What have I been up to? March 2017

Time for my March monthly recap – read on for lots of lists! Please share what you have been up to this month in the comments.

What have I been up to-

I spent the first third of the month alone in the flat as my hairier half was away, which was quite a strange experience. One of the positives is that I reached out to my friends and family more and had quite a few lovely Skype sessions – something I want to keep up! I also went on my first run and swim in a long, long time, which felt lovely.

When he got back, we went to see a (surprisingly progressive) stand-up show by Andy Parsons with his parents. Another first was going to a Carbon Cutters meeting and learning more about permaculture and Edible Abingdon – hopefully more on that later! Towards the middle of the month I was feeling a bit spontaneous: after a meeting with the Tree Council in London, I hopped on a bus to Paris for a STeDe reunion! It was lovely to see many of the people I studied with a couple years ago (time flies!); my sister was a wonderful host and I even somehow convinced The Boyfriend to come with me. Note to self: sleeping on a coach = not the best way to travel – still, we got very decently priced tickets at the last minute!

Spring has (kind of) sprung and it’s lovely to see all the flowers out – I even went bare-legged (eek) last Saturday to lunch with my grandparents and a retro fair! I also cycled to work for the first time in a long time last week. It’s quite lovely being outside – I just need to drop the to-do list from time to time and go enjoy it!

Some of the things that have been keeping my mind busy this month include: thinking about international women’s day and how girls/women are treated in general; reading Wild, The Sleep Revolution and Conducting Research in Conservation; working on a paper and presentation for the Trees, People and the Built Environment conference and PhD scholarship applications (feel free to fund my education by sending me a few tens of thousands of pounds!).

I also had a lovely couple of days in Torquay this week for a workshop on the Torbay i-Tree Trail – more on that soon! Slightly less exciting – but I love taking note of my “firsts” (start doing it, it’ll make you happy too, you’ll see!) – I had my first pineapple fritter yesterday: very yummy. 🙂

Goals

  • Post five blog posts – 3/5 including this one;
  • Go running four times – hmm I only made it out once for a run this month, but can only go up from there in April;
  • Produce draft end-of-module assignment for The Open University course I’m taking – a bit late on that one but working on it today.

The moral of the story is probably to start smaller with my goals!

Wins and accomplishments

  • Living it up: doing fun things on weekends (going to Paris for instance!) and making the most of my time in Torbay;
  • Submitting our TPBE paper and presentation;
  • Getting my finances into a happier place as a combination of reducing my purchases of unnecessary items during Lent (well, I did buy a few items of clothing and jewellery at a retro fair…) and income from my freelance work (feel free to contact me if you think I could help you).

Losses

  • Going to bed too late / sleeping in / not getting enough sleep: some day I’ll figure this out…
  • Having “upset” phases: I’ve had blood tests done and I seem medically normal – so maybe I’m just crazy?
  • Not getting enough exercise earlier in the month, despite how much better it makes me feel

Fixes

  • Cooking dinner earlier to help me into “bedtime” mode;
  • Getting my tasks done for the day to avoid pile-up and overwhelm;
  • Keeping up my new-found momentum (I’m doing the hundred pushups challenge as well as my usual exercise routine).

Things I’m grateful for

A non-exhaustive list (in no particular order) of things that made me happy in March:

  • My other half arriving safely in Thailand and doing what he loves (diving);
  • Listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast: the interview with Cal Newport has motivated me to make an effort to work in blocks without distractions;
  • Lovely contributions to a girls night at mine – unfortunately the daffodils that brought me a lot of joy earlier in the month are now looking a bit sulky;
  • Sunny weather;
  • Doing a workout;
  • Working from home;
  • My black jeans, which make casual professional outfits easier;
  • Inputting all the data to Treezilla for our research paper;
  • Being able to get enough sleep (sometimes);
  • My other half coming home;
  • My mum spending time with family “up North”;
  • Being able to send articles to my Kindle;
  • The temperatures getting warmer;
  • My determination to get things done (PhD scholarship applications, this blog, exercise…);
  • Having cleaned and tidied the flat;
  • Making the time to listen to podcasts;
  • Being moved forward for ESRC funding;
  • Saving for travels;
  • Having a lot of food to eat;
  • Being back home after Paris;
  • Having the flexibility to prioritize myself;
  • Colourful clothes;
  • Having an iPod to listen to podcasts and music on;
  • Coming up with a prioritization system for my tasks;
  • Boyfriend’s efforts: notes, flowers, patience;
  • Reading several chapters of my books;
  • The Biz Time with Asia and Slow Your Home podcasts;
  • Having more money in my bank account;
  • Buying clothes at the vintage fair;
  • Going to Torbay;
  • Getting better at delivering my TPBE conference presentation;
  • Having plans to go to the cinema this weekend;
  • My muscles feeling a little sore the day after a workout;
  • Creating space in my schedule and to-do list;
  • The beautiful tulips my boyfriend got me;
  • A relaxing evening ahead: making curry and playing The Sims 2 (someone has to keep playing it!). 😉

If you look back on the past month and you’re not even sure what happened to it, never mind what your accomplishments were or what you’re grateful for, don’t despair! There are a few easy ways of keeping track of your life instead of watching it whoosh by.

One of the easiest ways is by doing a teeny-tiny bit of journaling every day. I have been using the One Sentence Journal since February 2014: it only takes a couple minutes before bed to record a few thoughts about your day and it’s lovely to see what I was doing “on this day” last year, the year before that and the year before that!

The other (complementary) way is to grab one or two notebooks and use them to write:

  • Your weekly/monthly/yearly goals in order to keep track of your progress and/or
  • Things you are grateful for / random thoughts on a daily basis.

I’m looking forward to warmer weather (please!) in April and having a few days off over the Easter break – don’t get me wrong, I love my job, but four days off just sound very exciting right now! In the shorter term, Rob and I are going to celebrate being together for a year and a half by going to the cinema together for the very first time and making some bread this weekend – it’s the little things. 🙂

That’s it folks – quite a long post! Please share your thoughts, achievements and adventures in the comments box below!

N.B.: I’ve been playing around with the format of my blog and newsletter, so sorry in advance if things look a bit quirky. Please do tell me if you find any glitches!

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  1. Pingback: What have I been up to? April 2017 – J. L. Goodenough

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