November 2021 goals

3 November 2021

This month, I’m trying something new – assigning an Admin, Analog, and Connect day each week. (Side note: I find it fascinating that I can think so much about household and life management and STILL come up with new ideas I want to try. It kind of feels like I should already have thought of them all, ha!)

You may remember that I use a simple Word doc for my perpetual to do list. This system works well for me, but when I stumble in how I spend my time, it’s usually because there are too many loud, competing priorities and I can’t decide which one to work on, so I work on none. And, I find it hard to switch from one type of task to another – specifically, as lazy as it sounds, once I’ve sat down on the sofa in the evening, it’s hard to get up and do anything else :)

So this is what I’m going to try: on Sunday of each week, I’ll look ahead at our schedule and choose an Admin, an Analog, and a Connect day. (Fridays and Saturdays cannot be assigned, and I should really say I’ll assign an evening, because these boundaries are for the hours between the kids’ bedtime and mine.)

On Admin days, I’ll plow through management tasks – think: placing online orders, booking travel and appointments, updating the budget, or email upkeep.

On Analog days, I’ll do non-computer things, like house repairs or projects, tidying or cleaning, making a new letterboard, arranging a new mantel, writing thank you notes, painting my toenails, working on Halloween costumes or my Advent calendar, reading a magazine or book, and if all else fails… going to bed early (what a concept!).

On Connect days, my schedule will remain open and available for connection with John. We might watch a show or movie, play a game, go for a walk, or just chat. This day was a compromise born out of the fact that I have a dozen pRoJeCtS going on at any one time and he mostly just wants to hang out with me in the evenings, ha. It’s not that we won’t connect on other days, just that this day will be specifically set aside to do so!

There’s more I could say, but I want to try it first! Will most definitely report back if it’s a success :) Here’s to another month of exploration, examining what’s not working, and trying new things.

I have been getting more “dressed” some days and capturing a few shots to share with you in a future post! Is this fun? Wearing my beloved Nap dress + jean jacket + everyday pearl and gold earrings + navy flats.

On my calendar this month:
— Making a family gratitude poster. Even though people have been doing these for years, it’s new for our family! Shep and I cut out a bunch of leaves and I put them in a little bowl in the center of our table with a glue stick and marker so it’s easy to each fill one out at dinner every night. Two thumbs up so far!
— Sharing gift guides! I have been thinking so much about gifting this year, not in the least because it already feels like we have everything we could ever want, and am excited to share some of these thoughts – and gift ideas, yes! – soon.
— Clearing the decks. This is a favorite part of my November holiday prep, and it’s always a breath of fresh air!

What I’m loving right now (media edition!):
— Speaking of a breath of fresh air, Bari Weiss’s podcast Honestly definitely qualifies. The description: “The most interesting conversations in American life now happen in private. This show is bringing them out of the closet. Stories no one else is telling and conversations with the most fascinating people in the country, every week from former New York Times and Wall Street Journal journalist Bari Weiss.” I find this to be an interesting, serious, and engaging listen every week. You will surely not agree with everything you hear, but Bari and her guests will leave you thinking (and wanting to continue the conversation with a friend!).
— Another podcast rec: John and I listened to two episodes of the Live No Lies mini podcast by John Mark Comer (with David Brooks and Jon Tyson) on our drive home from Black Mountain, and they were fantastic and filled with wisdom. Even if you don’t consider yourself a Christian, I HIGHLY recommend the David Brooks episode.
— The new season of the Great British Baking Show is an utter delight. The contestants are just perfectly-pitched and so quintessential GBBS. This is cozy fall and post-partum content at its apex.

You can see all the things I’ve loved in my goal posts over the years right here!

What I read in October:
The Dearly Beloved | Finished it, loved it as much as I thought I would. In fact, I loved it so much I sent copies to two friends who I thought would also enjoy it.
Ignore It! | John likes to tease me that all of the non-fiction books I read could be half as long. I strongly disagree in most cases, but in this one, yes, it probably could have been a tidy PDF or at least fewer than 100 pages. I was hoping she would address two specific issues we’re dealing with, and she didn’t really, but it’s still a worthwhile read if you’re dealing with annoying behaviors in your kids.

A little update on my 2021 reading list: it’s trucking along! So far, I’ve read 14 of the 24 books on the list. It doesn’t seem like I’ll get to all of them before the end of the year, but I hope to finish 7-8 more before December 31st! Next up: Next up: Self Portrait in Black and White and Nobody Will Tell You This But Me.

Revisiting my October goals:
Complete the backing for our Advent calendar (The embroidery is *almost* complete – I actually ran out of floss, so Purl is sending me a bit more!)
Create our Halloween costumes (Yes! Loved them!)
Listen to an upcoming sermon series for a church we’re exploring (We listened to the first of six on our drive home from the mountains! There have been three so far, so this is a partial completion.)
Plan and enjoy our Black Mountain trip (Yes! It was really, really wonderful. We had perfect weather and truly so much fun together! Recap coming soon!)
Re-introduce our evening Peloton stretch sessions (This was largely a fail, ha. Exercise of any sort is just not a top priority right now!)
Find that lumbar pillow (Done! I chose this one.)

As a reminder, many of these are drawn from my 2021 goals!

November goals:
— Complete the backing for our Advent calendar: finish embroidering the numbers, sew the pockets, sew the tree
— Finish the sermon series
— Make gift plans for all the people and execute as much as possible
— Edit Sheptember
— Embroider shirts for I, J, M, C, and T
— Do my November holiday prep (including designing and ordering our Christmas newsletter and card and making a spiritual formation plan for me and the kids)
— Begin my 2022 PowerSheets

Let’s discuss: have you tried anything new with household/life management lately? I’d love to hear!

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November 3, 2021 9:58 am

I listened to that podcast episode with David Brooks a couple weeks ago (and thought of you because I know that you are a big fan of John Mark Comer!), and it was excellent. I made my husband listen to some clips as well because they were so insightful. I also read The Dearly Beloved in the past few weeks following your October goals post and loved it, too! Really appreciate your thoughtful recommendations. :)

Abigail Gray
November 3, 2021 10:43 am

So many new to me podcasts, can’t wait to listen! I am so glad you loved The Dearly Beloved – I loved it, too. I recently started Gilead by Marilynne Robinson and it is giving me similar feels – I will report back when I am done! In the gifting department, I would say I am both 80% done and overwhelmed. I’ll get there!

November 3, 2021 2:45 pm

I can’t wait to read The Dearly Beloved. I have it on hold at the library and am eagerly waiting my turn :) The GBBS is also a favorite of mine, so relaxing and the baked goods they make are exquisite.

November 3, 2021 4:24 pm

I have been sporadically binging Honestly – it’s SO good! And in a sense, articles club-esque :)

November 4, 2021 12:18 pm

Oooh! I cannot wait to hear about how your Admin, Analog and Connect days go. I actually may be the opposite of you – I tend to default to Connect at the end of the day (or maybe veg is a better descriptor?), but find myself wondering when to do the admin tasks that I can’t get to during work/kid hours. I may need to implement one of those nights a week. :)
I am adding these podcasts to my queue! And I read The Dearly Beloved last year and also loved it, although I thought the end was maybe a little rushed, but that could be in comparison to the slow beginning. I liked reading a story of two couples, which is not a story told very often, but very much part of a marriage.

November 4, 2021 1:48 pm

Okay I think this Analog, Admin, Connect idea might change my life (!!!) at the very least it has my wheels turning for how I can better manage my evenings.
Also, looking forward to reading your thoughts on gifting this year. After the collective trauma of the pandemic, losing/starting a new job, as well as the personal trauma of losing a parent this past year, my thoughts around gifting and consumerism are shifting rapidly and I’m pleasantly surprised to hear I’m not alone!

November 4, 2021 3:23 pm

I love this idea of Admin/Analog/Connect!! It feels so much more manageable and tidy! I’m going to try it – thanks for the idea! :)

Alex Taylor Sauls
November 4, 2021 9:04 pm

We’ll have to give that podcast a listen! Our family loves John Mark Comer, too :) About two years ago he did a mini podcast series called Fight Hustle End Hurry with Jeff Bethke and it literally changed our lives!

Also, I live the idea of admin, analog, and connect days – I’ll be so curious to here how that shakes out – I hope it ends up being a hit!

November 5, 2021 8:13 am

Oooh, love the idea of dividing up Analog and Admin tasks–I have a hard time shifting between those (or determining which are more important) on any given night. This usually means my personal inbox goes neglected for weeks (months?) at a time. Eager to hear how this system goes!
You know I am excited to see your mirror pictures post! Always fun!!

Erin O.
November 10, 2021 4:42 pm

Thank you for all the recommendations, Emily! I had not heard of the Honestly podcast, so I gave the recent episode on “luxury beliefs” a listen (actually 2 listens since I listened to it with my husband after my initial go round). I must say a sense of “fresh air” was not what I was feeling after listening. More like baffled at the belief construction of the host and guest. I’m not one to give up easily, so I’ll give a few more episodes a listen, but goodness that first episode was rough to get through (twice!), but did result in quite the discussion afterward!

November 18, 2021 10:17 am

I also loved Dearly Beloved and agree the ending felt rushed. I just wanted to hear more! I’ve tried something like Admin days for years, but I was always trying to assign them to the same night each week and then something would come up and my plan would fall apart after a couple weeks. Makes so much sense to pick a different night each week if needed! I’m like you, I mostly want to get stuff done to the annoyance of my husband who would love to just sit and watch TV with me. (Though he also likes to watch whatever show we are watching every night, as many episodes as fit before bedtime and gets annoyed if I can’t commit every evening! Compromise, right?)
You mentioned listening to podcasts with John while driving, I assume with your kids. Do you listen on headphones? Are the kids listening to something else? Both of these mentioned sound like while not at their level, they wouldn’t be inappropriate or anything, but I was wondering how you managed this. I will often listen with one earbud while driving on roadtrips, but would be fun to listen to something with my husband!
Good Luck on finishing your advent calendar! I hope you share the final result, I’m sure it will be lovely and such a treasure for your family. I have a fabric one purchased YEARS ago and I’m hoping to have it ready for this year. I saved a bunch of Halloween candy to fill it with, ha!