therefore I need to figure out a way to par them down. One thing that I’m thinking of doing is the 33 articles of clothing challenge (basically you have 33 articles of clothing [shirts/pants/shorts/whatever depending on the season] and you rotate through those for three months, what you don’t use you sell, donate, give away. It’s a way of thinning out your wardrobe). So there will probably be a couple posts on that challenge once I decide to do it (probably in the spring or summer).

So I still need to work on time management (in terms of job searching/transitioning) and just realizing that with letting stuff go, 1) I can earn a little money (depending on where I’m hopefully selling the stuff), 2) I’m saving money on moving (less stuff=less space in a large moving truck=less money charged), and 3) I can save money for trips where I can make memories (and take pictures). But at least baby steps of progress are being made this year.

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Aquarius New Moon Goals

Tomorrow is the second new moon of the year, and is found in the constellation Aquarius. According to my star sign this is in my 6th house, while going with my rising sign it is in my 4th house. The 6th house is your daily work and health zone, while the 4th house is your home and family zone. So sticking with how I did my new moon goals last month, I’ll be going with the 4th house in terms of making goals again for this upcoming new moon.

So with going with home and family zone, I’m going to try to focus on straightening up and de-cluttering various areas of my home and family zone. So some of the goals are going to include:

Submit the decluttr order (sell back quite a few DVDs) and start making a third decluttr order.

Set up an cleaning schedule for my bathroom (I have a terrible habit of letting the bathroom get really dirty before I go OCD in cleaning it) and try to stick with it.

Reorganize my closet and the overflowing pile of clothes.

Take some sick leave (hopefully) and spend at least one day working in the storage unit repacking and reorganizing things.

Continue trying to figure out the next job position.

According to Moonology by Yasmin Boland, there are several things one should do during each new moon (depending on the house). So with the fourth house (home and family zone), the things one should try to do include:

Having a “Garage sale”

Hugging your parents

Sorting out your photo albums/digital photo files

“Inviting Friends over”

Renovate or redecorate so you’re more comfortable at home

“Sell your home and/or change location, or even country”

“Ask your grandparents about your family’s history”

Things in “” are either things I can’t do (talk to my grandparents for one—they’re all dead), or things that aren’t possible at this moment (moving–well I’m going to be moving, it just isn’t going to be during this particular new moon cycle or having a garage sale [truthfully this is a giant pain in the rear to do anyway, so no–I do not foresee this for quite a while]).

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Review: More with Less: How to declutter your home without sacrificing comfort and coziness—a unique minimalist makeover approach by Michelle Moore

So here is my review of More with Less: How to declutter your home without sacrificing comfort and coziness—a unique minimalist makeover approach by Michelle Moore. This is more expanded and slightly different from the shorter one that I posted on amazon.

More with Less by Michelle Moore (c)Amazon.com

Rating: 5 stars

I’ve decided that this is the “year (or possibly years—because lets face it I’m sure I’ll procrastinate a little at some point)” that I start having an active participation in my own life. This ranges from making sure I’m in a job that I at least enjoy going to daily, to making new friends (and getting together when possible with old friends), and that the house/apartment/bedroom (wherever I’m living) isn’t totally jam packed with stuff. This book is focused on that third area: making sure that I’m not just living surrounded by stuff.

I’ve read several different books on the minimalism over the past couple of months (and probably will still be reading some more just to get ideas on what to do), and this one ranks right up there in the top five.

The book covers several different things related to minimalism: hygge, and the Swedish death cleaning method; and then the author takes you through basically room by room on how to slowly start decluttering your own life/home.

One of the main themes behind this book (besides minimalism) is hygge, or the cultural practice of Scandinavians meaning “well-being” or coziness. Since hygge is a “practice” it can be considered both mental and physical—do things that make you feel cozy or increases your well-being. Read More

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