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.


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.


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.


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.



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.

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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 for your free Time Management Purpose Pack.

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