How To… be more productive.

I think everyone agrees that being productive is better than not.

You get things done, free up time for later in the day and have that satisfaction that comes with being pleasantly busy.

But some days it can be hard to get anything done and you go to bed feeling pretty rubbish, like you have a thousand things to do tomorrow and despite all your hard work, you accomplished nothing today.

To minimize that sort of day, here are some helpful steps to being more productive.

Step 1: Identify your tasks.

As I always say and will continue saying: lists are your friend.

Look at everything you have to do, walk around the house and look for jobs and write a list of everything that needs doing, not necessarily right now, but in the next three to seven days.

Step 2: Categorize their importance.

Make a list of ones that are urgent and a list of ones that make a big difference. Anything on both lists is very important, next comes anything on the urgent list, next on the difference list and finally we have the things that need doing but are neither urgent nor do they make a massive difference.

Step 3: Schedule them.

You only have so many hours in a day. So take the most urgent tasks and schedule them in. Anything that has a set time will obviously need to occupy that time slot regardless of importance, but you should otherwise try and get the most important things done first.

Step 4: Make a BORED? chart.

If you, for whatever reason, need to kill time, then make yourself a BORED chart.

Here is mine as an example:

BORED

Whenever you feel the urge to procrastinate, have an hour of dead space or an episode of mania, whenever you would normally just have a dead, tense gap in the day you regret later, consult your BORED? chart. That way even your slow time is productive.

Step 5: Set long-term goals.

When looking at your tasks, you need to see them as parts of a whole. Some, like doing the dishes, you just do and get done with. But some things, like keeping fit or sorting the garden, need a long term goal in mind. Work out what the end goal of your activities is and set yourself targets to hit. This lets you see how far you’re getting and adjust accordingly.

Step 6: Request accountability checks.

And if you really aren’t sure of your ability to go through with the work or to focus on your goals, why not ask someone to keep an eye on it with you? Having someone to report back to and help you refocus could be a great help.

And that is how I make the most of my time so at the end of the day I usually feel like I used my time wisely.

How do you balance your schedule? Any tips on how to avoid procrastination and maximize your day? Please share in the comments!

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

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100 Questions No One Ever Asks.

Stolen from Dorkchops again. She has the best blog for makeup and hair and finds the best crazy lists!

100 questions people rarely or ever ask.

Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed?
Open. I somehow always manage to grow mould on things, even when laden with silica, unless I leave the doors that tiny bit open. Apparently it’s more about the magic than the airflow, though.

Do you take the shampoos and conditioner bottles from hotel?
Yep. Super penny pincher here. Plus, I use them as stain removers. 🙂

Do you sleep with you sheets tucked in or out?
Untucked. I roll around too much.

Have you ever stolen a street sign before?
Not really. I’ve vandalized a few in the past, though.

Do you like to use post-it notes?
As a private tutor, I am by obligation obsessed with all sorts of stationary. It’s actually part of the certification.

Do you cut out coupon but then never use them?
All the time. Takes hardly a second and if you use it, it was worth it.

Would you rather be attacked by a big bear or a swarm of bees?
A bear is statistically less likely to kill me once the attack has started, so bring it.

Do you have freckles?
Not always, but I get a rare case of ginger-vitis when I’m in the sun for too long.

Do you always smile for pictures?
When I feel like smiling I do.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

People changing the definitions of words every five seconds to suit themselves.

***

Do you ever count your steps when you walk?

When I need to relax I will count or hum to anything.

Have you ever peed in the woods?
Yep.

What about pooped in the woods?
Yep. Scouts are unforgiving there.

Do you ever dance even if there’s no music playing?
No sense of rhythm, so it’s either a few steps of bachata or a sort of flail.

Do you chew your pens and pencils?
Pens, pencils, cutlery, cardboard, wire, anything chewable.

How many people have you slept with this week?
One.

What size is your bed?
King, but I miss our giant Queen sized one.

What is your song of the week?

Is it okay for guys to wear pink?
If they understand that people will judge them whatever they do, then sure.

Do you still watch cartoons?

Anime every day. OnePiece, The Seven Deadly Sins, Tokyo Ghoul, so good.

***

What’s your least favourite movie?
All the Winnie The Pooh ones. We overdid them in our home when I was little and I am still overdosed.

Where would you bury hidden treasure if you had some?
Under the shed.

What do you drink with dinner?
Water or coffee, depending on the mood. Sometimes Bailey’s in the coffee, also depending on the mood.

What do you dip a chicken nugget in?
The bin. I hate fast food chicken.

What is your favourite food?
Eggs, hands down as an ingredient. Pizza as a food.

What movies could you watch over and over and still love?
Oliver and Company or any of the One Piece movies.

Last person you kissed/kissed you?
Jon.

Were you ever a boy/girl scout?
For many years. Loved it, but never made any progress due to zero interest in hierarchy or other people. I was basically there for the mud.

Would you ever strip or pose nude in a magazine?
I’ve been an artist’s model, so it depends on the magazine, I guess.

When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper?
A few months ago when I sent my Dad a care pack with some goodies he can’t get at home.

***

Can you change the oil on a car?
Jon taught me, but it doesn’t stick.

Ever gotten a speeding ticket?
So far still can’t drive.

Ever ran out of gas?
N/A.

Favourite kind of sandwich?
Peanut butter with butter.

Best thing to eat for breakfast?
Steak and eggs and chips.

What is your usual bedtime?
Around 10.30 when Jon’s on days and midnight when he’s on nights or we’re both off work.

Are you lazy?
I probably use my depression as an excuse for idleness from time to time.

When you were a kid, what did you dress up as for Halloween?
It was never so popular in Spain, but I loved dressing as a vampire pretty much every time I could

What is your Chinese astrological sign?
Rooster.

How many languages can you speak?
Three, going on four this year. 🙂

***

Do you have any magazine subscriptions?
RSPB one and National Trust that we get free with our memberships. BHWT one for adopting hens.

Which are better, legos or lincoln dogs?

Lego.

Are you stubborn?
Not as much as I used to be, I don’t think.

Who is better, Leno or Letterman?
I have no idea who these people are.

Ever watch soap operas?
Not since I escaped Spain, land of rubbish dubs and Mexican telenovelas day in, day out.

Are you afraid of heights?
Quite a bit. Wouldn’t like to cross a bridge and find it awkward to stand upright on a chair.

Do you sing in the car?
Jon and I often start belting out heartfelt nonsense to the tune of whatever’s playing.

Do you sing in the shower?
Only when someone is listening to suffer.

Do you dance in the car?
Don’t think I have the skills for that.

Ever used a gun?
No.

***

Last time you got a portrait taken by a photographer?
Ages ago. Probably three years, maybe more.

Do you think musicals are cheesy?
Very. It’s part of the attraction.

Is Christmas stressful?
People? Too many people. Gah. Yuck. Alone please.

Ever eat a pierogi?
Yup. 😀

Favourite type of fruit pie?
I love cherry and plum. Together or separate.

Occupations you wanted to be when you were a kid?
I thin I always wanted to be a writer.

Do you believe in ghosts?
I think there are things we can see that we can’t explain with our current understanding of the world. Mountain gorillas started as cryptids, why not ghosts?

Ever have a Deja-vu feeling?
Often.

Take a vitamin daily?
Omega 3 supplements, but nothing else regularly.

Wear slippers?
At Jon’s insistence because he’s worried I will freeze all the soft tissues in my feet to death.

***

Wear a bath robe?
Love them. Soft and fluffy.

What do you wear to bed?
Nothing when it’s hot, nightie or pajamas when it’s cold.

First concert?
Something arranged by scouts.

Wal-Mart, Target, or Kmart?
Aldi.

Nike or Adidas?
Puma.

Cheetos or Fritos?
Patatas no! Pipas!

Peanuts or Sunflower seeds?
Pipas.

Ever heard of the group Tres Bien?
No.

Ever take dance lessons?
For a while. Latin ballroom dancing. Almost all of it stuck, but it didn’t cure my absence of rhythm.

Is there a profession you picture your future spouse doing?
I like Jon doing whatever makes him come home happy.

***

Can you curl your tongue?
Yes.

Ever won a spelling bee?
No such thing in Spain.

Have you ever cried because you were so happy?
Never.

Own any record albums?
A few classicals and musical soundtracks.

Own a record player?
No, so the records are going to waste.

Regularly burn incense?
Often. But not as often as candles.

Ever been in love?
Only for the last four and a half years.

Who would you like to see in concert?
Sonata Arctica.

What was the last concert you saw?
Something at Download 2014. Probably Trivium.

Hot tea or cold tea?
Hot tea.

***

Tea or coffee?
Coffee any day.

Sugar or snickerdoodles?
Neither. Too sweet.

Can you swim well?
Nope. Used to be able to, but lost my floatability.

Can you hold your breath without holding your nose?
Yes.

Are you patient?
Depends on the hour or the minute or the month.

DJ or band, at a wedding?
Neither, really. Not much of a wedding person or a wedding music person. A tribute metal band, if I have to pick.

Ever won a contest?
A lot more when I was younger and cared more.

Ever have a plastic surgery?
Not really and don’t want to, despite the fact it’s the only way to clear up the last of my skin sag.

Which are better, black or green olives?
Green, pickled.

Can you knit or crochet?
Not properly, but there’s nothing I can’t make on my loom.

***

Best room for a fireplace?
The living room or bedroom. I just need a big enough bedroom, is all.

Do you want to get married?
Yes.

If married, how long have you been married?
N/A

Who was your HS crush?
This guy:

I was a bit of a nerd.

Do you cry and throw a fit until you get your own way?
Nope. It never worked anyway.

Do you have kids?
Not yet.

Do you want kids?
At least four.

What’s your favourite colour?
Blue. Green is nice too, but mostly blue.

Do you miss anyone right now?

Not really. I like letting people go. Everyone who is important in my life tends to stay in it.

Well, that was weird. Time for another coffee!

And feel free to tag yourself if you’re feeling up to it.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

FitFriday XXVI, FatFriday XIII. Lift everything…

…do all the yoga, eat all the food, sleep all day.

Or I wish I could, but I’m settling for more activity and a bit more food.

Part of the reason I’m more active is because I made myself a BORED? chart. For those who don’t know, BORED? charts are an educational tool designed to encourage children to take control of their own entertainment and responsibilities, through suggested activities starting with the letters B, O, R, E, D. And if it works for toddlers, I figured it would help me too!

Here’s my chart:

BORED

The picture being a webcam picture and thus a little blurry, this is my list:

B1: Book writing.    30-60min.

B2: Bake or cook something.

B3: Blog or reblog.   30min.

O1: Organize the room/house.

O2: Open another cafepress.

O3: Outdoor activity.   45-120min.

R1: Revise Maths/German.   60min.

R2: Repair something.

R3: Read a book.   30-60min.

E1: Exercise.   30min.

E2: Emails checked, sorted, answered.

E3: Everything clean in room/house.

D1: Draw something.

D2: Deviantart.   30min.

D3: Dance, burn energy.   30min.

They are also categorized. A star means blogging and networking. A heart means home. A lightening bolt means for when I am restless. A moon means for when I am lethargic.

In other words, if I have nothing to do or am having a hard time focusing on work, then I can consult my list for an activity that fills the time productively, matches my mood and evens me out, ready for work.

Which means that lately I’m spending a lot of time developing forearm-strike moves, doing planks and dancing.

My body is as lean as it gets without the stretchy skin being obvious, so I’m focusing on protein and fresh Spring vegetables, but also having the odd bit of fruit here and there. Broke the no dairy rule a couple of times, but I’m so careful the rest of the time that it hasn’t hit me.

The crushed knuckle is finally healed, but is now slightly shorter than its opposite (it used to be slightly longer) and widened, so there may be structural damage there. Whoops.

In terms of laziness I have been abusing the odd lie-in, meaning I’m pushing the morning tasks into the smallest time possible and having to rush them. I’ll work on getting up earlier from now.

In terms of naughty foods, I have recently made a pudding with bananas, eggs, cream and blueberries that probably hits my dairy and carb targets in a single sitting, but is delicious.

How has your week of food and exercise gone? What would your BORED chart have? If anyone wants, I can write you one of your own and submit a high quality photo or scan so you can print it out and use it. Just ask for the style and mention the most productive things you could be doing and I can put it into easy-to-follow chart form. 🙂

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

8 Organization Tips to (Almost) Never Forget Anything.

I have a dreadful memory at times. Part of it is the same hormonal, mental, crazies problem that makes me want to sleep for days on end, hide from people, bite and break things or stare at walls rather than work. Part of it is just that I’m a forgetful sort of a person. With how long it takes me to learn names and get into routines and how hard it is for me to follow a set schedule, I’m sometimes surprised I’m functional. But I am functional, I do remember things, I do get things done (most of the time), and this is how I do it.

1. Lists.

I write lists for everything. Shopping lists, job lists, work lists, garden lists. Whatever you have to do, write it down and write it in context.

Good lists that I use regularly are “things I need to do today,” “steps to cleaning the (kitchen),” and “things to do in town.” Also, many websites have list functions. Not only do I have a list of blog posts to write, I make use of WordPress’s “Drafts” section on the dashboard to keep track of what I’m writing. I also use the beautifully organized “To Do” list on Fiverr and will flag any emails I need to respond to on Outlook. Lists do you good. Just remember to check and update them!

2. Strategic untidiness.

I’m hardly a minimalist, but I love to have a lot of clear surfaces, open floor space and bare wall patches in my house. However, I will strategically leave things in a mess on purpose. Why? Because that way I notice them!

When the pantry countertop is normally clear, but there’s a letter on it, I remember I need to post it when I next go out. When a wall is normally clear but there’s an ironing board with some shirts on it there, I remember I need to iron those shirts. When my sewing basket is normally in the wardrobe, but it’s next-to the sofa and a pile of things is on the coffee table, I remember I’m due a mending spree.

Plus, strategic untidiness also kills procrastination, because I can’t stand to leave things out of place a second longer than necessary!

3. Tell people.

Jon and I tend to relay things back to each other and ask each other odd questions all the time. We are basically walking dictionaries, encyclopedias, agendas and, in Jon’s case, a calculator for each other. But this will work on anyone who has a better memory than you or it will just increase the odds of you being reminded on time.

Tell someone what you need to remember. Try and make it someone who will be around at about the right time to remind you. It’s amazing how just by doubling the people who know something you increase the odds of remembering so much!

4. Fake deadlines.

Another one I do in part to curb procrastination, in part to remember things. If the deadline for an essay is Monday, my fake deadline will be Saturday or Sunday. If the deadline for booking an appointment is the 25th, my fake deadline will be the 20th. If the deadline for hoovering is 6pm, my fake deadline will be 3pm.

Simply set your deadline far back enough that it gives you time to remember it, panic and actually do it. That way you’re unlikely to be late or miss a deadline again.

5. Room by room.

A great way of reminding yourself of things is to sort similar tasks by room. Keep all your papers out in the office: one pile for things to send, one pile for things to file, one pile for things to copy, one pile for things to scan or transcribe. That way you get a visual reminder of what you have left to do at a time when it is convenient to do them.

Likewise with other rooms. Leave the ironing where your laundry dries or is folded once it’s dry. Keep the dishes in or by the sink for when you’re next washing. Try and think about what you would be doing in that part of the room and how you’d divide your time to make the tasks easier.

6. Notes.

Where lists fail, notes rescue you. Put notes everywhere. As text message drafts on your phone, stuck to calendars, next-to the things that need addressing, on your work desk, on your computer, on the fridge, anywhere and everywhere you will see them. The more important to remember, the more notes everywhere.

7. Folders.

For things that you need to remember on a monthly basis or even a quarterly or yearly basis, keep folders. The first thing in the folder should be a list of the last time you did it and what you did. The following pages should be records of the last times. This could be so you don’t repeat birthday presents, so you remember to save for the water bill or so you plant the vegetable seedlings out at the right time. Whatever it’s for, file it, label the folder and put a reminder on your calendar or phone that you need to check it a certain amount of time in advance.

8. Timetable.

Finally, timetables weren’t just good for school. Think about your typical week and write yourself a daily timetable. Do it hour by hour, so you can adjust things as you need. Write everything in it. Either print it out, write it on paper or do it on your computer, depending on what you’re more likely to look at.

For example, mine is on my computer because every day, first thing, I check my emails, student timetable and lists from the day before.

From around 4.30 until 5.15 I am seeing to the cat’s basics (food, water, litter, bedding), helping Jon get ready for work and doing any small jobs.

From 5.15 to 7.30 I am tidying the house, cleaning and doing odd jobs.

From 7.30 I am getting ready for work.

From 8.00 I am having lessons, writing for the blog, writing for money, writing my books.

From 16.00 I am tidying up, finishing my housework and cooking.

So usually by the evening I have done everything. And if I haven’t at least I have a few hours to finish everything.

And that’s how I try my hardest to remember everything. It isn’t failsafe. I still forget things. I sometimes forget to add something to a list or to check my list, even! But generally these tactics keep me organized, on track, low-stress and meeting all my deadlines.

How do you try and remember things? Got any tips or questions? It’s what the comments are for.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

#NoNothingNovember: A Happy, Low-Stress, Wealthier Home.

So, it’s officially no longer November. That means the challenge is up and I’m free to go back to my old ways if I wish to. I’m so glad I didn’t give up chocolate or coffee because that would be an instant reversion. :p

However, I’m fairly confident that I will be able to adhere to these changes.

I will keep an eye out for everyone else’s conclusions and add them to this post, by the way! Feel free to comment with your conclusion if you want to share. 🙂

So what was it I gave up?

Whilst there is no upper or lower limit to what you can give up or change, three seemed like a rounded number. This was not least of all because thinking of two problems was too easy, so adding a third, more-thought-out issue felt like the right way to balance it.

Most of the men doing #NNN were quitting porn/masturbation, video games and some form of mind-altering substance like illegal drugs, medication dependence and/or alcohol abuse. Most of the women were quitting spending too much/too frivolously, idling around instead of exercising, eating rubbish food and/or slacking on the housework. Now, if I’d set any of those goals for myself I could probably go into “perfect princess” mode, sat back and enjoyed November.

Whilst I drink alcohol and caffeine, they weren’t really options as I don’t drink very often (making a month easy) and caffeine controls some of the symptoms of my depression (making a month non-conductive to results).

belief

I have a pretty strong hold of my diet. I don’t watch actual TV, rather choosing to watch videos and on-demand whenever I actually have the time. I am very money-focused and hate to spend, even small amounts on necessary items are scrutinized before I allow myself them. I try and keep on top of the housework so, whilst it isn’t perfect, it wouldn’t take long at all to make it so. But I knew that I was losing time and gaining stress somewhere in my life and it definitely wasn’t “just one of them things”, as I’d been telling myself. We all have our flaws and, though it pained me, I had to dig just a tiny little bit deeper than stereotypes or common problems to find what was eating away at my time, my money and my sanity.

stupid2

Shockingly, the main one was time-wasting websites. (I bet you’re shocked, right?) Literally the first thing that came to mind was “You spend so much time trawling Buzzfeed, Cracked or TheBerry, never mind the websites you actually enjoy reading!” Of course, quitting the internet wasn’t realistic. As a from-home tutor, an online tutor, a writer, a proofreader, a translator, etc, I depend on the internet to advertise my services, hold online classes and find and submit writing work. There were a few websites I could block right off the bat. These were the ones that whenever I was bored I would click on. If I didn’t have internet access and was that bored, I would have done my work, just as I used to when spending 3-5 hours traveling by coach or train to see Jon. So if I blocked them permanently, I would definitely do more work. I also noticed that I spent too much time on useful websites that I use to advertise, learn or unwind. Therefore I gave myself 15 minutes every 6 hours to access those websites. Yes, between all of them. This meant I would update or check my ads, read the odd piece or chat to someone in the morning, do the same to relax around lunchtime and have one last gander once the working day was over.

I guess I won't be using this any more.

I guess I won’t be using this any more.

The next thing I chose to give-up was interrupting people. This one may genuinely shock some of you who know me online, but I am not the quietest, politest of people in real life. A combination of being reasonably bright, well-read and self-centred means that I am loud, opinionated and generally won’t let others get a word in edgeways. Giving up interruption is surprisingly hard, not least of all because I generally don’t care much for what other people are saying. However, it had become a habit that offended people around me and sometimes was directed at people whose opinions I did want to hear, it was so automatic. In order to stop myself from interrupting people I decided to employ the “Boo the Villains, Cheer the Heroes” mentality, listening carefully to what others were saying and constructing the narratives in my mind. I would apologize if I spoke over someone and shut up so they could speak. At first it confused a lot of people, but it was welcome soon enough.

I may still need this one, though.

I may still need this one, though.

Finally, and I had to think quite hard about this one, I decided I would give up stress. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Giving up stress is impossible. It’s a biological function to an unpleasant situation. It can even be good!” But I didn’t mean to fully choke and kill my stress response. All I wanted to do was get rid of unnecessary stress. I stress very easily. First sign of a problem and I panic, hide from it, procrastinate, spin a mountain out of a molehill and start getting physically unwell because I’m stressed. Which in turn stresses me more. All of this was fine (albeit very unpleasant) when I was just studying, could take any day off, could let the house turn into a pigsty. But it’s not so tolerable when you’re actually busy and need to get things done. In order to fight stress I applied a simple plan: whenever a problem arose, I would set a reasonable time-frame in which to fix it. I would then spend as much time as possible looking for a solution. If no solution was found, I would swallow my pride and ask the most suitable person for advice on the matter. As I had no solution of my own, I would have to adopt their solution. If their solution was impossible or very impractical or if they didn’t have a solution, I would just endure the problem until it ended and not stress about it, as it was unfixable and not worthy of stress.

At first everything was pretty difficult. Keeping off the blocked websites wasn’t much of an issue, but I found myself looking for more things to distract myself and having to subsequently block them also. Keeping from interrupting people was hard in and of itself. I found myself apologizing a lot more than I was stopping myself. And not getting stressed was fine until I became so overwhelmed I couldn’t think.

From the extra stresses of #NNN, website bans and a high workload, I found myself unable to unwind at the end of the day. Fifteen minutes of idly browsing the net just wouldn’t cut it. Instead of giving myself more idle browsing time, I did the opposite: without altering my main blocklists, I blocked most time-wasting sites from evenings other than Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Instead I focused on relaxing with Jon, cooking, watching cartoons, chatting and getting creative. The stress faded back and I was better able to sleep. I also improved my diet, cutting back carbs and wheat and controlling coffee intake, which further improved my mood and helped me concentrate on destressing.

Eventually, I employed more tactics for noninterruption, such as breathing deeply and paying attention to my own surroundings rather than my own mind. I found out that most people, even those who didn’t know how bad I used to be, will really take advantage of a situation where you aren’t talking. I get less socially exhausted when I don’t talk, but I find myself running out of patience very easily. I’ve started to largely surround myself with people who talk about pleasant or interesting topics and avoid those who go on about minor problems, fears and dull topics. I’m finding conversation more enjoyable now that I’ve improved the quality of the speakers.

people4

Likewise, the quality of material I’ve been reading has gone up. With only 30-45 minutes to spend on certain sites, I find myself not finishing duller articles, not opening clickbait or shock-value ones and largely looking out for things that actually interest me. I’m reading more solid articles and essays, more studies and more self-improvement, marketing and cooking themed blogs. I’ve even been able to delete some blogs I was following and haven’t clicked on in ages. I feel I’ve advanced my IQ an entire SD.

Unsurprisingly, wasting my time on clickbait, pictures, drawn-out conversations and stories whilst reading or discussing topics that are dull or frustrating with people who are boring or annoying had also been stressing me. Having no time left at the end of the day with little to show for it whilst mulling over inane topics or annoying voices in my mind would leave me feeling like I was wasting my time, which would stress me. Now that I’ve freed up my time and use my spare time productively I don’t feel bad about a slow day or a busy day or having work leftover for tomorrow. I also found myself less pre-emptively worried about incomplete work, a busy day ahead or problems that arose from rushing things. I work towards avoiding being in those situations again, but if I’m already there then stressing won’t change anything. Pushing things behind me and moving on has left me feeling better, with more free time to work with and with more money in my pocket. Being highly strung really does you no favours.

My final adjustments were to further limit my Twitter access and cut out a number of websites entirely through Sunday, adjust my noninterruption tactics for working around students and throwing myself into my work so that my time is better spent and I have less reason to feel stressed.

Now that I’m so busy all day and have lessons or writing almost every evening, Jon and I can only truly relax on a Sunday. Sitting around on time-wasting sites just because it’s my day off is not conductive to happiness. Neither is forcing him to join in on my #NNN challenges. Instead, spending more time paying attention to him, talking, working on projects and helping him get ready for work has left me feeling far more relaxed.

Likewise, I am now commanding more attention and respect from students without necessarily shouting them down or shutting them up. I am better able to enjoy my time with friends, but likewise to control my environment during lessons.

And finally I am currently sitting in a perfectly ordered house, with the laundry moving through apace, the cat well-fed, the rubbish and recycling sorted, the sinks clear and clean, everything in its place and a few bags of forage on the hearth, ready for making wreaths. I have been writing and proofreading all day, made a few phonecalls and am prepared for the next lesson in around thirty minutes. My income is now at a steady £350+/week bar the odd bad one and I feel far more confident in my ability to support the home for a few months starting January.

All in all, through restricting my ability to waste time, stopping myself from interrupting people in social situations and not getting myself wound up over every little detail, I have managed to get my house, work and life in general under control. Which is pretty impressive, from a one-month, cold-turkey, triple-challenge, isn’t it?

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