Tag Archives: productivity

2013 In Review: Everything Else

At the start of 2013, I made this list of resolutions. Eight things I wanted to accomplish this year. And so let’s check them off….


1/2. See – 2013 In Review: Writing


3. See – 2013 In Review: Books


4. Photography – I’ve touched lightly on this already with that post about the Christmas Card Shoots I did this year, but I can expand on it by saying, I did in fact become more comfortable behind the camera in 2013. I still don’t have the confidence I should necessarily, or all the skills I could have where editing photos is concerned, but I have gotten braver and I have tried harder this year than I ever have before. In 2013 I did eleven scheduled photoshoots – shoots in which I got paid, even though I didn’t ask (and tried to refuse) compensation for. I also shot birthday parties and family gatherings and anytime someone asked me to capture a family moment. I shot a lot food, too (ha!). In 2014, I’d like to continue on this path of learning and finding the courage to continue to step outside of my comfort zone and spread my wings as a photographer.


5. Music – I didn’t go to even one concert this year and I regret it immensely. Some of my favorite bands came through Baltimore this year, prime opportunities for me to see them live, and I was too afraid to attend a show alone. I’ve really got to work on this because I can’t be afraid of going places alone forever. I can’t sacrifice something I love so dearly just because I’m afraid of enjoying it alone. I definitely need to work on this harder in 2014. (Also see – 2013 In Review: Music)


6. Weight Loss – Surprise, surprise, I didn’t lose 60+ lbs. in 2103. I think total I only lost 20 and who knows if that number still stands after consuming nothing but sugar since Christmas. But, I did generally stick to the “clean eating” lifestyle I set out to. And I did work out with more dedication than I ever have before, 4-5 times a week. I even participated in a 5K this year, the first of many more I hope. After working so hard for a few months and making no progress, I sought out medical advice and found that my thyroid was significantly underactive and have since tried a series of medications to get that where it should be (it’s finally in a good place) and that I was severely deficient in vitamin D (I’m working on getting that where it should be now). Both of these things could and did play a factor in my weight loss efforts and almost immediately after changing up the medication routine, I started to finally see results. I’m hoping that having this sorted out and keeping up with the lifestyle changes I made in 2013, I’ll finally have more success where my weight loss goals are concerned in 2014.


7. Baking – Boy did I ever! No, seriously, one month I tracked just how much “creating” in the kitchen I did and in the end it was a whole 7 days worth. That doesn’t sound like a lot in comparison to a 30 day month, but when you think I lost an entire week to just baking – that many hours spent solely in the kitchen – it actually is quite significant. I baked pies and cookies galore, with a few other interesting desserts on the side. I even tried my hand at a few dinners, which is completely out of my realm since I’m not much of a cook, but found myself successful with those dishes as well. Overall, I think I nailed this. My cookies this year were a HUGE hit and my pies were so loved by others that someone actually paid me to make them pies for their holiday celebration. It blew my mind.


8. Productivity – I’d say that I definitely made better use of my time in 2013, but it came at a cost, for sure. While I was able to squeeze in a workout regimen with my work schedule (a work schedule that involved more overtime than I’ve ever worked before) and be a writer, reader, baker, photographer, and you know, still spend time with the people I love, IT. WAS. HARD. Not just hard mentally, but physically. I feel like I was more tired this year than ever before (and partly that could have been the medical issues weighing me down, too). I found myself really regretting using the phrase “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” because what good was I to anyone and myself if I felt dead already anyway? None at all. So while I definitely did make the best of my time, I think this year I’ve gotta find a better balance of that use of time and remember that it’s perfectly okay (and necessary) to take a day off for nothing sometimes. I saw Sevenly post the quote, “If you’re too busy to smile, you’re too busy” at the peak of my busiest moments and it hit me hard. I was miserable because I had too much going on, like ready to break down and cry. I don’t want to reach that place again in 2014.


I’d say as far as resolutions go, I’m pretty pleased with my achievements in 2013. Sure, they could have been better, but they were already worlds better than anything I achieved in 2012 and I’m proud of myself for mostly sticking to my goals. I know resolutions aren’t for everyone, but they are a good way to guide me and so I’m sticking with them!


Now… what exactly do I hope to accomplish in 2014? 😉



2013 Resolutions

Last year I didn’t bother making a resolutions list because I’d failed pretty bad at achieving anything I’d set out to the year before, but I think it was a poor decision on my part because I am a list-maker by nature. Even the smallest tasks get written down day-to-day on a post-it and there is this great satisfaction for me when I get to scratch it off once it’s complete. I’m also someone who is pretty critical of myself and the expectations I set for myself, but last year I set none. Basically 2012 was a free-for-all in my head which isn’t wise for a planner like me. I love to live by a schedule. I’m not good at winging it. And so, this year I’ve decided to get back on the resolution train in hopes that this time next year I’m a lot more okay with where I am in my life than I was this year.

So, here’s a list of things I’d like to do this year.

  1. Finish one of my novels. Even if it’s the roughest draft ever, I need a completed manuscript in my hands. I’m just not sure I can keep letting myself believe I can actually be a successful writer one day if I have yet to produce a finished product. So far all I’m good at is having great ideas, great beginnings, but without endings that makes me pretty useless. It’s really time to prove to myself that I can do this.
  1. Write more in general. I suppose this is similar to above, but I mean in different ways. I have short stories I could write, I have other novels that haven’t really budged in a while. I want to improve on that too. I want to really absorb the writer’s life and it seems to me that none of them are ever just working on one thing.
  1. Read 60 books. I don’t know why, but 60 was the number I was really shooting for this year and I came close. There were a few months were I only read one book or none at all. As long as I don’t let that happen again this year, I should be able to achieve this. But just reading 60 books isn’t the only part of this resolution, I want some of those books to be classics, I don’t read nearly enough, and I’d like to sneak in a re-read or two as well. For years now I’ve been wanting to re-read my favorite book (ACHERON, a Dark-Hunter novel), but because of it’s enormous size and the time it would take to read it I always tell myself I need to read something else first. I think it’s about time I get rid of that thought. It’s my favorite book; I should be allowed to re-read it whenever I want.
  1. Learn how to use my camera better, to take better pictures, and to become better acquainted with editing software. I’ve bought a few books that I hope to not only read this year, but actually apply to my effort. I’d like to have a really awesome In Review at the end of 2013 that explores my growth as a photographer.
  1. Go to at least 1 concert. I miss out on shows so much because I have no one to attend them with. It’s a sad sort of thing to love music as much as I do and have no one to enjoy it with. But I’m really regretting all of the shows I’ve missed and I think maybe I just need to get over my fear of going alone and just do it. I know it won’t be the same to go alone, but I won’t be missing it altogether either.
  1. Lose 60lbs. (+/-) This will require a clean eating lifestyle and a deeper devotion to exercise, but I’m really ready for it.
  1. Create more in the kitchen. I’ve really gotten into baking this year, more than ever before. Not only is it therapeutic in some sort of way, it’s rewarding sharing my treats with people. I got a lot of new “tools” for Christmas to improve my skills and I hope to put them to good use this year, creating my own recipes and adding healthy twists to tasty treats.
  1. Make better use of my free time. I want to be as productive as I can whenever I’m not working or sleeping. I don’t want to look back and regret lazy days. I can rest when I’m dead.

What do all of you hope to achieve in 2013?

Productivity = Happy Sarah

For the past week+ I’ve been trying really hard to get on a better schedule in everything I do. How long it takes me to get ready, staying up to date with my online communities and friends, replying to emails, multitasking, getting to bed at reasonable hours, reading and writing consistently, eating healthy, etc… 

I wasn’t flawless in my effort (no one’s flawless in anything, of course), but I did a pretty damn good job at knocking almost all of my goals out without feeling like time had slipped away from me uselessly. In fact, I feel rather accomplished right now which I’m realizing has a great effect on my attitude and any chances I have at continuing on this productive path.

I think that sometimes it’s just too easy to get wrapped up in personal failures (no matter how big or small), or lost time. The weight becomes so heavy you feel like you’ll never escape out from under it and therefore spiral further out of control on this negative path of nothingness. I think I was heading there.

Sometimes it’s not easy to try and recover from built up anxiety or self-doubt, but you just have to pull your big girl panties up and trudge forward. Eventually you’ll find yourself back on top, wondering why you let so many menial things get the best of you.

I hope I don’t falter again anytime soon because I like this happy high feeling, but if I do, I hope I remember it’s only temporary. I have the control to change it and only I can seize the day and make it happen.

Peace – Sarah