Weeknotes 14, on sobriety and tidying up

January 26, 20203 min read

A month of sobriety

It’s a month today since my last drink. It was supposed to be an extended Dry January but I cannot see myself going back.

To say I have found it easy would be disingenuous as I am highly experienced at “not drinking” (I only started drinking again two years ago, after a seven year hiatus) but it has required a significant change in lifestyle.

Much of the appeal, for me, is that the pub offers an opportunity to spend time with my wife: a not-inconsiderable walk, a change of scenery, a reason to sit face-to-face with her for a couple of hours. When we are at home we too easily turn our attention to our phones, television or laptops.

I consider going to the pub a wholesome activity. My problem is that I find it hard to leave. For me it is much easier to have no drinks than one-or-two. It’s addictive, after all.

This week I finished Catherine Gray’s The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober. Whilst I could not relate to Gray’s experience (police cells, physical dependence) it offered an interesting perspective on society’s normalisation of alcohol and the neuroscience of addiction.

Over the last month we’ve been trying to do more non-computery and non-drinky things together: going for breakfast, going to yoga after work, doing this impossibly hard Keith Haring jigsaw.

I’m getting more sleep, I have more energy and I’ve had so much more free time.


This abundance of free time has meant that my house has never been tidier. Here are some things that are helping me, at the age of 34, become a tidy person:

Never leave a room empty-handed

Our house is small and I feel like I use every part of it, so stuff quickly becomes out of place. I’ve gotten into the habit of scanning the room before going to another part of the house to see if there is anything I can take with me.

Next time I go down stairs I’ll take this cup from my desk and I’ll put these vitamins in the cupboard.

Furthermore, the habit of scanning your environment has a knock-on effect in that you become aware of other quick wins you can make whilst you’re there: straighten a cushion, put a book back on the shelf, pick up some crumbs.

Making the bed every morning

This is a classic. I’m not sure I believe the psychology, but it’s nice to get back into a made bed.

The 15-minute sweep before bed

I’m developing a wind-down routine: wash the dishes, hang clothes up, clear the dining table.

It’s nice waking up to a clean(-ish) house.

Using my todo list

I used to only use todo lists for massively important (“file tax return”) or easily forgettable one-off tasks (“buy lightbulbs”) but recently I have started trying to capture everything.

My app of choice is Todoist and it has two features that I find helpful:

  1. The ability to set repeat reminders: "Tidy kitchen" at 8PM every night, "Change bedding" every Sunday, "Tidy office” every Monday
  2. Karma gives you points for completing tasks, encouraging you to pick off five tasks a day

Some (digital) housekeeping


Forgot to do any exercise but felt great.


The Guardian, UK brewers invest in low-alcohol drinks trend

Alex Danko on the psychology of bundles