Happy New Year everyone! I love all of the opportunity a new year brings. I was inspired by Crystal at Money Saving Mom to anchor my year with just one word. I decided that, above all things, I want to have an intentional year.
To me this basically means that I want my words, actions and finances to be consistent with my ideals. When I reflect at the end of the day (or month or year), I want to feel confident that most of my energy has been spent on the things that matter most to me – taking care of myself, spending quality (distraction-free) time my family, connecting with friends, being responsible with finances, and making a positive contribution to the world.
Though I know that these are the most important things in my life, when I am totally honest with myself I realize that my actions haven’t always reflected my priorities. For example, though I truly want to spend meaningful time with my little girl every day, I find that I’m often multi-tasking when I’m with her. I’m usually attempting to get enough done around the house, or respond to texts, to check my email, etc. etc while I’m spending time with her. Or, while I say that saving money for the future is a high priority, whenever there is a little extra money in the budget, I discover something I totally need for the playroom or kitchen, and the money goes towards a purchase instead of in the college fund or IRA.
So what is holding me back from living more in line with my ideals, or living more intentionally? For me I think it boils down to being distracted and lacking organization. When I was a classroom teacher, I always felt I had so much to do and had trouble being totally present in the moment. I blamed it on the fact that I had so much on my plate, however I have found that I am a lot the same since I became a stay-at-home mom over two years ago.
Could it be that a distracted life has nothing to do with my external situation, but instead is rooted in my way of thinking and being? At this point I definitely feel like I need help to find a way to live with less distraction, so I looked for a book that might help me in the new year. I discovered Hands Free Life by Rachel Macy Stafford and so far, it seems to be exactly what I was looking for. (Bonus – the Kindle version is only $1.99 on Amazon right now!) I’ve sobbed my way through the first two chapters and I am totally committed to implementing the nine habits outlined in her book for living a more connected and less distracted life.
The second thing that I think holds me back from living with more intention is lack of organization. Though I was initially repulsed (a strong but accurate term) by the idea of meal planning, I now believe that some level of planning actually frees me to live more peacefully and with less stress. When I’m hanging out in the playroom and see cobwebs or a dirty window, my impulse is to interrupt the time with my daughter and jump up and clean them right then, because if I don’t I really don’t know when I’ll do it! If I had specific time set aside for household chores, or responding to emails, then I might be able to be more present and relaxed knowing that everything would be taken care of in due time.
So here are the two resources I’m leaning on for help with organization – keeping a bullet journal in addition to my weekly planner, and establishing a housekeeping schedule with help from Homemaking Organized. My dear friend Robyn recommended bullet journaling to me sometime last year, and I think that it could really help me organize my many lists. I am a list-maker for groceries, travel, to-do, home improvements, etc. However all of my lists just seem to float around my desk (sometimes getting lost in the shuffle of papers) and things are left un-done if they don’t migrate from one to-do list to the next! Also I feel like if I had a dedicated place in my bullet journal for things I want to acquire for the house or for my daughter, it would help me spend wisely when extra funds come my way. Ultimately then I can be more diligent about feeding those long-term savings accounts! Bullet journaling will hopefully help me streamline my list-making in one
organized place – check it out if you are interested and I will report on my progress in a month or two!
Lastly, I am going to try scheduling some basic household tasks in my planner in the hopes that it will make cleaning less helter-skelter around here. I hope it can help me relax when I see cobwebs, and will lead to a cleaner house. I want to live with more intention and I believe that being less distracted and more organized is a good start. Do you have a word to anchor your year? Please share your word for 2016 below, I’d love to hear what is most important to you and offer you encouragement along the way!