Tuesday, January 7, 2014

One Little Word... 2014

I thought long and hard the past couple weeks about what my One Little Word for 2014 was going to be. There are a lot of things I want to focus on this year.. scrapbooking, organizing, finishing chemo, going back to school... and it all came down to one thing:

This year is going to be my year on focusing on time. I spend way too much time on time suck activities - facebook, games, blogs that don't inspire me every day - that I never seem to get anything done. So here is how this word is going to work for me this year.

1.   Improve my time management skills. Find a routine/schedule that works and stick with it.
    • Re-read Julia Morgenstern's Time Management From the Inside Out. This was a great book and definitely worth another read.
    • I took an online time management class a couple years ago through Simplify 101. The class is no longer available right now, but I do still have the printed materials and will review them.
    • The Confident Mom has a free 2014 weekly household planner that I have started to use last week. I printed out the first 3 months and put it into one of those 3 hole punched folders, along with a smaller lined paper to use as a grocery list with each weekly page. So far as long as I remember to look at the folder first thing in the morning and cross the things of the list, it seems to keep most of my household chores under control.
    • For the clutter pileup issues that the weekly planner doesn't tackle, I plan to participate in the weekly challenges at Home Storage Solutions 101. This will allow me to focus on one small space at a time to tweak any organization needs I may have without feeling overwhelmed. Hopefully I'll even blog theses updates too!
2.   Spend more time with the kids - actually be present in what they are doing.
    • Step away from the electronics. Turn off the computer, put down the tablet. Their time should be focused on them.
    • Plan more outings to get out of the house. Go to the park. Take a walk. Ride bikes. Go to the beach. Go to the library more often.
    • When we're home, be more involved with what the boys are doing. 
      • Collin is finally on the verge of walking on his own. He needs lots more practice to get more confident with his balance, but he's doing much better and is able to take 5-10 steps on his own, although not in a straight line! I plan to work a lot with him on this and I am determined that he will be walking on his own by the end of the year!
      • Liam has trouble sitting down and actually doing his homework. ADD symptoms? Frustration? I need to sit down next to him while he does his homework and be present for him to get his work done. He also needs help memorizing his math addition tables so in addition to remembering to do the xtramath.org assignment each day, I should test him with flash cards a couple times a week while we're out and about. Those flash cards should really go in my purse now. I also need to make fun time for him. Implement a family game afternoon where we all sit down and play a board game - even if Liam does try to cheat! He's interested in cooking with me too, so maybe I should get better at planning projects he can help me cook, maybe that way he will expand the very limited meal plan he has!
      • I also plan on implementing a family reading hour. By going to the library more often I will be able to put the tablet down and Liam can see me reading actual books and be encouraged to read his own books - although he's already above his reading level, I'd like to continue to encourage his growth. Collin can also spend this time exploring his collection of braille books and learning how to feel the words.
3.   Spend more time being creative instead of getting lost in the time suck of looking for inspiration.
    • Actually finish those "unfinished projects" that have been sitting around forever. I have a mini album from a weekend trip to Niagara Falls that is almost finished and just needs to be embellished. I need to get that done and literally off my desk. The last 2-3 summers I have bought supplies and intended to do mini albums to document each summer. I need to forget that idea since I haven't worked on them and print out the pictures to do regular layouts for my albums. I also need to go through my pages and organize them by year. I have several albums of pages just shoved in, and a whole box of pages not even in albums. I don't scrapbook chronologically, but I would like the pages to be organized that way, at least all the same year together. Once I have that done, it will be easy to keep up with what page goes in what album. I also have Collin's first year album to work on, Collin's cancer journey album, and my Cancer album. Plus a whole basket filled with kits for projects I "intend" to do. My goal is to try to get one of these projects finished every month or so, while still focusing on keeping up with current projects.
    • I also want to try making scrapbook process videos. It may not work out, I may not be able to figure out the video editing, I may stumble and say a lot of "ums" or "ands" and maybe no one will be interested in watching them. But maybe they will, and I can only get better the more I practice and figure out what my actual message will be.
    • I also like being part of a design team. I like the deadlines and working with new products, and the push to actually create something every month, even those months when my inspiration naturally wanes. I do need to be a bit more organized with it though and being more diligent with writing my deadlines down in my calendar so I don't have last-minute rush projects!
    • I also have a goal of getting better with my photography. I'm doing good in auto mode, but I want to learn how to actually use manual mode too! I'm currently taking a free basic online class and if I like the format and learn something from it, I might sign up to take the 6 week course later in the year.
4.   Educate myself! I never went to college. I would like to go and get my nursing degree, but I need to figure out how I'm going to balance my time between family, work, creative outlets, etc. First I need to research what school I want to go to and figure out what requirements are needed to get into the nursing program. Then I can start in the fall by taking one course to see how I do and go from there.

At the end of the day, I really need to just step back and figure out if I've spent my time well and adjust for the next day. I hope I can work on all of these goals. If nothing else, being diagnosed with cancer really did push me to see that I need to stop wasting time and focus on getting things done now. We'll see how the next year goes.. maybe I'll post an update in 3 months (if I remember to take the time to do it!)

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