My annual birthday review

I started doing a review of my year that was a few years ago. This typically happens on the first free weeknight after my birthday.

I make a cup of tea, grab my bullet journal and sit down at my desk to do some actual writing.

It’s actually not important how you do it; just that you do.

I prefer to write so that I’m not distracted by the internet, notifications, etc. but if you don’t have that problem, by all means just type out your answer.

An aside – there’s no magic time to do a life review; I just happen to think my birthday’s a good time to take stock, but you can do it tonight! Tomorrow! This weekend 🙂

Here’s a post I wrote about this before.

Me, at 43

Again, here are some of the questions I used this time, but listen to your heart and write the questions you feel you need to explore. If you don’t have a clue where to start, start with these questions:

  1. what worked well for me this year?
  2. what didn’t work well?
  3. what do I need to stop doing?
  4. are there any relationships I need to let go of?
  5. how am I living out my word of the year? do I need to choose a new word?
  6. how am I living out my values?
  7. what do I want to focus on in the year ahead?
  8. what am I grateful for?
  9. how do I want to feel this next year?
  10. what do I want to give myself this next year?

A few notes from my birthday review:

  1. I’m very happy with my current work rhythms because I mostly feel on top of things.
  2. Some of my biggest joys this year were from learning my enneagram number and taking the Discovering You and Exploring you courses with Your Enneagram Coach, and from doing the Four Tendencies deep dive course with Gretchen Rubin.
  3. I’m happy tending to my current friendships while leaving enough space for spontaneity.
  4. We’ve had three amazing family holidays this year.
  5. I read 111 books from one birthday to the next 😉
  6. I’ve chosen to let go of situations that I normally wouldn’t, because it just didn’t feel worth it any more.

And now I’m ready to tackle 44!

Have you done a birthday or life review lately? What were some of your highlights/ insights?

Word of the year recap and new word for 2018

Happy New Year, readers.

My wish for you is to live intentional lives that matter, and to be at peace with the path you choose this year.

My word of the year for last year was give. It was a good word that served me well. Here’s my first quarter recap and here’s my half year recap.

  • I gave to myself by going to one more class each week at gym, I went on walks and I slept really well. My sleep average went up to 7 hrs 38 min from 7 hrs 32 min in 2016.
  • I gave at work through helping colleagues, giving my best to clients and even being patient.
  • I gave to my family energy (even when I didn’t feel like it) and time.
  • I also gave to friends and family by making more calls and sending more texts/ whatsapps than I felt comfortable with, and I was purposeful in giving gifts and paying for more things than is my standard.

And it felt really good.

Before I dive into my word for this year, I want to tell you a quick story.

In October, I asked on social media if anyone wanted prayer. Some people commented on my feed but one friend messaged me privately. She then asked if there was anything I wanted prayer for. Such a novel concept as she was the only one who asked how she could pray for me. I told her about some feeling things.

The very next day a work colleague sent me a link to an enneagram test. I’d taken two of these before and both left me doubtful about the whole thing as I didn’t feel like it quite got me.

This time I took the test because this colleague takes all the tests I send him (!) and lo and behold, it said I was an enneagram 1. I read the write-up and it finally rang true. I downloaded this podcast on type 1 and listened on my way home. It was perfectly me. (I recommend going to look for your type on this podcast – it’s amazing) It was also an answer to some of the feeling things I’d been discomfited by for the last couple of months.

Since then, I’ve been fascinated with the enneagram but I still feel weird about it because I’m not a perfectionist (or am I protesting too much) anymore. I even say on my instagram profile that I’m a recovering perfectionist.

However, I’ve bought a course from Your Enneagram Coach and she calls it The Moral Perfectionist, which rings more true for me.

Back to the word of the year…

This year my word is fun.

Enneagram 1s move toward Type 7 when they’re in a healthy state, and the 7 is all about fun. On another of those podcasts, they specifically mentioned that 1s need to be very conscious about planning for fun. Yep, that’s me.

I’m not unfun but I do have to remind myself to do fun things before work. This is why I have a relax portion on each of my weekend to-do lists. Otherwise I’d just go and go, and never relax.

and I believe God answered my prayer because those feeling things were answered by the enneagram.

I’ll be asking myself these questions a lot this year: what sounds like fun? does this sound like fun? would it be more fun to do x or y?

It sounds frivolous when I write that down but I’m so serious and intentional (and intense!) about my goals already that I think I could do with a year of lightness.

I’ve already mapped out for each area of my life sub-sections of the questions above over two (!) pages in my bullet journal.

I’m going to include, as a part of my monthly review process (sign up for my list – I made a new, very cute monthly review form which I’ll send out at the end of January) a section where I ask myself questions like…

  • what was fun this month?
  • what was not fun?
  • how can I create more fun?

If you like (tell me) I’ll share some of that here with you.

So that’s it – my very long and drawn-out story of how I chose my word of the year, fun, for 2018.

What was your word for 2017, and how did it work out for you?

What is your word of the year for 2017 ?

What is your enneagram number?

Yay – it’s annual review time!

The week between Christmas and New Year is, hands down, my favourite time of the year.

That’s because it’s the time I prepare my diary for the next year but, most of all, it’s because I finalise my year-end review and goal-setting for the next year.

Of course, you can do an annual review whenever you feel like it.

I do a review when it’s my birthday in August, and at the end of the year. The birthday one is more about my feelings and other such introspective things, while the end-of-the-year one is about all the other areas of my life.

A colleague of mine paid me the biggest compliment recently (she doesn’t even know it!) when she told me that of everyone she knows, I’m the only one she’s ever met who is this intentional about my goals.

It’s because I firmly believe that if you drift through life, there will be tons of things left undone simply because of lack of intention.

I don’t want that to be me.

I want to hear, “well done, good and faithful servant” and know that I’ve fulfilled my purpose in life.

Anyway, back to the process…

Some of the year-end thinking can be done as you go about your life (in the shower, while driving, etc.) but there comes a point when you actually need to sit down with a gorgeous pen and notebook, or with your laptop, and make the time to write things down.

There’s tremendous power in creating a sacred space for your thoughts, dreams, intentions and goals.

It’s also the perfect time to start the New Year with a clean slate – isn’t that appealing?

I book out a half day every year for exactly this purpose. If that’s not enough time (these things sometimes take a lot longer than you plan), I’ll take another half day.

For my birthday review, two hours is usually enough time for me to do the process justice.

Some of the things I’ll be thinking and writing about are:

  • my biggest accomplishments this year
  • things I definitely don’t want to repeat
  • the things I need to let go of – commitments, relationships, emotions
  • my word/ theme for next year
  • what my definition of success for the New Year will look like
  • and finally, the actual goal-setting

and so on

What about you? Have you created your sacred space yet for goal-setting?

PS remember to grab your free Let’s Do This workbook. I’ve also put a goals mindmap page and a lovely things to do list for all possible types of people out there – those who like their intentions more free-flowing and those who don’t want to think of it as goals.

{Annual review} What went well in 2017?

If you’ve had a rough year, you may be tempted to just scroll on by but hang in there – there are things in your life that went well this year.

I know this because even in my worst years, there were things that were good about it, and so it will be for you too.

Step one of any annual review process for me is to note down what went well about the year.

This year, I wanted to get going and build some momentum before working through my Let’s Do This workbook, which is free if you’ve signed up to my list. If you haven’t yet signed up, go here and I’ll send it out again on Friday, and then I’ll take off all the old freebies and put up this guide for the whole of next year (remember there’s no rule about when to start working on your goals!).

I get my best momentum with thinking things when I start mindmapping. So I wrote in my bullet journal “what went well” and made some spokes for God, family, fitness, fun, friends, house and word of the year. And then I let myself loose and under each spoke, I wrote whatever was on my mind.

Try that and let me know if it works to get you loose with your thinking because sometimes the getting started is the hardest part.

That’s my tip for you 🙂

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As for my 2017, what went well?

  1. I’m hearing God better this year than I did last year. I started journalling and am really enjoying that process too.

2. The kids had great years at school and loved their teachers, we had two lovely family holidays and because they’re a bit older, we’ve been having more family lunches out because they can now behave 🙂 Dion and I have also had date afternoons most months. This month we went to see Bryan Adams so we’re ending on a high!

3. This has been a great year of reading – I will probably end up with about 120 books for the year, and it’s definitely the most non-fiction I’ve ever read in one year (I’m trying to finish on 40 so that it’s nice and neat :)). This alone deserves its own post but do leave a comment if you want to know something specific. These days, I get more questions about reading than I do about anything else

4. I also had a great year of sleep. I track my sleep to keep myself on track (strategy of monitoring works great for Upholders) and I will end the year over my goal of 7 hours 30 per night. It still amazes me that one has to actually be in bed much longer to get real and good sleep of 7:30.

5. I finally started a barre class and will probably end the year with about 60 walks. I’ve tried something the last two months on increasing my steps but let me work on it for another month and I’ll share next year. It’s really working for me though and if you’re not one of those 10 000 steps a day people, it may work for you too. I’ve just started back at Weigh-Less to lose some weight (I do have an actual number but I’m not putting it on the internet).

6. This year I started a book club with a friend and it has been so much fun for me. I still mostly read books no-one else reads but at least once a month, there’s something I can talk about with friends.

7. Speaking of friends, I haven’t had the best friend year but things that have worked really well is scheduling recurring meet-ups/ phone calls (again, the strategy of scheduling works great for upholders), my internal rule of always saying yes to out of town/ country friends, and I’m realising as I write this – this should probably be a post too 🙂

Now tell me, what went well for you in 2017?

Please feel free to leave me questions in the comments.

Lovely things to do this year

I have some routines I like to do around my birthday every year which I thought I’d talk about and link to, so that you can be reminded to do them too, if you’re so inclined.

If your birthday’s at a completely different time of year, put a link to this post in your calendar, a week or so before or after your birthday.

If you’re reading on a mobile device like an iphone, tap the square with an arrow pointing up, copy and paste the link into your calendar.

Here’s my annual birthday routine:

1. Organise a celebration. I believe that every year on this earth is a blessing so I like to celebrate my birthday every year.

2. Do a birthday review. This year I changed one or two questions but the main 4 questions are the same as my monthly review: what worked well, what didn’t work well, what did I learn, what do I need to let go of?

As a reader mentioned in the comments last year, it is a brave thing to do, to face up to things may not have consciously considered, but it’s always good to take an honest assessment of things. If you need some hand holding as you do this work, please book a coaching session with me.

3. Make a list of lovely things to do this year. This is purely a fun list 🙂

I put things on this list like books I’ve always wanted to read, restaurants to try, fun things to do like take a photowalk with a friend to take photos of the jacarandas, things I want to do with Dion or the kids, and recipes I’ve wanted to try.

So far on my list I have to (finally) buy new frames because I’ve had my current frames for about 3 – 4 years (lenses have changed, but I kept the frames).

I also have some fun books I want to read, and I think I finally need to read the Total Money Makeover. I also want to listen to Andre Agassi’s Open.

Keep checking my Instagram because I’ll be sure to post my list when it’s done.

I have a friend who schedules a massage on her birthday, another who always takes a day’s leave to “think about her life” and still another who books all her appointments like gynae, eyes, mammogram in her birthday month. Fun, thoughtful and practical.

Please tell me about your birthday rituals and if you’re not signed up to my list yet, please do so if you want the free “lovely things to do this year” printable. My next newsletter goes out on Tuesday 15th.

Have you done your annual birthday review yet?

Organising Queen’s recap of 2016

Ah, how I love this time of year – a time to recap the past year but also to set goals and intentions for the year ahead.

I do a truly extensive recap each and every year.

I use my own Let’s Do This guide, Susannah Conway‘s Unravelling the year workbook, the shining year life workbook and this year, just because it was there, I also added the Holstee reflection workbook.

And I check my spreadsheets, Fitbit stats, etc.

Dion asked me why I go through all this hassle and I said because I feel like I can close off the old year only when I’ve taken stock thoroughly.

Then it’s really easy to set goals and start the new year in a positive frame of mind, leaving the past in the past and looking toward the new year with hope.

Biggest (unexpected) change

Buying and selling a house. It was unplanned but a blessing nonetheless. I remembered anew how much I hate packing and unpacking. On the bright side, there’s been a lot of little corners and spaces to organise 🙂 And the view has kept me focussed throughout.

Family

We had a good year. Kids did well in school and adjusted to Grade 1 really well. We also had no problems with them adjusting to the new house except for a few “I hear strange sounds” within the first week or two.

We managed to take two holidays – yay!

Fitness and health

I only lost about a kilo this year but I have consistently attended my Zumba class on a Saturday morning and I feel fitter than I did this time last year. I did two Spanish exams which took a bit of a toll on my ankles but I made it. I reached my goal of 52 photowalks on the 29th Dec (shew!) but best of all, I maintained an average of 7 hours 32 minutes sleep in 2016. I’m a night owl so it takes concerted effort for me to prioritise sleep over getting things done 🙂

I did have a numb toe for about 2 months of the year which was really frustrating and scary too. I hope this winter doesn’t catalyse it again.

Fun

The photowalks goal mentioned above was both for fitness and fun. I made sure I took a photo on each walk, whether with the iphone or my Canon. I didn’t post them all but you can have a look at about half of them here. For the record, I’m not setting myself a goal like this for 2017.

I read a ton this year. In fact, 97 books –  it is the highest number of books I’ve read as an adult in a single year so yay me. I can (again!) give a big shout-out to Audible for 14 of those books and 3 of my top. My goal was 70.

I had 4 crafternoons this year – afternoons with friends while crafting and chatting.

Finances

Shocking. The money flew all around what with the house purchase and sale, and payments to lawyers, City of Joburg, handymen, plumbers and electricians.

On the bright side, it has all worked out okay but I really don’t like all this unbridled spending on (super) boring things.

Once the transaction is finalised on our old house in about 1 – 2 weeks, I will do a proper recon so we can move forward.

And that’s my recap!

I’d give 2016 a 7 out of 10, largely due to the house stress.

How was your 2016 on a scale of 1 – 10, and why?

Read more about the power of the annual review here.

The power of the annual review – have you done yours yet?

The week between Christmas and New Year is, hands down, my favourite time of the year.

I absolutely love it!

That’s because it’s the time I prepare my diary for the next year but, most of all, it’s because I do my year-end review and goal-setting for the next year. By the way, I’ll post pictures of my gorgeous, hot pink diary for 2013.

A colleague of mine paid me the biggest compliment recently (she doesn’t even know it!) when she told me that of everyone she knows, I’m the only one she’s ever met who is this intentional about my goals.

It’s because I firmly believe that if you drift through life, there will be tons of things left undone simply because of lack of intention.

I don’t want that to be me.

Phuk

 

Anyway, back to the process…

Some of the year-end thinking can be done as you go about your life (in the shower, while driving, etc.) but there comes a point when you actually need to sit down with a pen and notebook, or with your laptop, and make the time to get things down in writing.

There’s tremendous power in creating a sacred space for your thoughts, dreams, intentions and goals.

It’s also the perfect time to start the new year with a clean slate – isn’t that so appealing?

I’ve booked out two hours tomorrow for exactly this purpose. That should be enough time since I’ve already set 2013 goals but if it’s not enough time (these things sometimes take a lot longer than you plan), I’ll take another two hours on Friday.

11-01 753

Some of the things I’ll be thinking and writing about are:

• my biggest accomplishments this year (my book is one of them)
• things I definitely don’t want to repeat
• the things I need to let go of – commitments, relationships, emotions
• my word/ theme for next year
• what my definition of success for 2013 will look like
• and finally, fine-tuning the actual goals

What about you? Have you created your sacred space yet for your 2013 goal-setting?

Marcia Francois is a time management coach and speaker who inspires busy women to break out of overwhelm, make the most of their time and take purposeful and focused action so they have the time and freedom to live life to the full. Visit http://www.purposefultimemanagement.com for your free Time Management Purpose Pack.

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