In 2012 I did regular progress reports each month outlining my goals for the current month and my accomplishments for the previous. While that was somewhat useful for me, something about the format wasn’t exactly what I wanted and rather than fix it in 2013, I just sort of skipped it altogether. Good thing too, because I’m sure I didn’t have time to accomplish much outside of work and probably would have felt super de-motivated. In the end, skipping it was a win.
But I miss doing a bit of regular life inventory around here, so I’ve racked my brain for some kind of solution and decided that maybe a Quarterly State of the Union could be helpful. I’m going to pick a few areas (the ones that are the biggest pieces of my life), discuss what’s going well, what could be going better, give you some links to people or resources that are influencing me in those areas, and then list my short term quarterly goals if I have any. (And hell, I may not!) I’m going to try this format this year and see what happens. Feel free to let me know what you think.
Business + Career
What’s Going Well: With respect to the day job, I’m about 3 weeks out from my 1 year anniversary of this new role I took on at work. Upside? I’ve sort of been through everything once. Does that make sense? Last year in addition to just learning a new job I had some serious extra curricular assignments on my desk that were temporary. Most of those are wrapping up at the beginning of this year. TIME TO EXHALE….WOOO HOOO!! Downside: Last Friday at 4pm I was assigned a new little project that may or may not be a big commitment since I had some “extra capacity.” haha
I can’t talk about business + career without talking about blogging. 2013 was the first year that I made a legit part time income off of this blog. It’s not an income that will support our household, but it was enough to have me fretting about taxes this year. (Hi, I am financially unorganized when it comes to blogging. WHOOPS.) And it was also enough for me to want to figure out an actual plan for that in 2014. I feel enormously grateful to everyone who has supported this site by reading, commenting, and allowing me to figure out this “Business of Blogging” as I go.
What Could Be Going Better: For fun, I printed out this free time tracking worksheet from Nicole over at Life Less Bullshit. Her suggestion was to track your time for 72 hours to see where you are really spending it, obviously in the hopes of finding places to maximize your efficiency. I went into it thinking “You know, there is probably some dicking around time that I could be using better. This will illuminate where I have some pockets of free time that I could use more effectively.”
It became very clear, very quick that I am currently operating at max efficiency, which includes only about 3.5 hours each weekday evening of “free time.” (No wonder I’m so damn excited for the weekends!) So yes, I could be scheduling those 3.5 hours of time more productively, for sure. But sometimes I like to use them to do extravagant things like showering after hot yoga, washing dinner dishes, doing a load or two of laundry, and singing Kanye West to my dog in a very obnoxious voice. (All things I like to do but don’t have a set schedule for. I need a little spontaneity in my life!)
And here’s the other kicker, sometimes I need to have an unscheduled minute to not talking to anyone, or be working on something. Frankly that’s allowed. And that’s no bullshit. Soooooooo. That whole exercise sort of depressed me because I’m past the point of small, smart fixes. But could be useful if you wonder where all your time is going. What it helped me realize was that at this point in my life juggling act, if I need more time (AND I DO), I’m going to have to make some largeR scale changes that are frankly a bit murky and scary.
Short term goals: Figure out some of the bigger needle movers in this time management situation. Get comfortable saying no at work. 2014 Blog Business Plan! Pay your taxes. OUCH. Make sure that doesn’t happen again in 2014. Open a bank account or something.
Health + Fitness
What’s going well: Well, I am still alive. SCORE. I have reduced my caffeine intake by a large amount and it has been really helpful. Apparently all I had to do was stock my work stash with DECAF K-Cups and then I wouldn’t feel like I was going to have a heart attack everyday at 2pm. NOVEL IDEA! My skin is looking better than it has in at least a decade and I am consistently getting 7+ hours of sleep every night. (If I want to get 9 hours of sleep every night then I would only have 1.5 hours OF unscheduled time to myself on weekdays. So right now I’m good with 7.)
What Could Be Going Better: Just about everything. When I visualize my immune system it looks like a piece of swiss cheese. (mmmm…cheese.) I have been sick so much of the last 2 months (and it’s still lingering!) that I only logged 10 days in the gym total. TEN DAYS. This is a problem on so many levels for me. I mean you guys, the amount of work it takes to squeeze my ass into my VERY TIGHT pants in the morning should probably count as a workout. I have gotten woefully out of shape, and while it is completely understandable (use it or lose it) that doesn’t make it less frustrating.
I am also dealing with a back injury that has been going on (off and on, which is super irritating) since I did a wonky back bend in a Bikram class in November. I finally made an appointment with a chiropractor last week when I got up from my desk to walk to the bathroom and couldn’t stand up straight. Not normal. (Love this Myth Busters: Chiropractic Edition. A good read if you don’t have a lot of experience with Chiropractors.)
Of course when I feel frustrated about my inability to workout, or when the cabin fever insanity of no gym time gets to me — I begin to hallucinate that kettle cooked potato chips at the grocery store are calling my name. Tell me this happens to you too. It’s not that I’m eating terribly, but I’m just not really eating to support my goals, ya know? I don’t feel any sort of good/bad moral judgment about it but it’s just dumb. And I’m starting to feel a sort of low grade depression about it.
Short Term Goals: Walk More. It’s easy to do, even in my current sick/injured/depressed state and it’s so important. I loved Mark’s Daily Apple’s list of 17 Reasons To Walk More This Year. It was like a beacon of light when I was feeling really bad about my ability to workout. Get to the chiropractor and get to healing. Ease back into your workouts when the time is right. And stop eating chips every time you feel like it.
Family + Relationships
What’s going well: I saw a lot of my family in the last month! My mom and I have had a lot of quality time together recently. I love Garrett to pieces and our relationship right now is in such a good flow. I’ve already been good about birthday cards, thank you notes, and email correspondence so far this year (I know, it’s only been 2 weeks, but there have been quite a few things to send!) and that has been a very purposeful effort. I’m happy with that.
What Could Be Going Better: If you are a friend of mine and you have tried to make plans with me in the last, ooooh — 6 months — I have been super hesitant to commit. I’m guarding my “free time” like a lunatic because I’m never sure if when I have *time* I will also have *energy*. You know how this goes right? (See above about sometimes just wanting to singing Kanye to Buster/not talk to anyone.) So, what I’m saying is, this could be better. I haven’t thought of a great solution to this, but hey, that’s what the next section is for.
Short Term Goals: Go easy on yourself. Make spontaneous plans when the mood strikes. Get rid of the guilt, but also don’t be an inconsiderate dick.
And that’s where I’m at at the beginning of the first quarter of the year, and also where I want to go. Any wild and crazy goals on your list? Give me a little update on YOUR State of the Union? Come on! It’ll be fun!