30 Days to My Best Me Challenge, week 2

It’s the end of the second week in the Day Designer “30 Days To Your Best You” Challenge, so I’m checking in with more notes on how I’ve been doing.

Day 8: Do a 10-minute tidy

Aha! I’m ahead of the curve today, as I just did a quick tidy-up on the kitchen table yesterday.

I don’t know why, but our kitchen table quickly turns into the catch-all for whatever junk or projects my husband and I are currently looking at. We’ll just start making piles near our usual seats, either because we’ve closed a book we were just reading, or want to remember a new recipe, or just tossed some mail down… and sooner or later, the whole table is covered with stuff.

Yesterday, he decided he wanted to bring an unused set of speakers (which had formerly been boosting the sound from our tiny TV) into the kitchen, so he could instead boost the sound from his iPhone in the mornings or while we’re cooking. This seemed like a good idea, but where would we put the speakers? Naturally, the table was the only logical choice…

And it was covered in books!

So I said, “That’s it, I’m cleaning this up!” and went to work. I started chucking all the useless scraps of paper into the recycling bin (actually, we have a bag that was given to us for this purpose, which is much too small for any normal stuff we recycle, so I used the bag to collect all the papers), putting the necessary receipts into the drawer where I file them, placing the stack of magazines under the coffee table, moving books back to their shelves or into the pile of library books on top of the coffee table, and getting everything cleared off to make a space for the speakers.


I’d estimate that took me about 10 minutes.

Do I want to do that every day? Probably not. But I am eyeing the clutter on my desk right now, and I think it could use a quick tidy, so let’s go for it!

Of course, the real question is: when do I tidy up my digital files and how?! Now there’s a Herculean (and possibly Sisyphean) task.

Everything in its place (“Planning Business Coffee Cup Hustle” photo credit: informedmag.com)

Day 9: Review your planner before you start your day

Kind of a “duh!” tip, but a reminder that some of us still need. I have been guilty of writing To Do lists and then, for whatever reason, not actually looking at them – much less sorting out the most important tasks and prioritizing which ones to do when. How will you be able to check things off the list if you aren’t actually using the list?!

So yes, I have already made a new commitment to a) plan my days and b) stick to my own schedule as much as possible. (Easier said than done when you’re a Rebel, of course.) My idea is that using the Day Designer page, which separates out scheduled half-hourly blocks of time from your To Do list, will help me block out time to actually do the Big 3 items I list each day, and then see where I’ve got white space for working in the things on my To Do list, one by one.

Here’s today’s planner page:

Day 10: Limit phone time in the morning

Another slightly “duh!” tip, as these emails have been urging us to not check our phones first thing in the morning. But, nonetheless, a reminder many people probably need.

Personally, I don’t use my phone to check emails, apps or anything of that sort. I really only use it as a phone, and to capture photos on my walks. It helps that my phone is an older iPhone model, totally incapable of connecting with most of the apps I’d like to use. But I also have an iPad, and have been drawn into playing time-wasting games or checking Twitter on that device, so I think this is good advice for any screen usage first thing in the morning.

“Homeoffice” (photo credit: Nico Kaiser)

Day 11: Practice saying no

Although this tip is referring to saying no to things that will interfere with your daily habits, it’s also just good advice in general. It can definitely be hard to say no to stuff that is a lot more tempting than the To Do List you’ve got planned, particularly if you’re a Rebel. I’m going to have to figure out how to make this one work for me, since I am more often found saying “no” to the list!

Just say “yes” to writing poolside! (photo credit: Pricenfees)

Day 12: Find something to throw away

Again, I’m ahead of the curve! Just yesterday I decided to go through my side of the closet and throw away all the junk that was cluttering it up. There was also about three years’ worth of dust in there, because I haven’t cleaned it out since we moved in. Ick!

The stuff is my closet is not particularly precious to me, so I simply grabbed a trash bag and threw everything in there. The clothes that were on their way out were not anything that could have been donated, since they were either ripped, worn to death, or permanently scented with body odor from too many workouts. It had to go into the trash. The other stuff that had to go included a bunch of shoe boxes that were simply gathering dust (only two of them actually contained shoes), and a contraption my husband and I had bought, before we had a dresser, to hold socks and underwear. This shelf-like thing was made of flimsy metal mesh, and could barely support any weight, so it was definitely time for it to go.

After tackling the closet, I feel a lot better about the cleanliness of my side of the bedroom (my husband’s side is still littered with tons of books and papers that he may never clean up). I like the idea of just throwing things away, too (or, rather, recycling them – depending on the item in question). Most of the stuff I have a problem with, in terms of throwing away, is paper. I have tons of books and papers, and going through them is always difficult. I’ll eventually get around to clearing off the coffee table – again – but this is one of the more arduous tasks, since I hate to get rid of anything that might be “important.”

Clothing is not really “important” to me, but books are.

“new duck at the marina…” (photo credit: marneejill)

Day 13: Focus on the positive

“Visualize the outcomes you want to experience” sounds a little woo-woo to me, like something my mother-in-law might say, so I am wrestling with this one. I tend to have a rather pessimistic outlook, where I hope for the best but plan for the worst, so “focus on the positive” is never going to come easily to me. However, I am trying to look for the positive side in every situation, just to rebel against my own nature, and so thinking about positive outcomes or ideas or experiences sounds like a good activity. Especially first thing in the morning, when I would otherwise just be staring moodily at my social media feeds, wondering why the world is so horrible.

Hey, why did you think I named my magazine Black Heart? Because I’m all sunshine and lollipops?

“A Bird” (photo credit: Bob M ~)

Day 14: Nurture your relationships

A good reminder to finish up the week, today’s tip is to remember why we’re adding these new habits to our routines. It’s not because we need more stuff to do, but because we want to free up time for what matters most: friends, family, real relationships with the people we care about.

How are my relationships doing? I feel like I haven’t seen my local friends in forever, so it’s about time to schedule some coffee dates. On the other hand, I’ve recently been chatting more with my BFF from high school, and we’ve actually been talking about a lot of the stuff in this challenge, so that’s been interesting.

And it’s Mother’s Day today, which means I need to call my mom!

Ancient photo of my mom, dad, sister and me at the Grand Canyon! I’m the cute one on the right. ;D

Weekly scorecard

[author_list style=”tick”]

  • New habits to incorporate: 7
  • New habits to ignore: 0
  • New habits where “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”: 0
  • Overall: Hey! This week’s tips have been way better than last week’s, with a winning streak of 7-0-0.


Checking in with the new planner

My new Day Designer planner arrived on Monday afternoon, and I put it to work right away. I transferred over everything from my previous planner, and kept on making my daily To Do lists, while also trying to schedule the day more in the hourly section. I still need to get used to having a planner this size on my desk (I am actually thinking of setting a biblical style lectern next to my desk for it to rest upon, so I can ponder my days two at a time without displacing my computer keyboard), but I really do prefer the larger format, with plenty of space for everything I typically need to think about during the day. No more rustling through a pile of papers!

I’m still printing out a weekly food and exercise log, separate from my planner, which is also helping. In the place where it wants me to track my water intake, I’ve labeled it “Wine” instead, since I’m trying to cut back my intake. My husband has a habit of simply topping off my glass whenever it gets low, which can make it hard to know exactly how many glasses I’ve had (particularly on the weekends), so I’ve mentioned this to him, which has helped considerably. And seeing it all there in black and white on the page is certainly motivating, when it comes to making changes in my eating and drinking habits.

What about you?

Are you taking the Day Designer “30 Days to My Best Me” Challenge? How was your week? If you’re not taking this challenge, what kinds of habits do you do on a daily basis, and how do they help you?