Last year I was introduced to Marcia Francois’ one word yearly theme concept. In addition to whatever specific resolutions you have for a given year, you boil all of them down to a one word theme that encompasses your aspirations.
Last year, I chose “Energy” as my theme word and boy did I need a lot of energy in 2012!
I had so much going on that my blogging really suffered. But, in my personal life, I did some pretty energetic things like:
- taking a 3-week cross-country USA road trip with my family
- spending 3 weeks in Richmond, Virginia while my daughter participated in various summer camps (haven’t blogged this yet but should)
- completed a gut-job renovation of our master bathroom (*will blog this later this year)
This experience taught me to be very careful choosing the yearly theme word. Whatever word you choose, be ready for your life to test you on that concept. For that reason I will never choose “money” or “health” as theme words because I don’t want to be tested on those counts.
For my word this year, I am choosing . . . . .
Not a very exciting word to be sure but one that is a definite challenge for me. I am not a huge fan of “routines.” I like my life to be more loose and flexible. When I hear the word “routine,” my first thought is “boredom.” Apartment Therapy recently wrote a post on this sharing that the author used to feel that routines were the “death knell of the creative mind.”
Sometimes I feel like the only person in the world that feels this way. You often hear about people who just love to have a daily routine to fall back on. They find it comforting to know in advance exactly what they are going to do each and every single day. When you become a parent, people advise, “Children love routines.” I have found as a parent that it is not necessarily that the children love the routines but that the parents do.
So I don’t love routines at all and I am pretty terrible about following them. So why am I choosing this as my theme word?
Because I read a post somewhere over the past year (can’t remember now what it was) connecting money and time. The post basically said that managing money and managing time are very similar. I am pretty good at managing money so I thought, why not try applying lessons I have learned over time about managing money to managing my time better.
The organizational tool that has made the biggest difference in managing our finances has been Quicken. We document every expense, we run multiple budgets and automated savings programs. We have a system for doing all of this and it takes time each week to keep it going.
Our time is just as valuable as our money so my experiment this year is to try to take the same documentation approach to my time. I am hoping that if I learn to document how my time is spent, and spend more time looking ahead and planning, I will gradually become better and better at managing my time.
That’s where the routines come in. Just as a spendthrift needs a budget as a first step to getting money coming in to balance with money going out, a time-challenged person needs some kind of baseline routine to make sure all the necessary tasks get completed. My routines will never be the type where there is an hour-by-hour task list. (I would have trouble motivating myself to get out of bed at that level of organization.) But I am starting at least with a list of recurring tasks to get done each day.
I started off creating a chart for the month where I listed the tasks to be done across the top and the days down the column. I then check off whether I accomplished that task each day. I made one for myself and one for each of my daughters. If you want to try the same for yourself, here is a blank copy of my chart.
As of now, we are six days into the new year and how are things going?
Sadly, I have yet to have a single day where I actually accomplished every single item on my “routine” list. However, I do not feel defeated. At this point, I am still in the information-gathering phase. Since I am bad at planning routines (in part because I am a person who likes to try lots of new things all the time), I need to figure out what is realistic for our family. I also have to figure out how much extra time I need to factor in for various emergencies, errands, etc. So, I will keep attempting my January routine. At the end of the month, if I still can’t get everything done, I will tweak again for February, then March, etc. Hopefully, by December, I will have some repeatable, accomplishable routine that works for us.
Did you set a New Year’s resolution or theme word for 2013? Please share in the comments.
P.S. For anyone looking for inspiration on how to set up a routine, you can follow Apartment Therapy’s “January cure.”