Archive for the ‘72 Ideas in 72 Days Project’ Category

Days 2-6 of the 72 day challenge

September 6, 2015

Catching up on simplifying my life: days 2-6 (hey, who said I’d write on a daily basis!)

 Day 2: Evaluate your commitments. Look at everything you’ve got going on in your life. Everything, from work to home to civic to kids’ activities to hobbies to side businesses to other projects. Think about which of these really gives you value, which ones you love doing. Which of these are in line with the 4-5 most important things you listed above? Drop those that aren’t in line with those things. Article here.

This one? I’m actually pretty good at (lack of kids helps).  Not being over committed is, in part due to being an introvert.  I combine my walking with fun FitBit challenges with the 9 year old nephew and 10 year old niece.  I group text during football games with older nephews.  Over the years, I learned that being what may be perceived as being “selfish” with my time allows me to fully participate in activities I enjoy.

Day 3: Evaluate your time. How do you spend your day? What things do you do, from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep? Make a list, and evaluate whether they’re in line with your priorities. If not, eliminate the things that aren’t, and focus on what’s important. Redesign your day.

The biggest time waster in my day is my commute.  Given the housing prices in the Boston area, I’m locked into the commute.  I’ve started to listening to audio books, pod casts to catch up on my ‘reading’ while spending windshield time.  After doing this list the last time, I realized that by simplifying my wardrobe to similar colors, I reduced the number loads of laundry (yeah!).  I’m still working on teaching the cats to clean the house.

Day 4: Simplify work tasks. Our work day is made up of an endless list of work tasks. If you simply try to knock off all the tasks on your to-do list, you’ll never get everything done, and worse yet, you’ll never get the important stuff done. Focus on the essential tasks and eliminate the rest. Read more.

Um.  I’ve learned that if I go to work early (we have flexible start times), I can take care of most of the daily tasks before being inundated with the unknown.  Unfortunately, my industry is fraught with “emergency” essential tasks. I’ve learned to calendar to due dates, combine tasks.  The important stuff gets done; it is the this won’t take a second stuff that keeps piling up!

Day 5: Simplify home tasks. In that vein, think about all the stuff you do at home. Sometimes our home task list is just as long as our work list. And we’ll never get that done either. So focus on the most important, and try to find ways to eliminate the other tasks (automate, eliminate, delegate, or hire help).

One of the downsides of being single is that there isn’t anybody to help with the crazy chores.  I try to meal prep over the weekends.  I have a condo so much of the annoying home ownership is out of the HOA dues.  Bills are paid automatically.  My absolute distain for household tasks has probably saved me here.  If I cannot figure out how to use an item for two or more tasks, it’s doesn’t come into the house.

Day 6: Learn to say no. This is actually one of the key habits for those trying to simplify their lives. If you can’t say no, you will take on too much. Article here.

So, I’m working on this. I’ve decided that in corporate America, no equates with being tagged as a non-team player.  I’ve learned to say “I’d be happy to help X with Y project but can you help me re-organize where you’d like this to fit in?” to something as simple as task swapping among peers and tapping into our strengths.

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72 ideas in 72 days: Day One – What is important to you.

September 2, 2015

Make a list of your top 4-5 important things. What’s most important to you? What do you value most? What 4-5 things do you most want to do in your life? Simplifying starts with these priorities, as you are trying to make room in your life so you have more time for these things.”

Simple right?  The typical answer should be family, faith, work and exercise (or some non-sense variation).  For me, since I did this project the last time, a lot has changed: some for the good, some for the bad and all of it hard.  The question is interesting what is most important to me is not what I value the most (time, I value time the most).  What is most important to me?

  1. My family comprised of most of the people I’m related to, a few who I should be related to.  The people who I’d drop anything and get on a plane for.  The people who know when my mouth says “I’m fine” that it’s a lie: even over email, texts, and other forms of communication that lack inflection and body language.  There is really nothing better than hysterical texts from 9 and 10 year olds who while wishing you luck on something also announce they plan on beating you at an activity.  Or coming back from a meeting to your phone having been blown up by a crazy debate on what an 18 year old and 16 year old would buy with a million (or was it a billion) dollars for a perfect NCAA bracket.  Or being able to just not pretend everything is OK with friends.
  2. Travel: From wandering through small town USA to taking bullet trains in Japan, there is a world out there.  Most people are good.  Everybody makes salsa different.  Travel forces my introvert self to be more extroverted.  Travel restores me.  Travel decorates my house (seriously).
  3. Exercise: I know.  Who would have thought?  I try to walk between 4-8 miles a day.  The activity decompresses me.  I love the way  I feel afterwards.  I listen to books on tape (www.audible.com) while I’m walking.  My walks are my carved out ‘me time’.
  4. Being selfish with out guilty:  Maybe because I am female, but I feel guilty when I can’t be everything to everybody.  No is an answer that is perfectly acceptable.  It’s ok not to want to go to bridal shower, to spend a weekend visiting somebody you’d met for coffee.  Leaving the office after 9 hours.
  5. My friends: E-friends are great but I need to be a better friends with sending real letters, meeting for meals or coffee.

Dear abandoned blog, we are back at it again: 72 ideas in 72 days

September 2, 2015

So, a few years ago I attempted the 72 ideas in 72 days challenge.  I am going to try it again (call it a ‘cleansing diet’ for those who like Oreos.  There maybe some days I skip, I might do them out of order, and well, I’ll probably fall off the wagon around day 30 (honesty).  Here is the list that I am attempting to follow  (with a nod to whatever list it came from).

th that, focus on the next thing.

  1. Make a list of your top 4-5 important things. What’s most important to you? What do you value most? What 4-5 things do you most want to do in your life? Simplifying starts with these priorities, as you are trying to make room in your life so you have more time for these things.
  2. Evaluate your commitments. Look at everything you’ve got going on in your life. Everything, from work to home to civic to kids’ activities to hobbies to side businesses to other projects. Think about which of these really gives you value, which ones you love doing. Which of these are in line with the 4-5 most important things you listed above? Drop those that aren’t in line with those things. Article here.
  3. Evaluate your time. How do you spend your day? What things do you do, from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep? Make a list, and evaluate whether they’re in line with your priorities. If not, eliminate the things that aren’t, and focus on what’s important. Redesign your day.
  4. Simplify work tasks. Our work day is made up of an endless list of work tasks. If you simply try to knock off all the tasks on your to-do list, you’ll never get everything done, and worse yet, you’ll never get the important stuff done. Focus on the essential tasks and eliminate the rest. Read more.
  5. Simplify home tasks. In that vein, think about all the stuff you do at home. Sometimes our home task list is just as long as our work list. And we’ll never get that done either. So focus on the most important, and try to find ways to eliminate the other tasks (automate, eliminate, delegate, or hire help).
  6. Learn to say no. This is actually one of the key habits for those trying to simplify their lives. If you can’t say no, you will take on too much. Article here.
  7. Limit your communications. Our lives these days are filled with a vast flow of communications: email, IM, cell phones, paper mail, Skype, Twitter, forums, and more. It can take up your whole day if you let it. Instead, put a limit on your communications: only do email at certain times of the day, for a certain number of minutes (I recommend twice a day, but do what works for you). Only do IM once a day, for a limited amount of time. Limit phone calls to certain times too. Same with any other communications. Set a schedule and stick to it.
  8. Limit your media consumption. This tip won’t be for everyone, so if media consumption is important to you, please skip it (as with any of the other tips). However, I believe that the media in our lives — TV, radio, Internet, magazines, etc. — can come to dominate our lives. Don’t let it. Simplify your life and your information consumption by limiting it. Try a media fast.
  9. Purge your stuff. If you can devote a weekend to purging the stuff you don’t want, it feels seriously terrific. Get boxes and trash bags for the stuff you want to donate or toss. Here’s my guide on decluttering. Here’s a post on starting small. More on purging below.
  10. Get rid of the big items. There’s tons of little clutter in our lives, but if you start with the big items, you’ll simplify your life quickly and in a big way. Read more.
  11. Edit your rooms. One room at a time, go around the room and eliminate the unnecessary. Act as a newspaper editor, trying to leave only the minimum, and deleting everything else. Article here.
  12. Edit closets and drawers. Once you’ve gone through the main parts of your rooms, tackle the closets and drawers, one drawer or shelf at a time. More here.
  13. Simplify your wardrobe. Is your closet bursting full? Are your drawers so stuffed they can’t close (I’m talking about dresser drawers here, not underwear). Simplify your wardrobe by getting rid of anything you don’t actually wear. Try creating a minimal wardrobe by focusing on simple styles and a few solid colors that all match each other. Read more.
  14. Simplify your computing life. If you have trouble with too many files and too much disorganization, consider online computing. It can simplify things greatly. Read more.
  15. Declutter your digital packrattery. If you are a digital packrat, and cannot seem to control your digital clutter, there is still hope for you. Read this guide to curing yourself of this clutter.
  16. Create a simplicity statement. What do you want your simple life to look like? Write it out. More here.
  17. Limit your buying habits. If you are a slave to materialism and consumerism, there are ways to escape it. I was there, and although I haven’t escaped these things entirely, I feel much freer of it all. If you can escape materialism, you can get into the habit of buying less. And that will mean less stuff, less spending, less freneticism. Read more.
  18. Free up time. Find ways to free up time for the important stuff. That means eliminating the stuff you don’t like, cutting back on time wasters, and making room for what you want to do.
  19. Do what you love. Once you’ve freed up some time, be sure to spend that extra time doing things you love. Go back to your list of 4-5 important things. Do those, and nothing else. Read more.
  20. Spend time with people you love. Again, the list of 4-5 important things probably contains some of the people you love (if not, you may want to re-evaluate). Whether those people are a spouse, a partner, children, parents, other family, best friends, or whoever, find time to do things with them, talk to them, be intimate with them (not necessarily in sexual ways).
  21. Spend time alone. See this list of ways to free up time for yourself — to spend in solitude. Alone time is good for you, although some people aren’t comfortable with it. It could take practice getting used to the quiet, and making room for your inner voice. It sounds new-agey, I know, but it’s extremely calming. And this quiet is necessary for finding out what’s important to you.
  22. Eat slowly. If you cram your food down your throat, you are not only missing out on the great taste of the food, you are not eating healthy. Slow down to lose weight, improve digestion, and enjoy life more. Read more.
  23. Drive slowly. Most people rush through traffic, honking and getting angry and frustrated and stressed out. And endangering themselves and others in the meantime. Driving slower is not only safer, but it is better on your fuel bill, and can be incredibly peaceful. Give it a try. Read more.
  24. Be present. These two words can make a huge difference in simplifying your life. Living here and now, in the moment, keeps you aware of life, of what is going on around you and within you. It does wonders for your sanity. Read tips on how to do it.
  25. Streamline your life. Many times we live with unplanned, complex systems in our lives because we haven’t given them much thought. Instead, focus on one system at a time (your laundry system, your errands system, your paperwork system, your email system, etc.) and try to make it simplified, efficient, and written. Then stick to it. Here’s more. Another good article here.
  26. Create a simple mail & paperwork system. If you don’t have a system, this stuff will pile up. But a simple system will keep everything in order. Here’s how.
  27. Create a simple system for house work. Another example of a simple system is clean-as-you-go with a burst. Read more.
  28. Clear your desk. If you have a cluttered desk, it can be distracting and disorganized and stressful. A clear desk, however, is only a couple of simple habits away. Read more.
  29. Establish routines. The key to keeping your life simple is to create simple routines. A great article on that here.
  30. Keep your email inbox empty. Is your email inbox overflowing with new and read messages? Do the messages just keep piling up? If so, you’re normal — but you could be more efficient and your email life could be simplified with a few simple steps. Read more.
  31. Learn to live frugally. Living frugally means buying less, wanting less, and leaving less of a footprint on the earth. It’s directly related to simplicity. Here are 50 tips on how to live frugally.
  32. Make your house minimalist. A minimalist house has what is necessary, and not much else. It’s also extremely peaceful (not to mention easy to clean). More here.
  33. Find other ways to be minimalist. There are tons. You can find ways to be minimalist in every area of your life. Here are a few I do, to spur your own ideas.
  34. Consider a smaller home. If you rid your home of stuff, you might find you don’t need so much space. I’m not saying you should live on a boat (although I know some people who happily do so), but if you can be comfortable in a smaller home, it will not only be less expensive, but easier to maintain, and greatly simplify your life. Read about downsizing your home here.
  35. Consider a smaller car. This is a big move, but if you have a large car or SUV, you may not really need something that big. It’s more expensive, uses more gas, harder to maintain, harder to park. Simplify your life with less car. You don’t need to go tiny, especially if you have a family, but try to find as small a car as can fit you or your family comfortably. Maybe not something you’re going to do today, but something to think about over the long term.
  36. Learn what “enough” is. Our materialistic society today is about getting more and more, with no end in sight. Sure, you can get the latest gadget, and more clothes and shoes. More stuff. But when will you have enough? Most people don’t know, and thus they keep buying more. It’s a neverending cycle. Get off the cycle by figuring out how much is enough. And then stop when you get there.
  37. Create a simple weekly dinner menu. If figuring out what’s for dinner is a nightly stressor for you or your family, consider creating a weekly menu. Decide on a week’s worth of simple dinners, set a specific dinner for each night of the week, go grocery shopping for the ingredients. Now you know what’s for dinner each night, and you have all the ingredients necessary. No need for difficult recipes — find ones that can be done in 10-15 minutes (or less).
  38. Eat healthy. It might not be obvious how eating healthy relates to simplicity, but think about the opposite: if you eat fatty, greasy, salty, sugary, fried foods all the time, you are sure to have higher medical needs over the long term. We could be talking years from now, but imagine frequent doctor visits, hospitalization, going to the pharmacist, getting therapy, having surgery, taking insulin shots … you get the idea. Being unhealthy is complicated. Eating healthy simplifies all of that greatly, over the long term. Read about how to simplify your eating habits.
  39. Exercise. This goes along the same lines as eating healthy, as it simplifies your life in the long run, but it goes even further: exercise helps burn off stress and makes you feel better. It’s great. Here’s how to create the exercise habit.
  40. Declutter before organizing. Many people make the mistake of taking a cluttered desk or filing cabinet or closet or drawer, and trying to organize it. Unfortunately, that’s not only hard to do, it keeps things complicated. Simplify the process by getting rid of as much of the junk as possible, and then organizing. If you declutter enough, you won’t need to organize at all.
  41. Have a place for everything. Age-old advice, but it’s the best advice on keeping things organized. After you declutter. Read more here.
  42. Find inner simplicity. I’m not much of a spiritual person, but I have found that spending a little time with my inner self creates a peaceful simplicity rather than a chaotic confusion. This could be time praying or communing with God, or time spent meditating or journaling or getting to know yourself, or time spent in nature. However you do it, working on your inner self is worth the time.
  43. Learn to decompress from stress. Every life is filled with stress — no matter how much you simplify your life, you’ll still have stress (except in the case of the ultimate simplifier, death). So after you go through stress, find ways to decompress. Here are some ideas.
  44. Try living without a car. OK, this isn’t something I’ve done, but many others have. It’s something I would do if I didn’t have kids. Walk, bike, or take public transportation. It reduces expenses and gives you time to think. A car is also very complicating, needing not only car payments, but insurance, registration, safety inspections, maintenance, repairs, gas and more.
  45. Find a creative outlet for self-expression. Whether that’s writing, poetry, painting, drawing, creating movies, designing websites, dance, skateboarding, whatever. We have a need for self-expression, and finding a way to do that makes your life much more fulfilling. Allow this to replace much of the busy-work you’re eliminating from your life.
  46. Simplify your goals. Instead of having half a dozen goals or more, simplify it to one goal. Not only will this make you less stressed, it will make you more successful. You’ll be able to focus on that One Goal, and give it all of your energy. That gives you much better chances for success.
  47. Single-task. Multi-tasking is more complicated, more stressful, and generally less productive. Instead, do one task at a time.
  48. Simplify your filing system. Stacking a bunch of papers just doesn’t work. But a filing system doesn’t have to be complicated to be useful. Create a simple system.
  49. Develop equanimity. If every little thing that happens to you sends you into anger or stress, your life might never be simple. Learn to detach yourself, and be more at peace. Read more.
  50. Reduce your consumption of advertising. Advertising makes us want things. That’s what it’s designed to do, and it works. Find ways to reduce your exposure of advertising, whether that’s in print, online, broadcast, or elsewhere. You’ll want much less.
  51. Live life more deliberately. Do every task slowly, with ease, paying full attention to what you’re doing. For more, see Peaceful Simplicity: How to Live a Life of Contentment.
  52. Make a Most Important Tasks (MITs) list each day. Set just 3 very important things you want to accomplish each day. Don’t start with a long list of things you probably won’t get done by the end of the day. A simple list of 3 things, ones that would make you feel like you accomplished something. See this article for more.
  53. Create morning and evening routines. A great way to simplify your life is to create routines at the start and end of your day. Read more on morning routines and evening routines.
  54. Create a morning writing ritual. If you enjoy writing, like I do, make it a peaceful, productive ritual. Article here.
  55. Learn to do nothing. Doing nothing can be an art form, and it should be a part of every life. Read the Art of Doing Nothing.
  56. Read Walden, by Thoreau. The quintessential text on simplifying. Available on Wikisources for free.
  57. Go for quality, not quantity. Try not to have a ton of stuff in your life … instead, have just a few possessions, but ones that you really love, and that will last for a long time.
  58. Read Simplify Your Life, by Elaine St. James. One of my favorite all-time authors on simplicity. Read my review here.
  59. Fill your day with simple pleasures. Make a list of your favorite simple pleasures, and sprinkle them throughout your day. List here.
  60. Simplify your RSS feeds. If you’ve got dozens of feeds, or more than a hundred (as I once did), you probably have a lot of stress in trying to keep up with them all. Simplify your feed reading. See How to Drop an RSS Feed Like a Bad Habit.
  61. But subscribe to Unclutterer. Probably the best blog on simplifying your stuff and routines (along with Zen Habits, of course!).
  62. Create an easy-to-maintain yard. If you spend too much time on your yard, here are some good tips.
  63. Carry less stuff. Are your pockets bulging. Consider carrying only the essentials. Some thoughts on that here.
  64. Simplify your online life. If you have too much going on online, here are a few ways to simplify it all. Article here.
  65. Strive to automate your income. This isn’t the easiest task, but it can (and has) been done. I’ve been working towards it myself. Article here.
  66. Simplify your budget. Many people skip budgeting (which is very important) because it’s too hard or too complicated. Read more here.
  67. Simplify your financial life. Article from a financial planning expert here.
  68. Learn to pack light. Who wants to lug a bunch of luggage around on a trip? Here’s an article on using just one carry-on.
  69. Use a minimalist productivity system. The minimal Zen To Done is all you need. Everything else is icing.
  70. Leave space around things in your day. Whether they’re appointments, or things you need to do, don’t stack them back-to-back. Leave a little space between things you need to do, so you will have room for contingencies, and you’ll go through your day much more relaxed.
  71. Live closer to work. This might mean getting a job closer to your home, or moving to a home closer to your work. Either will do much to simplify your life.
  72. Always ask: Will this simplify my life? If the answer is no, reconsider.

And about my driving . . . Day 23

September 6, 2011

Drive slowly. Most people rush through traffic,  honking and getting angry and frustrated and stressed out. And endangering
themselves and others in the meantime. Driving slower is not only safer, but it  is better on your fuel bill, and can be incredibly peaceful. Give it a
try.”

Fact: I live in sprawlburbia. Problem? Traffic jams.  In the morning, I avoid traffic by going to work early.  I take the back roads in nice weather (read not snowing).  I find the drive to work relaxing.  Although it is town hopping, there are stretches of typical New England scenery: mills, trees, a few lakes, a bog and um, turkeys/ducks/geese.  Coming home? It’s double the drive time.  I am frustrated by the night-time drive.  Yes, usually I want to just get home.  Yes, being IN traffic means I’ve left before 6 pm.  Yes, I’m adjusting to the “everybody is back from summer” commute.  Still, my back road commute is far more pleasurable to the Pike (except during a Nor’Easter) which in the best circumstances is just a mass of cars and at the worst is everybody LOOKING at the random shoe on the side of the road (major pet peeve: accident on one side, the other side slows down).  Every time I hit the Pike and see people with out EZ passes, I think “seriously? you live here . . . you are paying more … and you have to stand in line!”

I have to say . . . road rage is one thing I don’t get.  Although, I do enjoy flying down the highway in those wide open spaces . . . .

 

And remember to chew your food: Day 22

September 5, 2011

Eat slowly. If you cram your food down your throat, you are not only  missing out on the great taste of the food, you are not eating healthy. Slow
down to lose weight, improve digestion, and enjoy life more.”

Eh, not so sure on the back half: there are some leaps of logic as in “if i slowly eat a big mac, you are saying that is better than scarfing watermelon?” floating around in my mind.  This is one that I *try* to follow.  I’m good at it about none of the time.  Breakfast: a Luna bar and caffeine in the car as I listen to NPR if I’m good. Coffee if I’m bad.  Breakfast is always *in* the car.  I’ve improved in the fact that it’s no longer a drive thru breakfast.  Lunch … um. Yeah. It’s either a repeat of breakfast, something I’ve thrown together the night before or something that looks vaguely like food from the cafeteria at work.  Dinner … um.  Ok, I’m in serious need here.  While I like to COOK (more like I like the smell of cooking food), when it comes to sitting down and eating a meal? Like at a table? Well, I’m horrific.

My parents gave me a kitchen table a few years ago.  It was my first one.  I wish I could say I was 20. . . no where close.  My cat found it to be a launching pad.  True story, the first time he *saw* a table it was while visiting my parents ten years ago.  He jumped on it in the middle of dinner.  My parents flipped: I sorta explained he’d never seen one.  Jackson still thinks the kitchen table is a perfect winter sun spot (I see evidence of Jackson ON the table, never have been able to catch him).

The bad thing in all of this? I’m picky about my food: I am a huge fan of the slow food movement.  I am a member of a local food co-op, a meat CSA (LOVE 8 O’clock Ranch!) and a fruit/veggie CSA (Nourse Farm).  Where do I fail: In taking the time to enjoy my meal.  To savor the textures and tastes, to remember that even if I *made* the pickles, eating them for dinner is probably not the best dinner on the planet.

I’m not even going to try to make excuses on this one.  I simply fail at doing this.  It is something I need to work on, to learn how to enjoy and savor a meal.  But really? I have made huge improvements on not eating in the car.

Needing That Alone Time? Day 21. . .

September 5, 2011

SalsaSpend time alone. See this
list
of ways to free up time for yourself — to spend in solitude. Alone time  is good for you, although some people aren’t comfortable with it. It could take
practice getting used to the quiet, and making room for your inner voice. It sounds new-agey, I know, but it’s extremely calming. And this quiet is necessary
for finding out what’s important to you.”

Ok, truth time: this is one I thought I had mastered.  I’m a singleton (unless you count pawed creatures), my family is flung out from here to there (seriously, my closest relative is 8 hours away, my closest nuclear family member is 16 hours away) and truth be told, I’m pretty introverted.  I can blame my introversion on lots of things plus a dash of genetics.  I can be social but when I’ve had enough, I leave.  I don’t do well when I’m forced to be “on” for more than about 8 hours a day.  I don’t draw energy from other people …. a weekend with the nieces and nephews leads me craving quiet and sleep.

I realized while I am often “alone” it’s not recharging time.  It’s a factor of my life.  Meditation . . . not really my thing (I blame that on the unused seminary degree).  Art, eh. It’s a winter activity when I’m trying to refocus but not something renewing.  I found myself pondering this as I randomly decided to make pickled beets (ok, I had 3 pounds of beets from my CSA share and couldn’t figure out to do with them!).  Somewhere in the untangling of my thoughts I realized that my “alone time” was in the kitchen.  My culinary adventures and misadventures, canning, picking berries all have a point of rejuvenation for me.

I have a great little sous chef (the smell of boiling vinegar is a sirens sound to him).  I realized that during my cooking time, I decompressed.  I let go.  I played.  The benefit is, of course, a load of canned organic items for the winter (now what exactly I’m going to do with 5 pints of green heirloom tomato chutney is really beyond me).  Yes, I’ve found a bit of satisfaction in looking in my faux-pantry and seeing jars of items that I made but it’s more than that.  I found a place to rest my mind.  What I’m doing now will create interesting meals over the winter.  Since it’s just me, I don’t mind experimenting and can always ditch back to cereal for dinner if it’s really gross (hey, it’s easier to toss 1 meal without hearing the people are starving all over the world lecture from my grandmother in the back of my head!).

I realized while spending alone time, I’ve struggled with renewal time.  I’ve found something that I enjoy.  But seriously? What am I going to do with 8 pints of pickled beets?

Berry Picking

Day 16: It does start with a topic statement

August 30, 2011

Create a simplicity statement. What do you want your simple life to look
like? Write it out. ”

You can’t know where you are going until you create the plan . . . right? What does simple living look like for me?  I realize that everybody will have a different version of simple living.  For me … it has to involve down time.  What do I want my life to look like? In that magic wand sort of way? I need to have a place for everything in my life: most things are ok in moderation.  I’ve learned (painfully) over the past few months that some people just aren’t welcome in my life.  I’ll adjust. I’ll mourn what was and what won’t be.  Maybe there is something I can take from the fur creatures: they really don’t care if people like them or not.  There are things I have in my condo, I don’t need (VietnamVet pick up scheduled!).  Items like that are the foundation for my ‘living simply’.

What do I need to live simply? A place to live. A de-stressing hobby (right now … canning).  Happy monsters er fur children. Coke Zero. My smart phone.  Enough money to just unplug every 3 years or so for a few weeks in a flung out part of the planet. I need to walk away when it’s not in my best interest.  Drama free friends.  Let’s face it, family=drama.

My topic sentence? “What I need to live simply is to remember, most things in life aren’t needed, aren’t the big stuff and don’t really warrant the energy I put into the stress to make sure everything is running smoothly.  We make life more complex: and at the end of the day, very few things matter.”

Snah. Now to get there . . . . .

Re-organizing: A Hurricane of a Project

August 28, 2011

Edit your rooms. One room at a time, go around the room and eliminate
the unnecessary. Act as a newspaper editor, trying to leave only the minimum,
and deleting everything else. Article
here
.

Edit closets and drawers. Once you’ve gone through the main parts of
your rooms, tackle the closets and drawers, one drawer or shelf at a time. More
here
.

Simplify your wardrobe. Is your closet bursting full? Are your
drawers so stuffed they can’t close (I’m talking about dresser drawers here, not
underwear). Simplify your wardrobe by getting rid of anything you don’t actually
wear. Try creating a minimal wardrobe by focusing on simple styles and a few
solid colors that all match each other. Read
more
.”

Fact: I really dislike high winds.  I needed to find something to do during Irene – yes, it’s not a huge storm (now) but really? I don’t like the rattling gusts of winds that will hit my area sometime today.  My plan? I’m tackling the wardrobe issue and my bed room: if it hasn’t been used/worn in 2 years, it’s gone.  Period.  No questions asked.  If it’s ripped/stained it’s gone no more of this “oh, i can use it as pj’s, layer with it, no more mismatched socks for “snow clearing”.

One place I really need an edit is in my how does this fit into my wardrobe?  The problem when I worked the job from hell was we were expected to wear current-esque merchandise so I wound up with a ton of things that either I didn’t need OR were a bit too trendy.  I did a bit of research regarding some of the less than stellar conditions of my clothing, it turns out that yes, you can donate stained clothing.  It is recycled into items in developing countries (with a study from Oxfam to show that it doesn’t impact local industry).

Given the insanity of my work-wardrobe: my plans: Edit to no more than 15 items for business, 15 for business casual, 15 for casual.  And yes they can be interchangeable.  At least I’ll have something to think about besides the howling winds!

Edit? Ok, that’s another 4 letter word!

August 25, 2011

Day 11: “Edit your rooms. One room at a time, go around the room and eliminate the unnecessary. Act as a newspaper editor, trying to leave only the minimum, and deleting everything else.”

Ok, part of the problem I have with my condo is that it’s a collection, reunification and the fact I’ve never sorted through my stuff.  When I moved into my condo, I had some of my stuff from grad school life, my parents brought a bunch of my stuff from storage and over the past few visits have decided it’s time to rid their house of my stuff (seriously? what are parents FOR?)  Since I’m probably going to be stuck in the condo this weekend (stupid hurricane), I’m thinking it’s the perfect weekend to re-do.

My problem? A guest room/junk room/lots of boxes room.I’m thinking tomorrow night, there might be a serious toss fest.  I shut the room off in the winter so how I re-do the room needs to limited to items I won’t need in the winter.  I am thinking I can create a storage area for my canning items for the winter (space hogs in the kitchen), culling my closets: I have two, I need one.  I can use the second closet for a storage area for bulky items (tent, sleeping bag).

Yup, it’s time to do some serious reorganization.  Good thing I didn’t have any plans for the weekend . . . .

72 Ideas … Getting rid of the ‘big’ things

August 24, 2011

It’s funny how sometimes a random internet project of 72 ways to live simply transcends a long time passion.  Yesterday, Pat Summitt, the long time coach of the University of Tennessee Lady Vols announced she had early onset dementia  – Alzheimer’s type.  I found out the news from most people I know who follow the support in pretty rapid succession (including a Facebook message from my advisor at Hollins).  I was at work and I thought, really? Pat Summitt?  I mean, she is one of the reasons Title IX worked.  Title IX became law in 1972.  Pat Summitt became the head coach of the Lady Vols in 1974: as a full-time graduate student at UT.  Yup.  You read that right: she was the head coach at a time when the NCAA didn’t recognize the sport, when players split scholarships among sports (odd tid bit, long time UT assistant Holly Warlick one of the best point guards to play the game, was on a track scholarship at UT), when the coaches did the laundry, drove the van and took classes.  Summit wrote about how she knew she could demand equality for what the men’s program had but she asked for what she needed and built her program.

The list of accolades and accomplishments fills books: every player who has stayed for 4 years has graduated.  100% graduation rate in a 37 year career.  She won an Olympic medal in Montreal (she rehabed an ACL tear while coaching AND preparing for the Olympics) and she coached the US team to its first gold in Los Angeles.  She has more wins in the NCAA tourney (109) – no other school has appeared IN 100 games.  Yes, UConn, Baylor, and a few other programs might have been a bit better over the past few years.  But as John Wooden was to men’s hoops, Pat Summitt is to women’s athletics.

The SEC schools embraced women’s athletics: Alabama, Georgia compete routinely for national gymnastics titles, Florida, Georgia compete for swimming/diving titles, Arkansas dominates the cross-country circuit.  And when you think that 8 NCAA titles in 28 NCAA tourneys?  Only UNC women’s soccer is better in domination of a sport year in year out.

Pat could have coached a few more years and called it a career.  She didn’t.  She spoke up.  She spoke out.  She will raise awareness.  Women, young women and girls who have reaped the benefits of Title IX (and that would be all of us under 50) owe her a debt of gratitude.  She was one of the pioneers of women’s sports. She taught us that we can fight on the court like guys and not lose our “feminine” identity.

More than all accomplishments on the court, yesterday she did one of the most courageous acts a public figure could do: she made it known that she will lose what has made her great.  She let go a lot of the big things that hold many of us back: fear and shame.  The road ahead for Pat and her family will be hard, but in many ways much simpler.  She openly addressed her diagnosis.  Maybe UT won’t land as many blue chip recruits, maybe they will.  But hopefully the road for Pat and her family will be a bit easier knowing that the Knoxville community, the women’s basketball community and a host of fans will support her in any way possible.

Millions of families who have a loved one with Alzheimer’s or who have lost a person to the disease can find a sliver of hope in the increase in awareness this will bring.  And true to her years of teaching, Pat Summitt is facing head on and not letting the fear, the anger, the embarrassment quiet her.  May we all be so courageous.