Bulletin Board Project

In my bedroom, I have two bulletin boards. I’ve got all sorts of things on them, from quotes to things I need to deal with to library receipts to whatever else. However, it’s on there so willy-nilly that it’s not actually all that helpful. So I decided to something about that. Here are what they looked like before I got started:

Bulletin Board 1
Apologies for the blurry picture.

Bulletin Board 2Quite the mess! I pulled everything off of the boards and sorted it out on my bed. See the big red recall notice? Turns out I had three of them. I don’t need three to remind me to take care of that! I also discovered an expired coupon, my voter registration card, and a few other things that either belonged somewhere else or were just trash.

Sorted pilesOnce I had things sorted into groups, I borrowed some wrapping ribbon for the next step. I cut a few pieces of ribbon and used them to divide my boards into sections, using the push pins to keep the ribbon in place.

Ribbon

Bulletin board divided 1

Bulletin board divided 2Once that was done, I put things back, keeping them in their own section. For example, on my bigger board, I had a section for quotes, things to take care of, and my library receipts telling me when my books are due. I also included the paper for the adult summer reading program in that section so I knew where it was.

Bulletin board completed 1On both boards I even had a section left over! It’s so much easier to see what I have and what’s going on. It was a quick, cheap, and easy fix that makes the boards so much more useful and organized! I love it when I can manage to make this happen. 🙂

Bulletin board completed 2What sort of quick organizing projects have you done lately?

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Returning to planning

Yesterday evening I did something that I haven’t done in a couple of months. I sat down with my planner and actually planned out the most important things I wanted to get done today. It used to be I did that every night before going to bed, but somewhere along the way I lost the habit.

In the past, I would make enormous lists and rarely ever accomplished everything I’d set for myself to do. This time, I chose the three most important things I wanted to get done: laundry, a large planning session for my life, and this blog post.

I had forgotten how wonderful it was to get up in the morning and know what I was going to do today beyond just when I needed to be at work. I actually had a plan today!

My planning session this morning was even better. A couple of weeks ago I made a list of my highest priorities (or what I wanted them to be). Today I decided to group them into four categories: physical, mental, social, and spiritual. This was easy to remember and helped me limit my focus, as I decided each month I would set a goal in each of those four areas. For example, I decided that my desire to become more organized would fit under physical, as it often involved my physical space and time. (It made sense to me!) For this month, I decided my goal would be to use my planner by planning every night and completing my top three to do items each day. I have a sneaking suspicion that doing so will help a lot of other things fall into place in my life!

Beyond identifying my priorities and setting goals, I also made a to do list of things that I needed to get done this week. I can pull my top three to dos each day from that list now.

Honestly, doing this has been such a relief. And limiting myself to a top three things that absolutely have to get done in a day is also a relief, because when they’re done, even if I didn’t get anything else done today, I know I accomplished the most important things to me. And three items is actually do able. Sometimes in the past I would have 5 or more, especially if I had a lot of homework due. When I couldn’t finish them all, I felt like a failure. Thanks to my depression, I can feel like that without any sort of cause, so no need to set myself up for failure in planning and time management!

As the saying goes, “He who fails to plan plans to fail.” How has planning helped you?

“Chore List”

So I mentioned I had a chore list  in my post last week on how I’d blown my filing out of proportion. Basically, this idea came about because I wasn’t accomplishing even the basics of keeping my space clean. So I made up this list, stuck it in a sheet protector (so I could mark the list with a whiteboard marker and then wipe it clean), put it on a clipboard, and hung it up on my bedroom wall. As you saw in the post last week, it looks like this:

Chore list

Here’s a close up of the actual list (Click on the link. It was the only way I could make it big enough):

Cleaning List

This is personalized for me. You may notice there are no kitchen cleaning items on here. That’s because I’m currently living with my parents and so the kitchen cleaning is a group effort. These are the things I need to do to take care of the space I’m over. I also included a few computer cleaning chores— cleaning out my downloads and the reading list on Safari. That’s the left hand column. The right hand column is other things I want to accomplish each day or week.

Is it working? Sort of. I’m not accomplishing very much on the list each week. But I notice it and do look at it, even if I don’t get very much done on it. So it’s at least on my brain. I’m hoping that as the summer moves forward, I’ll get into more of a groove and by the time school rolls around, taking care of most of this list each week will be habit. The thing I’m allowing myself is permission to NOT do everything on the weekly or daily list every week or day. Some weeks/days it’s just not possible with everything else I have going on. But if I can at least remember that I intended to do these things and actually try to do as many of them as I can, then I’m counting it as a win. It’s more than I would have done without this.

Saving money on snacks

Switching from a full-time job to working part-time while at college has been a bit of a switch for my budget. So I’m trying to find ways I can be frugal and save some money. Since I starting my summer job, I noticed a small problem/bad habit I was creating. Usually when I hit mid-afternoon or so while working, I’d be starving. So I would toddle down to the nearby convenience store, buying whatever largely unhealthy treat struck my fancy. Not good for my waistline, not good for my budget. So today, I can up with a solution to that.

I’m lucky enough that I have an office I’m working out of most of the time, so I could store some snacks here. This morning I gathered together snacky kinds of foods I had already and packaged them up into individualized servings if need be.

IMG_1798

Yes, that includes some M&Ms and some other small candies. A girl needs her chocolate every now and then.

Next I plopped them into a tote I already had. To my surprise, it all actually fit. Those things can hold a lot!

IMG_1799

And there you go! I brought my little tote to work today and now I have plenty of slightly healthier, free snacks to eat when the munchies hit! I know it’s not much, but for me, it’s a bit of foresight and organizing that I usually don’t seem to manage these days. And since it’s all stuff I’d already bought, it will save me some money. As a returning college student paying for tuition either through student loans or out-of-pocket, any kind of money I can save helps!

 

 

 

Blowing things out of proportion

I (re)learned something interesting a few nights ago. I was feeling a bit down because I didn’t feel like I’d accomplished much that day. For example, here is my “chore list” (More on that in a future post):

Chore list

Mind you, this was part way through the week and I hadn’t done a single thing on that list. Oy. So, I decided to tackle the monster that had been mocking me for weeks: my filing.

Filing

The folders are my filing cabinet, as it were. The shoebox is a future project, and the top drawer and the pile in front were what needed to be sorted. I’d been putting it off because I was certain it would take forever and I’m not really fond of filing. (In fact, I took the picture because I planned to write a post about my fight with filing and filing systems. I probably still will at some point.)

But I needed to do something to feel like I’d actually accomplished something. So I set the timer on my phone for 15 minutes, turned up some tunes, and had at it. I promised myself that whatever was done in that 15 minutes, that would be good enough and I would be done for the day.

This was how it looked 13.5 minutes later.

Finished filing

I filed everything and cleaned up in less than that 15 minutes. I’d been putting this off for WEEKS because I thought it was going to take so long and I finished it in less than 15 minutes.

I think everyone, not just people with depression or another mental illness, tend to blow a task out of proportion. We look at something and imagine that it’s going to be so much more difficult than it actually is. But I have noticed that I tend to do this a bit more since my depression really hit. I already know I’m depleted in energy, and so things seem just that much harder. And so they get put off, again and again. But really, they’re a simple job and if I would just sit down and do it, it would be done.

Was it a silly little thing in the grand scheme of things? Yes. Did I still blow it out of proportion and make it more difficult in my head than it was? Yes. Will I do it again? Probably. But maybe the next time I assume something is going to be too hard or take too long and I want to put it off, I’ll remember my 13.5 minute filing job and sit down and get to work. Who knows? Maybe I’ll surprise myself again with how little time and effort something takes.