Getting Started

When I started reading The Happiness Project, and knew I wanted to start my own I decided that I needed something tangible to get more excited and invested in the project. Something of a simple craft almost. I decided almost immediately that I wanted a binder to keep track of my happiness project. Yesterday while the hubby and I were grocery shopping I ran to the office supply section and picked out a binder and some markers to start my project.  Currently my plan is this, get the binder set up and start planning.

Since my goal for January is getting organized, my first order of business is to plan the month, and each day try and plan my day out. Often times I personally feel like I can get nothing accomplished because there is so much I want to do that I assume there is no time for it.

My first step is going to be to plan out my hours for work for the month. I am a CPA and as some of you may know, January starts our busy season. At my office we gradually work into the work weeks extending by doing something like 40, 45, 55. I believe this past week was our 40 hour week, and next week we’ll be asked to do 45, and then I believe after that we are in full swing and asked to do 55 hours. I know 55 hours sounds like a lot, but when you think that you stretch that over 6 days (normally Saturdays are half days) really, you’re working only about 10 hours of your day. That means, that even once you consider that you might sleep for 8 hours, you still have 6 whole hours to yourself. And sure, some of that time is spent doing things like getting ready for work, making breakfast, commuting, and making dinner but if you’re honest with yourself normally those things take up no more than 2 hours, and you still have that 4 hours left. And when you think about it, four hours is a big chunk of time that you can dedicate to doing things that make you happy and energize you. So in short, my first goal is to look at my month and decide how I can structure my days so I don’t feel the weighed down under the burdensome sound of 55 hour weeks. Because yes, it is a lot of work, but there are a lot of hours in each day.

To aid me in these projects I found some really cute tools that I think will be pretty beneficial. The first is a calendar (reusable really) for each month of the year. One that I’ll write down important things that are going on in our lives (anniversaries, vacations, weddings) and roughly schedule out my work week hours. If you’re interested in doing the same I’ll link the calendar template I used here. I like that this calendar is blank and could theoretically be used again year after year. If you aren’t planning on keeping yours in a binder you could actually slip it in a page protector, put it on your fridge and use a dry erase marker on it and recycle them for a couple of years.  I like that it will give me a big picture view of the month so that I’ll realize that yes, even though I’m busy, I will have time to accomplish things.

The second tool I am going to take advantage of, for a trial period of one week, will be a daily time blocking sheet. I like this idea because at the beginning of each day I can sit down, map out the day, and find time to do the things I want to do. When you give yourself a schedule you are much less likely to waste time. I know I personally waste an enormous amount of time on my smart phone refreshing apps like facebook, twitter, and instagram. I’m not saying that I shouldn’t, or you shouldn’t, use those things but if I give myself a schedule I might check them less frequently. I don’t really need to know immediately that a friend’s toddler has the sniffles. Sure, it is nice to know those things and keep up with people- but it’d be a better use of my time if I looked less frequently. The daily planner template that I am using can be found here. I like that it prompts you to start with your to-do list too. It’s hard to plan your day if you don’t know what you need to do.

This is still the very beginning phases of my project, but this is my start. When I’ve got my notebook a little better underway, perhaps once January has really been started, I’ll do a separate post exclusively on that. Best wishes to anyone else on their happiness projects!

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