Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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An Organization Quest

Since I finished school1, I no longer have an excuse for my place to be a mess. For the past two years, I was able to tell myself that I didn’t have time to be organized, but now that I’ve got nothing but time on my hands, I think it’s time to do a total reboot of my apartment.

Organizing my Seed StashAs I was thinking these lofty thoughts, I came across this on Lifehacker: 52 weeks to an organized home. It’s a series of challenges where you tackle one organizing task per week. The idea with it is that you can’t do everything at once, and even if you could, you’d probably just mess it all up right away anyway, because you haven’t given each new organizing solution enough time to let it sink in and become a new habit. Also, giving yourself a week to do each task allows you to spend time thinking about the best way to set things up for your particular (for lack of a better phrase) work flow and to test out the new configuration to see if it works. It’s basically Lean and prototyping2.

What really appeals to me about this is that I don’t have to decide where to start. I think of it as being similar to running. When I’m training for a half marathon, I follow a training plan where each day that I need to run, the decision about how long I need to run that day has already been made for me – maybe I run 12 km on Sunday, 5 km on Tuesday, 8 hill repeats on Wednesday. I know when I have to run and how far and so having to make a decision about that is eliminated as a barrier to me actually going and doing it. So it’s much the same with this organizing program. This week you organizing your kitchen counters, next week you organize your kitchen cabinets, etc.

As I’m organizing, I have to keep reminding myself to take it one step at a time. Like this week, I’m organizing kitchen counters, which means all the stuff that I had stacked on my counters that didn’t belong that had to be moved, ideally to the location where I’ll ultimately be wanting it. But as I do that, I’m super tempted to then organize that other location completely, but I know that if I fall into that trap, I’m going to become overwhelmed with all of it and that’s what this program is trying to avoid. So I’m trying to be content with shoving things in a cabinet or closet that isn’t organized, as I know I’ll get to it on a future week.

TastefulThat’s not to say that I’m not organizing *anything* that’s off schedule, as I have re-arranged my living room to accommodate the flat screen TV I bought myself as an “I’m done school” present, which necessitated moving a bookshelf from the living room to the growerly3, and since I had to take all the books off said shelf to move it, I used that opportunity to organize the bookshelf a little better. I also set up a better spot to keep my recycling bins, because they were totally in the way where I had been keeping them, as well as creating a box to put things to donate in4, as I figure the organizing process will generate a fair bit of things to recycle and things to donate.

So, that’ s my plan for the next 52 weeks. But this time next year, I’ll have the most organized apartment ever!

Image Credits:


  1. Fun fact: 57% of my sentences these days start with “Since I finished school”. The other 43% start with “When I was in Ireland”. []
  2. See, I learned useful stuff in school! []
  3. Not to mention rearranging how my living room furniture was configured. []
  4. As I had just been shoving stuff into a plastic bag, which wasn’t working well at all. []


90-day Fitness & Accountability Challenge

When I was in Toronto at Christmas, I had the good fortune of hanging out with Dr. Dan and Mr. Rick. There was dinner and beer and shopping and other such things of a celebratory nature. And there was also a discussion of an idea Rick had come up with: the 90-day Fitness & Accountability Challenge. The long version of it is over on Rick’s blog. The quick version of it is that Rick has motivated, inspired, and recruited a group of nearly 30 people to make a commitment to challenge themselves to improve their fitness levels over a 90 day period. The challenge each person is taking on is personal – by first assessing our current level of activity, we then said “What can I do that will push myself out of my comfort zone?”

For me, I’ve been doing 4 runs per week since November as part of the YVR Nike Running study that I’m participating in, so I decided that to really kick it up a notch, I’m going to do 6 workouts per week. The workouts have to be a minimum of 30 minutes and will likely consist of 4 days per week of running, plus hockey and possibly some yoga and maybe some skiing. I’m going to set up some spreadsheet awesomeness to track all this – Dr. Dan did some kickass tracking widgets over on his blog and that inspired me, but that will have to wait for another day. I can tell you that since the challenge started on Monday, I’ve done two runs and a hockey game, and I have two more runs and two more hockey games scheduled before the end of day on Sunday1, so I’m starting off strong. I think scheduling things in advance will be the key for me in this challenge. I’ll be sure to keep you updated on how things progress!

  1. In fact, on Sunday I have a 13 km run in the morning, a mid-day hockey game, and an evening hockey game scheduled! []


NaBloPoMo, Yo.

NaBloPoMo November 2012Reading Chris’s blog yesterday, I was reminded that November is National Blog Posting Month (a.k.a. NaBloPoMo), the month where bloggers try to post a blog posting every single day. And since I blogged yesterday, and now I’m blogging today, that means I’m 1/15th of the way to completing this! I’ve successfully completed NaBloPoMo every year since 2008, so if I can do it again this year, that would make it FIVE years in a row!

I’m also two days into the November Three-way Challenge of Awesomeness, which is going just swimmingly1. Yesterday I had to work from 8 am until 7 pm, as I had to attend the launch of a program at two different hospitals, once of which didn’t a morning coffee session launch and the other of which did a dinner launch event. And, being the evaluator for the initiative, I needed to be at both events to discuss the essential evaluation issues. Which meant an 11 hour work day. I’d originally thought I’d have some time to do some office yoga, you know, with it being an 11 hour work day and all, but with the various events and meetings and traveling to said events and meetings and scrambling to get a few tasks done in between said events and meetings and traveling, I barely had time to scarf done my lunch at my desk, let alone get my bend on.

But I knew that I couldn’t fail on the November Three-way Challenge of Awesomeness *on the very first day* – see, there’s that accountability thing we were talking about – so when I got home after my 11 hour work day, rather than saying “I’m sooo tired, I just want to sit on the couch and read/surf the Internet”, I said, “I have to do some physical activity!” And I headed down to the exercise room with my computer, where I rode the exercise bike while watching an episode of Dexter2! October Beth would not have done that, but November Beth was completely motivated. And the 50 minutes of biking flew by! Go me!

Today I have a teleconference at 11 am, so that should be good for at least a half an hour of yoga stretches! And then I’ll be 1/15th of the way done my NTWCoFA! Hooray for challenges!

  1. Though I haven’t, as of yet, gone swimming. []
  2. I’m still an episode behind, so no one tell me what’s happened in the most recent episode! []