The year is over, long live the year!
As unrealistic as it is to assume that we are issued a blank slate and a fresh start on the first day of a new year, I found myself unable to really put any long term goals on paper before today. I had some hazy ideas of what I wanted to do and some rather concrete ideas of what I didn’t want to do, but it isn’t until today that I’ve been able to start breaking them down.
I started with the basic idea that at the end of 2011 that I wanted concrete things that I could look back on as having accomplished. So I’m making a list of daily things that I can check off, and yes that means beyond the cut is 365 days worth of things (minus holidays, vacations, and NaNoWriMo) that I plan on doing.
As new events are planned, I will go back and move things around, so items may be moved off into a ‘bonus points’ list for the month. But I’m trying to keep all of the goals simple and easy to do in under an hour. That way if I have more time and energy, I can think up additional things to do based on the monthly theme, and if not I can just get the task done and over with.
2010 Monthly Themes : Finances, Eating Healthy, Getting Organized/Simplifying, Learn Something New, Active Powers Activate!, Indulge Creativity, Home Business, Simplify/Clarify, Family/Friends, Home Improvement, NaNoWriMo, Reflection
Read onwards at your own peril!
Weekends are Blue | Holidays are Green
This month I’m going to focus on getting our personal finances under control. This includes income, investments, tax returns, etc. I want to make sure everything is in place for the upcoming changes to our income and spending streams and having a solid point to start from seems key. Budgets, budgets, and more budgets!
1 – Reserved for planning out the year
2 – Set up a spreadsheet to track spending
3 – Make a list of all the monthly and bimonthly bills
4 – See what kind of saving/checking accounts we can get with Wachovia/Wells Fargo
5 – Put in the due dates and printing dates for all of the bills
6 – Make sure we have the login information setup for all online accounts
7 – Get all of the tax info to file this year’s taxes
8 – Reorganize all of the previous year’s taxes
9 – Setup Budget for bills
10 – Talk to VA about the missing tax refund
11 – Get expected change in income/BAH numbers
12 – Estimate cost of living for Korea
13 – Look at paying off the mortgage
14 – Look at savings goals
15 – Plan out personal budgets
16 – Plan out expected vet costs
17 – Plan out home improvement costs
18 – Look into Upromise
19 – Look into credit card with Frequent Flyer miles
20 – Check Mint history against budgets
21 – Setup account for billpay and personal use
22 – move bills to credit card
23 – Update accounts to point to new billpay account
24 – Make sure PayPal only uses the limited account – no overdrafting allowed
25 – Make sure overdraft protection is in place
26 – Setup all power of attorney paperwork
27 – Make sure copy of all passwords and access information is in a second secure location
28 – Triple-check that all accounts are now debiting from the right places
29 – Make sure all accounts have the right starting balances
30 – Get all the paperwork together to do taxes using TurboTax
31 – File taxes (VA and Federal)
Theme: Eating Healthy
This month I’m focusing on paying more attention to what I’m eating. Beyond the simple things like not eating fast food and cutting back on Diet Coke, I’m looking to cut out almost all of the processed foods from my intake. It can’t be that hard to eat meat, veggies, and starch without side-tracking into the middle isles of the supermarket… right?
Some of the daily goals here are a bit repetitive, but there’s really only so much you can do to plan out and live off a simplified diet. I may change them as I learn more about diets and nutrition, but for now I’m staying simple.
1 – Start up a food log again
2 – Figure out what I am supposed to be eating (calories, nutrients, etc)
3 – Make up a daily generic plan for an average day’s nosh
4 – Make a list of ‘good foods’
5 – Get rid of all the food that doesn’t make the list
6 – Food shoppings!
7 – Do food budget up again using shopping results
8 – Check to see what I can get coupons for
9 – Research what veggies are fresh at what times of the year
10 – Find out which stores sell what veggies
11 – Make a list of how long fresh food stays fresh
12 – Find a good recipe to try for lunch
13 – Figure out what I can buy in bulk
21 – Valentine’s Day! Remind all my single friends that they are AWESOME and that this holiday is full of crap!!
14 – Attempt to round up enough interested people to do potluck dinner parties (could be fun!)
15 – Find a good recipe to try for dinner
16 – Find a good recipe to try for breakfast
17 – Find a good recipe to try for dinner
18 – Make a plan to cut back on Diet Coke
19 – Make an appointment with the Nutritionist
20 – Find bulk recipes that freeze well that I can trade with friends
21 – Figure out where/how to store everything
23 – Find a good recipe to try for dinner
24 – Find a good recipe to try for breakfast
25 – Find a good recipe to try for lunch
26 – Pack away unused kitchen items
27 – Clean and reorganize kitchen storage
28 – Revise food budget again based on the data collected
Theme: Getting Organized/Simplifying
I was going to title the theme for this month ‘cleaning the house’, but I realized that if I just reduced the amount of stuff in the house and made sure it was organized– it would pretty much clean itself. So this is a combination of the the two goals. This is also the month where I’m settling into my stride after the turbulent part of the year, so I should have a better idea of how to budget my time.
1 – Write down the purpose of each room (including the yard)
2 – Celebrate my Anniversary YAY!
3 – Start a shopping list for each room
4 – Sort through the cleaning supplies
5 – Make a list of cleaning chores for the Living Room
6 – Make a list of cleaning chores for the Kitchen
7 – Make a list of cleaning chores for the Bedroom
8 – Make a list of cleaning chores for the Office
9 – Make a list of cleaning chores for the Guest Bedroom
10 – Make a list of cleaning chores for the Bathroom
11 – Make a list of cleaning chores for the Laundry Room
12 – Make a list of all the major appliances (make, model, repair numbers, etc)
13 – Make a list of the maintenance schedules for all appliances
14 – Make a list of cleaning chores for the Yard
15 – Start a list of needed improvements for each room
16 – Make a list of essential items for each room
17 – Celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day
18 – Make a plan for storing things we want to keep, but do not currently use
19 – Clean the House
20 – First Day of Spring, take time to reflect on what I’ve accomplished thus far
21 – Get information on where to trash and donate items
22 – Make a list of hotspots in each room
23 – Make a donation and dump run schedule
24 – Review the list of improvements, write out details on each
25 – Make a budget for the improvements
26 Get information on contractors who can make the improvements
27 – Schedule improvement projects against budget
28 – Start contacting contractors
29 – Find a place to board the pets
30 – Get all vet records in order
31 – Review cleaning schedules and adjust as needed
Theme: Learn Something New
One of the things that frustrates me most about the job I currently have is that I’m not learning anything new. After my last job, which required me to constantly expand my knowledge base, and college, which had me learning something new every eight weeks, I’m used to being a bit more challenged. So it’s time to get out there and start learning things!
Since this month hinges on finding funding for future education, the first half of the month deals with education I have to pay for and the second half deals with self-directed education.
1 – Get information on CPA exams
2 – Make a list of all degree programs that look interesting
3 – Make a list of all certifications that look interesting
4 – Get information on local and online Masters Degree programs
5 – Get information on local and online Bachelors Degree programs
6 – Get information on where to get Certifications
7 – Find out what the Government will reimburse me for
8 – Find out what the Army will reimburse me for
9 – Find out what Ferguson will reimburse me for
10 – Based on information collected, select program of study
11 – Gathering all information on previous education
12 – Plan out budget for education
13 – Plan out schedule of classes
14 – Register for program of study
15 – Make a list of all the things I know how to do
16 – Create a resume to highlight all the things I am good at
17 – Create a future resume to highlight all the things I want to be good at
18 – Pick one thing to improve on
19 – Purchase used textbook in this subject
20 – Find online blogs or other websites on the subject
21 – Find a way to practice the skills as I develop them
22 – Make an outline from the textbook
23 – Make a study guide from the textbook
24 – Easter!
25 – Schedule the study guide into everything else
26 – StudyStudyStudy
27 – Prepare reimbursement paperwork
28 – Continue to look for grants that would allow me to study more things
29 – StudyStudyStudy
30 – Pick the next topic of self-study
Theme: Active Powers Activate!
May is about the time when Virginia becomes bearable to run around outside in, so it’s time to start running around outside! I’m normally a pretty sedentary person at this point, but I used to love to play soccer and ride horses and bike and walk… so it’s time to focus on rediscovering those old joys!
1 – Make a list of all the things I enjoy doing outdoors
2 – Look for local groups that do activities on the list
3 – Find (or make!) a group that fits into my schedule
4 – Sign up/Join the group
5 – Find an activity I can do with the dogs
6 – Schedule dog play days
7 – Make sure I have the gear to go play
8 – Mother’s Day!
9 – Make sure I am playing outside at least once a week, weather permitting
10 – Find an indoor activity to do on rainy days
11 – Make plans to go on a hike with friends
12 – Research information on how to learn to run
13 – Research information on strength training using body weight
14 – Schedule doctor’s appointment to make sure I don’t hurt myself
15 – Research local gyms for group fitness programs
16 – Adapt diet as needed for increased bouncing around!
17 – Make plans to have a whiffle-bat battle (or tag) with friends
18 – Research ways to be active in the winter
19 – Make a list of all the 5k races and walks in the area for this year
20 – See if there are any dog rescue groups in the area who would like dogs taken out for a weekend run/walk
21 – Find other dog owners who like to play outside
22 – Research information on local personal trainers
23 – Make plans to go on a 5k run with friends
24 – Find online fitness groups to chat with
25 – Look back over my fitness gear, adjust as needed
26 – Take a moment to just enjoy bouncing around with dogs and friends!
27 – Look into walking to work when it’s nice out
28 – Look into walking to the grocery store and the pet store
29 – Find places to go biking locally
30 – Memorial Day
31 – Look over activity schedule, modify as needed
Theme: Indulge Creativity
One thing that has been a constant in my life is that I always feel the need to Make Something(tm). I draw, I paint, I sculpt, I write– anything that takes my imagination out of my head and into the real world is truly a joy. This month is all about finding ways to schedule a bit of creative downtime into my life, and reaching out to other people who share the same spark.
1 – Make a list of all the things I love to do
2 – Make a general list of all the art supplies I have on hand
3 – Pick one project to work on that I have the supplies for
4 – Find and join an online or offline group for the project I’ve picked
5 – Create! (Documenting as I go)
6 – Explore new methods and techniques for the project
7 – Get a feel for what and how other people are creating similar projects
8 – Post project results, embrace all feedback
9 – Pick another project, from another genre/medium and lather, rinse, repeat
10 – Look for new projects and new ideas
11 – Research what local groups and clubs are active in the area
12 – Look into classes, workshops, and writing groups
13 – Find (or create!) a local group that fits into my schedule and join it
14 – Pick another project, from another genre/medium and lather, rinse, repeat
15 – Look over my blog and evaluate the creative postings
16 – Revise or reorganize the way the posts are presented to be more user friendly
17 – Look over my art supplies, donate or sell those supplies I do not expect to use in the next year
18 – Make a list of all the projects that are WIPs
19 – Father’s Day!
20 – Pick another project, from another genre/medium and lather, rinse, repeat
21 – First Day of Summer, take time to reflect and appreciate the changes in my life
22 – Work out a schedule for finishing the WIPs
23 – Two year anniversary of employment, pause to embrace the opportunities my job provides
24 – Reach out to artists and writers I admire and let them know why I appreciate their work!
25 – Replace any worn out or broken items from the art supplies I do plan to use
26 – Pick another project, from another genre/medium and lather, rinse, repeat
27 – Do a cost analysis for each project I have completed so far
28 – Make a list of all the ways I could sell these products
29 – See what projects could be used to finance themselves (perpetual art machine!)
30 – Look over the commitments I have made this month, reevaluate as needed
Theme: Home Business
One of the things I would really like to get in motion this year is using my hobbies to fund themselves and any extra to help pay down my student loans. It’s my eventual goal to have the hobbies become my primary source of passive and active income, but that’s a goal for another year. Right now I’m just looking to make everything cost neutral in case the economy tanks again or we are relocated and I have to job hunt again (whee).
1 – Make a list of all my hobbies
2 – Make a list of one product or service I can sell in each hobby
3 – Pick three things from the list to focus on
4 – Independence Day!
5 – Do a cost analysis for each of the three items
6 – Research the current market for the three items
7 – Determine the best way to sell these items
8 – Research the Federal rules and regulations for starting a business
9 – Research the State rules and regulations for starting a business
10 – Research the City rules and regulations for starting a business
11 – Gather together all of the necessary paperwork
12 – Submit paperwork
13 – Schedule in all of the sales tax and estimated tax payment reminders
14 – Set up spreadsheet to track all expenses and income
15 – Set up online store or other sales method
16 – Pick three already completed products to list
17 – Make sure all three products have good pictures and good descriptions
18 – Research best times to post items
19 – Schedule items to post
20 – Set up schedule for weekly or monthly posting of new items
21 – Create filing system to track all business related paperwork
22 – Find non-invasive ways to promote products
23 – Set up promotion schedule
24 – Make sure there is always at least one example of the three items available for sale
25 – Review sales and feedback, adjust pricing and items as needed
26 – Brainstorm related items to market
27 – Choose one new item to develop
28 – Setup schedule for reviewing profitability of items
29 – Research additional ways to reach customer base for current products
30 – Take a moment to remember that this is supposed to be fun, reevaluate anything that isn’t!
31 – Review business scheduling and commitments, adjust as needed
Now that I’ve spent seven months filling up my life with new activities, friends, and commitments, it’s time to take a moment and make sure where I am is where I want to be. This is the month we’d traditionally go to the cabin in Maine, where ‘real life’ would fade away and the things that really mattered would take the forefront. Time to enjoy some honorary Maine!
1 – Look over finances, is there anything I can remove or cut back on?
2 – Look over my menu and stocked foodstuffs, is there anything I don’t use or don’t want to eat? Am I meeting my nutrition goals?
3 – Look over my cleaning schedule, is there anything that is now taking less time? More time?
4 – Look over my school schedule, are things going too fast or too slow? Are the classes I’m taking still adding value?
5 – Look over my activity schedule and fitness level, what is helping? What is not helping?
6 – Look over my creative projects and supplies, what am I still using? What could I get rid of?
7 – Look over my home business, is it accomplishing what I’d like it to?
8 – Evaluate my clothes, what do I need? What do I use?
9 – Evaluate each room’s purpose – has this changed?
10 – Evaluate each piece of furniture – is it effectively serving it’s purpose?
11 – Be aware of every item I touch today, am I using it? Am I just moving it out of the way?
12 – Keep a time journal, what am I doing with my day?
13 – Take a day off and do nothing
14 – Write down everything I did yesterday – what do I think is ‘nothing’?
15 – Look at my daily schedules, how much stuff ends up on the ‘not enough time’ list?
16 – Look at my weekly schedules, how much stuff ends up on the ‘not enough time’ list?
17 – Consider the implications of taking a week off from all non-work obligations. What would happen?
18 – Reevaluate my schedules and commitments, rating them by level of importance
19 – What activities do I enjoy?
20 – What activities do I avoid?
21 – How can I change the important activities I avoid so that I enjoy them?
22 – Implement changes to my schedule and activities
23 – Focus on being more mindful of how I am using my time and how it makes me feel
24 – Rework my morning schedule so I am in a good mood when I leave the house
25 – Rework my evening schedule so I am in a good moon when I go to sleep
26 – Make a list of things I can’t control, resolve to stop trying to control them
27 – Spend the day actively focusing on each task I do
28 – Breath Deep, Seek Peace
29 – Set aside time each week to reflect on my schedules and commitments
30 – Remember that I can’t plan for the unexpected and change is the only constant
31 – Make a Wall of Joy
One of the things I want to work on this year, and this month specifically, is putting more effort into connecting with my friends and family. I’m not that good at keeping in touch, in fact I pretty much suck at it– so the only way to go is up! Heh.
1 – Make a list of all my family
2 – Make a list of all my friends
3 – Write down the last time I saw or spoke to people on these lists?
4 – Split out the list into local and not-local peeps
5 – Labor Day
6 – Do I plan on seeing the local peeps this month? Why not?? Go bug them!
7 – Make sure I have addresses and phone numbers for everyone
8 – Make sure I have holiday and birthday preferences for everyone
9 – Have I written or spoken to the non-local peeps in the last month? Why not?? Go bug them!
10 – Make someone laugh
11 – Smile at everyone I see that day, and mean it!
12 – Make sure I am doing something social offline every week
13 – Mail someone a random thing!
14 – Take a moment to harass my Siblink who is AWESOME in all capital letters!
15 – Make a list of all the new people I have met so far this year, vow to meet at least one more person before 2012
16 – Write a letter to someone I haven’t written a letter to in the last month
17 – Plan a gathering with the local peeps
18 – Create a pile of silly postcards for random mailings
19 – Email someone a smile
20 – Who haven’t I talked to lately? Go bug ’em!
21 – Play six degrees and introduce my friends to other friends
22 – Invite people over for dinner
23 – First Day of Autumn, take a moment and be thankful for all the wonderful people in my life
24 – Make sure I have told them how awesome they are! Recently!!
25 – Plan a gathering with the Northern VA peeps
26 – Mail someone a random thing!
27 – Bring in something to work to cheer folks up
28 – Hug the World
29 – Make someone laugh
30 – A fish hat a day keeps the doldrums away!
Theme: Home Improvement
While there will be contractors working on the house this year, there are plenty of things I can do on my own to help get the house ready for sale if we are reassigned in 2013. Some of this is just getting plans in place for what needs to be done in the future, but best to be prepared.
1 – Make a floorplan of the house
2 – Estimate how much paint will be needed
3 – Estimate how much carpeting will be needed
4 – Estimate how much tile or linoleum will be needed
5 – Make a general list of the touch-ups that need to be done for each room
6 – Make a specific list for the Kitchen
7 – Make a specific list for the Laundry Room
8 – Make a specific list for the Office
9 – Make a specific list for the Living Room
10 – Make a specific list for the Bedroom
11 – Make a specific list for the Guest Bedroom
12 – Make a specific list for the Front yard
13 – Make a specific list for the Back yard
14 – Price out the materials
15 – Price out the labor
16 – Is it cost effective to do the work myself?
17 – Schedule out the work I can do myself
18 – My Birthday – Woot!
19 – Setup a budget for the improvements I can do
20 – Setup a budget for the improvements I can’t
21 – Find a contractor to do the stuff I can’t
22 – Get information on house inspection requirements
23 – Find a local inspector to look over the house once everything is done
24 – Find a local Realtor who can evaluate the house and tell me what needs to be done to sell it
25 – Research places to store our stuff while the house is on the market
26 – Research places who rent and stage furniture for houses on sale
27 – Research the local market to see what the house might go for
28 – Estimate how much it would cost to keep the house on the market each month
29 – Figure out our break-even point on the house
30 – Resist the urge to paint everything blue and put fish on the walls
31 – Halloween!
Theme: National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)
The goal of National Novel Writing Month is to put 50,000 words on paper in 30 days. While this seems an impossible goal, I’ve actually managed to do it twice and by the the time November rolls around this year I should be in a good place to do it again.
So I declare this month to be free of daily goals, at least for now. As I get closer to NaNo, I might start making some up, but until then I am just going to look forward to a nice relaxing month… filled with all the things I’ve already scheduled in with the previous ten months of daily goals!
I’ve hit the end of the year and now it’s time to look back and see what worked, what didn’t work, and how to improve things as I roll into 2012. Ignoring the fact that the Mayan’s ran out of stone and caused the world to end, 2012 should be starting off on a much better foot than 2011!
1 – Review January
2 – Review February
3 – Review March
4 – Review April
5 – Review May
6 – Review June
7 – Review July
8 – Review August
9 – Review September
10 – Review October
11 – Review November
12 – Compile a list of accomplishments
13 – Compile a list of writings and artwork
14 – Write down things that worked to help me accomplish goals
15 – Write down things that didn’t work
16 – Figure out which goals/themes I want to keep for next year
17 – Figure out which goals/themes I want to retire
18 – Pick new goals/themes to work on for next year
19 – Revist my ‘finish line’ scenarios, adapt as needed
20 – Pamper the pets
21 – First Day of Winter, take time to appreciate everything in my life that brings me joy
22 – Make sure all of my friends and family know how important they are to me
23 – Relax and enjoy a day with no goals
24 – Christmas Eve!
25 – Christmas!
26 – Relax and enjoy a day with no goals
27 – Relax and enjoy a day with no goals
28 – Relax and enjoy a day with no goals
29 – Relax and enjoy a day with no goals
30 – Relax and enjoy a day with no goals
31 – Celebrate the end of 2011!