It’s been another month. Already. Time is moving right along, and I’m not liking it very much. Seems like the older I get, the more it speeds up. Or maybe it’s just that I get slower?
Either way, it’s time for the next recap working through Tsh’s e-book, One Bite at a Time. As a quick reminder (or for those of you that are new), I’m working my way through One Bite at a Time and writing here to share how I felt about the task, if it was helpful, what worked, what didn’t, and implement the suggestions rather than simply reading through them.
You are invited to play along as well, and share your own reflections from the last month’s projects. Don’t be shy about jumping in now…the tasks do not have to be carried out in order, so you can begin at Project 18 and be just fine! (Previous project posts can be found here and here).
Moving forward… projects 18 through 21.
Project 18: Get More Sleep
I’m really not a huge fan of sleep. I have never been one to want to “sleep in” on the weekends (even as a teenager!), and frankly, the thought of sleeping for anything more than eight hours sounds awful to me. Am I the only one that wakes up achy and groggy and with a massive headache if I sleep too much?
But for as much as I don’t love it, I know that I need it. Just the right amount: not too much and not too little. Or else. Or else I turn into a crazy mom that has patience the size of a dime. Let’s not even talk about what kind of a wife I am! (Says the girl who is currently five months pregnant and a short time away from the throes of newborn-dom!)
I just don’t like who I am when I’m sleep deprived. So sleep is a priority for me. I like getting up really early (say 5:00) so I tend to go to bed early (around 9:30). This is mostly non-negotiable. The way I see it, parenthood (and life for that matter) are really hard, even when you’re getting plenty of sleep. I can’t imagine doing it when you’re exhausted to boot.
Photo from Pinterest
For me, my bedroom is a refuge. Besides our alarm clock, there is no technology and I try to tidy it up before bedtime. I was once told in college that students shouldn’t study or do homework in bed. Your bed should be your body’s automatic cue to relax and sleep.
I’ve really taken that advice to heart, so even years later, I only allow myself to read or sleep in bed. Well, that and you know, the obvious other. Ahem. The ebook gives other really good ideas if you’re having trouble convincing your body to get to bed at a reasonable time.
While this project was “easy” for me (I already did it—doesn’t get much easier than that), I think it’s so crucial for everyone. Prioritize sleep, people! It’s worth it.
Project 19: Dump Your Brain
There was a time in my life when I could remember every little detail. Specifics. Dates. Addresses. All without writing a single thing down. That was before I had three kids.
Now? I can hardly remember what I had for breakfast yesterday or when my next doctor’s appointment is—or frankly, what day of the week it is. I love the idea of a regular brain dump.
I found that I was often trying so hard to not forget a certain thing that I ended up forgetting the 57 other things I was supposed to remember, too. A few months ago I bought myself a really pretty planner from Erin Condren. It’s big (not the kind of thing you carry around), there’s a ton of room to write, and there’s all kinds of extra pockets and tabs and stickers.
I have it sitting out on a cookbook holder on my kitchen counter, so I can see what I have going on at a glance while I rush my way through making lunches, scrambling eggs, and refilling a sippy cup of milk. Every morning I would sit down for a few quiet minutes and just dump every single little thing I had to do that day in the extra space.
In fact, sometimes I would even write things I had just finished, just so I could have the satisfaction of crossing something off. (I also wrote out my menu plan for the week in the same book so I could coordinate meals based on how busy our schedule was that day). Did I mention this was an awesome system?
Did you catch that? WAS. Like anything, it fell by the wayside. A few months ago, my planner pages were a colorful mash of scribbles, arrows, stars, circles, and reminders. Now? It’s pretty plain. And my brain? Mashed potatoes. Tsh’s book reminded me to get back to my daily brain dump. I’m much happier again. And less disheveled.
Project 20: Plan in Advance for the Holidays
Whoa. Now this is EARLY. Especially for me. Somehow, Christmas manages to sneak up on me every year. Which is insane because it’s the same day every year—perhaps I should write it down in my planner?
But Tsh is right: “little things can easily add up, and if you don’t plan for them, they’ll knock on your wreath-adorned door when you least expect.” I have no idea how those little strands of lights magically break when they’ve done nothing but live in a plastic bin for a year, but every single year my husband yells a shopping list of lights to me while he’s 20 feet in the air on a ladder. Off I go to the store, shocked at how much I’ll spend, and how much it’s blowing our Christmas budget out of the water.
We’ve already culled down our list of who we buy for by negotiating with certain family members (“I won’t buy you anything if you don’t buy me anything”), and we only send Christmas cards to people we don’t see very often. You know, Great Aunt Edna and that cousin in Rhode Island who only knows you’re still alive because they get a card from you every December.
I do, however, like the idea of shopping year-round for gifts. So often I will see things that remind me of so and so, but it’s June, and I’m not really about to buy a random gift for no reason. The problem is, that somehow, come mid-December I’m stumped as to what to get that same person, or I can’t find the item I saw months ago.
Project 21: Organize Your Files
I used to be really good about keeping our files organized. (You see where this is going, right?) Only, this time, I can’t blame it on my kids. One of my early jobs included a lot of filing and organizing of files, so when I got home, the last thing I wanted to do was file more paper. Kind of like the old saying that the mechanic’s car is always in need of repair? Just like that.
And then, I really got out of the habit and just plain didn’t do it at all. Going through that old file cabinet in the closet and actually being paper organized has been on my to-do list for YEARS. Years, people! But now, Tsh made me do it for real.
I spent a naptime up to my elbows in old paperwork. Why I had copies of our electric bill from our first apartment together 10 years ago is beyond me. Well, I know why—because I hadn’t bothered to trash them. I also realized this year that I was scrambling to find and figure out what our write offs were for tax purposes. Nothing was in one place, and I was making things 100 times harder on myself than they needed to be.
In particular, I was concerned about keeping track of our medical expenses. Now, dovetailing off of this project, I’ve created a journal where I can quickly jot down what we spend as I pay them, rather than have to manually go through a huge stack of papers and add them up one by one. I’ll be ready next tax season. You’ll see.
If you’re not playing along yet, you can jump in at any time! Buy One Bite at a Time here for $5 and then come back and let me know how you’re doing!
Are you working through One Bite? How did you do this month? Which of these tasks would be the hardest for you to genuinely implement?