Here is my review of the month of June and my goals for July.
I don’t always set myself monthly goals, but when I do I find I focus more. However, I don’t always achieve them! Sometimes I think I don’t focus on the right things or I am not realistic about my chances of achieving them. I say I am going to decorate a room, for example, without checking that I am going to have the time!
When I set unrealistic goals that I then don’t achieve, it makes me irritable and anxious. I need to really think about what I want and whether it’s possible right now.
Occasionally I forget what my goals are until I think about the review, which makes setting them rather a pointless exercise. Since I am generally a bit scatter brained, I am going to write my goals out and stick them to the wall in front of my desk. That should keep me focused.
1# Making an early start
One of my goals for the year was to get up earlier. I should have decided to get up earlier and get things done! In reality, I often wake up pretty early, around 5 or 6 am, but then grab a cup of tea, take it back to bed and get lost on Twitter or the internet generally.
This month, I am going to be more specific and set my alarm for 6 am Monday to Friday, get up and dressed, take the dog out and then start work.
As Archie doesn’t like the heat, taking him out early is sensible. However, what often happens is that we fall out of bed, throw on some clothes and take him, then shower and get ready when we get back. Before you know it, it’s 10.30 and nothing has been achieved!
On rainy days, it works better for me to get myself ready, do an hour’s work and then walk the dog. I am so much more productive and creative first thing, so I need to take advantage of that.
2# Track my hours
I really have no idea how many hours a week I work at the moment. One of the things I love about self-employment is that I can set my own schedule. However, with the easing of the lock down, recently I have been distracted by activities other than work.
I need to be a bit more focused and self-disciplined, and not swan off to see family and friends, or hit the charity shops when I haven’t spent enough time working.
I have tried tracking my hours before and even installed an app on my phone. However, I got too bogged down in the detail and lost enthusiasm. This month, I am going to try a more simple system in the form of a notebook by my laptop.
I will note down roughly my start and finish times and what I was generally doing, rather than trying to work out precisely how many minutes I spend photographing, how long washing and ironing stock, how long blogging, etc.
At this point I just want to see how many hours I am working, and try to do at least 30 hours each week.
3# Sort my unlisted stock and office space
As regular readers will know, I earn some of my income by reselling on eBay. Even though I had no boot sales or charity shops to go to, because I am a slow lister I still have loads of unlisted items hanging around.
In fact, there is an extremely untidy corner of my little office where there are piles of it. It’s simply not a big enough space to be this disorganised! I keep going in there to vacuum, then leaving it because there is so little floor space!
The plan is to find a place to store it – possibly in the shed in plastic boxes – with some kind of clear system so that I don’t forget about it. I am thinking one box could be bric-a-brac, another could be winter clothing to be listed September time, etc.
I also have piles of old comics and Warhammer type magazines that need to be sorted into lots. If I store them somewhere I will deliberately ignore them. I have no interest in them or enthusiasm to list them either, but the sooner I do the sooner I can free up some space!
The other thing that needs sorting in my office is all the cardboard boxes I keep. You never know when you will need a good box, so I hang onto any that I come across. However, they are currently in a big mess. I think I need a large plastic container for those as well.
4# Go through my listed stock and reduce prices
I really need to do a review of some of the things I am trying to sell that have been hanging around for ages. If they aren’t selling, why is that? Have I set the price too high? Could the photos and description be improved? Or are they just not popular items and would be best donated to the charity shop?
I don’t have enough storage space for things to sit around for years, so I want to go through all of my listings and reduce prices, improve the listings and end them altogether if necessary.
5# Freelance writing
I love writing – it’s one of the reasons I started this blog. In fact, I am even working on a book.
Occasionally, I pick up a bit of freelance writing work. This was always something I planned to expand on, but my time and focus has been spent elsewhere. This month I would like to research ways to find more freelance opportunities, how to pitch, what to charge, etc.
I would love to do more writing and make this a worthwhile and enjoyable part of my income generation, but it requires some time and effort. Something to do instead of lazing in front of the TV in the evenings maybe!
6# Read the damn book
The book in question is Total Recall: Perfect Response Training for Puppies and Adult Dogs*. Archie is a cute little boy, but he is also a law unto himself.
When it is just me and Mr S out walking, it is pretty easy to call him back – especially if you have a cube of cheese or some tasty dog treats about your person. However, if he sees another of his doggy friends, or any birds, he is off!
I received the book from Amazon a few weeks ago, but have only read a few chapters. I can’t leave it lying around in case the flipping dog eats it! The best place to keep it so that I remember to read a bit each time I take a break from work is by the kettle, I have decided.
We also managed to find a puppy training class and book him in, starting at the end of the month. They have an outdoor training area fortunately, so are able to restart their classes earlier than other dog trainers. So, off to school for Archie! We need all the help we can get…. Puppies are almost as hard to parent as children, I have decided!
Talking of Archie, we fell out big time this month. He is literally chewing everything. Now that he has his adult teeth, he has decided to start on the fixtures and fittings. Several times we have had to stop him biting the skirting boards, he has ripped up the hall carpet (luckily this is due to be replaced, but not until he has calmed down!) and his most recent triumph was eating one of the spindles on the banisters.
He also decided to strip the wallpaper in the hallway. We were trying to decide whether to repaper or just repair and paint over it. Think he has made the decision for us now….
We are definitely putting plans to redecorate the hall on hold! I would be gutted to repaint and paper it all only for him to destroy it.
Having said all of the above, I am going to go easy on myself if things don’t go to plan. It is easy to start to feel overwhelmed and anxious if you spread yourself too thinly, as I said in this post.
Review of the month, June 2020
My goals for June were as follows:
I did manage to weed the veg patch early in the month. However, the weeds are growing fast so it urgently needs doing again and more often.
Mr S did all the flower beds, although the pesky bindweed is proving an issue as usual. We are trying to keep on top of it. Let’s hope it’s a bit cooler this month, as the heat zaps my energy and enthusiasm.
I intended to do a bit of hustling to drum up some work for the blog. Fortunately, a couple of opportunities arrived by themselves. Unfortunately, this made me a bit complacent and I have done little work on this goal. However, I am going to focus just on freelancing this month, as I said above.
My eBay goal every month is to do 100 listings. I hardly ever quite manage it! During June I managed 85 listings. I am a slow lister, but I really need to speed up!
I have been watching some You Tubers who are eBay resellers to see how they do it. I wrote this post about my favourite eBay resellers to follow on You Tube here if you want to find out more about how it all works.
Reducing the grocery bill
This subject seems to appear on all review of the month posts. There is no doubt that going back to shopping at Aldi rather than online at at small local shops has reduced the cost of our food this month. A rough calculation suggests we spent about 20-25% less on food during June than we had for the previous three months.
In an idea world, I would buy lots of our food from small independents and farm shops. However, our household income has reduced since Covid-19 arrived and who knows what the future holds? We need to pay the bills so it is important to reduce as many of our costs as possible. Aldi is the way forward I think!
Washing the cars
I finally got round to cleaning my car! I hoovered and polished it inside and gave it a good wash and wax outside. Mr S hasn’t done his yet, so I need to give him a little kick on that one. Still, it was my goal and not his!
Decluttering the kitchen drawers
I did this one early in the month to get it out of the way. Little and often works for me when it comes to decluttering. If I aim to do too much at any one time, I struggle to find the motivation to get started.
I know Marie Kondo says to do it all at once, but I simply don’t have time to go through the whole house and having a puppy helping is liable to send my blood pressure soaring.
So, that is my review of the month. Hopefully, I have set some realistic goals for July. Time will tell.
How has your month been? Do you have anything you really want to achieve in July?
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