2019 New Year’s Tech Housekeeping

As I’ve been scrolling around the web for the past couple of weeks I’ve seen a lot of hot takes on 2019 “New Year’s Resolutions”. I don’t know if people are truly sick of the word (or maybe more the idea of) resolutions, or if they’re just trying to think of a more clever way to attract eyeballs and get more followers and readers — maybe it’s both. In general, I think people (myself included) are tired of feeling like complete failures when they look back on their “resolutions” for the year and realize they’ve accomplished almost none of them. Side note: my husband and I made resolutions the last couple of years and we checked in mid-year to grade our progress. See the screenshot below for how well that turned out in 2018. However, I think part of the problem is that everyone is so artificially invigorated by the changing of the number at the top of the calendar that they tend to bite off wayyy more than they can chew. I am guilty of this Every. Single. Year.

So call it a resolution, a goal, an intention — we don’t have to agree on the label. But what we SHOULD agree on is that not being able to put a nice clean checkmark next to whatever it is you had hoped to accomplish by the end of the calendar year, does NOT mean you are a failure. Life is unpredictable. Things come up. Priorities change. Let’s all just try to be kinder, more thoughtful humans; laugh and smile a little more; be present and enjoy each moment we are lucky enough to take a breath on this earth; and maybe, just maybe, push the ball a little further down the road than it was yesterday. Deal?

I do want to keep up my tradition of creating a list of technology goals for the year — something I like to call “Tech Housekeeping”. As technology finds its way into more and more areas of our daily lives and consumes more and more of our waking hours, I think it’s important to do a gut check every now and then to make sure your technology habits are healthy and sustainable, and not sending your life spiraling down a black hole. This is especially true for me since I use, think about, and immerse myself in technology more than the average gal. If you want to read my tech goals from 2018, you can find them here. And I’m happy to report that I ACTUALLY did an excellent job of accomplishing (and sticking to) almost all of them. The same can’t be said for my general resolutions of course (argh). But, small wins. We’ll see if I fare a little better in 2019.

Use ALL social media more purposefully

One of the changes I made at the beginning of last year was to “delete” Facebook — which, because I still need it to manage my Bank’s corporate page, meant turning off all notifications and burying the app deep inside a folder on my phone — and trying to use Twitter more purposefully. Heading into 2019 I decided to go a step further and take a hard look at whether or not ANY of the social media that I’m using is adding value to my life. These days, Instagram and Twitter command most of the hours I spend on social media. However, Instagram is really where I end up planning to “spend a few minutes” and then look up and two hours have flown by. So while I absolutely disagree that social media is a total waste of time, I would definitely like to knock out mindless social media scrolling. It’s just not good for anyone. I ESPECIALLY want to stop doing this when Cody and I are sitting on the couch together watching Netflix. Speaking of, Ellen had a really good set in her latest stand-up show that addresses this exact issue. If you have Netflix, check it out. And don’t scroll Instagram while you’re watching it!


A lot has been made of morning routines — so much in fact, that I have started to believe that there’s some truth to the idea that how you start your day sets the tone for the rest of it. Now, this obviously isn’t going to be true for EVERYONE and apply EVERY single day, but in my case, my mornings seem to heavily influence my end-of-day feelings of productiveness and accomplishment. Time is arguably our most valuable resource, and we have (almost) total control over how we spend it. So I figured adding even an extra hour onto my day by getting up a little bit earlier will be a win.

DABBLE IN Meditation

I Googled the definition of meditation, and here’s what Wikipedia says: Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique — such as mindfulness, or focusing their mind on a particular object, thought or activity — to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state. Outside of that, I don’t really know much about meditation. But like the touted benefits of having a disciplined morning routine, meditation seems to be the latest “key to success”. While the type of “meditation” I plan to practice is trying to use the Headspace app every day, who knows what it will evolve into. I actually downloaded the app sometime in early 2018, but never gave it a shot. But I like their approachable take on a concept that seems a bit hard to wrap my head around. What I’m really hoping to tackle is the idea of “mindfullness” and finding a way to be totally present and focused on what I’m doing in the moment (which seems like a tall task in this age of constant digital distraction). If I stick with it, I’ll write a blog post about my experience with the app.

Journal FOR 10 MINUTES EVERY morning

Clearly I like to write or I wouldn’t have started a blog. And even though TIRL often feels a little bit like a public diary documenting my everyday life, there are obviously things that I don’t share as openly. That is where journaling comes in. Whether it’s goals for the day, things I’m stressed about, or reflecting on what I’m grateful for, getting it out of my head and writing it down has been a really refreshing way to start the day.

Walk 4-5 mornings a week

Exercise took a back seat towards the end of 2018 and I haven’t quite regained a consistent workout routine yet. There are some very specific reasons for that, but I’ll save that piece of my life for another day. I’m not sure WHEN I will get back on an exercise schedule, but until then, I’m going to make a point to at LEAST try to walk 4-5 mornings a week. Truthfully, walking has always seemed like a leisure activity that my Moms do, and not an actual form of exercise, but I’ve really embraced it over the past year. Not only is it something that I can muster up the motivation for even when I feel utterly useless, but it also allows me to listen to an audiobook or a podcast and feel even MORE productive than if I blasted Imagine Dragons into my ears while drowning in my own sweat on a treadmill.

Read more

If reading this one gives you a strong sense of deja vú, your mind isn’t playing tricks on you. Yep, this one was on my list last year too. And honestly, I’ve seen it on pretty much every single resolution list I’ve come across in the past couple of weeks. Less screen time, more page turning. It’s as simple as that. While I certainly didn’t read 200 books in 2018 (how does anyone have time to read that much!? I’m still skeptical of these claims), I came close to reading or listening to a book a month — which was my original goal. So I’m going to go big (!) in 2019 and try to read or listen to TWO books a month. You read that correctly. TWO. I can already feel myself getting smarter.

Spend less money on random stuff

Since Cody and are what society apparently calls, “DINKS” we have a little bit more disposable income than people with kids (although our relatively new fur baby has certainly eaten into that fun-money). We have worked extremely hard to put ourselves in that position, and we’re very blessed to not have the stress that comes with the financial uncertainty of living paycheck-to-paycheck. The big downside is that we’ve fallen into a bad habit of spending money on things we simply don’t need. On the plus side, it’s almost never big-ticket items. On the downside, it’s mostly just STUFF. Low to moderately priced random STUFF. Aka impulse purchases that happen while we’re watching TV and mindlessly scrolling through social media (see above!). Not only does this stuff fill up alllll the free space in our house and make me feel like I’m a borderline hoarder, but it has prevented us from putting MORE money towards things like the remaining student loans that we have or adding a bigger cushion to our rainy day fund. Both would be smarter choices, so we’re going to try hard to change our spending habits in 2019.

Make strides with my blog in 2019

Rebecca and I started this blog in May of 2012 — just typing that reminds me how quickly time passes. Crazy. I often find myself thinking about where TIRL would be if we had kept up with it over the past 6+ years, but the (somewhat sad) reality is, we didn’t. While it may not be a full-time member of the graveyard of blogs that exists all over the internet, it’s definitely knocked on the gates a few times. So here it is: I think 2019 needs to be the year that I either embrace the blog and focus on the enjoyment that I get from writing it, or finally put it to rest and find another side project or hobby to help me de-stress from my 9-5. Aside from wanting to help people (which is 100% the main goal of TIRL!), having a creative outlet that allows me to escape the stresses of everyday life is the other reason I’ve clung to the blog. There are many nights where I lie in bed at night before I fall asleep and scold myself for continually putting things BEFORE this blog. Stupid things. Meaningless things. For the past few years it has felt like part procrastination/part fear that has been holding me back. Like if I actually write in this blog several times a week and no one ever reads it (and therefore it helps no one), then maybe I’m not as good of a writer or tech-educator as I think I am. Despite those negative feelings, when I actually DO sit down and write a blog post, there’s nothing that gives me more satisfaction. Funny how that works. So while I’ve made some empty promises to the few people that DO read Tech in Real Life (you know who you are, and thank you!), and even more empty promises to myself, there’s no time like the present to give this one last shot.

So here goes.

Whether you’re a resolution-maker or not, a new year is oftentimes the best time to force a fresh start, and a chance to take a new outlook on life no matter how awful the previous day, week, month, or year has been. As the ball drops, opportunity awaits. Go out and grab it, and don’t look back.

Good luck with your resolutions, goals, intentions — or whatever the heck you want to call them — and most of all with living a happy, healthy, and productive 2019!

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

My parents dog, Lulu — ALWAYS with a tennis ball in her mouth (freak).
OUR fur baby, Dexter — thinks sticks > tennis balls (even bigger freak).
We JUST took this beauty down. And both shed (more) tears because it officially means the Holidays are over and it’s back to boring ol‘ January!

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