feeling accomplished

Things to Do

I get this satisfaction from checking things off lists. It’s a tangible way of seeing all that I’ve done, and it makes me feel so…productive, like I’m making the best use of my time. Ah. The feeling of accomplishment.

At the same time, to-do lists can be restricting. And sometimes, I just have too much on the list to do. All of these things were the case during my February break, which was a time that I really wanted to embrace so that, at the end of it, I would feel accomplished.

What I Wanted to Accomplish and What I Actually Did

I asked myself what I needed to do in order to feel accomplished by the end of the week. I thought of two things–to write. a lot. and to make significant process on catching up on my Bible reading plan.

Sigh. I did neither of those. With homework and other less significant diversions and distractions, I wasn’t able to pick some focused time to write, well, anything. Thinking about it makes me really irritated with myself–like, that’s beyond everyday procrastination. To completely go off course for my plans for a week? Like, what was that?

But this week wasn’t actually a waste–I did do some meaningful and productive things. I decluttered my homework area and the top of my dresser, because the messes had been seriously hampering my work and concentration abilities. I organized my craft materials. What had previously been a chaotic lump of random stuff is now sorted and accessible for future use.

I also did a lot of research (some of which I will share with you on this blog in future months). You know how I said that I didn’t write anything? Well, I actually did write some stuff (but when will I work on my creative projects?). I worked on blog posts and wrote in my journal. With more time to rest and reflect, I was also able to think about my process in simplifying.

Some Other Thoughts

I realized that I had put too many less important things on the to-do lists. I think that only including the bigger projects like sewing and writing would be helpful in the future. I might also save time if I confine certain activities to a time limit. For example, I could spend an unlimited amount of time analyzing my style and looking for clothing, but I don’t need to. So, I’m scheduling a specific date for doing that, so I don’t have to be concerned with it the rest of time. I think that doing this could help me with focusing and prioritizing, which is something I have been trying to figure out.

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priorities and how i spend my time

Since I started simplifying, I’ve reflected a lot about how I spend my time and what I seem to value. I used to view my time as something to be scheduled, and that schedule to be followed rigidly because that’s-what-happens-in-life. I’ve made schedules for my time outside of school, but over and over I’ve found that I’m unable to follow them. Things unexpectedly arise all the time, and it’s really hard to follow something so restricting.

I want to spend time on things I value, and I know that it’s really difficult to focus on more than three priorities. In theory, my three favorite interests are writing, ballet, and sustainability.

However, I spend time on things that don’t really fit into my three areas of commitment that I’m not willing to give up. The biggest one is school. There’s also playing the piano, learning Chinese, and learning about psychology on my own. These are all things that I’m interested in, and I enjoy learning them. Also, even though I don’t list it as one of my three priorities, in reality, I put school at the top.

This is how it goes in practice:

School takes up a set amount of time on weekdays. I also have homework, of which I try to get as much as possible done during study hall. Sometimes I have more work than usual, which cuts into time spent on other things. Sometimes I have less than usual, which gives me more time to spend on other things. These other things are usually reading and the learning I do on my own.

Sustainability is a part of my lifestyle. I incorporate this into my life through things like reusing paper, and walking instead of riding the car. I’m also trying to consume more responsibly, so I spend a lot of time doing research on things I’m looking to buy. I also read blogs related to the subject.

Ballet takes up a set amount of time in class. Outside of class, I try to do some exercises, but sometimes I’m too tired or don’t have time to do them. I also read about ballet.

I hold writing really dear, but I don’t even get to do it that much. I have a writing journal but I don’t use it a lot. Occasionally, I’ll have a large block of time where I’ll get a lot of writing done. But often, other things take up so much time that I don’t even get to write.

Music isn’t one of my listed priorities, and that accurately reflects what place it has in my actual life. Sometimes I don’t practice the piano very much, and often I have to squeeze it into a time that is way too short. I really do enjoy music and playing the piano, but I’m not sure what to do about this. I’ve been trying to make it more of a priority after finishing schoolwork, but on weekdays sometimes I still don’t have the time.

I struggle to balance everything I do, and I’m not sure what to do, when I have all these interests. I think I might have to look at it a different way, instead of trying to group everything into the three priorities. I’ll keep thinking about this. What are your thoughts? Any tips, ideas, suggestions?

reflections: from what i wrote in polkadot-bow

Let’s go back to the oldest posts on this blog, that I copied over from my former one.

reflections from polkadot-bow title

Purge, Cull, Let Go

At the time I wrote this post, I had been purging, culling, and letting go a lot. I’ve already gotten rid of many of the unnecessary things that got in my way a lot, so I haven’t been doing that as much. I still have some things that I probably don’t need, but they don’t serve as huge distractions or annoyances. For example, I have a large craft stash, even though I don’t craft much. However, I’m not going to get rid of the materials, because they can be used again, and are occasionally helpful when I do make something. There are also some things that I don’t really need, but were rather expensive, so I need to find the proper way to pass them on to someone else who will use them well.

Why I Ripped Up My List of Goals

At the beginning of the post, I wrote about how I used to want to go on an adventure, and I still kind of do. I was imagining some sort of nature, outdoorsy thing, which I haven’t done yet. But in a way, I have gone on an adventure. Lots of adventures. When I read and write and listen to music, I get to travel and experience things that I wouldn’t be able to do in real life.

So I don’t spend a lot of time outdoors or crafting or traveling, but that’s okay. I spend it on other things I enjoy. I still want to do those things, but just because I find out about something and it’s cool doesn’t mean I have to go all in. (Also, I’m working on doing the splits again).

I ripped up my list of goals because I thought it might be holding back from maybe what I was supposed to me. Now, I have goals again, but they are easier on the mind. They aren’t a long list of things to check off. I have three focuses that are habits I develop and continually work on. Because I can actually remember them all, they are important to me, and they are carefully selected, I can actually work on them. Instead of holding me back, they push me forward to stretch and grow.

Year to Simplify

I started out with a list of things to for the Year to Simplify, but now it’s a lifestyle. I’ve gone backwards on a few things, like checking on blogs that I had previously crossed off, and checking my email more than twice a week. I said that I had to make a change when I came back to school. On that, I kind of failed. I was still stuck in a cycle, kind of. I’m still tired during the day, and sometimes procrastinate, and sometimes spend way too much time on trivial decisions.

But I’m working on it, slowly. I’ve removed enough clutter that it’s no longer a huge distraction. I’m more conscious about buying new things and adding new responsibilities. I let go of a lot of activities that were taking more from me than I was getting back, and learned to accept that I don’t have to do everything.