The Clutter Cat’s Follow-up (Fast-Forward Friday Challenge)

When I gave you my Wednesday update on my clutter challenge for Fast-Forward Fridays, I was two days ahead. My progress looked like this:

 

Two Cats

The Clutter Cats

List of Daily Tasks (green – on-time completions; purple – early completions)

  • 1 – Top shelf of closet   
  • 2 – Middle shelf
  • 3 – Lower Shelf
  • 4 – First Metal Drawer
  • 5 – Second Metal Drawer
  • 6 – Three wood drawers  (Fast Forward Friday)
  • 7 – Hanging Clothes
  • 8 – Printer Cabinet (2 shelves)
  • 9 – Printer Cabinet (other 2 shelves)
  • 10 – 2 bookshelves
  • 11 – 2 bookshelves
  • 12 – 2 bookshelves
  • 13 – 2 bookshelves  (FRIDAY)
  • 14 – Fabric
  • 15 – Other quilting and craft supplies
  • 16 – black ottoman

Since I was two days ahead on Wednesday, I shared my choices for what I could do the next day.

  1. I can take a day or two off.
  2. I can do the next task on the list.
  3. I can choose something else and poke holes in other parts of of the list.

Did you guess?

I did. I figured I would do either #2 or #3. More likely #3 because the next thing on the list was the hanging clothes in my closet, and that seemed like a good thing to leave for Saturday. #2 gave me options for where to jump in on the list but still make some more progress. My racing the clock technique.

Funny thing is that I totally surprised myself. I ended up going with the one I least expected and ended up taking two days off. I would have sworn I would have played ahead. But ok, I had a couple of days off. And it was so easy to do. Almost too easy.  I was a tad worried about losing momentum and having a difficult time starting back up. Especially, since Saturday’s task was going through the clothes that are hanging in my closet — the largest task so far. Two things kept me on task:

1) I’ve announced to the world I’m doing this, and I’d rather force myself to keep going than admit that I’m quitting.  😉

2) With my recent weight loss (it’s actually taken 15 months so far, but it’s worth it), it really makes sense to go through my clothes. I need to figure out what I’m keeping, what I’m altering, what I’m giving away.

I guess you could say I had double motivation for Saturday’s task. I will probably go through again as the rest of the stuff gets sorted out, but it felt good to clear things out and get them ready for donation.

Today (Sunday), I tackled two of the shelves under the printer “cabinet.” It was easier to do by leaving the computer off while I did it. Then I just got ready and headed directly to the coffee shop to begin my day. I got a bit of a start on the third shelf, making tomorrow a little easier.

OK, so I’m not ahead like I thought I’d be, but I’m keeping up. And really, that was the point of the challenge. It was to get out from under the clutter and disorganization, and so far, I’m staying on schedule!

Good luck to anyone else who is tackling something special this February. Let me know how you’re doing, and I’ll be back with a new update next week.

 

99 days till 60! It’s coming fast!  😀

 

 

It’s not too late to join in. Choose ANY challenge, big or small, write steps on the days left in February, and give it a go. And feel free to post progress in the comments below or write a post and link it here. We can cheer reach other on.

Happy February!

 

 

February Fast-Forward Fridays (Update 1)

Two Cats

The Clutter Cats

On Saturday, January 31, I launched a half-baked free-form challenge for February, and dubbed it Fast-Forward Fridays. I immediately drew up my “free-form” plan involving my desire to eliminate clutter. But I could have chosen any number of things. A current research project. A quilting schedule. A reading list. The possibilities are endless, depending on what is calling out the loudest.

And because this challenge was thrown together so quickly, there is no official banner, so I had included this picture of cats that you see at the left. I am thinking that, in honor of my personal challenge plan for February, I’m going to rename them as The Clutter Cats. I doubt they’ll complain.

As soon as I post this, I’ll be answering some of the comments that have come in, but I was surprised at how many people thought this challenge was overwhelming. To my way of thinking, it was a way of taking a task that has been driving me insane and breaking it into little pieces that seemed much less threatening. For me, that meant sorting through one drawer or a couple of shelves wouldn’t be so bad on a given day if that’s all I had to do.

In terms of the time it takes to make the list, I literally did mine in about ten minutes. More like brainstorming–didn’t over-think it. Just picked a place visually, and started making the list. I started with (February) 1 and went to (February) 27 and just wrote one task on each day without trying to decide which day would be best for any given task.

So I wanted to update you on where I am and see what others are up to, even if it’s just vicariously participating by reading my updates. I’ve had one actual taker that I know of, but I don’t know if anyone else has jumped on this challenge, so we’ll find out. My experience has been interesting. I’ve had no trouble keeping up. As I suspected, if I took the ten or fifteen minutes to get started on the task, I usually finished and went a little further, starting the next day’s task. As of this morning, I am a couple days ahead, and the progress is visible and encouraging.

For me, it’s really become a game. How fast can I really do this? It’s possible that I may lose momentum and not finish, but I have to tell you: when I can SEE the changes each day, it’s a natural motivator to do more. It’s so much better than the frustration that was part of the problem before. So check it out. Here’s most of my list:

List of Daily Tasks (green – on-time completions; purple – early completions)

  • 1 – Top shelf of closet   
  • 2 – Middle shelf
  • 3 – Lower Shelf
  • 4 – First Metal Drawer
  • 5 – Second Metal Drawer
  • 6 – Three wood drawers  (Fast Forward Friday)
  • 7 – Hanging Clothes
  • 8 – Printer Cabinet (2 shelves)
  • 9 – Printer Cabinet (other 2 shelves)
  • 10 – 2 bookshelves
  • 11 – 2 bookshelves
  • 12 – 2 bookshelves
  • 13 – 2 bookshelves  (FRIDAY)
  • 14 – Fabric
  • 15 – Other quilting and craft supplies
  • 16 – black ottoman
  • ——–
  • 26 – catch-up; maintenance
  • 27 – FRIDAY
  • 28 – CELEBRATION

So I’m delighted with the progress so far. After all these weeks and months of being overwhelmed with where to even start when I look around, I now have made real progress. I can open my closet and the shelves are all neat. (I even have two empty drawers!)

As for tomorrow, I have choices.

  1. I can take a day or two off.
  2. I can do the next task on the list.
  3. I can choose something else and poke holes in other parts of of the list.

Stay tuned for my next update to find out which one I did.  🙂

It’s not too late to join in. Choose ANY challenge, big or small, write steps on the days left in February, and give it a go. And feel free to post progress in the comments below or write a post and link it here. We can cheer reach other on.

Happy February!

 

 

February’s Fast Forward Fridays: My Plan

 

I will admit, there is little that derails me faster than physical clutter. Too much stuff (even if it’s organized) is still too much. I need white space, even though it took me a long time to realize that.

At the same time, when I take on too much (my biggest weakness), the “too-much” stuff seems to take on a life of its own. I get behind on putting things away, and the problem grows and grows until I’m in the situation in which I currently find myself. Hard to start anything because I feel like I’m being buried alive.

So for me, the 28 days of February are going to give me a running start at sorting, decluttering, and getting only necessary things organized. The rest are going bye-bye. This is an important step on my way to our return to the US in July. Going from our lovely apartment to 4-6 suitcases is going to be a challenge. Time to at least sort through my personal mess stuff so that I regain some white space AND have less to do when it comes time to pack.

Remember, the trick isn’t to be perfect in your list-making, but to just plan something for the next 28 days (even if you plan a few break days in, based on your personal preference).

Without further ado, here is my list for February.

  • 1 – Top shelf of closet
  • 2 – Middle shelf
  • 3 – Lower Shelf
  • 4 – First Metal Drawer
  • 5 – Second Metal Drawer
  • 6 – Three wood drawers (Fast Forward Friday – Check IN)
  • 7 – Hanging Clothes
  • 8 – Printer Cabinet (2 shelves)
  • 9 – Printer Cabinet (other 2 shelves)
  • 10 – 2 bookshelves
  • 11 – 2 bookshelves
  • 12 – 2 bookshelves
  • 13 – 2 bookshelves (FRIDAY)
  • 14 – Fabric ❤
  • 15 – Other quilting and craft supplies
  • 16 – black ottoman
  • 17 – sewing table
  • 18 – kitchen table
  • 19 – files
  • 20 – files (FRIDAY)
  • 21 – music shelves
  • 22 – bedside table
  • 23 – ironing board
  • 24 – living room surfaces
  • 25 – catch-up; maintenance
  • 26 – catch-up; maintenance
  • 27 – FRIDAY
  • 28 – CELEBRATION

See you on Friday for our first check-in!  Hope you can join us!

 

https://myriad234.wordpress.com/2015/01/31/a-free-form-february-challenge-fast-forward-fridays/

 

A Free-Form February Challenge: Fast-Forward Fridays

The Challenge That Almost Wasn’t

Two Cats

Two Cats

OK, it’s late! It’s already January 31, and I’m going to issue a challenge that begins tomorrow, February 1. Most people will think I’m crazy (and they may be correct), but I have decided I can’t wait anymore to start something that needs doing in my life. And since misery loves company I want some accountability for myself, while also helping others take care of things they need to do in their lives, I thought I’d just go ahead and do it.

Not too much thinking. Not too much planning. Just jump in and see what happens. Are you worried? Don’t be! I didn’t even have time to consider an appropriate banner for the challenge, so why not a picture of “Two Cats.” After all, cats make almost everything better for some people. And while you’re smiling at the cats, you can forget that this is a challenge. Instead, just take a deep breath and chart your course for February!

Before We Start

Have you ever been overwhelmed? By things to do? By things that invade your environment? By your own reaction to such things?

Yeah, I thought I might be the only one.

OK, I’m going to put myself out there. I’ve been on and off with my blog — not because I don’t want to do it, but because I haven’t been disciplined enough to get away from the things that are taking up my time. I’m not making excuses. And I’m not asking anyone to argue the point. (Besides, you would lose.) This is definitely something I’ve done to myself by my inability (read unwillingness) to limit the commitments I make.

janfricoffeeSo I have three and a half weeks before my normal teaching schedule starts up. My days are packed with things to catch-up on because of said over-commitment. The cool thing is I get a lot done. The uncool thing is, it never ends, and it seems like I can never catch up. Then I give in to the feeling of being overwhelmed by the mountain of deadlines and projects. And the spiral gets rather frustrating. Sure, there are factors  beyond my control, but I really do create a no-win situation for myself.

This is not news, at least not to me or anyone else who has known me for more than ten minutes. But I’m not going to bore you with the sad story. Ask about it in the comments if you really want to know.  😉

So in the aforementioned 21 days, I have more to do than most people would schedule for 21 weeks. (Again–I take total responsibility  for this state of affairs.) However, in the midst of goal setting and intention making for the rest of the year, I can no longer continue to be overwhelmed. I need to take some action.

Fast-Forward Friday Challenge

That’s where my personal challenge comes in. I figured if I could take something that really was bothering me and just commit to doing a little piece of it each day for the 28 days of February, I would accomplish more than the sum of the tasks.  What I mean is, if I can get over the feeling of being overwhelmed in one area — especially one I find especially troublesome, I will end up moving forward on other ones, mainly because of my improved frame of mind and a bit of happy momentum.

I also knew that I would trip myself up and say, “Oh geez, I just got the idea, and it’s late on the 30th of January, and February is just a day away, and I haven’t given this much thought, and I certainly should get more organized about it before inviting other people to tag along.” But as some of those same people who know about my overcommitment could tell you, I have a tendency to sometimes think and plan to the point, where I never move to the next step.

Spontaneity is good. After all, what I’m proposing for myself isn’t much of a risk. Carrying out this challenge without worrying about planning and organizing first isn’t going to make it any less effective. But much like my journey with weight loss, it begins by moving — not just thinking about it.

Details & Imaginary Rules (such as they are):

  1. You can sign up at any time during the month of February with any project that you want to make into your own personal 28-day challenge. It helps to choose something that you really want to change, but that has eluded you for whatever reason. (You can see mine when I post it in a little while and link it to this post. I’ll give you a clue. I have as much trouble with physical space sometimes as I do with my schedule.)
  2. Joining this challenge doesn’t need to displace any of the other organizational challenges you’re doing, like ROW 80 or Building Rome. The way I see it, those are ongoing. And we’re not making a long-term commitment here. It’s 28 days. I can do it. You can, too.
  3. Make a list of 1-28 for the days in February. Take your large task, and break it down into doable segments that can be accomplished in an hour or less. Don’t worry about doing it in a necessarily logical order, just make the list without worrying too much about it. Just put the tasks that will help you feel like you’re making regular progress. Make day 28 a celebration day!
  4. Post your February Free-Form Challenge plan and schedule. Feel free to link to the this post, so we can cheer each other on.

THAT is the free-form portion.

Now, the fast-forward Friday part:

  1. Each Friday in February, I’ll post my update of how I’ve done to that point in the week. You can join in as well by updating and then linking up to share your progress. You can also visit other participants and encourage their efforts.
  2. If you like the idea of a challenge within a challenge, you can make it a game, and see if you can work a day or two ahead here and there. (OK, I admit in a situation like this, I get caught up in seeing how far ahead I can get.) If you are ahead of the “game” on Friday, you can take the day off or use the day to get even further ahead. This kind of  “fast-forwarding” can pay off in one of two ways:

A) You finish all your tasks early and can take the rest of the month off from the challenge.

B) You can take the remaining days in the month and make yourself a new challenge with tasks for remaining days, and go at it again.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Our last reporting day would be on February 27, and hopefully, we will all have great progress to celebrate on Saturday.

During the month, I will post some ideas, tips, and links that can help with goal-setting, intentions, follow-through, and perseverance. Let me know if you’re after any specific information.

 

I’m interested in seeing who wants to join in. If you’re interested, check out my post with my plan for the month, and then jump in.

Send questions in the comments below.

Happy February!

 

107 days to 60