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Posts Tagged ‘Tranquility by Tuesday Challenge’

The rule focused on for Week 9 of the Tranquility by Tuesday challenge was effortful before effortless. The purpose of this rule is to mindfully think about how you spend your leisure time. Laura Vanderkam created this rule to encourage having effortful fun before having effortless fun. In addition, Laura stated in an email to participants of the challenge, “When you do effortful fun before effortless, you’ll get to do both.”

So, what exactly is effortful fun? According to Laura, effortful fun is “fun that requires some planning, coordination, or mindfulness.” Examples of effortful fun are reading, putting together a puzzle, playing board games with friends or family, or scrapbooking.

So, what exactly is effortless fun? Social media and screen time fall into the category of effortless fun.

Anyone who falls down the rabbit hole of spending too much time scrolling on social media, may want to implement Laura’s rule and check out Catherine Price’s book, How To Break Up with Your Phone. I learned about Catherine Price and this book on the Happiness Lab podcast where she was interviewed by Dr. Laurie Santos. Listening to her story and the reason for writing this book inspired me to read it. The book includes Price’s 30-day challenge that can help people develop a new relationship with their phone. It works!

Before the week started, I pondered the planning questions for Rule #9 that Laura sent us on Friday, 17 March and made a plan for the week.

  • What are your favorite sorts of effortful fun – that is, fun that requires some planning, coordination, or mindfulness? Reading, scrapbooking, putting puzzles together, content creation (blog and YouTube channel), hanging out with friends and family (and fur babies), and discussing books are my favorite sorts of effortful fun.
  • What leisure activities do you typically do at night in the hours before bed or during downtime on weekends? Read, watch television, watch YouTube videos (booktubers), edit my own YouTube videos
  • How much time, in minutes, do you estimate you spend on social media on a typical weekday? What about on weekends? When do these minutes happen? Weekdays (about 150 minutes M-F); Weekend (about 60 minutes); mainly happen in the morning or early evening
  • How much time, in minutes, do you estimate you spend on TV or other video entertainment on a typical weekday? How about on weekends? (about 30-60 minutes – YouTube per day); (about 120-240 minutes of television on the weekends); I mainly watch television with my hubby on Friday and Saturday evenings; I also tend to watch YouTube videos while eating breakfast or lunch; and sometimes, I listen to a video while unloading/loading dishes or folding laundry.
  • Today, choose one form of “effortful” fun to do before screen time. What will this be? Reading
  • What challenges might you encounter in doing effortful fun before effortless fun? No challenges; reading is my favorite choice for effortful fun
  • What needs to happen to ensure you spend time on this effortful fun activity first? Always have a book handy and schedule it

RESULTS

Throughout this week, I chose effortful fun before effortless fun. I pretty much have done this rule off and on since I participated in the original time study back in the spring of 2021. I am really proud with how well I did this week with all of the Tranquility by Tuesday rules.

REFLECTION

  • Think back over the past week. What sorts of “effortful” fun did you make time for? Reading, content creation, dinner at my mother-in-law’s house, book discussions
  • When did you choose to make time for this effortful fun? I make time to read whenever I can, especially in the morning while drinking my coffee or right before bed; content creation is done throughout the day, sometimes in the evening; dinner at my mother-in-law’s house is on Friday evenings, book discussions in the evenings (evenings vary).
  • What effects did you see in your life from making time for effortful fun? Positive effects; experience more reading; experience more joy
  • What challenges did you face while trying to do effortful fun before effortless fun? After posting a book review on Instagram or something on FB, I sometimes linger and scroll for a few minutes.
  • How did you address these challenges? I did not really address it; limited amount of time scrolling, and I no longer do it right before bed.
  • If you modified this rule, how did you do so? n/a
  • How likely are you to continue to do effortful fun before effortless fun? Very likely; since I have done this rule off and on since I participated in the original time study back in the spring of 2021. I like this rule. Good reminder that time is a limited resource, so choose how you spend it wisely.
  • Did you observe a bedtime this past week? Yes, finally! I got an A++! I was in bed every night by 10:30, except Monday. I stayed up until 10:50, reading The Voyage of the Frog. On five of the seven nights, I read before going to sleep. On Friday night, I wrote a book review, and on Saturday night, Barry and I watched multiple episodes of Wednesday before going to sleep.
  • Plan on Friday? Yes, after dinner on Friday evening
  • Move by 3 p.m.? Yes, walked all four days in my backyard
  • Do your chosen activity three times per week? I read Choose Joy (3-minute devotions) all 7 mornings. I got outside for at least 23 minutes, 2 times this week, for the #Outside23in23 Challenge. On Tuesday, I walked for 10 minutes, then played with dogs in the backyard for 15 minutes. On Wednesday, I walked for 15 minutes earlier in the day, then read for 20 minutes outside later that afternoon.
  • Create a back-up slot? Yes, I had two back-up slots on Saturday morning and Monday evening. I used Saturday morning for chores since I planned on Friday evening; and, Monday evening for helping Claire with a school assignment (we were supposed to meet on Sunday afternoon, but she had to reschedule).
  • Have one big adventure and one little adventure? YES, two of each. My two big adventures were attending Romeo and Juliet and dinner afterwards with my hubby, Andrew, his girlfriend Meagan (precious), and our friend Helen AND attending Andrew’s ceremony and dinner for being inducted into an International Honor Society for Foreign Languages and Literature (accepted for French). For my little adventures, on Saturday morning, my friend Shanna and I took a quick trip to the Friends of the Library store AND on Wednesday night, I attended the Middle Grade March livestream (one hour).
  • Take one night for you? Yes, actually two nights. On Sunday night, Rachel and I discussed chapter 8 of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. On Thursday night, I attended my weekly improv class (Level 4).
  • Batch the little things? Yes! I was much more effective this week. From 10:15am – 12:10pm, I completed financial tasks, placed a coffee order on Big Cat Coffee, did some digital decluttering, and created an email for my mother-in-law to access her MYChart medical information.

Well, that is a wrap on the Tranquility by Tuesday Challenge, dear reader. I will eventually share my overall thoughts about the book and the challenge as well as which rules I plan to keep incorporating in my life. It was wonderful to see how Laura Vandrekam turned all of the time study data into Tranquility by Tuesday. I am happy that I was a part of the time study as well as the book. Happiness!

“Leisure time is too precious to be totally leisurely about leisure.” ~ Laura Vanderkam

Note: Photo at the top by Pixabay on Pexels.com.

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The rule focused on for Week 8 of the Tranquility by Tuesday challenge was batch the little things. The purpose of this rule is to carve out some time in your schedule to complete little tasks all at once. This time is not meant for daily routines or completing major chores or projects. Instead, it is a small window of time (30-90 minutes) where you could pay a bill, write a message in a birthday card, schedule a doctor’s appointment, or place an online order for coffee. There is no right or wrong way to use this rule; however, key elements to eventually turning this rule into a habit is to keep a running list of tasks and to set aside time to complete them.

Laura Vanderkam calls her running list of small tasks (not urgent) a Friday “punch list.” She allows her small tasks to accumulate over the week and works on them at a designated time on Friday. Gretchen Rubin wrote about a similar “power hour” in her book Better Than Before: Mastering the Habit of Our Everyday Lives. She used her designated time to tackle small one-time tasks that she kept postponing. Her list did not include recurring tasks or tasks with deadlines.

Laura believes “this rule creates two important effects: it forces prioritization, and it keeps little tasks from always being an option (pages 195-196).” In Tranquility by Tuesday, Laura also includes a six-step process to turn this rule into a habit to waste less time.

    Before the week started, I pondered the planning questions for Rule #8 that Laura sent us on Friday, 10 March and made a plan for the week.

    • Think back over the past twenty-four hours. What “small tasks” have made it onto your daily to-do list? What about “small tasks” that you completed as soon as you thought of them, even if you were working on something else at the time? Honestly, I have not been keeping a daily to-do list for a few weeks now. I usually make a note in my planner, write it on a post-it note, or try (HA HA!) to rely on my memory. I have not written anything down in the past twenty-four hours. Sometimes, I will stop and complete a “small task” while working on something else; generally it is a task that takes maybe a minute ot two.
    • How much time, in minutes, do you estimate you spent on these tasks last week? About 180 minutes between two days
    • When could you schedule a time at work each day, or each week, to tackle small work tasks (and any personal tasks that have to happen during business hours)? a Wednesday or Friday morning would be ideal; realistically, right now it is wherever I have a block of time close to the deadline of the task
    • When could you schedule a weekly chore window – perhaps on the weekend or in the evening – to tackle small personal tasks? Saturday or Sunday morning; Monday or Wednesday evening
    • What might prevent you from batching the little tasks in your life? other tasks that are more important or have a more pressing deadline
    • How could you deal with these challenges? right now, I basically squeeze in chunks of time, here or there, to get these little tasks done; I could schedule it with a back-up slot in the event I do not finish or something comes up that needs my attention

    RESULTS

    I completed small tasks this week; however, I did not batch them together. I pretty much fit them in between other scheduled projects. I can see the benefit of this rule. I am still struggling with getting to sleep on time; however, there were two nights this week that resulted in me getting home later than usual. I did well with the rest of the rules. Progress!

    REFLECTION

    • Think back over the past week. What times did you designate for little tasks during your workdays? For this particular week to incorporate this rule, I scheduled Batch the Little Things on Tuesday (mid-day). However, I spent 25 minutes on Monday evening writing a message in a b-day card and addressing the envelope, so I could mail it that evening before going to Books-A-Million ; on Tuesday before lunch, I worked about 15 minutes on a financial task; on Wednesday morning, I spent 45 minutes ordering concert tickets (Stevie Nicks and The Cure)
    • What windows did you designate for household tasks and chores? I designated my household chores on Monday and Wednesday evenings.
    • What effect did you see in your life from batching the little things? Unfortunately, since I did not adhere to this rule in the way it should be implemented, I did not experience the desired effect of spending my time more efficiently.
    • What challenges did you face in trying to batch the little things? My main challenge is the lack of organization currently in my life. I AM OVEREXTENDING MYSELF. I let other activities come first, so then I was squeezing these tasks in last minute; trying to rely on my memory to write the b-day card in a timely manner failed.
    • How did you address these challenges? I did not address them while living it; however, I have a game plan for the future if I implement this rule the way it is intended to work. Make a list of the small tasks with deadline if applicable; schedule the little tasks; honor the time alloted to batch the little things. We shall see if I do better next week.
    • If you modified this rule, how did you do so? I modified this rule by squeezing in small tasks in between other activities or projects.
    • How likely are you to continue batching the little things in your life? I want to say very likely, but until I shed some commitments and get myself organized, I may be a little hit or miss with this rule. I love the concept.
    • Did you observe a bedtime this past week? Not really; I went to sleep three nights by 10:30 p.m. or earlier; two of the early nights (Monday & Tuesday) I read before going to sleep. On Thursday night, I had improv class, got home, showered, and went to sleep. On Friday and Sunday evenings, I attended events where I got home late, so after showering, I went to sleep. I worked on content before bed on Wednesday evening. While I did read before going to sleep on Saturday night, I was having some technical issues with my vlog (music) prior to getting into bed. Even though I did not consistently observe my bedtime, I did NO scrolling before going to sleep any night during this week.
    • Plan on Friday? Not on Friday, but on Saturday morning
    • Move by 3 p.m.? Yes, four times; On three days, I walked outside in my backyard. On Tuesday, I took Tooty for a 45-minute walk around my subdivision.
    • Do your chosen activity three times per week? I read Choose Joy (3-minute devotions) 6 mornings. I got outside for at least 23 minutes, 4 times this week, for the #Outside23in23 Challenge. On Wednesday, I was out earlier in the day to walk and play with Luna in the backyard, and later that evening, Barry and I took both dogs for a 45-minute walk around the subdivision.
    • Create a back-up slot? Yes, I had four back-up slots on Friday evening, Saturday morning, Wednesday afternoon, and Thursday morning/afternoon. I used Friday evening for a big adventure; Saturday morning for planning; Wednesday afternoon for editing my Folklore February video; Thursday morning to upload Folklore February video, and Thursday afternoon for another big adventure.
    • Have one big adventure and one little adventure? YES, two of each. My two big adventures were attending dinner and the play, Sound of Music, with my friend Sue on Friday night AND on Thursday afternoon, hanging out with my friend Michelle (lunch/coffee/conversation) before going to improv class. For my little adventures, on Sunday, my mother-in-law took my hubby, Andrew, and me to lunch at Walk-on’s in Hammond to celebrate my hubby’s b-day with cake at her house afterwards AND on Wednesday night, I attended the Middle Grade March livestream (one hour).
    • Take one night for you? Yes, actually two nights. On Sunday night, I performed at the Level 3 Improv Showcase at the The Actor’s Apothecary in New Orleans. On Thursday night, I attended my weekly improv class (Level 4).

    Only one more rule to go, dear reader! Rule #9 is all about effortful fun before effortless fun. This rule also focuses on wasting less time. As always, I am up for the challenge of trying a new rule along with maintaining the other ones. It will be interesting to see which rules stick once I complete the Tranquility by Tuesday Challenge. Happiness!

    “Tasks expand to fill the available space. When we give them less time, they take less time.” ~ Laura Vanderkam

    Note: Photo at the top is by MART PRODUCTION on Pexels.com.

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    The rule focused on for Week 7 of the Tranquility by Tuesday challenge was take one night for you. The purpose of this rule is to take some time off from family and work commitments each week to explore doing something that is worthwhile and fun. Think of it as a date night (or day) with yourself. This rule is a habit I developed many years ago (while teaching 2nd grade at HGCS) after reading Take Time for Your Life by Cheryl Richardson. I was burnt out; I felt like all I did with my time was work and take care of everyone else except me. Richardson suggested in her book to make some time each week for yourself, and that is exactly what I started doing at that point in my life. The activities I have chosen over the years have changed based on the opportunities that were available at the time; however, making time strictly for yourself is important and makes life more enjoyable. Additionally, the chosen activity does not have to take a huge amount of time; however, ideally it would be nice to do the activity on a regular day/night to have that time to look forward to each week.

    Before the week started, I pondered the planning questions for Rule #7 that Laura sent us on Friday, 03 March and made a plan for the week.

    • Do you have any recurring fun-for-you commitments outside of work and family? (Examples might include a book club, choir rehearsals, or a weekly golf game.) YES! I attend an improv class on Thursday night from 6:00-8:00 p.m. I also run the Chills, Thrills, and Kills Book Club with my friend Kelsi, and we meet with our members on a Tuesday night once per month. I also buddy read books with my sister Rachel, and we generally meet one night per week to discuss the chapter(s) that were assigned for the week.
    • If you don’t already have a weekly fun-for-you commitment, what would you do with one night off (or an equivalent amount of weekend time) per week? n/a
    • If you are not currently taking a night just for you, what would you need to do to make this happen? If you are currently doing this, how have you created the space? I treat my one night for me as an appointment and put it on my calendar.
    • What might prevent you from taking one night off? At this point in my life, I really do not have anything that will prevent me from attending my improv class or book club meetings. Occasionally, another commitment with my family may come up at the same time as my activity. For example, my husband got a free night stay at a hotel, so we went to Orange Beach and left on a Thursday which meant I missed my weekly improv class. Spending time with my hubby is equally important, so I do not mind those type of conflicts. My sister and I adjust our schedules if either one of us have a confict. As for my book club, we either reschedule, or I miss that month’s meeting.
    • How can you address these challenges? Thankfully, I have a thoughtful and supportive spouse and helpful children who will step up if something should crop up that is not a family commitment or an emergency type situation.

    RESULTS

    As I have already mentioned, this rule was easy to implement. For this week, I did have an unexpected big adventure replace one of the nights that I take for myself. I also did fairly well with the other 6 rules. Giving myself a bedtime is still my weekly challenge. I do not see this changing until I can get a bit more organized overall.

    REFLECTION

    • Did you take a few hours off from work and family responsibilities this week? What did you do with this time? YES! I met with my sister to discuss Chapter 7 of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck on Sunday evening at 7 p.m.
    • If you didn’t take one night (or another block of time) just for you during the past week, do you have an idea for what you might do with a night off in upcoming weeks? n/a
    • What effects did you see from taking a few hours for your interests? Positive effects galore! Meeting with my sister weekly strengthens our relationship. After we discuss the assigned chapter, we usually talk about other stuff like our upcoming trip to Sicily.
    • What challenges did you face while trying to take some time for your interests? I would not say this was really a challenge, but more of a choice to not take time for my weekly interest. I chose not to attend my Thursday night improv class because I wanted to attend the opening of Andrew’s Juried Student Exhibition at SLU. He had two photography projects selected for this exhibition. I am so proud of him and wanted to be at the opening to show support for him and for a few other students I know who had exhibits on display as well.
    • How did you address these challenges? n/a
    • Did you modify this strategy? If so, how? I replaced one of my nights for me with a big adventure. My night was still meaningful, fun, and something I wanted to do with my designated night.
    • How likely are you to continue taking one night for you? VERY likely because it is important to me
    • Did you observe a bedtime this past week? Not really, but better than last week; I went to sleep two nights by 10:30 p.m. or earlier; both of those nights I read before going to sleep. One night, I climbed into bed at 10:40 p.m. I worked on content, and then had to wait for my software to update; otherwise, I would have made it to bed on time. There were three nights that I made it to bed at 11:15 p.m., 11:05 p.m. and 11:20 p.m.; All three nights, I spent some time completing chores, taking my shower, and then went to sleep. The latest night was 11:50 p.m.; I was editing my vlog before turning in for the night. Even though I did not consistently observe my bedtime, I did NO scrolling before going to sleep any night during this week. I am wondering if I should adjust my bedtime.
    • Plan on Friday? Not on Friday, but on Sunday morning.
    • Move by 3 p.m.? Yes, three times; On all three days, I walked outside in my backyard.
    • Do your chosen activity three times per week? I read Choose Joy (3-minute devotions) 4 mornings. I got outside for at least 23 minutes, 3 times this week, for the #Outside23in23 Challenge. 
    • Create a back up slot? Yes, I had two back-up slots on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning. I used Wednesday for a little adventure and Thursday morning to film an extra video.
    • Have one big adventure and one little adventure? YES, two of them each. My two big adventures were attending Kaitlyn and Marc’s wedding on Saturday night AND on Thursday night, attending Andrew’s Juried Student Exhibition at SLU’s Art Gallery; then, attending dinner with friends afterwards. For my little adventures, I got a pedicure on Saturday morning, AND on Wednesday night, Barry made it to Hammond, so we went to have a quick dinner at Chipotle (my first time eating at this restaurant).

    With completing Rule #7, I finished Part 2 of Tranquility by Tuesday, dear reader. Rules 4-7 are meant to “make good things happen.” I will continue striving to implement all of these rules plus the first three. I am also looking forward to the third part of the book as well as the final two rules which are focusing on wasting less time. I am ALL for using my time wisely. Happiness!

    “Committing to fun means the fun happens.” ~ Laura Vanderkam

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    The rule focused on for Week 6 of the Tranquility by Tuesday challenge was one big adventure, one little adventure. The purpose of this rule is to plan to have one big adventure and one little adventure in your week. According to Laura, “Big adventures require a few hours-something that might fit on a weekend day. A little adventure could take just an hour or so, as long as it’s something out of the ordinary.” The beauty of adding adventures to a weekly schedule provides some excitement to a normally routine-oriented week.

    Before the week started, I pondered the planning questions for Rule #6 that Laura sent us on Friday, 24 February and made a plan for the week.

    • What “big adventures” (taking a few hours) would you like to try in the next month? List at least three. Attend my niece’s wedding; attend Romeo and Juliet at the Columbia and dinner afterwards; attend International Honor Society Event with Andrew; go see my friend Shanna perform in her first play; go book shopping at Friends of the Library store
    • What “little adventures” (taking about an hour) would you like to try in the next month? List at least three. Get a pedicure; take a walk around Southeastern campus; have lunch with my friend Sue; have coffee with my friend Tweety; attend an online book-related event for an hour
    • Think about this past week. Did you have any adventures, big or little? What were they? Big Adventure-Apply for passport and lunch with hubby and Daddy on Friday; Little Adventure-Sushi lunch with myself on Thursday after my dentist appointment
    • Now look ahead to next week. What big adventure would you like to have next week? When could you experience this big adventure? Shopping tomorrow (Saturday) with hubby for dress and shoes for my niece’s upcoming wedding
    • What little adventure would you like to have next week? When could you experience this little adventure? I’d like to meet up with my friend Jeff at the bowling alley close to my house. His son bowls for his school and has a game on Wednesday afternoon.
    • What obstacles might keep you from having these adventures? I can’t foresee any obstacles that would prevent me from going shopping. If Jeff can’t make his son’s game or something comes up with my mother-in-law or my children, we won’t get to visit.
    • How can you address these challenges? If I couldn’t go shopping on Saturday for some unforeseen reason, I could use a back-up slot to go during the week. Jeff and I would just have to check our calendars to see if there is another time we could connect if we can’t on Wednesday.

    RESULTS

    This rule was not difficult to implement because I tend to have big adventures and little adventures sprinkled throughout my schedule. I am a fan of seasonal fun lists, and I love participating in readathons/watchathons. In this particular week, I had two BIG adventures and two LITTLE adventures. Sadly, I did not do as well with a few of the other rules (mainly Rule #1) because I had an extremely busy week related to my content schedule, tech issues, and a doctor’s appointment with a wait that was WAY too long.

    REFLECTION

    • What big adventure(s) did you experience this week? Two big adventures this week on the same day; On Saturday around noon, I went shopping with Shelly instead of Barry, so we made it a girls’ day. First, we ate a yummy lunch at Albasha. Then, we visited four stores where I bought two dresses and two pairs of shoes, knowing I could return one dress and one pair of shoes after modeling my purchases for Barry. HA! Later, that evening, Barry and I went to Shelly’s house where we hung out with Shelly, her husband, and Helen to celebrate Helen’s new job. Saturday evening was actually a back-up slot for last week’s rule.
    • What little adventure(s) did you experience this week? Two little adventures this week. I attended the FOMO Book Club Meeting online on Sunday morning to discuss Jamaica Inn (which I didn’t get to finish and still reading). I met my friend Jeff at the bowling alley for a short visit while his son was bowling. My friend Shelly came with me and Jeff’s wife came after work. It was fun visiting and catching up. I also attempted to help Jeff with setting up his blog. We were not very successful because of the technology he was using, and it was hard to concentrate in the bowling alley.
    • What effects did you see in your life from doing something out of the ordinary? It definitely enriches my life to add adventures into my schedule. It breaks up the normal routine.
    • What challenges, if any, did you face while implementing this week’s strategy? Did anything make it difficult for you to plan adventures into your life, or to have the adventures you planned? No challenges; I just make sure to block out the time for my adventures as if they are appointments. That mindset helps me keep those adventures since they are on my calendar.
    • How did you address these challenges? n/a
    • If you modified this rule, how did you do so? n/a
    • How likely are you to continue planning big and little adventures into your life? Very likely, considering I have already pretty much been doing this all of my life; I try to make a point of having both weekly ever since I did this study back in the spring of 2021.
    • Did you observe a bedtime this past week? Not really! It was a crazy week for me. I went to sleep three nights by 10:30 p.m. or earlier; two nights, I climbed into bed at 11:30 p.m. and 11:45 p.m.; Unfortunately, I went to bed at 1:00 a.m. the night I hosted my wrap-up sprints for Folklore February. I had a Book Club meeting I was hosting right before the sprints, so that’s why sprints were scheduled for 8:30 that evening; On Thursday, I went to bed at 2:00 a.m. because of tech issues with my Old School April Announcement video that was due to release on Friday. I had improv class prior to the tech debacle; otherwise, I would not have been up so late. Even though, I did not observe my bedtime as great as I have been, at least I did NO scrolling before going to sleep any night during this week. I worked on book reviews (Goodreads/Instagram)/content two nights, read two nights, and hung out with friends another night (showered once home and went straight to bed). 
    • Plan on Friday? YES, but this week on Saturday morning; I’m getting closer to planning on Friday.
    • Move by 3 p.m.?  Yes, but only two days; Friday-Walked & talked to my hubby for 15 minutesTuesday-Walked 10 minutes around my backyard.
    • Do your chosen activity three times per week? I read Choose Joy (3-minute devotions) 6 mornings. I got outside for at least 23 minutes only 1 time this week for the #Outside23in23 Challenge. It was Tuesday. I walked before 3 p.m. and later went out for 15 minutes to take photos of two of my books (recently completed) to post on Instagram.
    • Create a back-up slot? Yes, I had two back-up slots on Monday and Wednesday afternoons which I used both afternoons for editing.

    Rule #6: One Big Adventure, One Little Adventure is one of my favorite rules because I love having adventures. Honestly, life is an adventure. There is always something enjoyable to do to make your days feel adventurous. There are only three rules left to implement. Next week’s rule is all about making time (at least one night) for yourself. Happiness!

    “Adventures make life memorable, and memories can make time feel more rich and full.” ~ Laura Vanderkam

    Note: Photo at the top is by Kevin Malik on Pexels.com.

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    The rule focused on for Week 5 of the Tranquility by Tuesday challenge was create a back-up slot. The purpose of this rule is to allot some open time in your schedule in case you have to reschedule an activity or work assignment. Laura Vanderkam states in a blog post about this rule, “Whenever something matters to you, designate more times in your schedule than you plan to use.” I really like this rule a great deal because it provides a safety net to ensure important tasks get done, planned personal activities can happen, and it allows for some flexibility if something fun unexpectedly crops up.

    Before the week started, I pondered the planning questions for Rule #5 that Laura sent us on Friday, 17 February and made a plan for the week.

    • Think back over the past week. Have you had to skip something fun or important because something else came up? What was the priority and what came up? Yes. I had to skip breakfast with two of my friends, so my Daddy and I could take care of getting our passports. I had to apply for my first passport, and he had to renew his passport. We are traveling to Sicily in September. With the amount of time it currently takes to process passports and the amount of time you have to have a passport before traveling to Sicily, we had a short window of opportunity to get this done. In addition, because of the following week’s commitments for both of us and the Mardi Gras holidays, Friday was the only day we could go together to complete this task.
    • Look to the upcoming week. When could you build at least two hours of open space into your life? Identify a primary spot. Identify a secondary spot. primary spot – Thursday in between dentist appointment and improv class; secondary spot – Friday
    • What challenges might keep you from building open space into your life? Right now, none. I’m in a unique postion since I’m not working and can adjust my schedule as needed.
    • How can you address these challenges? n/a
    • If life went perfectly, what would you use your open time for? I’d like to say I would do something fun; however, I would more than likely use the time to complete unfinished chores/tasks or create more content for my YouTube channel or blog. I’d like to read more since I sometimes have trouble finding big chunks of time to read.

    RESULTS

    Honestly, this rule was easy, and I completed it with no issues. Additionally, I successfully completed the other four rules. I really like the flexibility of this rule. If I do not need my back-up slot because life goes perfectly, I like the idea of using the open slots to make progress on tasks that have been simmering on the back burner for awhile. The only drawback I can see with creating a back-up slot is that it could potentially lead to procrastination which I like to do from time to time. HA! However, I have been pretty busy lately that I have not had the opportunity to procrastinate which is a good thing.

    REFLECTION

    • When were the back-up slots that you built into your schedule? I actually had fours back-up slots. Tuesday evening (2 hours); Thursday afternoon (4 1/2 hours); Friday (pretty much all day/evening); Saturday evening (4 hours)
    • What effects did you see in your life from building open space into your schedule? First of all, I felt less pressure on Wednesday to edit when I had to end up taking care of some financial stuff and run a few errands. I knew I had a back-up slot to edit (Friday). I was able to help my friend’s daughter Claire with a school assignment on Tuesday evening for one of the two hours which left the other hour for me. Since I did not need to make anything up on Thursday afternoon, I used the time to read Tranquility by Tuesday and work on content for my channel/blog. And, Friday night my open slot was spent with my hubby watching tv; Saturday night I used the open slot to spend with my hubby and friends to celebrate our friend Helen getting a new job. So, I did end up having some fun with the extra time after all.
    • What challenges did you face while implementing this week’s strategy? None!
    • How did you address these challenges? n/a
    • If you needed to modify this rule, how did you do so? n/a
    • How likely are you to continue creating back-up slots in your life? Very likely
    • Did you observe a bedtime this week? YES! I went to sleep five nights by 10:30 p.m. or earlier; the other two nights, I climbed into bed at 10:35 p.m. and 11:15 p.m.; I continue to improve with getting to bed on time most nights. I did NO scrolling before going to sleep any night during this week. I worked on book reviews (Goodreads/Instagram) one night, read five nights, and hung out with friends another night (late night). Winding down routine is improving!
    • Plan on Friday? YES, but again on Sunday morning. At least I am planning before Monday morning.
    • Move by 3 p.m.? YES! My goal was to move by 3 p.m. at least three days during the week, and I moved 4 times this week. Monday-Walked 10 minutes; Tuesday-Walked & talked to my hubby for 15 minutes (threw toy to Luna periodically); Wednesday-Walked and talked with Simon for 25 minutes (threw toy to Luna periodically); Thursday-Walked Tooty for 15 minutes
    • Do your chosen activity three times? YES for both activities! I read Choose Joy (3-minute devotions) 5 mornings. I got outside for at least 23 minutes 4 times this week for the #Outside23in23 Challenge. Some of the time was when I walked outside to move before 3 p.m. On Tuesday, I actually edited outside from 9:20 a.m. until 12:05 p.m. and did my walk and talk for 15 minutes when my hubby called me. It was a beautiful day, so I took advantage of the change in scenery.

    Participating in this challenge almost feels like it is becoming a habit, dear reader. I am thoroughly enjoying reading Tranquility by Tuesday and having a terrific time trying out these rules a second time around. There are only four rules left to implement. Next week’s rule is all about adventures. You know me, I love adventures. Happiness!

    “Anyone can make a perfect schedule. Time-management masters make resilient schedules.” ~ Laura Vanderkam

    Note: Photo at the top is by Jess Bailey Designs on Pexels.com.

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    The rule focused on for Week 4 of the Tranquility by Tuesday challenge was three times a week is a habit. The purpose of this rule is to devote more time to activities that will enrich your life. These activities may be hobbies, spending quality time with others, or developing a spiritual practice. According to Laura Vanderkam, “Anything that happens three times a week has a solid place in our lives.” She also believes that “if you’re already doing something one or two times per week, you can get to three.”

    I am pretty excited about this rule because there are several activities I want to incorporate in my life. Exercise being at the top of my list. For the purposes of this challenge, I am starting small with this rule.

    Before the week started, I pondered the planning questions for Rule #4 that Laura sent us on Friday, 10 February and made a plan for the week.

    • Think of some activities you’d like to do more frequently in your life. Exercise, Blog, Scrapbook, #Outside23in23, Read Choose Joy Devotions
    • Choose one specific activity to focus on for the next week. I actually chose two activities, #Outside23in23 and reading devotions from Choose Joy.
    • When did you last do this activity? I have been doing both activities sporadically since January. We were at the beach, so I walked on the beach, collecting seashells. The last time I read from Choose Joy was on Wednesday, 02/08.
    • Looking forward to this next week, when could this happen? List at least three times. My three times would work best between Monday and Friday.
    • What obstacles might prevent you from doing this activity three times a week? As always, ME. Both activities are easily doable and do not require much effort.
    • How can you address these challenges? I want to combine #Outside23in23 with Move by 3 p.m. I am planning to use this as a transition between tasks, sort of like a brain break. I generally like to read in bed while drinking my morning coffee, so my Choose Joy book will be set on my night stand, so I can read my devotion first before reading something else.

    RESULTS

    I am very excited to share that I not only completed Rule #4 successfully, but I also completed the other three rules for this week. I find I am being more intentional with my time. I am also incorporating the Strategy of Pairing with some activities. For example, if someone calls me, I pop my earpiece in my ear and do a walk and talk. If the weather is nice, I can go outside as well.

    REFLECTION

    • What activity did you choose to focus on three times this week? #Outside23in23 and read devotions from Choose Joy
    • Did you spend more time on your chosen activity this week than in previous weeks? Yes
    • If so, how much more time did you spend on it? I got outside three days and read Choose Joy four days.
    • What was the impact of aiming to do this activity three times per week? Doing both activities brought more joy to my day. Reading the passage from Choose Joy in the morning set the intention for the day and getting outside helped me transition between tasks more smoothly. On Friday, we were at the beach, so I went outside after breakfast and walked the beach, collecting seashells. Then, I sat for a few minutes and enjoyed the sights, sounds, and smells of the beach. It was so relaxing to start my day that way.
    • What challenges, if any, affected your ability to do this activity three times this week? Honestly, I had no challenges. I think in part because both activities were easy to do in the midst of my crazy schedule.
    • How did you address these challenges? n/a
    • Did you need to modify this rule to work for you? No
    • How likely are you to continue doing this activity three times per week? Very likely; as I get more organized with my time and home environment, I will consider implementing this rule with the other activities I want to do more often (exercise, blog, scrapbook). I feel confident that with Daylight Saving Time being just around the corner, I will be incorporating more exercise in my 168 hours.
    • Did you observe a bedtime this past week? YES! I went to sleep four nights by 10:30 p.m. or earlier; the other three nights, I climbed into bed at 10:35 p.m., 10:45 p.m., and 11:15 p.m.; I am doing much better; however, I did scroll on social media for 15 minutes after editing my video the night I went to bed at 11:15 p.m. Thankfully, it was only 15 minutes. Otherwise, I either read (3 nights) or prepared for the next day, having read beforehand.
    • Plan on Friday? YES, kind of! I actually planned on Sunday morning. We were traveling home on Friday, and I proctored the ACT early Saturday morning. I still planned and put it on paper.
    • Move by 3 p.m. most days? YES! My goal was to move by 3 p.m. at least three days during the week. I paired this with #Outside23in23. On Friday morning, I was walking on the beach. On Tuesday (1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.) and Thursday (9:25 a.m. – 9:55 a.m.), I walked Tooty.

    Overall, dear reader, I am excited about my results. I am making more of an effort to incorporate these strategies throughout the week. I have to remind myself that this challenge is NOT about perfection. It is about being more aware of where my time is being spent and being more intentional in how I am spending it. In addition, it is making me more aware of the activities I am doing daily, weekly, monthly. Time tracking along with doing the Tranquility by Tuesday Challenge has also been extremely beneficial. It feels like a daily habit now. Finding success this week with these four rules has been a HUGE happiness boost, and I am looking forward to next week’s rule. Happiness!

    “Things don’t have to happen daily, nor do they have to happen at the same time every day, in order to count in our lives.” ~ Laura Vanderkam

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    The rule focused on for Week 3 of the Tranquility by Tuesday challenge was Move by 3 p.m. The purpose of this rule is to move by 3 p.m. by doing some form of physical activity for at least 10 minutes in the first half of the day (Monday-Sunday). Laura Vanderkam leaves it up to you how you move, but many of her suggestions are fitness-related activities (push-ups, sit-ups, walking, bicep curls, etc.). However, running around the yard with your dog or child can count as well. Personally, I think anything that requires your body to move, including grocery shopping, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, etc. can also count for this rule.

    Vanderkam acknowledges this rule may not work for everyone; however, she states in a blog post, “Even if you get no other activity, building in a 10 minute walk break will allow you to focus for the rest of the workday. Choosing to move in the first half of the day means the day is less likely to get away from you.”

    Is 10 minutes before 3 p.m. worth it? Well, 150 minutes per week of aerobic activity is the current health recommendation. You are almost halfway there with the daily 10 minutes before 3 p.m., so if you add another 11.5 minutes later in the day, you could hit the 150 minutes per week mark. Take it even a step further and go outside, add a few more minutes, and you can count it for Gretchen Rubin’s #Outside23in23 which is a perfect way to use the Strategy of Pairing to achieve those two goals.

    Before the week started, I pondered the planning questions for Rule #3 that Laura sent us on Friday, 03 February and made a plan for the week.

    • On average, how much exercise do you currently do per week? When do you exercise and what kind of exercise do you do? Sadly, I am currently NOT exercising – ZERO, ZILCH, NADA
    • What sort of physical activity could you do for 10 minutes before 3 p.m. during an average day? Walk. I love walking, especially by myself while listening to a podcast.
    • Think about today: When could you do this activity today? Between 10:00-1:00 (Friday)
    • How about tomorrow? When could you do this activity tomorrow? Morning would be best. Ideally, I’d like to go walk after my cup of coffee, but before breakfast.
    • What challenges might keep you from building more physical activity into your life? ME
    • How can you address these challenges? I would really need to plan this 10-minute break into my schedule, but even then I’m not sure if I will honor it because it really depends on how involved I am in whatever I am working on at that moment in time.

    RESULTS

    I did awful with this rule. I did not plan on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. I lived by my calendar and a to-do list if I even made one. I knew I was going out of town on Thursday, so I used every moment to get videos filmed and edited while prepping for an audition, and completing other necessary tasks. Now, that does not mean I did not move on a couple of evenings. On Thursday evening, Barry and I walked on the beach for about an hour before we went to dinner.

    REFLECTION

    • About how much exercise did you get this week? When did you do this and how much did you do? One day on Sunday from 9:00-10:00 if you count grocery shopping at Walmart on Sunday. I did walk on the beach for an hour with Barry on the night we arrived at the beach (this was not before 3 p.m.).
    • What effects did you see in your life from moving by 3 p.m. most days? None, because I failed at this rule in the context of setting a specific 10 minutes per day to be physically active before 3 p.m.
    • What challenges did you face in implementing this week’s strategy? My only challenge is myself and my lack of planning. Honestly, I really didn’t give this rule a second thought this week with everything I had going on as well as preparing for my overnight trip out of town.
    • How did you deal with these challenges? n/a
    • If you needed to modify this rule, how did you do so? I guess I modified it by including grocery shopping as a physical activity. HA!
    • How likely are you to continue to move by 3 p.m.? Highly unlikely; however, instead of 7 days per week, I may strive for at least 3 days per week. No promises.
    • Did you plan on Fridays? Unfortunately, NO.
    • Did you observe a bedtime this week? YES! And, I feel like I am continuing to improve with this rule. On all 7 nights, I was ready for sleep by 11:20 (only 2 nights I read before lights out; 1 night I watched YouTube videos; 1 night I was posting a book picture on Instagram; 1 night I was doing some chores; 1 night I took my shower and went straight to bed; and the night at the beach I was downloading video clips from our traveling adventures onto my iPad). I did NO mindless scrolling on social media on any of the nights before lights out. Overall, better than the first week as far as scrolling on social media; my winding down routine is still a work in progress, and I was asleep no later than 11:20PM.

    With completing Rule #3, I finished Part 1 of Tranquility by Tuesday, dear reader. I still believe planning on Fridays is the key, so I will try harder with this rule. I will still continue working on giving myself a bedtime, and I will try to move by 3 p.m. at least three times during the week. These first three rules are meant to “calm the chaos.” I am looking forward to the second part of the book as well as the next four rules. Happiness!

    “Committing to move by 3 p.m. also nudges you to pay attention to how your energy ebbs and flows during the day, and the control you can exercise over your energy levels.” ~ Laura Vanderkam

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    The rule focused on for Week 2 of the Tranquility by Tuesday challenge was Plan on Fridays. The purpose of this rule is to set aside 20 minutes on a Friday afternoon to consider how you want to spend your upcoming week (Monday-Sunday). Laura mentions, “when the session occurs depends on personal preference” (38). However, if you do not already have a designated planning time or a preference, she recommends Fridays because most people are wrapping up a week instead of starting something new. Monday mornings are more productive because whatever is on the schedule can be attended to first thing in the morning. Weekends can be tentatively planned a week ahead and upgraded if necessary. And, the Sunday scaries can be kept at bay because last minute planning the night before will not cause unnecessary anxiety, especially if someone has to be reached to schedule an appointment first thing Monday morning.

    After assessing your commitments, think about what you want to achieve with the time you have left in your time bank for the week. Remember, we all start with 168 hours. Laura suggests making a list with three categories (career, relationships, and self) and listing a few items under each category that you want to do when your schedule allows the time. The items on this list are important; however, they are not urgent. You want to do them even if you do not have to do them. This is also where creating a List of 100 Dreams can come in handy.

    Back in 2019, I created a List of 100 Dreams. This activity can be found in Laura’s book, 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think as well as in this chapter of Tranquility by Tuesday (pages 53-55). I actually enjoy making lists, and making this particular list was invigorating because it includes all the things you want to experience or want to add to your life. Like her list of planning categories on Fridays, Laura suggests dividing your list of 100 dreams into the same three categories: career, relationships, and self. I highly recommend this activity.

    Before the week started, I pondered the planning questions for Rule #2 that Laura sent us on Friday, 27 January and made a plan for the week.

    • What does your planning look like now? I plan sporadically; usually on Saturday or Sundays, more so on Sundays when I plan a schedule; unfortunately, there are some weeks where I just follow what is in my monthly planner
    • This rule is about creating a designated weekly planning time. When, approximately, can you schedule a weekly planning time into your life? If you are planning to use Fridays, when on Friday generally works? Friday or Saturday mornings
    • How much time do you think it will take to plan the week? at least 30 minutes, maybe longer
    • What benefits do you think you would see (or do you see) from a designated weekly planning time? It allows you to be a better steward of your time. You can make more time for what is important to you.
    • What obstacles might keep you from a regular planning practice? Unexpected things can crop up during the planning time, especially in the afternoon. There is also the possibility that I will just forget because I’m occupied with something else.
    • How can you address these challenges? For me, I will strive for Friday mornings; however, Saturday morning will be my back up planning time.

    RESULTS

    The first step I took was creating my list of things I wanted to do for the week. While I am not currently working a job outside my home, I still have skills I am working on towards career goals.

    • Career: 1) Create Youtube Video 2) Learn StreamYard
    • Relationships: 1) Buddy Read with Sister 2) Lunch with Sue
    • Self: 1) Eye Appointment 2) Improv Class

    Then, I used different colored pens to write my commitments and the activities I wanted to do for the week on my weekly planning page. Using the colored pens make planning a bit more fun. It adds a bit of whimsy.

    REFLECTION

    On Thursday I received reflection questions from Laura to review how well I did with planning on Fridays.

    • How did planning on Friday (or your chosen planning day) affect your week? Planning on Friday really made the week run more smoothly.
    • What challenges did you face while implementing this week’s strategy? I had no problems implementing this week’s strategy, partly because I knew I was participating in this challenge. However, it did take me longer than 20 minutes.
    • How did you deal with these challenges? n/a
    • Did you need to modify this rule? If so, how? The way my planning page is set up, I planned Sunday-Saturday instead of Monday-Sunday.
    • How likely are you to continue to plan on Fridays? Very likely; however, I will designate Fridays for planning (preferably in the morning with Saturday mornings as a back up.
    • Did you observe a bedtime this past week? Somewhat. On 5 nights, I was ready for sleep by 11:30 (4 nights I read before lights out; 1 night I watched tv). On the other two nights, I either scrolled on social media (Tuesday) or worked on a video (Thursday). Of course, I had improv on Thursday night, and I worked on a video after my shower. Overall, better than the previous week as far as my winding down routine and reading before sleep.

    Two rules down and seven more to go, dear reader. Remembering to plan on Fridays will be the key. I will also continue working on giving myself a bedtime. Both of these rules take a small amount of organizing and require strategies within themselves to prompt reminding me to implement them. At least, for me anyway. As with developing any new habit, it takes a little time, plenty of commitment, and a whole lot of patience. I keep striving towards making life better by being a good steward of time. Happiness!

    “As for feeling tired and distracted, remember that planning work takes less energy than actually doing the tasks you’re planning. It is far easier to write “call three prospective clients” in a planner than to actually call those clients. That Friday-afternoon fatigue is precisely why this is a good time for planning.” ~ Laura Vanderkam, Tranquility by Tuesday

    Note: Photo at the top is by Content Pixie on Pexels.com.

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    The rule focused on for Week 1 of the Tranquility by Tuesday challenge was Give Yourself a Bedtime. I knew from the start that committing to a bedtime was going to be tough for me. Since the beginning of the new year, I have been going to bed whenever I feel like it, and sometimes it has been 1:00 in the morning by the time I climb into bed for my evening slumber. I no longer have an established morning routine, and I rarely set an alarm since leaving my instructional coaching job, but I manage to get enough sleep.

    Laura mentioned (in a recent blog post about Rule #1) that she chose it first “because it’s important to get enough sleep and a regular bedtime gives structure to the day.” I could not agree more and was happy to start with this rule because as I mentioned in my post, “My RESULTS of the 2023 Time Tracking Challenge,” I want a more structured daily routine (M-F), especially in the mornings and throughout the day. 

    Before the week started, I pondered the planning questions for Rule #1 that Laura sent us on Friday, 20 January and made a plan for the week.

    • What time would you like to wake up most mornings? 6:00 AM
    • About how many hours of sleep do you need on an average night? 7 hours
    • What time do you generally need to be in bed in order to get this amount of sleep? 11:00 PM
    • About how much time do you need before your bedtime to relax and get ready? 30 minutes
    • What might keep you from going to bed at your bedtime? working on video projects for my YouTube channel
    • How do you plan to address these challenges? no idea

    RESULTS

      I am thrilled that I continued time tracking along with this challenge because I averaged 7.5 hours of sleep not 7 hours. This is huge because I now have to readjust the time I start winding down and going to sleep by a half hour or decide to wake up at 6:30 instead of 6:00 in the morning.

      My time tracking log also revealed the reasons for staying up later than 11:00 PM. On Friday night, I showered at 10:30 and from 11:00-11:45, I played on my phone, scrolling through social media. On Monday night, I showered at 10:15 and from 10:35-11:30, I edited a video. On Tuesday night, I showered at 8:45 and from 9:15-11:45, I was either scrolling on social media or watching YouTube videos. On Thursday night, I attended my improv class from 6:00-8:00; showered at 9:25, and from 9:50-11:50, I edited a video.

      REFLECTION

      On Thursday I received reflection questions from Laura to review how well I did with giving myself a bedtime. I did not go to sleep one single night at 11:00 PM. I missed the mark EVERY single night. Boy, do I have my work cut out for me!

      • How did observing a bedtime affect you this week? more conscious of trying to go to bed on time
      • What challenges did you face in implementing this week’s strategy? me (only see this after reviewing my time tracking log)
      • How did you deal with these challenges? sadly, I didn’t deal with it, but I can from this point on
      • If you were not able to observe a bedtime, what prevented you from doing so? getting sucked into playing on my phone (effortless fun) and continuing to work on my videos past my bedtime
      • If you needed to modify the rule, how did you do so? n/a
      • How likely are you to continue observing a bedtime? very likely; I need to take this rule more seriously

      Additionally, I realized that I do NOT have a good winding down routine. I did try to set an alarm to stop working on Monday night; however, when the alarm went off, I was right in the middle of what I was working on and did not want to stop. I still think an alarm is effective; however, I will need to set it for at least 15 minutes earlier than the time I ideally want to stop and start winding down before bedtime. I also think I need some sort of transition to signal my brain that it is time to wind down for the evening. Of course, this will take trial and error over the next few weeks.

      Participating in this challenge has been enjoyable, dear reader. I am discovering some interesting information about myself. This is definitely a know yourself better experiment. Going forward with Rule #1, I need to readjust my bedtime if I want to wake up at 6:00 AM, be more intentional with observing a regular bedtime (set a timer), create a transition to wind down before bed, and eliminate phone time prior to winding down. With a bit of practice and the right attitude, I really think I can make giving myself a bedtime a good habit. Happiness!

      “If you would like to experience the additional energy and optimism that comes from being well rested, choose a time that you would like to go to sleep more nights than not. Then, commit to getting in bed by that time unless you have a compelling reason not to.” ~ Laura Vanderkam, Tranquility by Tuesday

      Note: Photo at the top is by Kristin Vogt on Pexels.com.

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      Greetings, dear reader! I am currently reading Tranquility by Tuesday by Laura Vanderkam. It is #20 on my 23 for 2023 List. I also started the Tranquility by Tuesday Challenge today. I am proud to say that I am one of the 150 participants in Laura’s time study that produced the results she writes about in her book. I am super excited to read her book and to participate in the 2023 Tranquility by Tuesday Challenge.

      I filmed a short video about the challenge for my channel, Kat’s Novel Adventures, and want to share it with you. It explains the challenge, mentions the 9 rules, and the planning questions for the first rule. You do not need to read the book in order to participate, and there is still time to join the challenge. Just click on Tranquility by Tuesday Challenge (2023) to join.

      I am also continuing to track my time this week and have a feeling I will be tracking my time through the first few days of February. My hope is that with tracking my time and participating in this challenge, I can finally get caught up, achieve some balance, and make a real effort to get organized. I love everything I am doing right now in my life; however, I am burning the candle at both ends, not exercising, and starting to feel a bit stressed. I am ready to “calm the chaos and make time for what matters.” Happiness!

      “The good news is that everything becomes easier over time, as the grooves of habit wear deep.” ~ Laura Vanderkam, Tranquility by Tuesday

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