The end of the year is nigh. Before the new year I want to reflect on this one, learn from my mistakes and celebrate things that have gone well.
Next year brings some exciting changes – I’ve been accepted on a MA Design postgraduate course starting in September. It will take me 3 years part time and I could possibly go onto a PhD afterwards. Then I will be Dr Lisa and all will bow to my superior knowledge (pass me the fluffy cat and swivel chair). Autumn seems far away now but I need to get my shizz together. I’m a self employed single parent and I’ll be doing the masters while working and earning money, trying to parent a little better, stopping the house from falling down with regular DIY, feeding the teenager the 8 meals a day he appears to require, keeping all pets alive and looking after myself so I have the energy for all this. I also intend to see some loud, live music this year and slowly re-introduce a bit of gentle weight lifting now my shoulders are better.
Resolutions? Sod that!
I’ve hated resolutions for some years, feeling that they just set me up to fail. I’m not going to give up cake, Netflix binging or chocolate for any considerable length of time, they are all fun things I do that make me happy. My CAMRA card has just renewed so it would be a waste of my discount to give up drinking. Nor am I going to run daily. It is raining out there and warm in here. There has to be an alternative to resolutions that will help me move towards what I need to do and be.
Next year needs some serious planning
I’ve worked out that I can do longer work days at the start of the week to leave me potentially 3 days a week for college. With 40 clients on the books this is going to take some serious organisation and I need to focus properly. I need a very good diary of some sort. The fantastic stationary experts at Pocket Notebooks are a recent site sponsor at less-stuff. They offered to send me a package of things to review and I was going to leave it to them to choose. However, the equally fantastic Procrastination Coach tweeted about buying a Trigg Life Mapper from them and I was overcome with jealousy so deep I asked if I could have one too.
What I really like best about the Trigg Life Mapper is the lack of unicorns and polluting glitter. It fuses mindfulness with goal setting in a no nonsense, non preachy manner. There is no swirly, hard to read writing. Not one page is suggesting I find my inner goddess. The people who designed it have thought long and hard about what will make life easier and more productive for frazzled and over committed people like me.
How to be better next year without resolutions
The Life Planner starts with a suggestion you write a Personal Manifesto. It is not a resolution, it is a broader statement that sums up what you want to be. This freaked me out somewhat so I left the book on the table for a day or so and made wide arcs to avoid it when I walked past it. Then I did some research. It seems that to write a Personal Manifesto you need to first identify your Core Values.
The easiest way I have found to identify what values are most important to me is to imagine I am making a better version of myself. If you do this, which 5 traits would you give the new you? What makes you? This strategy is adapted only slightly from podcast TPS126 from Asian Efficiency “How to Discover Your Own Core Values“.
This is still a work in progress but for the moment my top 5 core values are:
The next step is to craft these into a short paragraph to become my personal manifesto. Instead of resolutions I will break, I’ll have a guideline of things to work towards.
Making this work on a daily basis
After the manifesto the Trigg Life Mapper helps you break down your aims for the coming year into different sections; Self, Work, Passion and Relationship. The daily pages give you a dedicated space to plan a goal to help you move forward in each area. For example in the ‘Self’ section I have ‘make home more comfy’ so I could have a goal one day to put up the temporary double glazing in the front room. In the ‘Relationships’ section I have a reminder to catch up with friends I have not seen for ages. Under ‘Passions’ I’ve decided to visit more museums and under ‘Work’ I need to stick to my designated working days.
The planner goes on to make this all easier still by having a designated space to write down things that are totally vital, ones that can be delegated, things to plan and things to delay.
The nearest the Life Mapper gets to hippy dippy rainbow goddess stuff is with what they call ‘Trigg Points’ which encourage to reflect and plan. Flicking through the book I see ones that suggest you use ‘no’ as a default response, feel your feet on the floor and look back at what never gets done.
It is early days and I will report back on how I get on with the Life Mapper. I wanted to get this post written before the start of the new year in case anyone else is tempted by one. You could do all of this yourself without buying a specific journal for it but there is something positive and optimistic about a new diary that printouts and hand drawn grids don’t have for me.
At the very least, if you are considering making new years resolutions come over to the light side and try a personal manifesto instead, and please let me know how you get on via Twitter or Facebook. Comments on this site are closed because I am not yet organised enough to find time to moderate them. That might change!
£18.99 from Pocket Notebooks