Unfuck Your Habitat has made me realize the importance of accountability, which is something I need a little more of in my life right now. I’ve been following UfYH for a few months, and I’m now in the habit of cleaning up the kitchen every night and sweeping and swiffering a few times a week, and dealing with the clutter on most of the flat surfaces in my apartment before it threatens to take over a room. My apartment isn’t perfect, but it’s better than it was and it gets a little better every week. I’ve always been a big fan of making my bed, and I still do that everyday, although now I do it at night right before I climb into it because my boyfriend works nights and doesn’t appreciate me messing around with the sheets and blankets in the morning while he’s trying to sleep. Can’t really blame him there. The point is, I’ve started chipping away at unfucking my habitat, and am ready to start unfucking some of my habits.
Here’s where the accountability thing comes in to play. I’m a grad student with an assistantship. It’s summer, so the classes and thesis aspects of grad school are less stressful right now, but the assistantship part is in desperate need of management. I’m supposed to be working 20 hours a week on my project(s), which doesn’t sound like a lot of time, except I’m chronically distracted by other things, which leads to procrastination, which leads to guilt, which leads to promising to work extra the next week to make up for it, which never happens, which leads to more guilt, etc. My advisor is pretty much incommunicado until mid-late July for family stuff, which is fine. Right now, the only person I have to answer to about my work is myself, and that doesn’t work so well for me. There are currently no specific goals or outcomes I need to achieve, so I feel as though I’m poking at my data with with a stick for a few hours a week, and spending the rest of my time trying to justify what I’m doing and why I’m not getting anywhere to myself (and anyone else that’s willing to listen). It’s a horrible guilt-procrastinate-guilt cycle, and it’s putting a damper on my summer and my personality.
Basically, I’m coming out of my tumblr lurker shell because I’m ready to step up my UfYH game and start applying it more, not only to my habitat, but to other areas of my life as well. If any fellow UfYH followers have any suggestions for avoiding the couch/tv trap in the evenings, that would be awesome. I don’t mind it occasionally, but the amount of time I spend watching tv has been beyond the point of ridiculous for a while now, and is firmly in the territory of sad and depressing. The simple solution would be to turn off the tv and get off the couch, but those are two areas in which I apparently need some motivation. Help!
When you get home, do not turn on the TV. Do at least 20 minutes of work/unfucking first. Then you can watch one show. When that show is done, TV goes off, and another 20 minutes. Starting right now, you are not allowed to watch two consecutive shows anymore. There must be a break in between in which you accomplish something not TV-related.
Take your number of rooms and divide it in half. Spend 10 minutes in each of half of the rooms one day, then 10 minutes on the other half the next day. If you have six rooms, that’s only a half hour a day, but it needs to be every day. Spread them out if you can. Once you get on a good cycle of that, after a few weeks, you’ll probably be able to drop to one 20/10 a day. The key is to get to every room no less than every other day, even if it’s only for five or ten minutes. You’d be surprised how far five or ten minutes goes.
Spend 20 minutes clearing off your work/study space. Take a ten minute break. Spend 20 minutes getting dishes dealt with, then take a break. 20 more on the area immediately around your study space, break, then 45/15s on studying. Throw in two or 3 20/10s a day, radiating out from your study space, and the place should be livable in a few days.
You make the time where you have it. If you’re home for an hour at 8 a.m., you do it then. Nights you work late, you do 20 minutes before you crash out for the night. You may not be able to establish a set “rhythm,” but if you aim for one or two 20/10s in a 24-hour period, rather than a particular time of day, you’ll probably be better off.
One of the main rules of UfYH is NO MARATHONS. One section at a time, in reasonable increments and with breaks (like 20/10s or 45/15s).
Here’s the welcome packet with all the stuff you need to know. Pace yourself, and welcome aboard!
The way I’d probably do it:
Keep your focus more narrow. Only let yourself worry about the immediate area you’re working on, knowing that you’ll get to everything else in due time. Assign yourself a section of room to work on, and don’t allow yourself to work outside that section until it’s done.
Also, if you wear glasses, take them off. You shouldn’t be able to spot dust in your window tracks from a reasonable distance. :P
I had a dream last night about unfucking my habitat. It was going great. Then my mom came in to wake me up and tell me that I wasn’t at work. Grrrrr. Thanks for ruining my super accomplished dream, Mom :P
I really am trying to get motivated. Our house is a wreck, and the main reason is that we don’t have a dryer, and it’s winter, therefore laundry can’t be hung outside. I know we just need to go to a laundromat, but *sigh* the closest one is like 20 mins away. Maybe Grandma will let us use hers? Idk. There’s probably close to 20 loads though :(
I do like having a clean space, I just can’t stand the upkeep, and Brian’s on strike, since he’s done it so often. I’ll start with surfaces today. That might be a little easier, right? Clean off my dresser, my desks, my file cabinet. Maybe do some before and after, but I’m really embarrassed about it…
Again, I can’t start with my room until Brian wakes up. I guess I should start my accounting homework?
If you have a ton of laundry, sometimes the best thing is to go to the laundromat and deal with it all at once. Start fresh.
And starting with your surfaces is a great idea. It really makes a visual difference, and motivates you to keep going.
You can do this. You just need to get started.
20/10s, all the way. Do 20 minutes of work, then take a 10-minute break. I like to start with flat surfaces (dresser, nightstand, shelves, etc.), because it makes things seem cleaner faster. Pace yourself, and don’t make it a marathon.
20/10s until it’s done. 20 minutes working, then a 10-minute break to recharge your batteries, then back to work. Pick one spot (the dresser, the floor, the closet, etc.) and start there, then work around the room until it’s done. Take your breaks. You’ll burn yourself out otherwise.
but I feel like I’m getting no where.
Floor is mostly picked up in living room
Dishes are in the dishwasher aside from a few that need soakage.
Load of laundry in washer and a load in the drying and the towels that are done were folded and brought upstairs.
Garbage is bagged and ready to go in the bin in the morning.
Missed sending out my recycling today because it’s usually delayed a day when there is a holiday… (now I have to wait 2 weeks)
Yet I look everywhere and it’s all so totally fucked.
How are your flat surfaces (tables, counters, etc.)? Are they clear?
Are we dealing with a “more stuff than storage” situation?
Are you overwhelmed because this is kind of a long process and you feel like you’re not getting there fast enough?
Tell me about “so totally fucked.” What’s making you feel that way?
You’re doing great. You’re doing a LOT. Don’t get down about it! You feel like this:
And I want you to feel like this:
Everything can be useful somehow. If you’re in a Hoarders-type situation, you need to let go of “potentially useful” and focus on “this shit is creating an unhealthy and possibly dangerous living situation.” Take no prisoners. Kill ‘em all. Get rid of it. If something is actually important, it won’t be at the bottom of a pile of trash or stuffed in the back of a drawer.
Items are not important. The health, safety, and sanity of the person in this hypothetical disaster situation are.