Sunday, January 1, 2012

January - Connecting Time Management to Happiness!

Yep, the first post of a brand new year... and the first year that I am doing a "Happiness Project". This is what it looked like outside this morning:



I had originally planned January to be a month with organizational goals that, if implemented, would increase my personal level of happiness.

What that kept meaning for me, though, was time management, because that's sounds "happier" than organizing closets and bedrooms and cupboards!!

This morning I thought, "Okay, so it's the first day of the new year... I could write down one thing that I need to get done each day and by the end of the year I'd have "365 days of accomplishments"!" But, then, I realized that several things "done" would get repeated and I wouldn't be satisfied with my 365 days that had lots of "repeaters". Then I remembered a year that, along with a friend at an educational forum, I wrote down the top 3 things that needed to be done for that day. That actually turned out great... until my 3 things kept repeating.


So, what can I do with the topics "organization" and "time management" that can help me improve in a few areas and feel greater happiness???

I think that I will take the first 10 days of the month and jot down how I spend my time. Nothing completely scientific... not going to stress over if one day was atypical or not... just get an idea of what I am spending my time doing. Then I think that I'll tweak some of those areas. Already knowing that I could decrease time on the computer and increase reading books gives me a sense of what I am looking for. Perhaps how I am using time on the computer will come into play, however. Because if I am on the computer for research or education, then I count that as part of "reading", just not "book" form...

Part of organization that calls out to me is using a planner, calendar and lists. Have I missed an appointment for myself or a child in the past few months? Do I worry about not getting something done on time? Do I have too many little pieces of paper floating around with important bits of information? Well, to help in this area I've put up a calendar on my desk door to view each morning. I also have an 8x10 planner that I can write more detailed information, as needed, regarding events. And a change that I am attempting this month is to keep pens stocked in my purse (I keep not having a pen to write with when I am out and about!) along with a small notepad (Bek bought me an adorable one for my birthday this past year that is perfect for this resolution!). So, I hope that when I am running errands and I need to write down something that I should not forget, I can write it down!! If I am house-cleaning and remember something that I haven't got put on the calendar or something that should get done, I can write it down... No excuses, I have pens and a notebook, planner and calendar. Time to "write it down"!


Another area that I am going to work on this month is taking a few moments towards the end of the day and again at the beginning of the day to check my notebook, planner and calendar in order to prepare for what's coming up. If I take the time to look ahead then I can make to-do lists and feel more confident about what's happening. This seems so simple. So elementary. I'm sure professionals would read these little resolutions of mine and get a big laugh... to them it's probably like breathing. But, it's never too late for my creative self to make these little changes and avoid the stresses of being unprepared.

Thinking about it, overall, sometimes life is out of balance. Too much leisure, too much hobby... or too much study, too much work. When I think about what "makes me happy", I think of peace... contentment... absence of stress. On the other hand, a good amount of happiness is a choice. One can argue (her name is Shasta) that you just choose to be happier and move forward. However, I see wisdom in evaluating and making changes to give you better outcomes, knowing that it may result in greater happiness (which to me, is tied to peace and contentment).

There are many things that I put off, though, that if I experienced them, I believe would add to my basic life level of happiness. I tend to be a home-body and don't try new things. Then I imagine how great it would be to go somewhere or try something new. When I do get out and about I wish I would do it more often. (This is similar to Gretchen sharing that sometimes you cannot control what you like... it's part of who you are... it's just not negotiable... likewise, sometimes you cannot help what you do not like! And this has a lot to do with knowing yourself and being yourself.) I find myself stuck in never-ending delayed gratification in the name of frugality or responsibility. Other times I rush around, busy-busy-busy and don't take in the moments to enjoy them. Part of being happy, I think, is living a life that you want to live. Coming to terms with what is... having goals and dreams... letting go of hurts and disappointments. So, it makes sense for me to begin with time management. I can evaluate where my time is being spent, decide what needs less or more, add in some time buffers so that I can take in more moments to enjoy without rushing, all the while asking myself how I want to live my life!

I've mentally given myself several New Year's resolutions. I cannot help it, I just do it. So far, I've come up with "be kind to everyone" (stolen from Gretchen Rubin), stop procrastinating (why does that seem so funny?), organize closets, keep up on housework better, iron (I think I iron about once a year...), read books I've been wanting to read for a couple of years now, get to sleep earlier at night, drink fewer alcoholic beverages, stop snacking after 7pm (unless it's a special occasion... and, no, Tuesdays are not special occasions).

So, there you have it. What are you going to tweak in your life in January? Are you going to try developing a new habit? Are you letting go of something to make room for something else?
Let me know!


No comments: