2016 the Year of Busy

Dubai Sunset

At the end of the year inevitably I reflect on the year that just past, surprisingly it seems like a common thing to do and the end of December – who would have guessed. Over the past couple weeks I’ve been thinking on the year gone by and there seems to be one prevailing theme that weaves through every pretty much every month and week. That theme is busyness; I just recall the year being really busy. From the start of the year when I didn’t even write a post to wrap up the year all the way to today. Being busy itself is neither a good or bad thing by itself (well, most of the time) it’s the context its framed in and why its there. For me the year was a really good one that I’ll remember for a long time; many really fun and memorable experiences happened regardless of being busy.

I’m taking a really simple approach for this review: looking at the good, the bad, and what to improve point going forward. There’s no point getting too convoluted this year because its very clear I was too busy to plan the year out last January. I think this approach will give me some basis for starting the year on a good footing.

The good
The good – this one is easy and fun; thinking back on the year there are some really stand out moments that I will remember for a long time. For me one of big one is travel and trips; as a family we traveled to Dubai for a wedding. It was a trip of a lifetime; expensive yes, but the memories are definitely worth it. Seeing a world that is in many ways so different from ours yet at the same time surprisingly similar was very interesting. Seeing a Mecca to uber consumerism was truly amazing. There were also some really fun family trips that stick out and ones I’ll remember for a long time.

Another great thing that happened this year is the decision to essentially become my own boss – this is still a bit of a work in progress but it has afforded me for quite a few freedoms. Because I’ve been rather absent from writing this one needs a little background: back in February I decided to quit my job and start freelancing. This decision has a lot of financial and tax implications and will continue to do so as long as I do it. But taking the plunge was a great move on many accounts and its currently working. I will have to write more about it in the new year.

Another one is that I am still alive, considering what happened a couple years ago it’ll be a while before this one isn’t on the list.

The bad
If there’s good, then there’s probably also bad. Last year there was inevitably some bad parts; the good news is that none of this “bad” was serious (for which I’m greatful). The biggest one I think for me is I was too busy; I took too much on and I felt stretched thin (actually I’m still feeling it).

I started sacrificing my health (not sleeping enough or exercising), which is never worth it, to get through the busy periods. This does come with the silver lining in that I’m starting to be able to recognize the situations when this starts to come up and I can pull back. This is what precipitated my decision to leave my job in February; I was pushing myself really hard for the job, and there was no appreciation of the effort. It became very clear wasn’t worth sacrificing my health for somebody else’s business.

It was a financial risk that’s worked out so far– the drawback here is the busyness crept back in (but in some ways this is now for me). So the bad for this year is I need to continuously remind myself to find balance the demands on my time.

From a financial point of view we didn’t really make any headway, some of the trips we took especially the big one this year set us back financially and we haven’t really regained the level of emergency funds we lost when I had my health issue. Again this is bad, but it’s not really bad, it just doesn’t allow anything drastic until we can fix it.

Again, the busyness crept in and I haven’t been diligent about keeping on top of the finances. This is one of those things is that if you run your own business you really need to figure out. This falls into the category of bad and also into the next category of things to improve because most of the bad things are really things need to be improved, its almost like I planned the segue…

The things to improve
It seems like this list is a mile long (it feels like this is always the case) – but I think it’s important to keep looking at things and seeing ways to improve even if it’s only a small bit. On that note, if you’ve made it down this far you know that my main item is to tackle the busyness and to keep from overcommitting myself. There are lots of things that contribute to this and just as many aspects of my life are affected by this.

A few other things to improve upon when I review the year:

• Spending time with friends and family
• Not ignoring my own health (this one can crash down too easily)
• Mentally stretching myself – learning
• Focusing my business and finances to have concrete goals.
• Having focus for the year (and maybe a goal or two)

I’m going to keep this list fairly concise because if I wanted to I can keep going at this for very long time and let’s be honest that would be a little dry and pretentious. Focus and forward motion…

Looking forward
Next year needs to be the year of focus. I thought about it and briefly contemplated calling the year of action, then I heard a little voice inside my head screamed at me: bullshit! Saying that you’re going to do something is very different than doing it and to top it off being busy is a form of action and I don’t really want to use that as a crutch.

So the goal isn’t action but focus…

Focus on removing unnecessary busyness; focus on attaining very purposeful goals. If I accomplish this, it will allow me to focus on the other things. Focus on one thing at once as opposed to too many, no I’m not naïve or delusional, the idea here is to pick and choose my goals and become more focused with actual goals it will go a long way in many aspects of my life including the financial ones.