My New Habit Plan: Review #1

Last week I started a new habit to de-clutter. You can read all about it here:
In that post I had set my review date for the 28th, but then I had posted my Sunday Impressions post on Monday. I don’t want to do 2 posts a day.
Anyways, here is the recap of last week and some adjustments to the habit plan:

I did the habit every day except Saturday. I noticed that having the trigger be after dinner, did not really work. It is way to late. I usually would do it earlier and would be too tired after dinner anyways. So, my new trigger will be after work. I may slide in some other habits into there at some point like walking. But that is too sporadic yet to use as a trigger.
Also, I will need a new trigger for weekends. It seems a better trigger is right after breakfast to do a little de-cluttering.
Above are a few pictures of before and after de-cluttering.

My New Habit Plan: Daily De-clutter

The  plan – short story

  1. I read a book called “Zen Habits” by Leo Babauta about how to effectively change your live and gain new habits. 
  2. There is a lot of clutter in my house and for my first habit I want to learn to de-clutter.
And here it is (read the details below in “the plan – long story”)

Start date: 8/22/2017
Specific habit: Declutter / Clean for 2 min every day (or more)
Trigger: when I see it (clean-as-you-go), dedicate time after dinner
Reminder(s): board in kitchen, post-it on bathroom mirror
Review dates: 8/28 and then weekly
Accountability: hopefully some twitter folks will yell at me lol, will ask my husband to hold me accountable
Commitment: doing this for at least one month without missing more than one day.
Asking for support: my husband
Potential obstacles: tired, busy schedule, things I need to ask my husband where they should go
Log: posting on twitter #dailydeclutter & weekly blog review

Mindful reward: clean surfaces and areas give a nicer atmosphere for any activity
Who will you share the plan with?
Twitter & blog followers, my husband

I will include cleaning in the de-clutter areas, because what good is it if there is no clutter but still dust 😉
There are a few more points that I may have to add later to the plan if I am not doing well.

The plan – long story

As mentioned above I had read the “Zen Habits” book and started a habit of push-ups last year. However, as I was told not to do I did not share this plan much and didn’t really have all of the measures that Leo mentioned in his book in place to help if things get rough. So my habit fell apart as soon as the baby arrived.
A year later, I am re-reading the book and want to do this the right way this time. Differently than last year, I have picked another habit to go first though. With the help of a poll online I picked the de-clutter habit. I believe that this is the best one to start with because it will help with future habits.
It should give me space to do crafting, art and work out. Make the house more comfortable and inviting. And just give me a better atmosphere over all.

I have read a few more articles that I have considered also in the process. This article by Joshua Becker talks about more tricks to help with accountability:
Accountability is very important to stick to your habit, which is something Leo also re-iterates a lot. I like the bit in the text about before and after pictures. I want to try and do this as much as possible.

But I don’t think I will always be able to do this because I also love the concepts of this article by Leo (same author as “Zen Habits”), where he talks about the clean-as-you-go technique. That sounds very effective also because it is quick, happens right where ever you are and you won’t feel much resistance by your inner child:

I am starting this habit this week and have already done the surface pictured above.
Last but not least, I want to invite your guys to join my journey of de-cluttering. Please share your story and link with me if you do. I would love to see your accomplishments and feedback.

Productivity & Habits

Last year I wrote a post about productivity: To-Do or Not To-Do
In this I describe how I have discovered Trello as a platform for my to do lists and some different methods to tackle them as a Kanban system. I have had great success with this at work but not so much in my personal life. One of the main reasons being that I forget to look at my list when I am at home. When I am at work, I am at my PC the whole time and therefore have it in view, but at home I try to limit screen time as much as possible, which means I forget about my to-dos 😀

Recently I have started to combat that with a simple little white board in the kitchen. It’s in plain sight pretty much all the time and it is working so much better.

I do use the 3 item to-do concept for it though and use Trello for my backlog list.
The 3 item to-do list is really true. Essentially, the concept states that anything beyond 3 items will hinder your productivity.
Read more here:

Using this concept, my new white board, Trello, and Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits book, I want to accomplish the following things:

  • Establish and sustain some new positive habits: I want to do this the Zen Habits’ way, which will take at least 6 weeks for each habit. although I believe it is possible to introduce another habit before the end of the 6 weeks to run in parallel. I highly recommend Leo Babauta’s book (linked above) to help through the process of mastering change and forming new habits. I think I will start with a simple exercise routine as a habit as this plays nicely along with trying to have more energy. (see my recent post: 5 keys to more energy)
  • Hobbies / Arts / Crafts pool: Make and sort a backlog list of projects  of things I want to do, sorted by priority. This will then be part of basis to pull from for my 3-item to do list. My goal is to always have one of my to-dos be from this category.
  • Cleaning and household projects: I also need a list of these by priority, so I can add one of them a day to my 3-item to-do or maybe do 2 or 3 on the weekend. 
  • My side hustle aka Jamberry: I want to be more efficient and spend less time. I am utilizing the Maeven app and plan on doing a power hour each Sunday.
  • Journal: At some point next week I want to also do a morning journal. as this is part of the Zen Habits steps, I believe it will come naturally. But I think this is also an important item to be consistent and reflect on your day and make plans.

In my 3 item to-do I do not want to include my habits. Why? Well the idea of a habit is to do it automatically like brushing your teeth. And you don’t put that on your to-do, do you? 😀

I also talked to my partner about these and he even participates in the 3-item to-do on our white board. He says it helps him complete the tasks, because he is annoyed seeing them up there 🙂

If you think this might work for you, give it a go and PLEASE let me know how it worked for you!
If you maybe already have a great system how to organize and be productive, please share. I always love to hear new approaches. And any feedback in general is very welcome.

I hope you enjoyed this post and come back for more!

I need an energy boost!

Have you experienced something like this: you have all the motivation to do something but when you get home from work you feel tired and not in the mood? Or you need a bunch of coffee in the morning to even get going? If so, then you are like me, always a billion ideas and when it becomes time to do them, I only want to laze around.
To combat that, I went on the hunt for something that will help me be more energetic. I knew one thing was sleep. I often do not get enough sleep but the worst is, even if I get enough sleep, I likely still do not feel super alert in the morning. While searching around, I discovered this app called Sleep Cycle Alarm that will track your movements in bed using your smart phone, and then wake you up during a light sleep phase. When we sleep, we go through cycles of roughly 90 minutes with deep sleep and light sleep. This app helps not to be woken during a deep sleep period.
Startpage – Sleep Cycle alarm clock
I loved the idea and after trying it for a few weeks, I think it can be a good tool. Maybe having the phone right under your pillow might be a little disturbing for people but you can switch it to airplane mode, and it will not emit any signals.
However, it did not work for me. Why? I have dogs. And those guys do not care when my light sleep phase is at all 🙂 So unfortunately I had to abandon this app.

Then I found was an article about morning routines and it often came down to things like journalling, eating well, exercise, and mindfulness. All things I wanted to incorporate in my life anyways.
Morning Routines: How Successful People Start Their Day
But sticking to habits is harder than you think. Again you start out with much motivation and then you forget or find other things to do instead.

Because I love gadgets – although I do not know if that is always such a great thing and I should rather focus on the basics – I found another app to help form habits. It has journeys that will guide you through habits around a specific goal like feeling more energized. It helps remembering and doing habits daily with challenges as well as step by step tutorials for activities like meditation and exercise.
The Fabulous
Great concept and fun app, but I had the feeling I was being rushed through. Suddenly I had a long list of habits that was just overwhelming because none of them I had done long enough to really be ingrained into my routine. At least that is how it made me feel, so I stopped using it (for a while).

Finally something promising popped up. For a while I have been following the blog of Leo Babauta of Zen Habits. I believe I have mentioned him in last post. Recently he promoted his book “Zen Habits”. It was exactly around the problem I have been facing with sticking to habits.
A wonderfully structured, slow but consistent approach including mindfulness that promises to be successful.
I picked exercising as a habit to follow along with the steps in the book. I am about half way through and it really seems to hit a nerve.
My New Book: Essential Zen Habits : zen habits
This is also why I tried to pick up the Fabulous app again. With the method of Zen Habits I am planning on using the app as a tracking tool at my own pace instead of theirs. I hope they are adding a journalling function in the future, because I currently do that in a little book. Although writing in a book may not be too bad either as I can also journal about my day also instead of only related to the habit. I am excited to finish the book, because I am very optimistic.

My plan for this blog however is to go back to progress reports on my arts and crafts projects.
It is due time I create something again and give you some pictures to look at. Ideas and plans I have enough for that 🙂

Until next time!