Monthly Review: July 2017

I’m trying out a monthly review for the first time.

Creatively Productive

what did I make last month?

  • Total Words Written: 6,676
  • Total Hours Writing (Scrivener): 21 hours 30 minutes
  • Total Hours Editing (estimate): 4 hours 40 minutes

I reached an exciting milestone in my novel revision, wrapping up the first part of the novel.

How I stayed productive on creative goals

I completed weekly novel progress reports for the first three weeks of July: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3

Gaps and Challenges in My Creative Practice

  • The closing of my favorite coffee shop has put a little damper in my writing practice. I’m looking for a replacement that I like. My after-work replacement seems good, but I’m not sold on my new weekly meetup location. 
  • After reaching my milestone, my progress dried up, and I took a full week off from writing. I think I need a better system for setting milestones and creating a workplan with deadlines that I’m accountable to – right now I have the weekly workplan I put together each Sunday for what I hope to accomplish that week, but I don’t have mid-term deadlines for myself.

What to try to produce creative work in august

  • Keep going to my regular writing sessions
  • Try to make a timeline for the entire next part of the book, and a goal for the overall completion
  • Reinstate my daily Pomodoro requirement (at least one 25-minute writing session)

Healthy Habits & Routines

How healthy were my habits and routines last month?

  • Days tracked calories: 14 (Goal = 22)
  • Dinners eaten at restaurants: 14 (Goal = max 12)
  • Days meditated: 5 (Goal = 12)

Tools I Used to make my habits healthy last month

  • I created a Google Sheet to track the regular, ongoing healthy habits I want to (adopt and) maintain: regular walks; bike commuting; calorie tracking; eating at home; and meditating.
  • I started tracking calories using myfitnesspal. I used to track calories back in college and got tired of it. When you cook your own meals, it can take a long time to log your food.
  • I used for guided meditations.

Gaps and Challenges in Making My Habits Healthy

  • The last week of July, I stopped using my Google Sheet and tracking calories on myfitnesspal. I need to make my tracking methods a more seamless part of my routine.
  • I used to prepare meal plans each week. I haven’t been cooking much at home lately, in part due to laziness but also lack of preparation.

What to Try to have healthier habits in August

  • Meal planning
  • Aim for daily meditation

Active Lifestyle

How active was my lifestyle last month?

  • Days bike commuted: 3 (Goal = 5)
  • Short walks: 3 (Goal = 9)
  • Long walks: 6 (Goal = 9)

We went camping twice in July, four nights! I aim to get out camping at least four times this year. I also booked a ten-day vacation in Banff for September, so I’ll get in lots of camping then!

I’ve had some knee pain this year so I’m in physical therapy to deal with that. I had to call off a couple backpacking trips I had planned, unfortunately.

Tools to stay active last month

  • I organized a weekly walk with coworkers.
  • I have a neighbor who’s up for doing walks with me.
  • I biked twice to different coffee shops.

Gaps and Challenges in being active

I don’t feel like I do enough, and don’t work out hard enough.

My physical therapy has been a damper on bike commuting, both because I’ve had my knee taped up so it’s hard to bend it enough, and because I have so many appointments I need to drive to get to them without missing large chunks of work.

What to Try to be more active in August

  • Pre-select hikes to take
  • Incorporate weight training into my routine
  • Coordinate regular walks with my neighbor
  • Bike commute 2-3 times per week
  • Bike to my regular writing meetup

Comfortable Sustainable Home

hot pink accent wallWhat I Did to make My Home more comfortable and sustainable

  • I painted an accent wall in my office hot pink!
  • I got a new cat litter box that’s supposed to reduce the amount of litter flung out of the box onto the floor. So far that seems successful but it also smells way worse than a normal litter box.


Strategic Spending & Saving

Was my spending and saving strategic last month?

  • Percent of income to mortgage paydown + investment: 40%
  • “Net Worth Zero” date: October 2017
  • Mortgage payoff date: September 2025 (Goal = by Oct. 2025)
  • Retirement savings goal: August 2024 (Goal = Oct. 2025)

How I changed my saving and spending

  • Reinstated additional principal payment (paused in April to rebuild fluid savings after a larger tax bill than expected)
  • Increased targeted savings (for major home projects) by $75 monthly
  • Set up recurring funding for DH’s IRA
  • Increased retirement savings by $200 monthly

Gaps and Challenges in my saving and spending

I’m pretty comfortable with our savings, but our spending is more than I’d like. Eating out continues to be our largest spending expense (aside from our mortgage).

I booked a week-long vacation for this fall that I’d originally planned for 2018, which exceeded the budget I had set aside for this year’s vacation (was supposed to do a week-long backpack trip this year but I’m in physical therapy for my knee and they strongly discouraged me from going).

spending and saving changes in August

  • I’ll focus on meeting my goal of eating out a max of 12 times in August. If that doesn’t succeed, I’ll try setting a restaurant budget.





About Tracy Durnell

Seattle-area graphic designer and SFF writer inspired by the Pacific Northwest, crafting a sustainable and intentional life.

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