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

Limiting Inputs
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.

My Notebooks
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.

Waking Early
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.

Less clutter
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?

17 thoughts

  1. Your kind and insightful posts are always a boon, as is your sense of humor! Obituaries? I can totally see it. Small steps and self-forgiveness have been working for me, along with paying more attention to exercise time, sleep time, and what I ingest (both physically and metaphorically). Goals include more space for meditation and quiet. And I struggle with the whole social media thing, although I must say that it’s gotten a bit better lately. Onward, friend! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jordy – thank you for sharing what’s been working and what you’d like to work on! It sounds like we have a lot of the same goals this year 🙂

      Like

  2. I love that you’ve inadvertently settled into a routine that works for you! I’ll admit that it’s been easier for me to have a routine while working from home because I can do a lot of things during the day that I used to cram into the evening and weekend hours. Like you, I’m definitely focusing on quality over quantity; to quote some cheesy movie I’ve probably seen multiple times, “More isn’t always better; sometimes it’s just more.”

    I see nothing wrong with reading obituaries, by the way. I think it’s fascinating to learn about the varied lives that people led. And these days, when we’re losing so many people, it’s a way to honor them. (If you haven’t read it already, read the obit for Tommy Raskin, son of Congressman Jamie Raskin. It will devastate you, but it’s worth it.)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am with Sarah on Tommy Raskin’s obit… it is profound, heartbreaking, and yet hopeful. I don’t know if I am an “obit reader” as much as I am an “obit scanner” I check my “hometown” paper, The Holland Sentinel, every morning. I also have a box of sympathy cards… so when someone I know has died, I send a card off to the family. It helps me still feel connected to a city that was very much a beloved place for me.

    I rarely look at IG… I follow designers that I like so I can see when they have a “new design” and I follow a sewing hashtag that is full of brilliant ideas! But I do not open it or look at it daily at all. Maybe once a week at best. Twitter on the other hand… lol. That is my one true weakness, lol.

    I like your routine (doesn’t it feel good to have one???) I hope to tweak a few things this year to improve my life a bit! Thank you for this inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was such a beautiful obituary – we’ve lost an incredible soul. I think maybe “obit scanner” is a good descriptor for me, too. I always check the local paper here in NH and the local “news” website for my hometown. I like to be in the know!!

      My husband also really loves Twitter! I give him a hard time about it, but it does seem to bring him joy. It only brought me stress, so it was clear that it wasn’t working for me!

      Like

  4. I am so excited for my Next Right Thing journal to arrive TODAY! you have me thinking about how much I’m on Instagram – an hour every morning – and how much more reading I could get done if I cut that time in half. Thank you for the inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t wait to see that journal in action! It looks so brilliant! You know – social media is all a personal preference. If that hour is life giving and inspiring, then why not? For me, social media is all about comparing myself to others, which isn’t inspiring at all!!

      Like

  5. Love this! I can identify with so many of the details you listed!

    I recently deleted my FB and IG accounts, and goodness does it feel good! Both those platforms have changed from what they once were and don’t get me started on the mindless scrolling, lol. Since then I have launched a new project/blog, which brought a bit of worry on how I would get the word out without the help of SM. That thought right there though is motivation enough to stay off – I don’t want to feel like something in my life has to be tied to SM to succeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. One thing I am doing less of is reading obituaries. I was obsessed in my home town, but now we have moved that habit has gone. I also don’t touch my computer after our evening meal, nor do I take my mobile into the bedroom at night. BIGGEST THING I’ve stopped doing is writing a journal at bedtime, instead it’s saved for morning pages, when what was terrible the day before becomes insignificant in the morning. I want to be braver this year which means taking things really slowly when I think something is diffficult, and finsihing/starting things instead of having them clutter up the place. Super post, very thought provoking.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow – I loved the things that worked for you in 2020! I love how a small tweak in your journal writing practice has made such a big difference. Good luck with 2021 – I see you doing brave things on your blog all of the time – I hope it continues!!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to Katie Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s