Monthly Round-Up: January

Happy February! And happy Imbolc.

I thought I’d do a round-up at the end of each month this year to see what I’ve achieved and what I need to work on more. Here goes January’s.

Highlights of the Month

  • Starting uni
  • An agent liking my novel
  • Passing my driving test
  • Buying a car and fulfilling my lifelong Flat, Cat, Fiat dream
  • Moving into the office
  • Getting some new clients for Bohemiacademia
  • Going to Oxford, having meetings at the university, seeing a friend and having a nice day that just felt right
  • Getting a tax refund and buying a wine rack I’ve been lusting after for about a year

Things That Worked Well

  • The office. What an excellent idea. It’s helping me to structure my days better, and to be super-efficient on the days when I’m in it.
  • My new food routine. A while ago I found a lovely greengrocer’s shop in Turnham Green, and decided to do my weekly shopping there after my weekly visit to the garden centre for a late brunch. I also spent some time over Christmas pulling out interesting recipes from magazines and categorising them, and on a Sunday evening I go through them, work out which ones I’m going to make that week, and create a list of all the ingredients I’ll need from the greengrocer. Then on Tuesdays I do the food shopping, and on Wednesdays I cook for the next few days, and then I do a second batch of cooking on Saturdays. It’s not a perfect routine yet because it’s only just starting, but it’s going well so far.

  • Uni. It’s fitting nicely into my schedule and I’m enjoying it.
  • Choir. Somehow I seem to have found the time to do it, so I’ve taken on a solo in the upcoming concert which means more practising time, but I’ll fit it in. Here’s the solo (this is not me singing it, though):

Things That Didn’t Work So Well

  • Home Days. These need more structure. A few years ago I set alarms throughout the day, basing all the timings on a schoolday, and worked on one project per section of time. This was a great way of finding out how long things actually took: originally the alarms went off at 45-minute intervals and it was surprising how much I could get done in that time. However, I also discovered which things actually do take longer than that; and since I have some new things in my life this year (uni, writing a novel), I think it would be beneficial to try this again.
  • Cleaning / The Flat. It is hard to find time to fit in basic life admin now, especially since I’m cooking more rather than just ordering takeaways. The washing-up takes longer; I like washing up, so that’s fine, but there’s not a lot of time to do it. I had to order some more bookcases because about 40% of the book collection has been living in piles on the floor, but now I don’t have time to build and install them. I’d like to continue work on the flat, including painting the bathroom walls and potentially knocking down a wall, but where is the time? I look, but it is not there. A year ago I’d just have hired someone else to do the bits I didn’t have time for, but now I’m at uni and renting an office so I officially have no money. I need to solve this somehow; I’m not sure how, but it’ll work out in the end.
  • Weekly Routine. I’m still not fully convinced on this one. I’d been doing Mondays & Fridays in the office, which sort of worked except that I have a standing appointment on a Friday afternoon and another on a Friday evening, and this means I have to finish work at about 1pm, which isn’t always feasible. I’m thinking about switching so that office days are Mondays & Thursdays, and then Friday is a home day (during which I will probably write the novel), so I’ll try that this month and see if it works better.
  • Swimming. I love it, I want to do more of it, but again: time.

This Month I Walked… 

75.3 miles. Tuesdays are my longest walking days because I do a lot of things outside. At some point I might walk back from uni, which is a long way but I like a long walk. My favourite walk was around Oxford a couple of weeks ago; I stopped off in a snowy graveyard and watched the world while I waited for my meeting.

I didn’t walk along the Thames at all in January, which is unusual. Maybe in February.

This Month I Swam…

22 lengths, aka 0.27 miles DON’T LAUGH AT ME I KNOW IT’S PATHETIC.

I couldn’t swim for ages because of this whole nerve damage / left side of my body not working problem. That’s got a bit better recently, probably because I haven’t been on any long-haul flights in a while, so I got back in the pool twice. However I was out of practice and under strict instructions not to push myself initially, so I did about ten lengths each time and then got out.

In February I’d like to swim more. Somehow.

This Month I Read…

  • An Introduction to Counselling by John McLeod
  • The Book of Vodou by Leah Gordon
  • The Light in the Dark: A Winter Journal by Horatio Clare
  • Les Apéros de Trish by Trish Deseine
  • The Serpent and the Rainbow by Wade Davis
  • On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
  • Theories of Counselling and Psychotherapy by C.H. Patterson
  • The Elements of Style by Strunk & White
  • Standards and Ethics for Counselling in Action by Tim Bond

This Month I Watched… 

Sex Education. It’s amusing. I love Maeve.

What have you been up to this month? How’s your January been? 


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