Welcome to 2017 everyone!
I hope you all had a glorious Christmas and New Years.
Today’s post is all about how to make the most of the start of the year and get organised in January.
I always take a huge amount of comfort in the first few days of the year. It’s too early to be behind on anything, everyone else is still just getting into the swing of things – despite how dark it is in January in Scotland, I view this as a pretty golden time.
Oh the possibilities.
So how do we capitalise on this fresh start? There are three things that I’ve been doing for a while now at the start of every year that always help me out, that I thought I would share with you. Here we go!
1. I write down three achievable and measurable goals
Okay, so you’re probably thinking “Sophie, I think you mean New Year’s resolutions, and they’re not exactly a new concept.” KIND OF, but have you ever noticed how vague so many resolutions are?
Like, what does that even mean?
You ask someone what theirs is, and so often they reply “oh, like, I totally wanna get healthier”, or “I just wanna be a better person, ya know?”. Tell me, how does one measure that you became ‘better’ or even ‘healthier’? How will you know when you’ve achieved it? Heck, swap a doughnut for an apple one time and there you are, boom, done!
This sounds super cynical, I know, but it’s been proven that having measurable and attainable goals makes you way more likely to get them done and in turn move forward with making your life as awesome as you want it to be. These are actually two facets of S.M.A.R.T goals – the full list is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. For me, I think that if you are making a measurable goal, then it’s going to be specific too. If it’s important enough to you that you want to set a goal for it, then it’s going to be relevant, and the timely part is covered by the whole ‘aim to do it within the year’ thing. That’s why I usually just focus on the achievable and measurable elements.
For the past few years, I’ve been writing out three goals in January. The act of writing them out is powerful in and of itself, I think, almost like making a promise to yourself. Sometimes I just note them in Evernote, and othertimes I make them really pretty and hang them up somewhere. I’ve considered whether they were achievable – sometimes, they’ve been pretty small, to be honest, nothing groundbreaking, but something I knew I wanted to do and could do within a year. I’ve made sure to attach a measurement element to them, so that I could have that halcyon moment of satisfaction when I knew I had done it.
For example, I’ve been working on a lot of illustrations and last year I wrote for one of my goals that I wanted to open my shop on Etsy and list 10 items. Totally attainable, and totally measurable. I finished setting up the shop by the end of January, and at the end of the year I had sixteen different listings, having made 11 sales so far.
2. I buy the prettiest and most functional diary I can find
Honestly, I can’t even stress how important this ritual is to my psyche by now.
One time, I lost my notebook, and this was me until it turned up in a hedge three days later (long story).
Of course, I know I don’t need to tell anyone that diaries are good for being organised. Duh. However, I’ve been using a diary for over ten years now and I still sometimes get out of the habit. It’s not like things always collapse quite as badly as when I thought it was lost forever, but I notice that things start to slip, like maybe I forget to pay a bill because I didn’t write down that I needed to.
That’s why I make sure to get the nicest one I can find, the one that is enticing to use from a prettiness point of view, as well as from ease of use/functionality. It has to be something you take great joy in using.
For about six years, I’ve been using a black hard backed Moleskine weekly planner, but some other gorgeous ones I’ve either got for different things (blog planning, Etsy shop management) or am seriously lusting after are these:
Mark’s Tokyo Edge 2017 Storage.it Diary/ Yellow – sold out, but usually available at Fox & Star, £15.95
Ban.do I Am Very Busy Academic Diary 2016-17/ Pink – available at John Lewis, £20.00
2017 Midi Carmine Midi Format, 12-Month Week-at-a-Time (the gold embossing on this one is particularly special) – available at Beautiful Notebooks, £14.99
3. I let my poor, overworked phone have a little detox
Don’t think for a second that this is me saying I stop using it, because I am not that gal and I kinda like chatting to my mum at regular intervals. However, I do like to take the opportunity to do a bit of a digital clean up and let it have more rest than usual.
The main areas I focus on for this are as follows, with the time it usually takes to do it to reassure you that it isn’t as time consuming as it might initially seem!
I look at:
- Uploading photos to computer/cloud storage etc, and delete from phone – 1 hour
- Deleting unnecessary messages (delivery notifications, reminders, boys from bars you never want to see again) – 10 mins absolutely max, 5 if you’re ruthless, way less if messaging just isn’t your thing
- Categorising any new apps into folders, deleting any apps I’ve stopped using – 10-20 mins, depending on how much of an app junkie you are.
- Going through the notes app and saving any useful info/actionables in Evernote, deleting the rest – this could vary wildly, but I use notes a lot and it took me 10 mins because most of them were old to do lists or drunk sparks of genius that didn’t need to see the light of day
- Closing all the tabs in the browser! – five mins, but only because I didn’t need to do anything or make a note of any of the tabs
Total time – 1 hour 45 mins of hardcore, dedicated focus on your phone, and in return you get to feel like the most organised person on the planet. Trust me, totally worth it and a great way to set up for the year ahead.