Category Archives: Productivity

2017 Goals

One of my goals for this coming year (like every year) is to write more here. I tend to write a bunch of drafts and never feel like they are good enough to actually publish. But, I’m going to try to start writing anything, even if it’s a post saying that I don’t want to write anything, once a week.

So, here is a list of my 2017 goals. They’re all things I’ve been contemplating/working on already, and are pretty attainable.

  • Be more organized…desk and office
  • Language learning…Duolingo daily, starting with German. Goals of either every day for 6 months or finish the German tree.
  • Morning pages daily
  • Use time better…schedule each day out more…spend less time on social media/Reddit
  • Be more active during the day
  • Blood work…have it done every 6 or 12 months
  • Meditate more regularly
  • January goal of writing down daily gratitude

Well, we’re 6 days into the new year and my list is going okay. Unfortunately, Tuesday I came down with the worst cold and didn’t want to get out of bed. Thursday, my throat felt like sandpaper, so the whole “being more active” thing hasn’t been going so well. Same with being more organized. I just put all the extra papers and crap on the floor next to my desk. The office is still a mess from Christmas crafts, but I want to get it all cleaned up as soon as I don’t feel like I’m dying.

I’m going to give myself credit for using time effectively. Yes, that meant doing the bare minimum of work and then napping, but it’s what I need to do right now. I bought a Happy Planner and like it so far. (I will never ever ‘scrapbook’ my planner…no cute emoji stickers here.) I originally bought a Bloom Daily planner since it has goal setting pages, but I couldn’t get over the square-ish size, so I put it up on eBay.

I also started the year off strong meditating for the first 3 days (plus days before the new year), and then fell asleep at 7 for the next two days so I didn’t end up doing it.

I’v been using Duolingo for the past month to work on German, so that is going well. I haven’t missed a day yet. I was hoping to have German done in 6 months, but from what I read, that seems too fast. Danish is next on the list unless they have Greek done for the app by then. I started just doing it on my phone, but then I went back and wrote down notes of everything and it’s really helping to retain it.

I ordered two blood tests through WellnessFX to have done now and again in 6-12 months. I wanted to do it earlier in the week, but didn’t want to fast and then drive the 30 mins to Quest Diagnostics. I have plans to go today though.

Morning pages and gratitude have also been going relativity well. I printed out a “Today, I am thankful for…” sheet with 30 lines to fill in and I’ve stuck with it. I started doing morning pages (writing 3-ish pages of anything when you first get up) after reading The Artist’s Way, but it’s really hard for my to stick with. I joke that I’m allergic to morning pages. So far, I’ve written every day though.

A tool that has helped me stay on track and visualize what I need/want to get done has been Habitica. It’s an app/website that helps you create better habits or break bad habits by making in into a game. You create your character and list your habits, daily goals, and one time to-dos, and you get points when you check them off. You can level up your character, battle bosses, and a bunch of other fun things. The game aspect is pretty cool, I like the rewards of finding items, but it also just helps a lot to have a checklist that I can see (I have it on my phone, but also always leave it open in a browser tab) and that resets every day.

Do you have any new years goals or resolutions? Do you usually stick to them?

My First Experience With Online Grocery Shopping

Yesterday, I tried out the online grocery shopping from Giant though Peapod. There are a bunch of things I really liked about it and a few things that make me reconsider using it regularly.

giantOnlineShopping

First thing I saw when I logged on what my most recent/common purchases.

Pros:

Convenience. I love the online interface. It’s really simple to add things, and they have your most recent purchases in a list. Since I normally buy the same stuff every week, it makes it really simple.

Adding things up until your cutoff time. I started making my list in the morning and when I remembered something throughout the day, I added it to the list. I forgot that we were out of flour, until I noticed the empty container in the kitchen. It took about 30 seconds to add it to my order.

Remembering random things I always seem to forget. Despite the fact that stamps have been on my grocery list for weeks, I ALWAYS forget to ask for them. They were literally the first thing I added to my list so that I wouldn’t forget. (They were also the first thing they handed to me when I picked up my order.)

Order totaling. I always plan to spend around $100, and then remember things I forgot and end up going over. This made it so easy to cap it at $100. When I added extra things, I took of a few things I didn’t really need.

Not having to get out of the car. I pulled up and they loaded up my car. The convenience of not having to drag kids shopping/chase them around the store is priceless.

Definitely saved time. Even though there is a Giant 10 minutes away, they don’t have a very big organic/non-dairy selection. So I drive to a Giant that’s 20 minutes away for those things. This one was 30 minutes away, but driving an extra 20 minutes round trip more than made up for the hour+ I spend walking around the store.

Fixing their mistakes. More on that below.

 

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Order totaling on the side of the screen.

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Waiting for them to load up my car.

Cons:

Online pricing. The produce pricing is per item. It was 39 cents per banana, and I picked how many bananas I wanted. So when I saw $1.49 per plum tomato I thought it must meant per lb, even though it said “each”. So I’m at fault for spending $1.49 for the smallest plum tomato I’ve ever seen (it weighed in at .2 lbs which means I ended up paying $7.45/lb for tomatoes).

Funky produce. The spinach I picked up on the 24th had a “best by” date of the 25th, and it was wilted and slimy. The kale wasn’t in an actual bunch, it was just leaves in a giant shopping bag, which looked a little weird. Other than that the cucumbers and bananas looked good.

Customer Service. This was a pro and a con because I sat on hold for 15 minutes, and then left my number so they could call me back in another 15 minutes. The customer service rep told me that the price for the tomatoes seemed a little high, but that maybe this is just an expensive tomato season and kind of told me I was wrong to go by an average price in the store since online had separate prices. I accepted it was my fault. She said she would give me a $15 first time customer discount, and that she would refund the price of the spinach. (Though I haven’t seen those credits yet.)

They didn’t have everything. They had most of the things I was looking for, but were missing some random things like Giant brand salsa, nutrition bars I was looking for, and there was a very limited selection of frozen fruit.

Using plastic bags. I knew everything would be placed in plastic bags, even though I have a bunch of the reusable ones. It doesn’t bother me that much, but almost every bag only had one thing in it. The tofu was in one bag, the spinach was in one bag, one box of cereal was in one bag. It seemed kind of wasteful.

Overall: I’m really excited for the program to take off because it could be so helpful. I really wanted to love it, and I think if it improves, and hopefully becomes available at a closer store I’d use it regularly. I might try to use it every 2 weeks for non produce items, since the closest store is 30 minutes away (at the Giant that we used to live right next to), and I’m not in that area for anything else. I realized I’m a little too particular about my produce, and that I’d rather pick out my own. As soon as the farm stand opens up down the street, I’ll get 90% of my produce there anyway.

Do you prefer to shop online? Have you ever ordered groceries through a service?

 

Simplifying Dinner

I just finished reading the book Simplicity Parenting, and thought it was great. The title, “Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids” is pretty self explanatory, and it’s full of great information.

 book

One thing we were already doing, but not to the extent in the book, was simplifying dinner. We have the same basic meals over and over again. It does get a little boring sometimes, but it was the only way we wouldn’t deal with random “ew, I’m not eating that” nights (even though we still get that with our usual rotation). I figured out a basic schedule that we did, spaghetti once a week, pizza once every two weeks, tacos/enchiladas/something Mexican once a week, etc. It made it simpler for grocery shopping, and it was full of no conflict meals. (I already tried the usual tips, have kids help cook dinner, pick out colorful veggies, etc.)

calendarBefore

After reading the book, I wanted to simplify it even more. Stirfry night was sometimes an issue, and for some reason quesadillas, despite having the same ingredients as the tacos, were usually a problem. So my new schedule had even less options.

Each week we have the same things, but can have a different variation, for example, Sunday night we had portobello soup, and next week maybe we’ll have vegetable, etc. Taco night might be tacos, enchiladas, or taco salad, etc. Spaghetti night might have pesto sauce or different kinds of noodles. Pizza night could also be a calzone or pizza braid. Veggie subs might have a different variation of veggies/sauces.

calendarAfter

This way, it still leaves options for the spur of the moment breakfast for dinner, or pot pie, or stuffed peppers, or the amazing Corn Dog Muffins that we had the other night. All things that we eat semi-regularly, but now it’s even simpler…”what are we having for dinner? Oh, it’s Taco Tuesday”.

In theory, it should be shopping even simpler. I’m hoping because I seem to run to the store just about every day for *something*.

There’s a lot of good information in the book, even without regards to parenting. I think simplifying and minimizing is always a good thing. Next up is donating all the old clothes and toys!

(*Chicken patties are “chickn”, and grilled cheeses are made with Daiya.)

How do you plan out your meals? Do you like to keep things simple?