I’m currently reading Everything That Remains: A Memoir by The Minimalists, and there is this one section that really resonated with me about organization habits between hoarders and “cunning organizers”:
Truthfully, though, most organizing is nothing more than well-planned hoarding.
Sure, both sides — the hoarders and the cunning organizers — go about their hoarding differently, but the end result is not appreciably different. Whether our homes are strewn with wall-to-wall junk or we have a color-coded and alphabetized methodology to camouflage our mess, we’re still not dealing with the real problem. No matter how organized we are, we must continue to care for the stuff we organize, sorting and cleaning our meticulously structured belongings.
When I read this, I put down my Kindle Paperwhite and thought about this in the sense of time. How often do we as professionals, board members or insert-other-work-related-title-here try to organize our time not by actually spending it in ways we want, but rather by organizing it into pockets of time that keep our professional commitments flowing seamlessly like juggling balls in the air?
I know I’m guilty. I have a feeling I’m not alone.
TAKING BACK OUR TIME
We need to stop pretending to cunningly organize our time for things that are “musts” in the eyes of others and get rid of something to make room to care for and better ourselves. While I’m not advocating we all go and put in our two-weeks notice today to live like nomads, I am suggesting that we be a little more conscious about how we spend our time.
This is a goal for my 2016. I am going to say no to more things and make room to work on the skills I think will better my life. I can justify saying no, because I think my list of five will, in turn, better my professional endeavors as well. Nothing is mutually exclusive here.
So this is my list of five in 2016 to taking back my time and adding in the things that will better me as a human:
1. START MAINTAIN A BLOG
This goal was originally to start my own blog. I figured, however, since starting a blog occurred in the first month of the year, I needed to amend this to maintaining a blog. Starting something is one [big] challenge, but I also want to see how I can grow and learn in the process.
So far, I have done hours upon hours of research (I’m Type A, if you haven’t gotten that yet) on crafting the perfect blog post, increasing blog traffic and how to outline for your posts. I even took a class on Skillshare about marketing your blog.
It’s been fun thus far, and even if the only ones who read my posts are my mom and dog (he’s nestled up next to me on the couch as I’m writing this…so it counts) I know that I’ve learned a new skill along the way.
2. LEARN TO BE A BETTER HUMAN
I don’t think we ever stop learning to be better individuals (unless you’re a sociopath or something), but I think we can always be more intentional about it.
I have been a fan of Brené Brown for some time now, ever since I saw her TED talk about vulnerability from back in 2010. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend you watch it. Actually, I’m going to leave it right here for you to watch:
Wasn’t that great?!
Anyway, every year Brené offers a 12-week class that takes a deeper dive into her books surrounding her latest research. This year’s class is called the “Living Brave Semester” and provides the “opportunity to explore what it means to fully show up in our lives – to be brave, lean into vulnerability, and to rumble with the challenges that come with living a daring life.”
So I enrolled myself and Camara (my roommate and best friend, if you don’t know that already) in the course and it actually kicks off this week! We’re both excited and look forward to walking away from this course in 12 weeks with a better understanding of ourselves and the relationships we maintain.
3. LEARN PHOTOGRAPHY
I’ve spent a good amount of time learning to take better photos on my iPhone for my Instagram account. I think I’ve come along way if you check out my photos now,
compared to this first post back in 2012:
When I felt I had a decent handle on finding unique angles for photos, I thought it was time to take it to the next level. So this past Christmas I gifted myself my first DSLR, a Nikon D3200. Between starting a blog that would require some personal photos, and pushing myself to take better Instagram photos, I conducted some research and landed on the D3200 as a nice starter camera.
I’ve only just begun to teach myself the ins and outs of photography, but I’ve already taken a couple of free online classes and use the blog Photography Life’s “Tips for Beginners” page as my DSLR bible. Things can only get better from here, right?
4. LIVING A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
The first impetus to really prioritize a healthier lifestyle was the Fitbit Flex I received as a gift for Christmas. Not really the gift itself, but rather the realization of how sedentary I am during the day as a result of the gift (let’s just say I was averaging about 3,000 steps a day and the calorie intake wasn’t far behind). Thus sparked Camara and my kick-it-into-gear changes we’re launching this week.
We’re going to be holding each other accountable and, much to Camara’s protest, getting up at 6 a.m. for the gym three times a week. I’m calling this “Couch to Gym Life.”
Good thing Planet Fitness’ credo is a “judgment free zone.”
The way I see it, we sacrifice time for things like work, meetings, paying bills, TV reruns, Netflix binges and other pastimes yet somehow forget about prioritizing the one thing that has to be healthy enough to sit through all these activities: our bodies.
5. READ MORE
I love reading. A lot.
Unfortunately, reading seemed to be one thing that always got pushed off the cliff of prioritization to make room for other “important” things.
And so I set a goal, making it public through Goodreads’ reading challenge, to read 40 books in 2016. Is it a little ambitious? Sure. Impossible? Not even. My “To-Read” list is already at 29 books, so finding books will definitely not be the issue.
I even joined Emma Watson’s new feminist book club, Our Shared Shelf, which I’m beyond excited about. First up, Gloria Steinem’s “My Life on the Road.”
If you have any must-read recommendations, let me know!
TIME TO PUT MY MONEY TIME WHERE MY MOUTH IS
Now that I’ve publicly laid out how I am going to take back my time and work on bettering myself as a whole, it’s time for me to actually do it. I’ll be checking in on my progress through The Colorful Perspective website, social media and electronic newsletter (if you haven’t subscribed, followed @TheColorfulBlog on Twitter or liked TCP’s Facebook page, I will now wait patiently for you to do so…back already? Great!).
Will I make mistakes along the way? I’m sure I will. Will I regret them more than not trying at all? I don’t think so. To start somewhere in the chaos and take back my time is what matters.
By cutting through the clutter, I will be able to spend my time on things this year I deem truly important — blogging, bettering my skills as a human, photography, health, and reading.
And as The Minimalists said it best:
Once the excess stuff is out of the way, staying organized is much easier anyway; it’s like getting organized without the stress of actual organizing.
What are you doing this year to take back your time?