Category Archives: Organization

What Can You Do in 15 Minutes?

I have been using a handy app on my iPad, called 30/30. It allows you to set up a to-do list, with a specified time for each task, and then the timer ticks off while you busily get things done. I tend to set the timer to 15 minutes for each task, out of long habit. You would think by now, I would no longer be surprised by what I can accomplish in 15 minutes, but somehow I always am. In 15 minutes, I can:
– cast on 60 stitches and knit 6 rows
– load the washer and fold a load of laundry
– unload and reload the dishwasher
– wind 6 balls of yarn!
– tidy most of the mess in my craft room
– write a quick blog post

The timer is telling me to move on, but I encourage you to try setting a timer whenever you have a list too long to do, or a task that you’ve been procrastinating on.

Letting Go

I have a hard time letting go. I want to grasp onto the things and people I love so tightly. But sometimes you have to learn how to hold more gently. You have to learn how to let go and allow space in your life. By holding on to everything so closely, you become locked in a tight circle of familiarity and there’s no longer room for growth.

So this weekend, that is my mantra: let go. I will try to look at all my possessions and ask which I am willing to let go. Just how little do I need? How much can I give away?

It’s so very hard, because there’s a lot of fear— fear of not having enough in the future, fear of missing something too much, fear of not having the familiar and being instead surrounded by the unknown. But facing these fears is the first step of that growth and adventure I’m seeking. I’m willing to try, because I can envision a future that is greater than today, if I can just let go.

Seeking Help

I haven’t posted much lately, for a few reasons. One is that I got spoiled by my Dear Husband’s iPad, and now posting via phone is so archaic! (But he’s always using his iPad.) Another is that I’ve had a lot to do lately to get ready for a big change in our lives. Related to that, I’ve not been handling that big change so well all the time and posting about it was not particularly appealing.

Sometimes I’ve felt completely overwhelmed and incapable of handling things. It got to be “most of the time”, and so I sought out some help from a professional counselor. There’s a lot of stigma attached to such a thing— everyone is so concerned with keeping it private and secret. But there shouldn’t be a stigma attached to it. If you’re sick, you go to a doctor and get better. If you’re having trouble coping with a major event, then why wouldn’t you get help for that? So here’s my small step towards making the world the way I want it instead of the way it is: I openly admit that I couldn’t cope, so I sought help from a psychologist.

And it did help! Just getting a different perspective on things, reframing some things in a different light, has made a huge difference. He heard me say things (and called me on them) that I wasn’t even aware I was thinking. This was my first experience with this sort of thing. But it was incredibly valuable. Maybe if everyone wasn’t so concerned with keeping it secret, more people who needed help would seek it out. I know I will in the future.

So that’s my wish for you, Dear Reader. If you find yourself in tough times and you aren’t coping well, seek out some professional help. They are trained to help you, and even a single session can make a difference. There’s no shame in getting help when you need it. In fact, I’d say that it’s much worse to truly need it and not get help.

Still Stressed

I’m still stressed out and overwhelmed with all the things that need to get done in the next couple of months, but deciding to rent instead of sell our house has made me a lot calmer. Financially, it seems like the right thing to do. The housing market is moving again in our area, but the home prices are still a little lower than I’d like. They say that there’s a glut of foreclosures that finally hit the market, and they will probably dominate for another year or so. So the question became, would it be better to sell our house for a large loss now, or rent it and bleed a small amount of money over the next few years, and hope the prices go up a little more to offset that loss? I have a hard time believing that the housing prices will go up to the level we bought it at near the top of the bubble, but maybe we can manage to cover the remaining mortgage, the closing costs, and a tiny down payment on a different house. Or if not, then we still have a house to live in. Win-win.

I have been trying to take one step at a time as I mentioned in my last post. I’ve gotten a few things taken care of, though not the one or two most pressing ones. But that’s what the weekend’s for, eh?

A Single Step

Most of my difficulties lie in trying to take on too much, getting overwhelmed, and then not knowing what to do next. So lately, I’ve been trying to do things differently. (Not always with success.) I think, “don’t worry about how many things there are to do; simply pick one first step to get you started along any one of them, and you’ll be moving in the right direction.) Hopefully, my journey of a million miles will get accomplished this way.

(Also, I have lost my timer, which is really messing with my usual way of proceeding when I get overwhelmed, which is to set a timer for 15 minutes and then just go at something. But losing the timer is indicative of just how overwhelmed and out-of-whack things have gotten. I’m so stressed out!)

Short weekend

I have too many hobbies, and they all involve using your eyes and hands, so there’s a limited amount of other things you can do while, say, knitting or spinning. Usually I spend the time listening to television. But I recently have gotten on a foreign-language kick, and have been checking out language learning CDs from the local library. Those are perfect for crafting times, since they only involve your ears and brain. (Though they are less optimal if your knitting involves following a very complicated chart with lots of counting.) I began by brushing up on a short German course. (I had German in high school, so I just wanted a brief refresher.) Next, I’ve started a quick course in Spanish, and I’ll follow it up with some French. I also have some Hebrew in the queue. In addition to the CDs, I also checked out a book on Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs, but I can’t read that while knitting and spinning. Unfortunately, I gave up on Irish, because I couldn’t get through the very first lesson. That language is apparently not for me. (It sounded like every word was some garbled version of “gwaylthgrea”. My American ears just couldn’t figure out the sounds.) Now, none of these are really intensive lessons in the language, but being able to say “please” and “thank you” and being able to ask for food and water are enough for me. For now!

I’m also doing some decluttering this weekend. I’ve compiled one full bag for Goodwill, and that was just old pajamas! (How many pairs of pajamas does one person need?) (Six.) My Dear Husband is coming home with a stack of boxes soon, and I’ll likely tackle the kitchen cabinets next. I’m going to do that halfway thing, where you put stuff you kind-of-like into boxes and then see if you end up missing it. If not, then out the door it goes!

Long Weekend

It feels like a successful weekend day when you’ve walked, showered, eaten, and paid bills by noon. Maybe that’s setting the bar a little low, but I find (and others also bear this out) that getting dressed and ready even when you don’t anticipate leaving the house can make your whole day more productive. When you’re sitting around in pajamas all day, it’s easier to waste time surfing the web or playing a game on the iPad. (My Dear Husband got an iPad for his birthday.) But being “ready” for the day makes you more willing to “do something”.

I really want to be productive this weekend. I have a quilt to finish. I want to really tidy the house and closets. And I’d like to find a realtor to start the process of selling our house (which to me feels like stepping into a vast, dark jungle for the first time).

But I also want some fun-time this weekend. My Dear Husband and I are going to enjoy (veggie) burgers, fries, and watermelon this weekend. We’ll probably go to the mall and catch a movie (Avengers?). I also plan to totally rock out to Green Day Rock Band. That sounds like a plan for a successful long weekend!