2017: Declutter

This post is a little late as I was busy preparing my eldest for his P1 which started a few days ago. For 2016, I choose the keyword ‘Focus‘. I did manage to focus on certain things as I reviewed my ‘resolutions’ quarterly. For this year, the keyword is ‘Declutter’. It is a continuation of ‘Focus’ as I try to remove unnecessary things in my overcrowded life so that I can focus better. I set out some bite-size goals to help achieve the ‘Decluttering’.

I fell sick just before the Christmas season. From overdose of chocolates. LOL. I couldn’t really enjoy my time in Malacca as my throat was hurting. This year I have to remind myself again to keep a healthy lifestyle so that I can take care of my family. So I will need to declutter to remove all unhealthy habits and promote good ones.

  • Reduce junk food intake to once a week
  • Reduce chilled drinks (including bubble tea, etc) to once a month
  • Reduce intake of tea (including Starbucks and Bubble Tea) to once a week
  • Spend 5 minutes every day to do stretching or Pilates
  • Swim or run once a week
  • Cook and bring my own lunch

The kids are way too busy and have too many things (toys, books, clothes, stationary).

  • Reduce their activities on weekends
  • Reduce their homework time by covering only 1 subject each night
  • Read only 1 language of book each night
    (i.e. alternate between English and Chinese each day)
  • Throw/Donate away some of their toys, clothes and books.
  • Buy lesser toys, clothes and books
  • Reduce junk food intake of the kids (including processed food)
  • More one-to-one time or dates with the kids

We both believe that only a loving couple will raise happy kids. So kids aside, we also need to make time for each other.

  • Reduce my expectation/dependency on Chubby, thereby reducing friction
    (Such as bringing the kids or attempt to do things myself)
  • Date nights at least once a month
  • More exercise time with Chubby

I need to declutter my own schedule too. I have way too many things that I want to do and gets upset when I keep feeling I have a long “to-do” list.

  • Reduce time on social media by
    • Checking Facebook 3 times a day
    • Checking Instagram on alternate days
  • Reduce the games I play to 1
    (I can get carried away playing games)
  • Reduce the topics on the Blog
    (From 2017 onwards, I decide to declutter the topics on my blog. I will only be posting about the books we read, travel and also post like this that review our 2017.)
  • Read 1 page or small section of book each night
  • Throw / Donate clothes that I no longer wear
    (Hope I can reduce my wardrobe by half)
  • Reduce online shopping and surf lesser on shopping site
    (Since I learned about Taobao a few years back, I have been spending a lot of money buying things from China. Some are really good buy, but most time I bought things which are not necessary. In 2017, I want to stop doing that.)
  • Reduce bad thoughts and stay positive
    (Sometimes I will think that I’m suay, not lucky in local language. But in 2017 I need to start thinking otherwise because its really a matter of how I look at the matter. And I believe in luck following when you stay positive.)

I am not attempting to complete all the bite-size goals all at a time. But hopefully I will be doing consistently doing most of them by end of 2017.

The first dawn of 2017 at Bukit Timah hill.

Thoughts: Reflecting 2016

I can’t believe 2016 is coming to a close so soon!

  • Eat Healthily and Exercise More
    In the last review, I talked about my no-carbs diet and snacking. That totally went out of the window. When my “old” helper went back, Chubby took over the preparation of my lunch for a few weeks. After a while, he was overwhelmed with work and studies that it was stopped. In the last week of November, I took on the role myself and prepared my own “no carb” lunch. All went well until the littlest started trial and we sent our “new” helper back. This means I have more housework to do and hence I have not prepared any lunch since.

    Exercising was also out of the window, as like I mentioned no time. I hope to restart them when the new year come. But the daily 5 mins Pilates will be a challenge as next year onwards I will need to wake up even earlier to prep the boy for school. #woesofprimaryschool

    Overall this year, at least I went for runs and swim for a few times. Not enough to stay healthy but I think it was an improvement from 2015.

  • More Communication and Patience
    I totally forgot about the “Feel-Think-Act” sequence. But nonetheless, things were pretty ok for this quarter or maybe chubby will think otherwise. Nonetheless, I think I did make an improvement overall from 2016. More patience and letting things go especially with the children.
  • Spend more time with the littlest
    The littlest is at such a cute stage now. He plays with you, mimic your actions and all. I have tried reading to him many times, but he still can’t sit through a book. Nonetheless, I continued reading hoping something will go in. He just entered school, hopefully, that will make him learn to sit and enjoy stories.

    Overall for 2016, I think I still need to work a lot more on this area. I don’t feel I have improved much in the quality time spent with him.

  • More One-to-One time with the elder two
    Well, we brought the eldest to USS alone and I brought the girl out a couple of time for snacks or ice-cream treat. Not enough but there are improvements. It was definitely much better than 2015.
  • More consistent teaching
    Yes. The kids now know that every night they will have “home” work to do. We have been doing this on every weekday except on Tuesday where they have enrichment and on Friday. Weekends are break time.

So overall, I will think that for this 5 main goals that I set out to do, I improved from 2015, though some were better some just by a little.


So what else happened in 2016?

  • Parenting
    Chubby was still doing his Masters this year. This means there were many times that I need to handle the kids by myself. And the worst was when our trusty “old” helper went back and we got a replacement. But nontheless, I manage to bring the elder two out by myself on public transport! The kids are much older now so its actually managable to bring them out. There was once I brought all three out with the “new” helper on public transport too. I think I’m getting better at this. Besides, Chubby has just submitted his final papers. So he will be graduating soon! That means a better 2017 for us!
  • Marriage
    With our help at home, Chubby and I manage to sneak out to Taiwan Taipei for a very short trip without the kids. It was definitely good for us to spend time without them. There were also date nights throughout when our “old” helper was around. We hope to continue this in 2017.
  • Work
    I left my job of 10 years in the middle of the year. Something I didn’t quite plan, but things just came along and I made the jump. I’m quite happy with my new work for now. Learning new things, less stressful and nearer to home. This means more time for the family!
  • Reading
    I manage to read 3 books this year! Not a lot compare to the past when I had no kids. But a great improvement from 2015. I hope I am able to continue and read more books next year.
  • Crafting
    I set out to do a quiet book for the littlest a few months back and find myself enjoying it. It gives me a sense of accomplishment when I see the completed pages. The sewing also calms me down. So its like a win-win situation for me and the littlest. Now its just waiting for us to get use to the new routine before I continue.
  • Cooking
    I must say I was never a cook. My mum and Chubby cooks well, there was no need for me to cook until I started preparing my own lunch last month. I actually manage to prepare a whole week of edible lunch. I’m so impress with myself. LOL. I will like to continue doing this next year! And add baking into the list.

How about you? How was your 2016?

Thoughts: Focus 2016

After reviewing 2015, naturally we need to look at what to do in the new year. I use to think new year resolution are quite redundant, in a sense we tend to forget about it like a month after we make it. However, last year I started a quarterly review of my resolution on the blog and I think it helps. It reminds me what I have set out to do for the year, I may or may not have achieve them, but it’s a good check. Hence, I think I should continue doing it this year.

Here are the list of resolution I set out to do last year.

  • Get my PMP certification. Nope this is one area that never went past the first quarter of 2015. As hard as I tried, the book is just so dry. There are just so many other things I want to do that the certification is the last on my priority list. Goes so much to show my passion in this area.
  • Spend more time on the kids studies. Yes. We have set up a routine where I will work with them on a few pages of their “assessment” book or activities book each weekday night. We are not very consistent especially during festive period, but we do spend more time then we did perviously. The girl still doesn’t know all her alphabets yet (which is worrying as she is K1 this year), so we probably got to focus even more.
  • Go back to leisure reading. This didn’t go beyond 2nd quarter I think. I only manage to complete one book last year. It’s bad really.
  • Get back in shape and better health. Not really. All exercises were put on hold as they reduced my milk supply. So that was the excuse I gave myself throughout the year.
  • Blog more consistently. Well, I think for 3 quarter of the year it was not too bad. But the last quarter was really bad when I got busy with the new house.

For 2016, the keyword will be FOCUS. There has been too many things in my mind, too many things I want to do, but in 2016 I will choose to focus. And the focus will be on my family and myself. This means a lower priority in other things in life, such as my PMP certification and this blog.

I have been thinking of the PMP certification, I really wonder if this is really what I want to do. I don’t mind what I’m doing now but it is not my passion. But for bread and butter I will do it and do it responsibly. I have some small business idea I want to try out, but if I choose to focus, they will have to wait. Money is important to us, but the family growth are even more so.

And after writing for so many years, the blog is still going no where. There was a while things were better, but when I start to slack, naturally it dwindled. So this year, the blog is no longer a priority. I’m not shutting down though cause I still need an avenue to write. But there will be even lesser posts and lesser presences in the blog community.

Here is what I want to do in 2016.

  • Eat Healthily and Exercise More.  This means cutting down on cold drinks such as KOI, Starbucks and Coffee Bean. Lesser deep fried food and more soupy stuff. Exercises to strengthen my heart and stretches to get back in shape. No more breastfeeding excuses.
  • More Communication and Patience. There was a while Chubby and I were going through a rough patch from all the stress at work, the kids and our new home. I hope in the new year, I can communicate more effectively with him and has more patience for everything. I tend to be little uptight and lose my temper easily when things don’t go the way I envisage. I hope I can slowly get rid of that in 2016.
  • Spend More Time with The Littlest. Due to his young age, I really didn’t spend enough time with him. Now that he is slightly older and no more breastfeeding duties, it’s time to spend more time with him. I hope I can craft him a silent book or work out some busy bags for him.
  • More One-to-One Time with The Elder Two. It’s not fair that they have to share Mummy most of the time. I hope to go on more one-to-one date with them. But I have to find out how without the two of them quarreling and calling unfair.
  • More Consistent Teaching. The boy is going to P1 next year, naturally he needs more prep. The girl is K1 this year, but still doesn’t know all her alphabets. Her phonics is worst. I need to be more consistent in their study time at night. I also hope to find some activities to do with them to make study less boring.

That sounds like a lot although I’m suppose to cut down and focus. Well, let’s see how it goes and do a review again after the 1st quarter.