This piece is part I of a short series.
A peek back at 2017
Last year I blogged about my New Years Planfest over at littleredtarot. Even as I was gung-ho, I knew a shift was coming. I had so much to say about planning that I promised to write about it on my blog. I drafted a piece, it was pretty detailed, and I never posted it. It should have been an indication of inner conflict. But of course, it wasn’t. I’d be another two months before I’d realize something was really off and my perspective would shift substantially concerning time management. Here’s how I planned and what I learned in 2017.
I had a channeled word
This year I’m skipping the word brainstorm. A word will come, or I’ll work with the ones I already have. More adulting maybe?
I tracked astrology
I kept a budget
I saved 8,000.
I don’t even know. It’s hard to tell because 2017 was also the year that I quit my day job. I didn’t have nearly as much money as I used to so it may have helped my spending fast. If had still been earning, I would have savings. But my business was very slow last year. I didn’t spend, but I didn’t earn much either.
That said, I’ve spent thousands during years that I didn’t make much money using credit. I’m still paying it off in fact. *coughs in the direction of this MacBook Pro* In 2017 I accrued no new revolving unsecured debt. Something I’m not sure I’ve been able to do since I was 19 years old. (That was a while ago.) I also cut my old debt down by a third. Not too shabby. I’m keeping this practice.
At first, I used Leonie’s workbook and planner
That means that I filled out two large workbooks and kept up a planner. The Business Workbook was invaluable. Enough to even repeat the process if only by answering the questions again every once in a while. It walks you through writing a simplified business plan. It doesn’t say it does, but it does. I once geeked business plans before even dreaming I’d start one. I don’t mean I took an online course from someone about blogging or anything like that.
I mean that I went to the library and got a whole bunch of books about writing business plans and took notes and printed pages out seeing if I could articulate a plan that might motivate an investor. It went pretty poorly and took forever and I never really felt like I was done, but when I saw this workbook, I recognized many of the components.
The Personal Workbook was less useful for me. Both workbooks are filled with questions that get you thinking about possibilities. Personal work is different than business. I’ve done A LOT of it already. This workbook didn’t have the depth that I crave for personal work. For people that are new to working on themselves, dreaming, or planning it’d great.
I completed all of the biz workbook, some of the personal but then only lasted two months with the planner. I had a bit of a meltdown. I talk about this some at this year’s Planfest piece over at littleredtarot. This was my second year with this system.
The gist of it was, I didn’t have time to write everything as I had done in 2016. I was copying tasks from my Google calendar into my planner because life was happening too fast for the planner. And when I DID write it was a whole bunch of things I never ended up doing. Dead to-do lists. Is that a thing? It should be. (A thing I want nothing to do with.)
I thought something was wrong with how I used the planner, or me, or life, right up until the creator wrote a blog post about being overwhelmed. At that point, I finally considered that the system may somehow be flawed or just not for me. I started to look for another.
“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”
If Bruce Lee had a planning system would you use it? Rather than go on some kind of rant about him I’ll just say, I sure would. I bet he wouldn’t have one though. He’d be too busy being formless and everything.
Mind Like Water: A mental and emotional state in which your head is clear, able to create and respond freely, unencumbered with distractions and split focus.
Getting Things Done by David Allen
David Allen’s system is what would happen if Bruce Lee had created a world-class time management system. This is the whole thing in a nutshell (It is both easier and harder than it looks. At the same time. Like water. I dunno. BUT IT’S SO WORTH IT.):
- I can stop doing this task because I trust myself to do it later
(If you don’t know how epic this is, consider yourself LUCKY!)
- I can finish this humongous project without worry because I have a system that shows me how
- I don’t have to remember anything ever.
- I CAN REMEMBER EVERYTHING IN THE UNIVERSE (with the right system)
- I know exactly when is a good time to do that kind of task
- I know approximately how long this is going to take
- There is nothing on my schedule that isn’t going to happen
- Even though I have no idea how to do this I know exactly how to start figuring out how
- Because I know the difference between a project, a task, and something I’m not going to do, I can always be moving forward.
It’s quite a list isn’t It?
Last year I read Cait Flanders’ piece on Slow Mornings right around when I wrote the 2017 Planfest piece for littleredtarot. I had intended to check back in on Cait’s year of slow. Everything about it sounded like where I wanted to go next, pairing down the unnecessary, prioritizing values, encouraging healing.
I took a look at her blog recently and was pleasantly surprised to see that she stuck with her slow year. She built on her theme of slow month to month for each of the months. This is what I expect a word for the year to be like, a voyage, an inward journey, an experiment.
I aspire to that level of continuity of persistence and yes – slowness.
Would you like to see how I’m planing this year?
Subscribe to the blog or meet me in my newsletter for an update when Part II of this piece posts.
What did you learn last year?