2014 was a very challenging but rewarding year for me, career or otherwise. Highlights of my year were my promotion and my trip to Europe with friends, and of course, pulling off Joey’s Star Wars-themed 7th birthday party/Georgie’s baptism amidst all the work-related stress (which would be too long a discussion, hahaha). There were a lot of lowlights but suffice to say that the highlights were more than enough to trump all of them.
Not that I wouldn’t mind a kick-ass 2015. To be honest, I don’t really believe in all those horoscope/feng shui or whatever new age term you want to call it (plus, I’m Catholic – and these are big no, nos; I do sometimes read them, just for the sake of amusing myself), but I do believe in asking for God’s guidance and planning. Ask anyone from the office and they would invariable tell you that I always have am excel calendar open on my laptop at any given point in time, and a notebook/planner at every meeting.
My plans are hardly foolproof. But here are some tips that have worked for me over the years:
- List down your goals or plans for the year under separate categories. It may be work/career, family, personal growth – it is up to you. But this will be helpful in identifying where you should focus your energies on, or figure out which areas you might be missing.
- Plot just enough goals that you can reasonably accomplish – plot too many goals and you’re just setting yourself up for failure. Set too few goals and you are hardly challenging yourself. Similarly, make your goals worth your while. It shouldn’t be impossible, but it shouldn’t be as easy as breathing.
- Trust your instincts. A lot of people who think that they can’t decide, or don’t know what they want or what to do end up asking for advice, only to do what they had always wanted to do in the first place. Usually, before we even ask for advice, our mind is already made up; we just want validation or to hear it said by another person (and therein sometimes lies the danger that in a lot of cases, we only get lip service). Also, a word of advice: if it’s a major life decision, don’t decide based on what others are telling you to do. Listen to them, but follow your heart. Of course, if your heart is a bit out of bounds or unreasonable, then by all means, give it a good beating and follow your brain.
- It is always a good idea to put a timeframe, or a deadline for you to accomplish your goal/s. For work-related goals, I always use an excel calendar (the ones you can download for free) to plot my daily/weekly/monthly tasks and deliverables. This comes in helpful when I later do an analysis of my own productivity as it helps me identify which tasks take the most of my time and also helps me identify whether I am more productive in the morning, afternoon or evening. I can then plot my plans accordingly. (Yes, I can be OC like that – I know I am more alert early in the morning and late at night, so I schedule my repetitive/mechanical tasks or those that do not require much analysis in the afternoon).
- Make it a habit to revisit your goals so you can check your progress. I’ve found that I get even more motivated when I am able to tick items off my to do list. Keep a list with you so you can remind yourself anytime. Memorize it by heart.
- Prioritize based on needs and wants. Consider your resources and your current circumstances.
- Know that you will fail sometimes and that not all plans will see the light of day. I once read this quote from Philippine tycoon Lucio Tan that “if you have accomplished all that you have planned, you have not planned enough.” It might sound like the pessimistic way to view things but I tend to agree – it means you have not aimed as high as you should have and only aimed for safe goals. Failing is okay. Not trying or dreaming is not.
So, you might be curious as to what I myself have set out to do this year. Well, I’m not selfish (hardly, hence, the blog), so here are my goals for the year (New Year resolutions kind of sounds cliche so let’s agree to call them goals):
- Make it home by 9PM, three times a week. My eldest son usually complains that he never gets to see me and I realize that my youngest knows his nanny more than me. This only means I need to spend more time with them. And strictly no work on weekends – maximum of eight hours only if absolutely necessary.
- Go on a date or bonding activity with my eldest every week. When he was my only kid, we used to have lunch together at one of his favorite restaurants and go to an arcade after on Saturdays. Last year, we rarely went out owing to my busy schedule at work (which means I usually wake up late on Saturdays) and the fact that he now has a brother.
- Spend one day every month where I get to put on my domesticated goddess persona: cook the boys’ favorite food, bathe the kids, take them to the park, build Lego toys with Joey, and tuck them into bed after reading to them.
- Go on dates with hubby. True, we regularly have dinner together, but always with a phone or laptop between us (more on hubby’s side, as his cellphone is usually glued to his hands, and his laptop attached to his hip). Now this one, I need hubby’s commitment to pull off.
- Visit my parents and grandparents often, at least once a month. I only get to see my parents maybe once every two months, and my lola probably 3-4 times a year (compared to my in-laws, who we get to see 2-3 times every month; probably because only hubby drives so I am dependent on his availability if I want to take the kids).
- Travel to Japan with hubby and Joey this year, hopefully in May, or if not, during the last quarter. I have been putting off Legoland for the longest time but Joey has since moved on to Harry Potter (he still likes Lego but is now curious about HP) so it would be really nice to visit Universal Studios.
- Travel to Batanes. I have this decades-old dream to go there but hubby wouldn’t go with me. I will do it later this summer alone if I have to.
- Write more. Seriously, this blog needs more entries. I can’t blog everyday, but I am setting a goal of one post every three days this year. And to write more personal essays (something I sorely miss doing), and give my first love a little attention: poetry.
- Read more. True, I finished all of John Green’s novels, the latest Blue Bloods, Gone Girl, Anne Rice’s newest vampire novel – Prince Lestat, and a whole lot of YA novels, but I feel I haven’t read enough. So here’s to setting two novels per month.
- Learn a new recipe every month. For January, I am thinking of making a carrot fondant cake.
- Lose weight. I am stuck at 125 lbs. But prior to my 30th birthday, I have always been 105-108 lbs only, since I was a sixth grader. To be honest, I lost a lot of weight during my second pregnancy (125 lbs before getting pregnant and 138 lbs a week before giving birth – yet Georgie weighed 8 lbs when he was born). But I quickly gained all that with stress eating.
- See my doctors. I have been skipping and missing appointments, sometimes deliberately because I hate waiting in doctors’ clinics but oftentimes because I simply don’t have time. You see, it’s very hard to see my doctors because their clinic hours can be ungodly hours sometimes. I have a cardio, an endo, an OB gyne, and a derma who all have weekday clinics on different days – I can’t possibly go on leave everytime I visit them. But I have been off my meds for a few months and I haven’t gone for my annual cardio monitoring routine in ages so it is really imperative that I haul myself there soon.
- Eat healthy. I normally have fast food for dinner, since I eat on the drive home to maximize my time but I know it’s not healthy. So I will limit myself to twice a week fast food.
- Get at least five hours of sleep on weekdays and ten hours on weekends.
Obviously, some of these goals are confidential so I will keep those details to myself and just give you a peek:
- Save, save, save! I want to have enough money to get Proj. Family Home 2.0 kickstarted by the end of the year. With the arrival of Georgie and an additional nanny, our little condo has gotten a little cramped. My goal is for us to move into our new home by end of 2016 or first quarter of 2017.
- Manage my time better, delegate more, empower people more. I sometimes feel overwhelmed and this leads to me not getting any work done (because I end up just staring at the computer for hours on end). And I can get distracted (my teammates would probably say no, but yes, I can and do get distracted and I can be unproductive sometimes).
- Learn more. The higher I go up the corporate ladder, the bigger my scope becomes, the more I realize that there are a lot of things I still don’t know.
Whew. When I started this post, I thought I wouldn’t be able to write a thing, yet here I am, 1,600+ words later. I guess that’s a good sign, right?
How about you? How do you plan for the year ahead?