January 19, 2022
I like to think of myself as a well organized person. Someone who plans ahead and develops systems and processes for everything.
So, as I mentioned in the last newsletter imagine my surprise when, on December 31, I went to write something in my planner for the next week — the first full week of 2022 — and realized I didn’t have a 2022 planner.
Yup. Something I normally order in September was MIA because I never ordered it.
It’s a goof with far-reaching repercussions.
But of course, that got me wondering why? Why had I spaced out on the tool that I rely on to keep my life and my work on track?
This ties in with a discussion I had recently with a member of my accountability group. Every week the group meets on Zoom to talk about what we’ve accomplished, what we plan to, and issues that may be holding us back.
We had decided, as a group, to read The 12-Week Year during the fall of 2021, so we could be prepared with a plan for the first 12 weeks of 2022. (See, there’s that planning theme again.)
If you’ve read the book, you’ll know that the first step in creating your plan is to first describe your vision — what do you want your life, in all its facets, to look like in the next year, three years, or five years.
Not surprisingly, I was struggling with my vision. “I just can’t picture three years into the future,” I complained. Patiently, one member of the group who has a strong vision for himself started asking me some questions. By the end of the conversation, I realized there was one aspect of my life that I had no problem visualizing. But pursuing it means leaving behind some other things.
If I go in this new direction and do something different, am I a quitter? How do you know when it’s time to pivot, or to stop one thing completely to free up time for something else?
If you’re clear about who you are and what you want, the decision to go in a different direction is pretty straightforward. If you need to gain that clarity, here are seven helpful questions you can ask yourself.
- Do you rely on it for income? If you do, can you generate that income, now, from something else?
- If you could replace that income, but not immediately, how long would it take, and what would you have to do to make it happen? Are you willing to invest the extra time, energy, and effort to make that happen?
- Do you enjoy doing it?
- If yes, do you enjoy it enough that you’d do it even without any financial compensation?
- If no, is there something else you’d enjoy more instead?
- Does it bring out the best in you?
- Does it call on your authentic self (the one from today, not the one from a year, or 5 years, or 10 years ago!)?
And when I get too caught up in the whole planning-my-future thing, it’s helpful to reread this thoughtful essay from Oliver Burkeman.
Oh, and in case you were wondering what I did about the planner. . .
It was impossible to find what I was looking for. The publisher of my preferred planner was sold out, as were all the online venues I tried, so. . . I got a bullet journal. Yes, I have to set up the pages, and it’s not beautiful like the image at the top of this page. But it does the job.
Why is it so darned hard to let go and embark on something new?
Nikka Celeste tells us that:
Letting go is hard because it means that you need to free yourself from some aspects of your past. Things that have become a part of yourself – of what makes you who you are today. Most people understand this as getting rid of that ‘thing’ resulting to a change in who you are.
Rough Guides has just published their comprehensive list of the best places on earth to visit in 2022. Keep in mind that they’ve chosen these locations for the traveler, not for the expat or digital nomad. Still, it’s an interesting list.
And. . . drumroll please. . . Spain is getting in on the digital nomad visa action. They’re well on their way to coming up with their own version of the visa that lets people like us live and work in their country.
It should be ready by summer, according to Gilbert Ott, and will be available for freelancers or remote employees who earn at least 80% of their income from outside of Spain.
Productivity and Habits
Habits are great. They help us get through our daily routines with minimal mental effort so we can use that energy for something creative.
Sometimes, though, habits no longer enhance our lives. Most “bad” habits aren’t really bad, they just don’t serve our goals. Perhaps some of the habits you developed during the pandemic fall into that category.
Tim Stoddart (you may recognize him as the co-owner of Copyblogger) recently published what he calls his Communication Stack of tools.
He starts with this premise:
Electronic communication is more important than ever before. . . because so much of running a clean business depends on the effective transfer of information.
He then lists 5 specific tools he uses. All of them fall under the heading of digital communication, but they cover different aspects of it. He’s got a task manager, a messaging app, an app for on-the-fly screen share recordings, a meeting app, and cloud-based file storage and sharing.
My own Communication Stack is only a little different from Tim’s. I combine the task manager and messaging into one app, Trello, and I don’t really need the video screen sharing.
Take a look at Tim’s thoughts on the Communication Stack, and his choices.
Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links. That means, if you click and purchase, you pay exactly the same amount and I’ll earn a small commission. These fees help me to keep the free information flowing.
In Case You Missed It. . .
When my husband and I were getting ready to move to Panama ten years ago, dealing with family photos was far and away my most difficult downsizing task. How could I organize my out-of-control photo collection?
We had photos in frames, in albums, in boxes, and in envelopes from developer.
And somehow, I had to organize them in such a way that we could move overseas without losing any treasured family memories.
At the end of December, I was fascinated to talk with professional photo organizer Marci Brennan. Together with her husband, photographer Chris George, she helps people edit and organize their photo collections (physical and digital).
They shared their tried-and-true approach, and threw in tons of tips and tools you can use to organize your own photo collection.
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