Jump Start January: Learn & Look Week: Day 1

Here’s a quick look back over the last four weeks, the ups and the downs.

Personal Finance Week: I went mostly for quick wins during this week, tailored to the current state of my own finances. The whole week was a positive experience, and made me chip away at things I’d been putting off. The seven-day plan pretty much sorted out my finances to date. While it wasn’t a leisure experience at any point, I did feel I was doing something worthwhile every day and at the end of the week there was a genuine sense of achievement. I know exactly where I stand, I’ve kept up my spending diary and can email it to myself for backup, waste has been trimmed, and I realise that staying on top of my business records is very straightforward if I just plod along with them and keep them updated little and often. I’ll continue with my spending diary and my extra earnings efforts for Extra, Extra 2012 for the rest of the year.

Declutter Week: Short, sharp declutters made sorting out the house much less daunting, and less of a big chore. It also allowed me time to think about practical arrangements and even ergonomics, as well as giving me the chance to do some targeted deep cleans. It was more expensive to complete than Personal Finance Week, but it turned up a number of  items to sell on eBay so on the cash level it actually paid for itself several times over. I’m aware that there are some very big declutters still ahead of me where most of the mess was left by other people, so at some point soonish I’m going to have to tackle the shed and the attic – it still feels overwhelming to think about, and maybe I’ll try doing an hour a day on a timer for these tasks. Smaller declutters still to do include my jumper drawer and wardrobe, the massive cupboard under the sink, plus the shelves in the office – more relevant to daily life than the shed or the attic.

Tenner Week: This went pretty well, with £1.88 left over at the end. I didn’t call in any favours from people who owed me drinks or dinner this time, but still managed to have a very nice dinner and evening out for £5 which was a pleasant surprise. The hardest bit was cutting back on fancy coffees, along with spending more evenings at home than usual, but it was very easy to stay entertained without loads of TV and we ate good, tasty dinners. It’s easier to think clearly, make plans and get things done when the telly’s off, regardless of how much I’d like to kid myself. Evening classes were a good way to spend the time, absorbing and no extra expenditure on the night. I enjoyed the pampering night lots too, soooo relaxing, and the week is certainly not supposed to be about having a miserable time or beating yourself up.

Healthy Week: This week contained the one day I missed a planned activity, probably because I hadn’t figured in travel times and had therefore put two three-hour tasks down for consecutive days at a time when I was busy with work and other commitments. Well, you live and learn. Apart from that, the week had lots of variety in it, and included more than just fitness: relaxation, sleep,  healthy food and work-life balance were all important components of the whole picture of wellbeing. In particular, the work-life balance exercise completely threw me – turns out my health is pretty good in real terms, and while it could do with a little fine-tuning, there are other areas of my life that would benefit from more attention first. I’m still mulling it over…

Did you try any of these Jump Start weeks yourself? What were the best bits? What was tough?

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