Goals, tasks and accountability – NOT resolutions
Continuing on the ‘I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions’ theme, I am still looking to start the new year with a fresh attitude and raring to go. Because the girls start back to school on Monday (5 January), and that’s also when I’ll be officially back at my (TAG Publishing Services) desk, I’m really treating 5 January as my start of the year. I’m getting myself prepared in lots of different ways over this weekend, so that sitting down on Monday morning will feel like a fresh start and I’ll be raring to go.
Design business goals
Shortly before the Christmas break, I set up an accountability group with five other designers. We are each at different points in our design careers and so have a variety of goals for the year and/or the next few months. We’re sharing our goals with each other and then will be sharing on a weekly basis our achievements of the last week and our plans for the next week. It’s a positive group where we can hold ourselves accountable in a supportive manner with people on similar journeys. We’ve only just started so I can’t tell you how good it is, but my feeling is that it will be very useful and give us that extra push to keep to our goals and assess our plans as we move along. If you’ve set some business or personal goals for the year or for the next few months, why not start your own accountability group, or find an accountability partner to work with talk over your plans?
I made myself some pretty goal and to do lists and printed out my medium-term goals, as well. Because we all know that beautifully designed task lists are much more successful than standard scribbled ones. (Don’t we? Someone must have done some research on it, surely?)
I’m also signed up for MATS Bootcamp and MATS B from Lilla Rogers. I’m considering adding in Mastering your Market (probably the middle option) from Pattern Observer, too, but might leave it until the next run.
The design business is only half of my business world. Chris and I also run a successful business providing services to the educational publishing industry. These days I predominantly do project management and design work, but also take on editing, proofreading, and CD development, for example. Chris does a wide variety, but is a particular whizz at making Captivate tutorials and extremely funky PowerPoints and has been putting together a lot of CD-ROMs this year. He’s looking to take on some more project management this year. We will be sitting down on Monday to have a start-of-year chat about where the business needs to go – and where we each want to fit in within it. Sometimes we have to do things we don’t like, but it’s good to talk these things through so we can aim to do more of what we enjoy, rather than just leaving things to potter along as they have been (even if the talk ends with the status quo continuing!). In preparation for Monday, I’ll be doing my Inbox filing which had got a bit out of hand since I last did it in September (I am totally going to do it daily from now on) and I bought my diary (I’ve found that using a physical diary as well as Outlook’s calendar and tasks, really helpful this year – I mostly used it for work, but do tend to also add important household and school appointments and tasks in there, too).
Now both the girls are at school, their goals tend to focus around school and after-school during term-time. There is some clothes and toy sorting that I’d really like to get done before Monday. After two weeks of a bit too much screen time (though we did set down rules at the start of the holiday to ensure it didn’t get too silly!) we will be moving back into term-time mode where there is no screen time in the morning and we where mornings concentrate on reading, spellings, times tables, violin practice and so on – playing, drawing, building, baking, etc. in any left-over time. (Weekends they get computer time in the morning.) They will be continuing with swimming classes and need to decide today whether they want to continue with gymnastics or change to something else (or cut an activity). The return to routines is almost always a good thing for us, as it helps them to know what’s happening and what’s expected of them. I’m keen to introduce some kind of more official chore sharing and have a few ideas I’m going to put forward for this. I’m also going to continue with my efforts to be more positive and supportive and to shout less. I think last year’s word (serenity) really helped me with this, but I’m still not quite the calm and supportive parent I want to be. I’d also like to make a ‘Remember this’ list for each of them, to help them remember to bring home their water bottles and homework diaries and so on. We also have a calendar (thanks to Abel & Cole) and I’m going to write down all the important school (and other) dates on there, so that we can all check and know who’s supposed to be where and bring what!
We still have some big things that we want to do – buy a new cooker (more complicated than it sounds due to needing to disconnect and reconnect the gas) and get a new bathroom bought and fitted (including someone else doing the tiling!). And then there’s some general decluttering type stuff that needs doing and I also have a wish list for some storage solutions that I’ll be looking out for deals on. I have some ideas for the general decluttering/sorting, involving 15-minute tasks. I haven’t really formulated my ideas properly but may blog about it when I have. For the most part, apart from the biggies, household stuff will involve keeping on top of the general stuff and maybe coming up with some miraculous laundry schedule that there are never any piles of laundry waiting to be put away. I hope the chore sharing ideas we’ll be talking about will help with this.
I would like to make a few little dietary adjustments – get back to eating yoghurt and fruit in the morning, rather than toast and always have at least one salad on the go (depending on the salad – some will last a few days, but most only about 24 hours). Other than that, my diet is pretty healthy. I’d like to make sure I do exercise that I can. At the moment, pilates and yoga seem to be good choices – swimming, walking and most gym stuff makes my dizziness and numbness much, much worse. I’d also quite like to try a 10-15 minute dancing session every day, adjusting to what my body can copy with at the time, because I love dancing and a short burst should hopefully not be enough to make the dizziness worse. Other than that, I’ll be hoping that the further tests and referrals will identify my health problem and then fix it. In the meantime, though, I’ll follow my body – if I get another period of feeling good, I’ll make the most of it and up the exercise levels a bit; if I have a really bad period, I’ll rest more and sleep for longer periods, and so on.
So, you see… none of those were resolutions – they’re all just general goals and preparation for the New Year. Happy New Year to you, too, and I wish you success, luck, happiness – and that your journey in 2015 is a pleasant and fulfilling one.