Forever is Composed of Nows: January 2018 Monthly Challenge

2018 is here, and I want to give you another monthly challenge for January that’s a little extra special, because I think it’s important how we begin our year. I talked about why New Year’s resolutions don’t work recently, and the difference in goal setting and prioritizing, as opposed to choosing a resolution just for the sake of it.

I hope this challenge actually opens up a few doors for you, and I think it will, because it will allow you to bank up your time, to automate your tasks, to change your mindset and so much more. This challenge comes from our 2018 yearly quote:

“Forever is Composed of Nows.” – Emily Dickinson

I’m going to give you a few of my favorite ideas that will allow you to live in the now, and the focus with this is to stop spending so much time on social media. You can use one or all the tips, I just hope that we can use them to refocus our energy on what personally matters most to us.

Don’t just think of this as a challenge exclusively for January… make it into a habit for all of this year and beyond! Honestly, I think we can all use a little more help savoring moments instead of using so much time on our devices and social media.

  1. Track Your Time

    I talked about time tracking in episode 023 in an interview with Laura Vanderkam, and that has been a very popular episode for a few reasons. Laura gave us some great advice and statistics for how we can live our best lives and change our thinking to understand that we have 168 hours in a week, instead of only seeing the 24 hours in day. We talk about how busy we are, when in reality we have much more time than we think… and that’s great news. Listen to that episode and start writing down what you’re doing for a week or two. Then, you can assess where you’re really spending time. The key here is to just be honest and open to changing how you spend your minutes and your days – because they will always add up!

  2. Use a Habit Tracker

    Mark off when you do tasks other than get on social media all month long. What would you do during that time if you didn’t spend time on Facebook? It could be 10 minutes, 30 minutes, or even add up to hours of your time. There’s a wide range of tasks for you to do, which I’ll go over below! Write down what it is you want to track for the month; jotting it down is proven to give you motivation! HINT: You don’t need an IWP Planner to track your daily habits, but you can find three at the start of each month in our weekly planners, and a whole page of them in the back of the Daily Planner. You can certainly create your own and print them out!

  3. Use Technology to Your Advantage.

    You might think that using your phone or computer or tablet to assist in this challenge is a bit contradictory, but there are few apps and tips that have actually helped me (and my family!). I go over those apps in episode 038, and what’s great about them is that they’re all so different but useful by yourself or with teams to use at work and at home. One we use a lot at work is

    • Moment automatically tracks how often you’re on your phone and allows you to set up daily limits. HINT: This app could work great for your family if you need to have kids get off their phones and do homework or get outside!
    • Asana helps to organize our tasks and projects from start to finish with automations.
    • Pocket is a great tool that will save your articles, podcast episodes, videos, etc., as well as giving you recommendations! It’s great to organize pieces you need for future reference, and there’s a desktop extension too!
    • Voxer is one of my favorites (I dedicated a Week Ender episode to it!) because it’s just like a Walkie Talkie, but it can be used at any distance! I use it to keep in touch with my best friend in Texas. It’s great to actually be able to hear the other person’s voice and keep that connection, even during your busy times.
    • I go over how to use Reminders and Google Drive for productivity and prioritizing in that episode too, so if you want a few more suggestions, have a listen now.
  4. Stay Accountable.

    Don’t be afraid to ask someone to be your accountability partner. The key here is that there’s no judgement, only encouragement. Let a friend or family member know that you’re trying to cut back on social media and form that good habit. I bet they’ll understand that this is a difficult habit to start implementing, and maybe you can convince them to take part in the challenge too!

  5. What To Do Instead!

    This should even more fun than using those new apps for productivity and staying accountable with a friend! What you do instead of logging onto social media should be personalized to your lifestyle and environment, but I would love to give a few ideas.

    1. Spend more time with a friend, family members, or make new friends. Is there someone you’d like to schedule in quality time with? Maybe there’s a networking or volunteer event you can bank up time for – even if it’s just an hour or two out of your week!
    2. Cook up a new recipe. I love cooking, and I’m always interested in trying out new dishes. If this is something you enjoy, consider spending more time whipping up a delicious and nutritious meal.
    3. Journal or draw. Whether you bank up 10 minutes of time or an hour plus, writing down your thoughts or expressing yourself through drawing can be enjoyable AND therapeutic. Who knows… this could lead to you taking up a drawing, calligraphy, or creative writing class and pursuing a passion!
    4. Complete a chore or two. While this one doesn’t FEEL as fun or entertaining in the moment, we all know how much better we feel when we clean out the kitchen cabinets or go through our closet. You could even spend 15 minutes cleaning one area and take a break before going on to the next, or spread out each chore over a week’s time.
    5. Work on your passion project and big goals. People often ask me about how I was able to create inkWELL Press from the ground up in a somewhat short amount of time and grow it to what it is today. A lot of that has to do with not getting on social media. I love the community it creates and seeing others share their planning and goal setting tips, but I’m not one to mindlessly scroll. Eliminating just 30 minutes of social media time from your day can give you A LOT more time over the course of week, a month, a year and beyond. We need to realize and recognize this fact. Start with just a small mini goal of your passion project and work on it for 30 minutes in the evening when you’d normally be scrolling. Do a bit of research, writing, planning and more to get yourself started.


I encourage you to use one or all of these tips to help motivate you with your goal setting (whether it’s all year or for a resolution – make it work for you!).

If you have suggestions on other productivity apps or ways you spend time instead of social media, I’d love for you to comment below and share with us! I’ll check in at the end of this month and share some new tips and advice, but in the meantime… Happy Planning!

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Tonya Dalton
Tonya Dalton