Monday, December 28, 2015

What Worked in 2015 -- and What DIdn't

I am going to take a cue from Laura Vanderkam and Modern Mrs Darcy and write about what worked for me in 2015.  I'm also going to add things that didn't work, since that is probably just as important!

WHAT WORKED

1.  Morning routine: meditation / quick journal / work out.  This is working for me.  I started using an app for guided meditations back in October, and I am still doing it consistently, though not every single day.  I still mostly do 5 minute sessions -- so not very long! -- and find that the daily discipline does seem to have a positive effect on my day.

Or at least my morning.

Anyway, this routine seems to work for me, and I plan on continuing it next year.

2.  Photobook BOOTCAMP.  In October, I decided to tackle several projects, included the dreaded photobook for 2014, which was something I procrastinated on for -- well, the first 9 months of the year.  It turns out that by forcing myself to just churn SOMETHING out daily, I was able to get it done in under 2 weeks.  I will be doing it again this year, but this time sooner than October!

3.  Hobonichi techo cousin.  OMGGGG, I still love this planner so much.  I use it all day, every day. I cracked open the 2016 volume this week and continue to have more ideas of ways to make use of its (infinitely flexible) pages.  I will also give a shoutout to mildliners, which are now my tool of choice for emphasis/decoration :)

4.  Strategic use of child care.  I'm not just referring to our nanny here (though she is a.m.a.z.i.n.g. and I am so grateful for her!) but to the strategic use of babysitters, for small chunks of time on weekends and for events here and there.  Being able to get in a long run or head out to a barre class on Josh's call weekends has been great, and by being fairly consistent with ~2 "adjunct" caregivers, A&C are really comfortable and happy with them.

5.  YNAB.  We've been using this program/app since November of 2014.  It has been eye-opening and life changing.  I actually feel much less anxious about spending money and saving for big bills (hellooooooo hurricane insurance in Miami Beach!) when I know where every dollar is going and have it allocated to the right place.  Furthermore, I feel more comfortable giving myself little treats when I know I can afford it in my "extras" fund (Josh and I each have one!).  It has definitely helped to reign in excess spending and make sure we are prioritizing the right things.  Highly, highly recommended.

6.  Moment app / FB break.  Moment tracks time spent on your phone, and it definitely helped me to become more conscious of tiny-screen time this year.  I also took a ~2 month hiatus from Facebook and it was great.  I think I'll do it again soon.

7.  Trunk Club.  I tried this service in October, and am wearing the pieces I kept regularly.  Yay!  I will be getting another trunk of things to try perhaps in February.  I'm thinking quarterly is plenty :)

8.  Kon-Mari.  Yes, I am still very much in love with the whole Marie Kondo method/philosophy/etc.   Even though for us it seems to be a continuously evolving process.  I just love the feeling of releasing excess stuff and keeping only what feels essential and/or sparks joy.  We just did a surprisingly successful sweep through Annabel's things (SHE ACTUALLY HELPED cull her toys and clothes, to my utter shock!) and I am still riding the high from that donation drop-off.

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WHAT DIDN'T WORK (OR ONLY SORT-OF WORKED)

1.  Paleo.  Yep, I've waffled (heh heh - pun intended) back and forth on this several times now.  I enjoyed eating this way for nearly a year -- summer 2014-2015.  Then . . . it just sort of lost its luster. And now, after several times changing my mind, I'm off the train again and squarely into the camp of Eat Real Food & Not Too Much.  Josh and I have also recently started learning about the environmental effects of livestock farming, and therefore will be aiming to cut back (though not eliminate!) our meat consumption.  This deserves its own post, but I will say that currently my moderation/awareness method seems to be working fine for me right now.

2.  Travel w/ A&C.  Okay, our one plane trip with kids wasn't THAT bad.  But it was kind of bad.  And Disney was magical, but also very challenging.  I am hopeful that as A&C (especially C!) get older, this will become more fun & easier.  I'm even thinking that we'll try it again this summer (to Philadelphia I think).

3.  Reading.  I don't feel like I read enough this year!  I did keep a list, and apparently finished 8 non-fiction titles and 5 novels.  Which is not nothing, but just over a book per month isn't so many, either.  I blame myself, because many times I chose to scroll through Insta or FB rather than picking up a book.  My absolute favorite book of the year was What Alice Forgot.  Deliciously light, yet moving and thought provoking.

4.  Evening routine.  In direct contrast to mornings, I still don't have an evening routine that feels like it works.  Something to work on for next year.

5.  Blogging!  Yeah, I feel like I didn't give this space enough attention!  It comes down to time, energy, and priorities.  I tend to get a lot of ideas, but I am not organized about them and just tend to run out of energy by the end of the day.  I'd like to try a more systematic approach to posting this year -- we will see.

6.  Tracking time & steps.  Currently Josh is wearing my Fitbit (primarily to track his sleep, or lack thereof), and I can't seem to consistently record my time (LV, I am so impressed that you did it for close to a YEAR!).  I do think that it would be useful to try again with the time tracking, because items #3-5 on this list are all about time use (and misuse).   As for the Fitbit, I probably will put it on again once Josh is done with it, but I don't think it has had a big impact on my habits.  I do like it for the Bluetooth phone notifications -- and for the clock!

Happy almost-end-of-the-year to everyone!  I'm on call today (day 7/7) but then OFF with A&C until January 4th.  6 days of kid/vacation/home time.  I'm excited!

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