I’ve been blogging off and on (mostly off, if I’m being honest) for over a decade, which means I’ve probably been reading blogs for closer to 15 years. I love blogs because I love good writing and I love spaces where you get to take a peek into someone else’s life. The list of blogs I read regularly has dwindled quite a bit as many of my past favorite writers either stopped blogging or became too insufferable to even hate read, but I still have several favorites that I check regularly.
That being said, I only have two blog posts that I have bookmarked and am probably dorky enough to actually print off on real paper just to ensure I never lose them. These are my two game changers that have actually changed my life in a small but noticable way:
1. Swistle’s In the Bucket. IN! Okay, so Swistle is probably the blogger that I would most like to be friends with in real life and her blog is my all time favorite. I love many of her posts because reading her blog feels like having coffee with a friend. The bucket post is peak Swistle, in my humble opinion. This post about not letting all-or-nothing thinking make you feel paralyzed in the face of tasks that need doing and life’s unending to-do lists spoke to my very soul. All-or-nothing thinking is a trap I fall into far too easily: I had some candy, so I might as well have that donut, pint of ice cream, and large bowl of Frosted Flakes. I don’t have time to clean the whole basement storage area, so I won’t clean any of it. I spent a little money on Amazon, so Zulily, here I come. This kind of thinking inevitably leads to a sugar hang over and minor feelings of financial guilt.
But no! I can put drops in my bucket. I have found that reminding myself of this post and using the timer function on my phone has really helped me get some shit done and feel a little bit better about myself afterwards. Today, for example, I set my phone timer for 15 minutes and started in one corner of the basement (which hasn’t really been cleaned or organized since we moved in three years ago, GAH). I was in a good grove when the timer buzzed so I kept going for a few minutes longer and managed to fill one whole trash bag, get another bag set aside for Goodwill, and post one item on the local BST page, which sold in three minutes. Now one small corner of the space is free of clutter and cobwebs and we have $10 more dollars for the family fun fund*.
I use this trick at work A LOT when it comes to dealing with the endless flow of emails I get. I set my timer for 30 minutes and do nothing but deal with email. I can almost never be fully caught up on email but I can make a bad situation better. Drops! In! The! Bucket!
*This year I’ve decided that everything I sell on the buy, sell, trade page or two a consignment or secondhand store is going into an envelope to be used for our next big family vacation, when and wherever that is. We call it the family fun fund and the kids are VERY into this as a concept.
2. Wil Wheaton’s Do Something Kind For Future You I read this post not too long ago and it has really helped me think about how I spend my time and energy. The basic gist is that whenever you can, you should do something that makes Future You’s life a little easier. I’ve been thinking about this in terms of things like exercise (I wish Past Me had done more to stay active so Current Me wasn’t having so many issues with back pain and generally lumpiness) and my time. Yesterday, for example, I was trying to decide what to do all afternoon with the kids. The weather was lovely and part of me wanted to do something outside, like go for a hike at a local state park I’ve heard good things about. Another part of me wanted to sit on my couch and read. Both of these are valid choices. But I asked myself which choice Future Me would be most glad that I made and I ended up taking the kids and my college age niece for a hike and it was beautiful. Pre-hike, the thought of getting the kids in their boots, packing the backpack, driving 35 minutes to the park, etc. felt like work, or at least enough like it that it distracted me from remembering that I really like hiking and I really, really like seeing my kids out in the woods. Thinking about what Future Me would have wanted helped me push through the work part so I was able to enjoy the fun part.
Okay, now I am going to go read on my porch because Future Me also wants Current Me to be happy.