Do you have a million ideas swirling around your head at any given time? Do you tell yourself you'll remember that thing you need to do, but then forget before the day is even over? Do you see that same little imperfection or incomplete project every time you walk into the room but never seem to find the time to get it taken care of? If you answered yes to even one of these questions, I'm here with a simple idea to help!
Track your home projects room by room. It's so simple it's hard to believe it would work, but just give it a try.
If you go the Evernote route like I did, create a notebook titled Home Projects and then create a note for each room/area. Insert a checklist so that when you are done, you can simply click to check the item off!
Once you have all of the to do's out of your head and into your notebook, you will waste less of your time trying to remember what you wanted to do and can spend more time getting things done! (Getting things out of your head is great for more than just home projects - read a Brain Dump How -To for more info!)
This time next week will be a brand new year, so this is a great time to gather up all of the tasks and projects you want to get done around the house so you can be productive in 2021!
The time around Christmas and New Years is perfectly made for reflecting on the past and planning for the upcoming year. I'm calling this year's exercise "Hindsight 2020" because when we look back we can see things more clearly. 2020 has been a year of the unprecedented, so it's been next to impossible to navigate it well and see things clearly while we've been in the middle of it. Soon, we will have a little space between us and 2020 to give us the perspective we need to plan for a new and better year.
I haven't had 20/20 vision since I was about 7 years old, but I never really knew why good vision was described that way. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, a person with 20/20 vision can read what the average person can on an eye chart when standing 20 feet away . The top number is the number of feet from the eye chart and the bottom number is the number of feet away from the chart that the average person can read the same line. For example, if my vision is 20/200, at 20 feet away, I can read only what an average person can read at 200 feet away. We often think of 20/20 as perfect vision, but it's really just average because someone could actually have better than 20/20 vision. A person with 20/15 vision they can see as well at 20 feet away as the average person can at 15 feet.
The analogy of the eye chart gives me a little comfort. The standard of 20/20 is not perfect - it's average. In our daily lives, we are pushed to perfection and it seems being average is not good enough. All of us have been using the phrase 'hindsight is 20/20' to mean that when we look back we can see perfectly what we should have done. I'm really happy to re-frame the expression to mean that when I look back, I'll have a better idea of what was actually happening or how things could have gone better, but I don't have to expect my view to be perfect - just better than it was when I was right in the middle of the experience.
I want to appreciate the year 2020 for what it was, what it gave me, and what it taught me. But I think the most powerful part of 2020 was what it WASN'T. Recognizing what we missed, what disappointed us, and what we regret can teach us so much about how to live in the future.
An exercise I do every year is to ask myself some simple questions about the past year and then some similar questions about the upcoming year. I then look at the themes I see through these answers to help narrow my focus for the next year. Finally, I set goals around those areas of focus to help me be successful. ,
This year I tweaked the questions a little bit, and I also asked my kids these same questions and shared some of my answers with them (though this is a very personal exercise, and you should't feel the need to share your answers with anyone unless you want to!) These questions led to a great discussion with my kids, and helped me solidify even more what I wanted to focus on in 2021. Try it out!
1. What made you feel proud or successful this year?
2. What made you happy this year?
3. What caused you stress this year?
4. What are you disappointed you did not do this year?
5. What did you do this year that you regret?
1. What would your fantasy self accomplish next year?
2. If your wildest dreams came true next year, what would happen?
3. If money were no object, what would you do next year?
4. If you didn't care what others thought, what would you do next year?
5. What are some key things you want to avoid next year?
If you are looking for support in setting goals and achieving them in 2021, check out the accountability group I lead called Achieve! The next session starts in mid-January. Spots are limited, so if you are interested, please reach out for more information!
For some more reflection, planning and goal setting, check out past posts on the topic:
Sometimes you need a quick win to get you in the organizing groove. Organizing your bedside table gives you a lot of bang for your buck! A clean and organized bedside table can do wonders for your mood because it's one of the last things you see before you go to sleep and one of the first things you see when you wake up. This is also the reason, they have a tendency to get messy since we are usually tired when we are near them.
"Now protect that bedside table and it's pristine condition!"
Many of us have some time off coming up in the next few weeks, and this is a great time to dive into some simple organizing projects that don't take a lot of time, but give you a lot of return on your investment. Here are a few other ideas I've written about in the past that you might want to try!
Or if you have a little more time, you may want to try:
If you're all in on this organizing thing, check out my short e-book, Get Organized Head First, to help you learn how to get into the right mindset to get organized! For the month of December, 2020, you can use coupon code DEC2020 to get it for only $2!
It's easy to go down a rabbit hole of gloom, doom, and woe is me because of all that has happened in 2020. Never has there been a better time to learn to see the glass half full, find the silver lining, and look for the good in everything (no matter how small that may be!)
In the midst of everything going on in our 2020 world, we need somewhere to escape. Make your home that sanctuary! The definition of sanctuary is "a place of refuge or safety." Our homes can literally keep us safe from the pandemic, but more than that, they can provide us a sense of calm and control that it's hard to find out in the world.
Try these ideas to make your home just a little more comfortable.
Consider what will make life easier or more enjoyable if you were to get quarantined or simply have to spend more time at home because there aren't a lot of reasons to leave!
An example from my house is our bedroom TV. Prior to lock down early this spring, we had a small, 19” TV.
As soon as school went virtual in March, my husband said,” If I’m going to home with these kids for months, I'm going to need a bigger TV in our room.” We ordered a TV and wall mount that weekend and got them delivered before TVs became scarce. That was one of the best decisions we've made in a long time! That TV has provided each of us alone time from the rest of the family and has served as a way to have a movie date when we couldn’t go out.
Consider what currently frustrates you about your home and brainstorm about ways to fix it. It may take a little investment and a lot of creativity, but when you can relax and enjoy an area of your home, it will be worth it!
"Consider what currently frustrates you about your home, and brainstorm about ways to fix it."
Rearrange and Repurpose
We all had to adapt our homes to fit our new needs like working from home and housing virtual students while still keeping them comfortable for regular living. For a while, my husband used TV trays to hold his laptop in the living room, but soon we realized that was a frustration for everyone. We set up a small table in our bedroom and moved a comfortable chair there. This allowed him to have a workstation that he didn't have to tear down each evening and kept our living room for family time.
Virtual school was another challenge many of us had to overcome. I wrote about some ideas to get organized for e-learning without completely overtaking the house in a previous post. There were times this year that we had the entire family working/learning at home, so that meant I had to get really creative about my workspace which used to be in the living room. I was able to repurpose my craft area into an office. I found a cable to connect the TV I watch while I do crafts to my laptop for a second monitor, I reused an old cart to store all my sewing supplies to make room for my computer on the counter, and I got a new power strip to I could leave my power cord plugged in so setting up each day was quick. I now have a dedicated space to work that I can leave at the end of my work day. This is one of the key parts of work from home productivity!
Removing frustrations and reducing the amount of time spent in set up and tear down mode were the things our family was able to accomplish by rearranging and repurposing items in our home. Working from home is now seamless and, though our kids are back at school for now, if they need to learn from home again, it won't be a burden or impact our common living space. What can you rearrange today to help make your home fit your current situation? Do you have a space or an item you can repurpose to help remove a frustration?
"What can you rearrange today to help make your home fit your current situation?"
Over the past several months most of us have spent more time at home than ever before. It is looking like this winter will be more of the same, which means spending more time in close proximity to our families. All of this together time has probably made your home feel a little tight. Take this opportunity to get rid of some of the unnecessary stuff in your home. A clutter-free home is more pleasant to spend time in.
If the length of time it took to get materials for our deck this summer is any indication, LOTS of people have been doing home improvement projects during this pandemic, and we are no exception! From building a deck to redecorating a bedroom to installing new doors, we have kept busy for the past several months. Most of these projects were DIY to save money and fill time, though I have learned that there is still value to hiring the right person for a difficult job!
Regardless of your budget, small improvements can make your space feel fresh and special. A gallon of paint, a new piece of art on the wall, or a flea market find can do wonders for a room! An inviting space makes you feel more calm, relaxed, and happy. A freshly mowed yard, a few flowers and some bright cushions on your patio furniture can make you want to spend time outdoors. Improving your living space indoors and out can make your home feel like a retreat. Walk from room to room, and come up with a handful of quick, low-cost ideas that could make a big impact on how you feel about your home.
"Improving your living space indoors and out can make your home feel like a retreat."
Why does it matter?
Home used to be where we got to go after work and school, but now work and school have invaded. It's too easy to keep working past quitting time or jump back on your computer for just a little bit in the evening. When we turn on the TV or scroll through social media, we are bombarded with scary and upsetting news. We have to be strict with ourselves about turning off the distractions of the outside world to make our home a sanctuary where we can relax, recharge and enjoy. Take control and make your home a place you enjoy spending time, and create space in your home for both solitude and family fun. The world will be waiting for you, but make sure you have a sanctuary to come home to.
A woman with many roles in life who knows the necessity of keeping things in order!