Normally, this is the post where I look back at the previous month, evaluate, list my statistics for the month, and talk about what I’ll do to improve in the coming month. If you read my June Recap, you know that July was slated to be different. In July, I took a break from blogging. I was going to publish some book reviews throughout the month, but ultimately decided not to. I really needed a full month of not checking statistics, monitoring posts, and all the other footwork that comes with blogging.
Since I wasn’t blogging at all and the point of July was to reset and refocus, I won’t be sharing my statistics for the month. So what did happen during the month of July?
I got a better handle on my schedule
When planning life around a military schedule, it can be hard to feel like your schedule is even your own. For example, nearly every day last week, I got a call from my husband to pick him up earlier than normal. And every time, I was in the middle of something. Other times, I have shown up to pick him up from work only to be waiting for two hours to even hear from him. So, sometimes, I do my best, but the Navy has other ideas.
But for the most part, I do still also just need to manage my time better. I consistently have to go back to this principle. I get complacent or comfortable in my routine, and my time management starts to slip. I also don’t always consider what adding new things does to how I think about my daily schedule. Adding new things is great – I need to do that! – but I also need to take the time to think about how they’ll affect my days when I add them. So, in July, despite the fact that my “new things” have been around for a few months, I worked through how helping a mom with her twins for a few hours a few days a week and volunteering at my church one morning a week affects the rest of what I do (namely, writing). I established the best times to work out, clean the house, and sit down and write.
Because I wasn’t spending every free minute trying to catch up on all the things, I was able to actually sit back and clearly think about what I was doing with my time. Being a full time writer means being a full time writer. Books don’t write themselves. So, I am making writing a prioritized part of my schedule. As in “I’m not free right now I’m working” part of my schedule. It’s very easy for me to prioritize other people over what I need to get done. So I’m setting working hours and keeping them. No exceptions. Except for when the Navy wrecks all of my plans by being the Navy. 😉
I got a better handle on my home.
Anyone who has ever moved knows the struggle of trying to situate your ~stuff~ in a new space. When we arrived in Bremerton in February, I got the majority of our stuff unpacked and put away within the first week. It was awesome. But then there was the other 10% of stuff. That just got left in giant wardrobe boxes (we had two sitting in our bedroom for six months) or stuffed in closets with a lick and a promise. Except that promise wasn’t being kept, and I was still wondering where all my face masks and witch hazel went (spoiler alert: they were in an unopened box).
One Sunday evening in early July, I finally snapped. In the time it took Reid to use the restroom, I had pulled every box and pile of stuff with no home from every nook and cranny (read: our bedroom and the office closet), put it in the living room, and started going through it. Over the course of two weeks, I went through every box, tub, and container. I gave away everything we did not need and found a spot in our home for everything we did. I tore apart the office and put it back together. I scrubbed the house from top to bottom. I got that mess done. My home is finally exactly how I want it. This was something I honestly would not have done if it weren’t for the blogging break I took.
I reevaluated my social media
The last two and a half weeks of July consisted of a social media break for the first half and some major cleaning out for the second half. I did a ton of unfollowing on Instagarm, left a majority of the Facebook groups I was in, did some unfriending on Facebook, and cut back on the “like” pages I was following. Additionally, for the Facebook groups I chose to remain in, I changed the setting so they didn’t show up in my newsfeed and wouldn’t send me as many notifications. Twitter is different, so I left that pretty much the same.
I noticed a huge difference in my social media feeds right away. I have a theory that a good portion of the toxicity we see on our social media comes from Facebook groups, “like” pages, and friending people we haven’t met or have only met once. Out of the 100+ people I removed from my friend list, the majority were people I met through Navy spouse Facebook pages. I was never going to meet them and we never talked. There was no point in keeping them on my page.
Lastly, I decided that regular social media breaks are a necessity for me. Social media is a HUGE time suck. If a lot of my time suddenly disappears, it probably fell directly into a social media (or YouTube…) black hole. Therefore, I will taking regular social media breaks either every weekend or the last week of every month. I haven’t decided yet. You are more than welcome to contribute an opinion about the matter. 😉
I had a writing breakthrough
With all the time I spent on the house and basic reorienting myself this month, I didn’t do a ton of actual writing. I did do a few things though. First, I got the ball rolling on what will be my second book project. I wrote the survey questions, sent it to a few people who are interested, and already have some responses waiting for me! I will talk more about this project in a future post.
In addition to getting my second book project in motion, I also had a breakthrough with my first book project. I’ve been stuck on one particular chapter for quite some time now, trying to figure out how to wrap it up well. A few days into my social media break, I was trying to go to sleep while (once again) thinking through the last part of that chapter. And then suddenly… it hit me. Everything started coming together. I knew I had to get up and write it all right then or I was going to completely forget everything. I got up, found my computer, and spent over an hour furiously typing away. All while my husband, who usually notices when I get up for a prolonged period during the night, slept soundly. 🙂
All in all, July was a refreshing and productive month for me. Throughout August, as I get back into my blogging groove, I will be rethinking some of my goals for the year and adjusting them to fit how things are going right now. I am looking forward to finishing this year out strong, by God’s grace and for his glory!