Mishka’s 2012 Detox, Self-Help, Festivity & Productivity Plan
I started this blog post on February 4th, 2012 and I’m finally ready to hit publish. I’m about to (over?)share a personal endeavor that will reveal some of my recent struggles, but I know there’s power in story telling and even more power in process. So here it goes.
The Back Story
Lately (within the past 1.5 years), I’ve been living with one index finger paging through self-help books, and the other finger clicking “add to cart” to acquire more. I love them. I’ve gone through some highly acclaimed titles that have rendered me life-alteration-ready, from big changes to minor adjustments in my day-to-day.
I didn’t know how thirsty I was for some of the info I’d been missing out on before I delved into new ideas about finance, creative process, homemaking, anxiety, and time management (to name a few). Add to that countless subscriptions to self-help and time management email newsletters that (paradoxically) clog my inbox and killed a lot of time, but I’ve learned to weed out the ones I know I won’t get to from the ones I can’t wait to open in the morning.
(I’ll share my favorite of these resources with you later.)
Anyway, while I’ve spent most of the past 1.5 years dog-earring pages and highlighting things I want to apply to my life, I think it’s finally time to put the books down and start making changes.
Good ideas don’t help if they never graduate to actions.
Gradual changes I’ve begun to make already include reducing material possessions (the completion of which is going to be a long, ongoing process for me, as my past 27 years have really revolved around a very affectionate materialism that has resulted in me owning many lovely things), dietary adjustments, anxiety-relief techniques, and approaches to getting really important work done.
Overall? Quality of life upgrade x 10. But the road is long, chums. And there’s a long way to go for me.
My buzzword for this year is: STREAMLINE
The point of sharing all of this with you is…
a) most of what I’ve learned has come from the personal anecdotes of authors and bloggers who’ve made similar journeys and documented what worked/what didn’t, and b) putting my truths out there into the universe helps me confirm them with myself and makes my intentions known.
There is also the chance that some of you, passing by or maybe subscribing to this blog, will have some similar stories and ideas to impart. There’s no sense in having this massive network online if we can’t reach out to one another, right?
This is pretty personal documentation, but I’m sure there are people out there (maybe even one) who will relate, and maybe some of what I’m doing will apply to them/ignite them further towards a more festive, fashionable existence.
What am I going to do about it?
I’m going to draft up a plan here, put it into motion, and then keep field notes (also right here). My resources all come from the various books, websites, newsletters, and blogs I’ve been studying, and I’ll be (honestly) reporting what’s working and what’s not along the way.
What does this have to do with Fashion & Festivity?
In order to get the most out of these two passions I associate every major activity of my life with, wellness, organization, health, energy, inner-calm, financial know-how, and quality of life are key. Without them, it’s hard to really dig your fingers into any joy or creative effort (or sometimes superfluous material bliss).
And while it’s important to press on during less than ideal circumstances (whatever they may be), it’s also easier to take on whatever the universe throws at you when you’re balanced, centered, in control.
Bottom line: To get the most out of fashion & festivity, a foundation of balance, a focus on aesthetic beauty, an atmosphere of celebratory enthusiasm, and (yet) a theme of “less is more” must be imposed.
Also, if you haven’t read my personal definition of Festivity (a manifesto for this blog, actually), now’s a good time.
The 2012 Detox, Self-Help, Festivity & Productivity Plan
This is the ground level. The basics. My foundation for greater things. Nothing ground-breaking below. Just a long list of things that I need to streamline in order to progress.
A. Time Management & Productivity
1. Establish time for work, play, and personal projects. IE: Job vs. wild dance parties vs. blogging vs. small plans business vs. Etsy shops.
Calculate as accurately as possible the energy levels and hours each require.
Figure out what’s not working in how each of these are currently approached.
What can be combined?
What needs to be eliminated?
2. Increase the desirability of the working environment.
Make a playlist for work hours.
Keep a clean, inspiring work space.
Work in cute cafe’s whenever possible.
Work on one thing at a time.
Make a small list each day and hack away at the most important tasks first.
Declare certain activities and media off-limits during working hours.
3. Streamline to-do lists.
Cut out old projects and ideas that just aren’t happening.
Be honest and go by the first reaction when choosing what to spend energy on.
If a project or task makes you flinch and it was supposed to be “leisurely”, cut it out.
Order the remaining items and commit to them.
Set reasonable deadlines and stick to them.
4. Empty your inbox and keep it reasonably empty.
Address whatever needs to be done immediately and regularly.
Avoid exhausting bursts of work (opt for regular maintenance).
Delegate and delete.
Figure out how to tackle the beast that is daily admin busy-work. (Or, see if it makes more sense to hire someone else to do it for you.)
5. Empty the desktop, hard drive, and digital “inspiration” junk pile that (my) laptop has become.
Back-up anything you don’t use every week and delete it.
Create a desktop background that has some sort of visually motivating quality.
Delete all but the most useful, most aesthetically relevant, most engaging media.
Set deadlines to complete unfinished projects taking up storage, or delete them.
Maintain a regular back-up schedule for entire hard drive.
6. Stop lingering on whether or not something is finished or good enough.
Conceptualize, create something awesome, and ship.
Consult creative comrades who are doing something awesome right now. Ask them for first reactions and feedback, but don’t feel that you definitely need to modify or adapt.
Stay inspired by fresh material and constantly create/release ideas.
Always be working (as efficiently and passionately as possible) towards something.
7. Consider where you want to be in five years.
Carefully remove anything from your to-do list collection that isn’t helping you get there.
Re-consider and re-adapt as many times as necessary.
8. Finish reading the following books/e-books:
Poke The Box (done)
Re-read & take notes on Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? (one of the best books I’ve ever read, btw).
1. Clear out material possessions, including (but not limited to) clothing, accessories, furniture, books, DVDs, decor (perhaps my biggest offense), food, flatware, etc.
Achieve clean surfaces and find a designated place for everything.
Sell what can be sold, give the rest away.
2. Use the Sacred Space Clearing Kit to clear out stale energy and refresh each room.
Use the smudge stick purchased 4 months ago.
3. Do actual surface cleaning on walls, floors, windows, mirrors and all other surfaces.
4. Get rid of artificial air fresheners and replace them with all-natural alternatives.
5. Re-imagine plan for entire design of your home.
How can your space be enhanced festively and functionally?
What walls need to be painted? Should you emulate walls of Central Asian Roma?
Do you want to feel like you live in a beach house in Mancora, or maybe in Marrakech?
A vintage-glass adorned farm house?
Get actively inspired by ABC home and pick a few ideas to use in your home.
Draft up plans to tackle those ideas/set deadlines/etc.
6. Finish reading the following books:
Reference this book often (too enormous to read front to back): How to Organize (Just About) Everything: More Than 500 Step-by-Step Instructions for Everything from Organizing Your Closets to Planning a Wedding to Creating a Flawless Filing System
C. Diet & Nutrition
1. Read and experiment with Kimberly Snyder’s Beauty Detox program.
2. Modify the above program to reflect the aims of Dropping Acid: The Reflux Diet Cookbook & Cure. Try to make every single recipe in the book (at least once) by the end of the year.
3. Green. Smoothies. Every. Single. Day.
4. Establish a regimen of natural supplements and vitamins, patterns of eating that aren’t erradic and random (and harmful!).
5. Stop drinking like an Irish sailor.
7. Take a walk every day.
8. Experiment with methods of relaxation, exercise, and holistic healing. Find out what works for you.
1. Take notes on what parts of your life need more festivity.
What is your least favorite part of the day?
How can you make it more fun?
What can you do to celebrate life more often/more passionately (without the standard crazed drinking/partying)?
2. Organize a calendar of people/places/events/holidays/etc that you want to invest celebratory energy in.
Plan ahead, create gifts, cards, decor, and atmosphere by hand, from the heart.
Swear off and campaign against mindless store-bought “festivity”.
3. Assess your home and figure out what needs changing in order for energy to flow freely and a celebratory/grateful/festive mood to flourish at all times.
Always have amazing music playing.
Remove dead weight and dead energy.
See section “B: Home” for more on this.
4. Assess clothing, accessories, makeup, and anything else you adorn yourself with on a daily basis for its practicality, festivity, and style.
Find out what makes you feel amazing, and only wear/use those things.
Employ stones, metallics, prints, and colors into your clothing strategically and with aesthetic balance.
Embrace the eccentric.
Research the patterns, fabric and textile designs, embroidery patterns, and ritualistic attire you love and learn something about where it comes from, and what you represent when you employ it in your modern attire.
(IE: there is a huge debate about wearing indigenous tribal accessories from Native American and other people—but instead of fighting over whether it’s “right” to wear a headdress to a party, what if this was an chance for people to do some research and learn more about the attire they adore enough to bring into modern dress?)
5. Study the lives, habits, and methods of festive people in your life, as well as public figures/motivational role models.
Reach out for advice/feedback regularly.
Try new ideas.
Collaborate with them.
Channel their energy.
Find out what works for you.
6. Dance more.
A lot more.
In a dance class.
Anytime you’re anywhere near a dance floor.
In your kitchen.
Remember that dancing (rather than not dancing) is always the right answer.
7. When the overwhelming urge arrives to be a stubborn stick in the mud, let it go.
Choose to laugh.
Don’t take everything so seriously.
Don’t take unpleasant moments personally.
Don’t dwell on guilt, jealousy, or negative longing.
Choose to be content and gracious.
Keep your smiles honest.
So, that’s a start.
Of course there are other things—these are the first steps. I expect other change to flourish around these categories as I progress. I have tentative plans to draft up round 2 in late summer 2012. Care to join me?
I’m giving myself a deadline to report back on all of this: May 31st, 2012
…and I plan to do the aforementioned reporting along the way as well. That’s my big public declaration. It’s called “public pressure”, I believe, which I don’t now I subscribe to, but I’m in the spirit of trying new things this year.
Until I streamline all of my effort, ambition, and daily routine, I won’t be emotionally, physically, or psychologically ready to meet my own goals. So streamline it is!
A Final Thought
I’ve never done anything like this before, but I’ve benefited from seeing other people do it. If you have a blog where you’re sharing a similar public progress report or you’re also aiming to do some of the things above (or just want recommendations as I trial and error my way through 2012), please subscribe and/or comment so I get to know you!
Lastly, if the idea of living with more festivity in your life interests you, definitely get in touch. I want to hear your ideas, concerns, comments, and stories along the way. Living festively is something more people need to touch base with, and if you agree, maybe you’re someone I need to collaborate with.
P.S. Read my first follow-up here.