How I Do My Monthly Review

Each month, I do a review. Usually it’s quite structured, where I have certain categories such as “What I learned”, “What I want to try next month”, “Challenges”, “Wins”, etc.

In April 2018, I tried something different. I put myself “in the zone” by setting up my page and then I just wrote. Here’s what I came up with:

Me Time is a Real and necessary thing. 

It’s true, it is. That month, I wore myself out. I tripped on the dog leash and tore a muscle in my calf, and made it worse by not resting. I picked up a nasty flu-like virus, which knocked me out for a few days, and I rarely left work before 7pm. I was tired, almost to the point of being burnt out.

It’s funny, my word of the year was Nurture – I vowed to take care of myself, and didn’t really kept that promise. So – it’s time to take a little more care. I still can’t slow down too much, but I CAN take rest days, and properly rest. Even just take some “me time” every few days.

We can do it.

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I need to get back on track with my work social media. 

With the ridiculously busy days, and me taking on someone else’s job while they were on medical leave, some parts of my real job had to take a back seat. And actually, it is my favourite part of the job. I used to spend some time each week preparing social media posts for the week ahead and I had a very active presence for my work’s social media. This requires a creative switch to be turned on in my brain – however, the “other” job is very analytical – lots of spreadsheets and numbers and forecasting and reports. By the time I have time to do the socials, it’s far too late in the day, my brain is fried and all creativity is lost.

It’s time to get back on track.

Investigate scheduling apps

I think the best way to get back on track is to set a schedule. Whether that’s with the use of scheduling apps, or simply by using Calendar reminders, I need to try something to make it happen. I’ve just set up my social media tracker for May, and I’ve also written a social media to-do list. That’s certainly a start. A content calendar is next on my list!

We can only do so much – learn to say no, learn to delegate, learn how to put your own life mask on first.

Prepare for meetings in advance. 

My days are so full of meetings these days, that I don’t often have time to prepare for them. I used to do research before my meetings and be fully prepared for them. I need to get back into that habit. It’s good to:

  • read the notes

  • make sure you know what you want to achieve, regardless of who called the meeting

  • have some questions ready

  • know who will be there.

Don’t expect others to change their behaviour and then be surprised when they don’t. 

This was a big “lesson learned”. I was surprised, and very much disappointed, when someone treated me the way she used to – with no respect for my time, with no appreciation for work done, and with unrealistic expectations. I should have known, but I somehow expected things to be different.

I don’t believe that people can’t change – I believe they can – but they have to want to change, and see the value in doing so. It was naive of me to think otherwise, or perhaps just hopeful, wishful thinking. Instead, I have to take a step back, take a deep breath, and logically explain what I need, what I can and can’t do, what I’ve achieved, what’s next.

So that’s my April 2018 Review. Do you do a monthly review? What have you learned from you reviews?
Let me know, I’m keen to hear from you!

Why I Plan.

For me, planning was always quite a private thing. I was initially attracted to the beautiful stationery (you will discover that I am quite a Kikki.K addict – actually all stationery!) but I became drawn to the process of writing things down, recording memories and details and then going back to dwell in those memories later.  I also revel in the structure and routine of the planning process. It makes me feel more organised, and ultimately it leads to me being more productive.

As a child, I had a hardcover diary that my mum gave to me. I treasured it. It was made by The Australian Women’s Weekly magazine – note that the magazine is quite a bit different now compared to how it used to be! The diary was red with white polkadots and filled with images from Australia. It was your typical week-on-two-pages layout and I loved writing in there, running my fingers over the glossy white pages – such seemingly important things going on in my life back then. It was 1988 and we were going to World Expo in Brisbane. There was a cyclone. My grandmother came to stay many times. I don’t think I have that diary anymore, but I still remember those specific details, the large rounded letters etched in my mind.

I wish I could read it again.

Step forward to now and I have numerous planners and notebooks, and notepads, sticky notes, stickers, wash tape, pens (oh! the pens!!). I have, over the last couple of years, began planning again in earnest and it’s something that I now do every day.

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So why do I plan?

Firstly, I find the process of writing, drawing, decorating, organising to be therapeutic as well as creative, and I love getting caught up in that.

Secondly, I have a lot of areas of my life to keep track of and I needed some way of making sure that nothing clashes along the way.

Since I’m a list maker (if you’re reading this, I’m sure you love lists as much as I do), here’s my list:

  • My 9 – 5 job is corporate and involves a lot project planning, monitoring of social media, analytics, preparation of spreadsheets (ohh my goodness the spreadsheets!).

  • I have a side business as a photographer. I primarily do product photography, specifically styled flatlay shoots, creating lifestyle shots for small local businesses.

  • I have a website for that photography business which I have to maintain and update.

  • I have a photography blog. I have been blogging for almost 3 years now and have a strong community of people there. I run some challenges and enjoy creating new content for that platform.

  • I am crafting planner accessories – paper goods centred around my photographs. This is in its very early stages and I need to focus a lot more time on this.

  • I create content for social media. I am addicted to Instagram. I have two accounts (one for photography and one for planning) and I really enjoy spending time there. The planning community in particular is a joy to interact with and  I have actually had business come through via Instagram.

  • I have a dog and I have family and friends and I love spending time with them.

  • I have all of life’s little things – dentist, bills, shopping, all the usual things that we all have to handle.

In future posts, I will go into more detail for how I plan.

PRO TIP: Using multiple planners can help you gain clarity if you have a lot of things going on in your life, however it isn’t for everyone. You may find it too confusing to have your things separated. It really is a personal choice.

Until then, happy planning!