here’s to the best year yet ….

I am not one to go in for new year resolutions but I am all in favour of new year plans.  Which I suppose are a variation on the NYR with more backup.  If your NYR was one of the pretty standard ones “I want to lose 20lb” then even the most ill forward thinker would have enough nouse to know that the 20lb will not just fall off all of its own accord.  A plan is required to assist the process.  This is variously known as “going on a diet”,  “eating more sensibly”, “joining the gym” or “bloody  hell my bikini has been shrunk”.



The problem is with all those other more nebulous resolutions.  “I will declutter”  “I will spend less money”,  “I will write more letters and send less emails”  “We will grow more of our own veg”.  The resolution is made, the virtuosity index hits the roof and then……….. nothing happens.

How you plan is entirely up to you.  But there are three vital ingredients to achieving what you want to do, PLAN, PLAN and PLAN.  I have tried various systems over the years, both my own and those dreamt up by other people.  My personal favourite is The Best Year Yet  I first used it some six years ago and worked from the book .  Now I use the website because I like the interactive monthly and weekly goal setting, the interactive review process and the information about how well I am doing at each goal.

There are a plethora of systems out there, don’t take too long looking at them all.  At the end of the day it is your goals that count not how you get to them.

Once goals are in place you need to break them down into manageable chunks and that is where I love BYY.  I can print out a weekly set of tasks that are directly related to each goal and pin them in the appropriate page in my uncalendar.  So when I am planning my tasks each day I am reminded every time I look at my to do list of the things I have to do if I want to have my best year yet.

I am a bit of an organiser freak, and readers of my previous blog Skybluepinkish will have journeyed with me as  I sought to find the best way to keep my life on track.  For the past year and a half I have gone back to my filofax


and added an uncalendar .


The former holds my diary, notes and bits and bobs.  The latter is command control.  It holds my daily to do list, meeting notes, telephone messages and notes to self.  Weekly accountability for personal disciplines (eg yoga, walking, meditation, morning prayer and journalling routines etc.), weekly menu plans, anything at all that pertains to day to day living.

Whatever rocks your boat.  But even if you make a plan it won’t work unless you have a means of breaking down the plan into manageable chunks and keeping track of your progress.  Personal accountability is key.

And what does this have to do with decluttering or minimalism or living a clearer life?  Look around you.  How many half finished jobs, half finished craft projects are lying around your home.  How many half completed ideas are cluttering up your brain and oozing guilt every time you come across them.  How many grand plans have been cut short for lack of funds – how much  money have you paid out on clothes, food, petrol, insurance, books etc because you didn’t think ahead and had to purchase in an emergency?  What if you had saved that money, could that grand plan have come to fruition?

Whatever you want to do.  Wherever you want to be this time next year, it won’t happen all on its own.


the insidious nature of paper

Monday morning was a bit of a rush.  I was chairing a meeting at 10.00 and there were a whole load of little jobs I wanted to get down before I left.  So I grabbed my Uncalendar and began my to do list.   Then I stopped.  The first written word of the day.


I have a perfectly good phone I could write my list on there.  This is hurting.  I HATE using electronic planners and diaries.  I am totally wedded to the system I have set up for myself using a Filofax and Uncalendar.  I am an organisational freak, I could write an entire blog about how to organise your life, your cupboards.  I am the little girl who catalogued all her books and thought organising her knicker drawer was a good way to while away an afternoon.  I cannot go digital.

I knew this would hurt.  But I didn’t realise how much.  Still, this week is about noticing where and how I used the written word, printed or handwritten and looking at how I can change my habits.  It is not about cutting them all out on day one.  Which is a great relief.

I could change to digital insofar as digital diaries and planners exist.  But first of all they have to be charged on a regular basis, secondly you have to turn it on, scroll to the right page, bring up the keyboard, type it in and save.  Compare that to filofax.  Open, remove pen from pen loop, write, close.


Also I am a very visual person.  I could never use a digital clock because I can’t see the space between the time now and the time I have to be at a meeting for example.  Instead I have to work out that there are 50 minutes between now 13.30 and the meeting 14.20.  Consequently when I open my filofax I can see my week.  I understand what the arrows mean across various days.  I can see the space in my day.  It gets a bit more complicated when I move into the Uncalendar, but I cannot imagine turning that into something manageable digitally and still being able to give me an instant picture.

At the meeting there was an agenda and the minutes of the previous meeting.  Both of these are on my laptop so no problem there.  I was unexpectedly minute taker as well and I did that by hand.  I could easily have done that on the laptop so a lesson learned there.

One of the charities we are supporting came to give us a presentation.  It was excellent – he gave out business cards at the end.  I took one.  Why?  I have his email address, I have his website address with all his contact details.  I didn’t need to take a bit of cardboard.  Lesson Two.

On the way home I dropped off a carpet stretcher we had hired to replace the flooded carpet in Singer Two’s bedroom.  On hiring it I was given a receipt.  On returning it I was given another one.  Why did there need to be two?

I sent a parcel to Ireland and was given a receipt.  I didn’t ask for proof of posting.

It is only mid afternoon and I have already accumulated 4 pieces of unwanted words and paper.  I haven’t even looked at the post yet.