I talked about the way I approach yearly goals back in January, and I believe in that approach even more now (I’m speaking only for myself, of course). So when I saw Alexis’ video on youtube on how to make a mid year review a couple of days ago, I almost immediately jumped in.
Rather than talking about how I’m doing for each area I had set goals for, I prefer taking into consideration all the things that can help me do even better in the upcoming months. When I think about it, the real reason why I’m not accomplishing my goals has (almost) nothing to do with the goals themselves but mostly with time management.
Things that I implemented and that are helping me right now:
(a) a night time routine; great for unwinding and unplugging, reducing stress and enjoy some me-time before sleeping. My current nighttime routine includes reviewing all the tasks on my to do list (checking off all the completed ones + re-assigning those that are not), sorting and tidying my desk, skincare routine, herbal tea and book reading.
(b) a clutter-free desk and room, which is the result of both purging and finding a place for every single item I own; this is helped by the night time practice of tidying up what I used during the day as stated above.
(c) a brain dump section in my planner; I don’t know why it took me so long to figure this out, but it has been a huge a-ha moment for me and I honestly wonder how I could function before without it. I still have a digital brain dump section on my phone for when I’m out and about, but being able to write things manually has been an essential clear-out for my brain.
(d) unplug after 9pm; I don’t have any sleep problems so I don’t do it for the sake of a better night rest, but as much as I love (and use) technology everyday, I don’t like the way we often feel compelled to be omnipresent on line. I prefer to take some serious me-time away from what anybody else is posting on instagram or writing on twitter, and dedicate quality time to those activities that really matters to me like reading and relaxing with the plus one.
(e) a trustworthy weekly calendar for writing things as both forward planning and reference; as much as I love planners and experimenting with different solutions/combinations, I still feel the need of having one piece of stationery I can trust and that meets my expectations well enough for me to use it all year around. I found this form of planner piece with my Paperblanks Slim Weekly Planner and it has worked out so well for me that I’ll probably go for it next year as well.
(f) a meal planning system; I’m not always able to stick to it 100% during the week but the simple fact of not having to think about what to eat everyday 3 times a day is a tremendous advantage.
(g) a constant physical review of my planner pages (to dos, projects, notes, brain dump), similar to GTD system.
(h) a predisposed day for all admin and finances (Thursday); sometimes the day of the week can change (often postponed to Friday) but the idea of one day dedicated to this specific task helps me avoid procrastination, as this is task number 1 that for some mysterious reason I dread doing.
(i) a almost streamlined blog workflow (finally), based on Trello + Wunderlist + handwritten notes.
(l) letting go when the things on my plate are too many; painful but also incredibly stress relieving.
Things are still lacking in my system:
(i) a morning routine: I have some things I ideally would like to do first thing in the morning but I almost never get to do them all, and most of the time I end up wasting a good chunk of morning even though I woke up pretty early. Things are not made easier by the fact that I have to relate to the significant other’s schedule, but I’m aware of the fact that this is just a side hindrance. The truth is I’m not taking responsibility for my own time and I’m acting like I’m not the one in charge.
(ii) a structured weekly schedule, which just pairs up with the point above; it’s ok to try to plan smart and leave some space to allow flexibility (considering I have to take other people’s schedule into consideration), but no structure at all is not a solution as well. I have to learn to take appointments with myself and stick to them if I really wanna start working properly towards my goals.
(iii) a structured daily schedule, again. This is especially important for exercising, because as much as I’m willing to find time for it in my day I often end up forgetting or procrastinating. Now even more I feel the need to find a balance between the things that I need to do, the things that I want to do and some healthy relax time. I’m still very far from reaching the right point of stability so I need to seriously start working on this because I know it’s gonna take time to adjust.
(iv) a more in depth knowledge of how my energy levels work, or more flexibility in adapting my schedule to them. It’s pointless for me to plan certain activities from 4pm to 7pm if I have a 80% chance of feeling drowsy and sleepy during that time frame. Learning how my body/mind reacts to food intake and tiredness is essential for all the other points listed above.
Next Action List:
(1) review old planners and to do lists (both paper and digital), transfer what is still relevant, discard the rest
(2) simplify my digital life (too many resources, too many lists that often end up kind either duplicated or forgotten)
(3) make a list of all my current open loops and work on finishing all the short term ones
(4) more use of what I already have and shopping the less I can (especially for stationery), which means less clutter around the house and more money on my bank account
(5) purge even more: clothes, shoes, kitchen items but also old planner/diary inserts that are really of no use anymore
(6) more discipline for food and sleep. I’m not bad at those (actually I think I’m better than the average people, from what I can see around me) but I could be even better so I should just stop playing in safety mode.
Making this list is helping me hugely in seeing what I really should be focusing on in the next 6 months. I think this was exactly what I needed at this point in life and I’m glad I took the time to think this through. Can’t wait to see what other people around the web are doing for their mid year review!