Thursday, May 24

The 100 Day Challenge: Day 1- The 11 O'Clock Rule

   One day down, 99 to go.

   Yesterday went well. I did a few chores I’d been putting off and then took a long walk and worked in my sketchbook for about an hour. It wasn’t anything too life-changing, but at the same time, it’s much better than what I’ve been doing.

Sketchbook piece finished yesterday. Rub-on letters are the BEST. Drawn from a photo in a Greek life newspaper.
   One thing I’ve decided to do is something I’ve had in my head for a while but haven’t been good about implementing: The 11 O’clock Rule. I’m naturally a bit messy, but I find that I can’t concentrate on doing anything until my space is clear and organized. If I put off my cleaning and chores, it’s a great excuse to lie around and not do anything productive. So, the 11 O’clock Rule is as follows: all basic chores must be done by 11 am. This is includes general straightening-up, morning dishes, making the bed. I found this to be a very helpful strategy yesterday. I had a pile of dishes from the night before and had also done laundry the other day, which I’d dumped into a pile on the bed once it was clean and then pushed off onto the floor before going to sleep. (There are very few things I hate more than folding laundry, and I will put it off forever.) Trying to get everything done by a certain time got me moving more quickly than usual and got everything out of the way. My mom always says that a task will expand to fit the time you have, and this is important for me to remember, because it’s true. It’s bad enough to waste my whole day before work, and even worse on a day off. I’m not working today and I’m glad that I have everything done and can now focus on things that are actually important. It’s also kind of a good cop-out. Maybe you want to wash all the floors, scrub the bathroom, and clean out the refrigerator, but if it’s not going to happen by 11, something can be pushed off ‘til tomorrow.  Obviously, there are little things that need to be done the rest of the day, and my goal is to keep up with those things so I have less to do the next day and can focus on a bigger weekly chore. Even though I have years of procrastination under my belt, I have to admit that pretty much everything is easier when you don’t put it off. I’m doing my best not to leave any dishes in the sink overnight, leave my dirty clothes on the floor when I take them off at night, or leave stuff out of place when I could easily put it back where it goes.

   Today’s focus will be on making more art since I have the day off and also making note of some info for the start of this challenge: starting weight, starting credit card debt and money in savings. 

   Anyway, it’s noon, time for real life.

Tuesday, May 22

The 100 Day Challenge- Day 0

I haven’t updated this blog in over a year.

Tomorrow I’m going to start a personal challenge- 100 days to a better life. I told my boyfriend about this and he kind of laughed, and later he asked me exactly what this was and where I got the idea. I don’t really know. I’ve been in a rut for a few years, and when I moved from the Philly area to the Cincinnati area less than a year ago to be with my boyfriend while he attends graduate school, I figured I would be able to focus on all the things I want to do. I would finally get healthy, make some art, figure out what I’m doing with a career, save some money. I’m in a state where I know very few people and my glamorous job waiting tables means I have time during the day that I could be using to paint or draw. Instead, I usually find myself catching up on TV, putting off exercise, taking naps that are way too long, or going into a trance-like state while looking at humor websites. 

Speaking of wasting time, a few weeks ago I found myself playing around with my favorite new distraction, my iPhone, and looking up how many days old I am. I found out I was less than 100 days from being 10,000 days old, and I guess that’s why that number stuck in my head. (Today, May 22nd, 2012, I am 9930 days old.) I like the idea of 100 days because it seems like so many and so few days at the same time. I wondered what I could accomplish if I really focused on making my life better for this length of time. 

Time to find out.

I have some ideas of what I want to change and some ideas of how to go about it, but I think part of this experiment will be figuring out what I need to change. 

Here are some things that I know I want to change:

  •   My eating: I’ve done better with eating fresh produce since I’ve been living here, but I’ve been supplementing the healthy stuff with plenty of junk. As I inch closer to my 30’s, I start noticing that I feel worse when I eat food that can be politely described as “total shit”.
  •  Exercise: I go to the gym, sometimes. And I like the gym when I go! But I need to be more committed. I’ve also recently been using a pedometer, which is helpful in seeing the difference between days working (on my feet all day) and days off (where I’m much more likely to be lying around). I would like to be aiming for 12-15,000 steps/day. I have also always been interested in running but I’ve done very little to make it a reality.
  •  Spending habits: My income is variable and makes me nervous. We had a slow start earning money when we moved here and of course there are plenty of expenses incurred in moving. I’ve curbed the credit card spending and stopped pulling from savings during the past few months but I could probably be more thrifty and start actually going in the right direction, paying off debt and building savings.
  •   Art/Career: I got my degree in fine arts, printmaking specifically, and though I know that art is almost impossible to make into a career, some of my fellow students have done a little better than I have. There’s nothing like a facebook stalking session to depress me, especially upon seeing anyone with work being displayed or realizing that people are finishing up grad school and I haven’t taken any steps toward going, even though I want to. I think this is one of my more difficult challenges. First of all, I’m not making much art, but secondly, I have no idea how to promote myself or how to go about getting into or paying for grad school. And thirdly, I don’t really know how to seek out sales opportunities. There’s at least somewhat of an art community in this town but I feel like I never know about craft shows or other events until it’s too late to get involved.
  •    TIME MANAGEMENT: I think this bleeds into almost all my other problems. I am a professional time waster, to say the least. Give me free time, and I’ll squander it. I remember a few times in college when I would spend hours working on school stuff, go to work, then come home and work on school stuff for several more hours. It was hard, but what I always remember is the distinct feeling of getting into bed exhausted and thinking “I was productive today.” I never slept better.

100 days, starting tomorrow.