CULTIVATE better habits
Something I’ve learned over many years of crafting, blogging, large projects and big goals, is I thrive with accountability. On the podcast last season, we chatted about personality types, and during planning, I mentioned to Car that on the “four tendencies” spectrum, I was firmly in Obliger territory. While I can’t remember the exact phrasing she used in response, the overall vibe was “thanks for the brand new information, captain obvious”. Those Obliger tendencies are strong, it seems! Part of the reason I love the word of the year process so much, and my monthly mini goals that I’ve been doing for the last couple of years, is that it is something clear and concrete I can say out loud for that accountability that works so well for me.
In the lead up to New Years, many of the conversations with my emotional support crafters focuses around our word of the year. Lots of workshopping of suggestions, offering our perspective, talking out loud to ourselves with an audience and digging into why a word is coming to mind and how it could work for the full year. We often chat about how our previous word has played out, what worked and what didn’t, and overall help set each other up for a strong start to the year.
January 1 is always “blog about my word day”. It’s also one of the hardest posts to write, trying to get wisps of ideas and plans and concepts, and not only put them into words, but make those words interesting to read, to tell a story of the year I hope is to come. Which is a long way of saying – I was procrastinating. Hard.
First, I dropped anchor and dove into the depths of my hard drive archives, way way down into the graphics folder. The Mariana Trench of blog graphics – back to a time before I rebranded to The Barefoot Crafter, and even a time before I was self hosted, and the only thing I had to pay for was the WordPress no-ads add on. Over the last couple of years I’ve used the same background for my word and monthly goal graphics, and while I still like it, I still think it works as an indicator of me and my blog and my socials, I was also wanting something a little different. A big part of that was moving away from the ubiquitous insta square as a default graphic. Easy to have something do double duty? Yes. Kinda frustrating to see square format take over everything? Also yes. I wanted to bring back a more banner style graphic for my start-of-year post, as I had used in 2019 and prior.
I found the banner template, a patchwork of all the different ways I like to explore creativity. While my original plan was just to use the template as is, changing only the word, I wouldn’t be a PROcrastinator if I didn’t at least think about updating the photos to the 2020s. I pulled up my post from the day before, wrapping up 2022, and started dropping in photos.
I’d been a bit concerned how it would come together – 2022 was a bit more focused, hobby wise, than
2014 2012 (!! I had to go back and look and I’ve been doing this for ten years! It was definitely time to update the template!). Would I be able to find 12 photos I could use for a banner, that were different from each other, but could carry forward the vibe I loved from the original? It seems I could.
I dropped into the chat. “I’ve finished my graphic and now really should finish this blog post. What else can I do to procrastinate?”. While I waited for my enablers to drop by and assure me that procrastinating was an excellent life choice, I worked on turning the banner into a square – I might have wanted to move away from it for the blog, but I would still need a square, for my monthly goal planning posts. Ding, went my phone, just as I finished. “I’d love a background for my phone,” said The Secretary for Enabling. So with a rough brief, off to Canva I went, and got busy. In between dropping three initial concepts to get a feel for the final direction, The Minister For Shenanigans arrived and thought she might also like a phone wallpaper.
It’s been quite some time since I’ve done any design play, and I had so much fun making them up. Then they shared screenshots of their phones with the new wallpapers and it looked so cool, I was tempted to do one for myself. The only thing stopping me was my wallpapers are set to my favourite family photos.
The conversation turned to insta – would I mind if they shared? Absolutely not, share away. I was planning on sharing to my own stories anyway. I quickly reopened their projects, and created a square version they could share on their grids.
Six graphics later, I finally pulled myself out of my procrastispiral (read: I ran out of projects to distract me), and finally got the blog post written. The following day, farm duty called. Specifically, the pig yard needed to be completely pulled down, extended, and restrung. It was a big job, and my input was required, pulling me away from the three million holiday projects I had planned but as yet remained untouched. In between winding old wires and rolling out new ones, I had plenty of time to think. When the site supervisor turned his back, I whipped out my phone and shot off a quick message. “Who wants a monthly goal template to match?”. Of course, they were added to my list, and templates were emailed out that night.
The following weekend, I jumped on the chat. “I’m bringing back screen free sunday – messenger excepted, obviously”. I’d been looking in my Facebook memories, and past me had posted a status after one such Sunday, buzzing after a productive day of filling my cup. Over the last couple of years, with teenagers getting phones and all the doomscrolling, our screen time could do with a weekly reset. To help me in my quest, I decided I would indeed make myself a wallpaper, and use it to set up a Sunday-specific focus on my phone, shutting down everything automatically.
A screen clear of apps, besides one widget, and the four allowable apps that fit beside it was magic. My screen free Sunday was magic. When the focus switched off at 5pm, I wanted to scratch my eyeballs out with how busy my home screen was. Immediately, I cleared some apps and shoved others in folders to streamline the process.
The following day was “back to work” – the office for him, school planning for me. A grounded, balanced morning rhythm is something I want to CULTIVATE this year, and with the success of my Sunday focus and dedicated wallpaper, I immediately got to work making a morning focus wallpaper. This one comes on automatically between 7 & 9am each weekday morning. These two focuses mean I still get to keep my babies on my phone 90% of the time, while also building better habits, and preserving snippets of my day from the demands of the world via the internet. All inspired by a simple urge to procrastinate, and two little wallpapers for my friends.