This post is inspired by Anne Bogel at The Modern Mrs. Darcy and Emily P. Freeman. Both of these writers close out each year by asking themselves what worked? and what didn’t work? I’m playing with the format a bit – taking out what didn’t work and replacing it with what I’d like to change. I’m hoping that shift will help me think about small, tangible steps I can take in the new year.
What Worked For Me
I finally deleted my Twitter account in 2020 and have permanently deleted the Instagram app from my phone. I still utilize IG to look at hashtags (to see yarn and fabric combinations for certain patterns, for example), but I don’t scroll my actual feed anymore. I get totally overwhelmed by all of the ideas out in the world and can’t always understand why I can’t do every single thing that looks interesting. Or why I can’t have a home that’s breathtakingly beautiful. Or why my homeschooling days look nothing like what the other homeschooling mamas share.
SO – I’m finally internalizing the fact that so much of what I see on IG is staged, which has helped me phase out my Instagram usage. I loved this quote from The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue:
“There’s no context, just the illusion that you’re showing a snapshot of a life, but life isn’t snapshots, it’s fluid. So photos are like fictions.
Everyone thinks photography is truth, but it’s just a very convincing lie.”
More and more often, I feel like social media is just a giant and unattainable lie and I’m doing myself no favors by spending time there.
More than anything else, my notebooks have helped me recognize how I’m utilizing my time. They’ve been a constant reminder that every activity has a cost – time you can’t get back. There’s no refund on the time spent scrolling Instagram or watching the people on CNN talk about the same thing for an hour. So as I check in with my notebook every few hours, it reminds me that time is a-tickin’ and that every day flies by. It’s almost like pushing the reset button to get my day back on track.
I cannot count on quiet time unless I rise far earlier than my children. And sometimes I can’t even count on it then! Waking early has ensured that I have time to write in my journal and work on my blog, which is invigorating and life giving nearly 100% of the time.
Following a Routine
I accidentally fell into an informal routine in 2020. Early mornings are spent at my desk writing in my journal or for my blog. The day is spent with my family – playing, schooling, cleaning, and life-ing. The early evenings, while the kids settle down with snacks and movies and my husband is at work, are spent with a book or Kindle in hand. The late evenings, while the kids are in bed, are spent with audiobooks and a sewing/knitting/crafting project — or sometimes, if the book is really good, my reading time gets extended and everything else is ignored.
It’s worked. Not perfectly, but I managed to have a very good journaling, blogging, reading, and crafting year in 2020 by drawing those imaginary lines into my daily agenda and giving all of my goals a home – a place to belong.
Dealing With “Stuff” Immediately
Sorting mail and recycling nearly 100% of it as soon as it comes in the door, unsubscribing from junk emails as soon as they arrive in my inbox, taking bags of donations to Goodwill as soon as they’re packed up and ready to go. These little tweaks have helped me stay on top of a few of my clutter hotspots this year.
What I’d Like to Change
Put my phone away
Even without social media, I spend a lot of absent-minded time with my phone. CNN, WordPress, and Pinterest are heavy hitters for me. I also spend an embarrassing amount of time reading obituaries (I bet you didn’t know that about me!). I removed those 3 apps from my phone on January 1st and am trying to read obituaries only once a day. (The last half of that sentence is kind of embarrassing to write.) I’m working to keep my Kindle charged and/or a book within easy reach to fill those moments.
More time writing
Earlier in this post I wrote about how well my routine has worked for me. I’d like to find a little more space for time spent at my keyboard. Clearly that will mean less time spent doing other things, so I’d like to think about where that time could come from in 2021.
Embrace the slow
Fat books, big knitting projects, complicated quilts, slow handstitching projects. I want to focus less on productivity and more on the process of the things I love. I don’t have to finish a sweater in a month or a quilt top in two weeks. I don’t need to finish 4 books a week. I need to sit with the things I love and actually enjoy doing them. I’m an overachiever by nature and am working to quiet the voice that says more, more, more. More isn’t better. (Can you tell I’m trying to convince myself?)
Drink more water + physical movement
I started working on these goals during the last few weeks of 2020 and would like to continue. I’m still thinking about what makes sense in my life and have found ways to track both of these activities.
Although I’m doing a better job of staying on top of what comes through the door, there are still layers of clutter that need to be addressed. My dream: clear countertops and space on shelves, closets that are not packed, and room to breathe. I’m making lists of areas to address and plan to spend a couple of late evenings each week with an audiobook and trash bags. I’m excited/overwhelmed.
This was a fun way to start the year! Tell me – what worked for you in 2020? And what would you like to see different in your life?