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About the LabAnandiRCComment

It's the end of the year, and time to review and wrap up 2015.

My word for 2015 was COMPLETE. It was a good one. I am an enthusiastic starter of projects, but less excited about the slog through the middle. I'm also a good finisher, but I often get stuck in the middle. Especially if it involves sanding, sorting photos, or decluttering stuff I never cared about in the first place.

I finally finished painting this for T, about 18 months after we bought it.

I finally finished painting this for T, about 18 months after we bought it.

I made a list of projects I wanted to complete, and I fell far short of it. But I've learned something else over the past year since I started planning my daily and weekly tasks on paper. I *vastly* overestimate what I can get done in a period of time.

I forget that I'll have interruptions by small people or work matters. I forget that I need to eat regular meals and that I need breaks between completing detailed work tasks. I forget that my brain is mush by the time I've put the girls to bed at 7:30pm, and the only thing I'm good for at that point is surfing the web or reading.

I'm learning. I go to bed early now on a regular basis. I can't remember the last time I was up past midnight.  Or 11pm, for that matter. I spend the last 30 minutes before bed reading one of the many books I bring home from our wonderful library.

I've been waking up anywhere between 5:15am and 7:00am on most days, giving me at least 30 minutes before the girls need to be coaxed through their morning routines. My daily to do lists are shorter - no more than 5 items. If I get them all done - whee! - and I can pick a short errand or quick chore from my weekly list. But I'm focusing very hard on not overscheduling myself, either with tasks or appointments and events. This brings me peace.

I did complete several projects on that list this year:

  • My Week in the Life 2014 Album
  • My Project Life 2014 Album
  • Processing ALL of my 2014 photos including the Disney trip with 1000+ photos
  • Refinishing an old dresser I bought for T so she has a place for her clothes
  • Set up the girls' new shared bedroom
  • Kon-Mari'd the heck out of my clothes/jewelry/accessories, linens and crafty/house stuff
  • Found my forever phone
  • Sold or gave away almost all of our baby & toddler stuff
  • Planned and held a birthday party our girls loved
  • Created 3 client scrapbooks as The Papercraft Lab
  • Updated our will for the first time since 2008
  • Made 12+ scrapbook pages plus more than half of 2015's Project Life album
  • Made a stash of birthday cards at the beginning of the year
  • Made and sent all of our holiday cards

That's a lot of stuff in addition to the day to day life of work, family, and fun. I feel pretty good about that, even though I didn't check off the entire list.

Having the word COMPLETE to focus on was a good reminder, especially when I was tempted to veg out online. The lure of Facebook is less appealing to me now - I'm realizing how much less satisfied I am browsing and scrolling vs. reading something I chose specifically or working on a crafty project.

I thought I did better with visual reminders of what I haven't done, like keeping albums out on the table or that pile of paperwork visible in the overflowing inbox. But I realized this kind of "visual clutter" overwhelms me. It doesn't inspire me to get to work - it wants me to hide in another room where I don't have to look at it. So I put it all away. I made a list of what needs to be handled. Seeing clean, open spaces on my desk and tables paradoxically makes me MORE willing to buckle down and get into the guts of a project.

With this knowledge, I've picked my word for 2016. I'll still be focusing on my uncompleted projects: Project Life 2015, Day in the Life 2015, Holiday 2015 album, and another dresser, this time for M. But that's a topic for another post.

See related posts at The Papercraft Lab