You, in Lists

I am the Queen of Lists. (It’s not a self-proclaimed title either; just ask anyone who knows me.) I freaking love them. I have lists for just about everything and around this time of year I like to review them (especially if I’m doing a yearly review, which I highly recommend you do as well.)

What kind of lists am I talking about? I’m talking about the lists that make up you: the things you like and dislike, the things that you think about, the dreams that you have. You have to have at least some of those written down, don’t you?

Here are some of the things that you may or may not have lists about:

  • favourite books/books to read/favourite genres
  • music to try
  • places you’ve visited
  • places to go
  • foods to try/favourite foods/restaurants
  • bucket lists/goals for week, month, year, season, vacation or life
  • movies to watch/favourite movies/TV shows
  • favourite ways of coping with stress
  • rainy day list/wish list
  • ideas for parties/birthday gifts/Christmas gifts
  • favourite board games/card games/party games
  • ideas for garden/outdoor space/home
  • favorite drinks/drinks to try
  • packing lists
  • websites to check out
  • books/items that friends have borrowed
  • savings goals
  • fitness goals
  • beauty products/treatments to try

I keep all of my “me” lists in my planner so when I’m planning a shopping trip, organizing a movie night with friends or just deciding which book to read next I have the all close at hand. It makes my daily planning more personal and purpose-driven.

Looking to try this in your own life? Here’s some examples of some of the lists I have going now:

  • This is the time of year I like to review the list of all of the items I’ve borrowed off of friends over the year. (And by items I mean books. Check out what I’m catching up on this winter here.)
  • I don’t know anything about wine so I always consult my list of favourites before I go to the store; honestly, I draw a blank every time I get there.
  • A lot of conversations with friends these days involve TV shows they’ve been binge-watching on Netflix. I try to keep track of the titles mentioned so I always have something to watch instead of scrolling through the list of Netflix recommendations for an hour. (I think my next one is Vikings. What do you guys think?)

What are some of the lists that you keep about your likes and dislikes? Where do you store them? Are there any ideas for lists that I didn’t include here? Give me a shout below or let me know at keepingbusyb@gmail.com and I’ll add your list to my list of lists!

I’m always looking for the best ways to manage my time and workflow more effectively and efficiently. If you’re looking for more ways to increase your productivity as well, click here for more strategies that I’ve developed and researched and here for more ways to stay organized. For more ways to deal with your busy lifestyle, click here.

How to Do a Yearly Review

KBB_notebook_and_coffee_cupA little while ago I published a blog post on the wisdom of the weekly review. It’s one of my favorite ways to get perspective on all the roles I juggle within my life, but what happens when we’ve lost sight of why we’re doing and what we’re doing? Where exactly are our paths taking us? What does it all mean?! (Hey, I never said this blog wasn’t deep.)

I got the idea for a Yearly Review from Chris Guillebeau (he’s not my friend or anything, I’ve just read a bunch of his stuff) as a way of taking one giant step back and looking at the lessons you’ve learned over the year- what you’ve accomplished, what didn’t work for you. As a workaholic, I love the idea of getting stuff done but it all becomes meaningless when you find yourself working for the sake of working instead of actually working towards something.

At the beginning of last year, I told my story about how bad I am at goal-setting and keeping New Year’s resolutions (for the full confession, click here). It was a brief but interesting experiment in pulling back and examining what I really wanted out of my life. Inspired by Guillebeau, I’ve decided to take it to the next level and force myself to look at all aspects of my life in the same way, not just reading.

Depending on the commitments and goals that you have in your personal and/or professional life, you may want to tailor this process to fit your own particular needs. There are no right or wrong answers, and there aren’t really any rules. What I do suggest is booking some quality time with yourself- grab a latté, listen to some great music and take a little trip down memory line. (It may be handy to have your agenda and a notebook for this process.)

What did you accomplish this year? What deadlines or goals did you meet? Which new habits did you adopt that worked for you? What did you say yes to? What surprised you? Which project makes you feel the most proud? The happiest? What did you enjoy? What got you the most excited?

The ebb and flow of life means we experience positives and negatives, ups and downs. I’m sure you’ve had your fair share of both this year. You’re not alone in this- we all have! But instead of looking at the past year with regret, we can use these less-than-perfect moments to remind ourselves of what we’ve learned and how we’ve grown. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Just be honest.

What was a challenge for you this year? Which habits or behaviors didn’t work for you? Which projects or goals did you walk away from? Which things did you say no to? What would you like to see less of? What more do you wish you were doing?

If you’re a daydreamer like me and keep a someday/maybe list (here’s how to make your own here) you may want to use this time to review and gauge what you’ve accomplished, what you’d like to work on, and which of your priorities have changed.

What would you like to work on? Where would you like to be? What do you wish you had tried? What do you dream about the most?

This is not necessarily about goal-setting (although it can be) or forming a plan of attack for the year ahead (although in some aspects it is). Instead, I’m looking at my Yearly Review as a way to check in with myself- not as a daughter, or a sister, or a blogger- but my own human being self, the one that has wishes and goals are dreams that exist in both my external and internal realities that are all my own. It’s my cue to stop working and start thinking about what I want (and continue to want) from my life. It can be difficult because you’re asking big questions that don’t always have easy answers. Am I happy? Am I satisfied? Am I fulfilled? How do I continue to give to myself and to others?

More than a workflow exercise, the Yearly Review is a great way to figure out who you are right now as a human being, of where you’ve been and where you’re going. Don’t think this is a static exercise either! We’re constantly changing, learning and growing as human beings. You may want to make this a bi-annual practice, or something you do at the end of each month to feel a little more grounded. In any case, I hope that you all have an opportunity to take the time to yourself to figure out what you really want out of life. I give you permission. You deserve it!

KBwB-BFlower-50Do you have a similar ritual at the end of the year? What are the things that you’re the most proud of? What do you hope to work on for next year? I want to get to know you better so leave your comments below or drop me a line at keepingbusyb@gmail.com and we can have a chat.

Stay tuned because tomorrow on the blog I’m going to be celebrating the year’s end by highlighting some of my own favorite moments from my 2016 Yearly Review. Hope to see you then!

Someday/Maybe

KBB_summer_day

I talk a lot about the business of keeping busy on my blog (hey, the word busy is even in the title) but once in awhile you deserve a time out. I’m here today to give you permission to do just that. After all, what is the point in figuring out the most productive way to get things done if you’re not using that free time to cultivate fun and actually live your life.

If you feel that some excitement has been missing from your life lately, you need to create a Someday/Maybe list, like immediately. The idea is not an original one- David Allen introduces this concept in his book Getting Things Done (which I reviewed here)- and uses the Someday/Maybe list as a place to capture future projects and business goals.

I took his idea one step further and created a Someday/Maybe list of all of the things I want to do, and learn, and explore throughout my life. Sure, some of these hopes may seem unrealistic. I might not even get around to them in this lifetime. But it’s still fun to dream.

What’s on your someday/maybe list? Here’s a list of some of the things that you may (or may not) wish to include:

  • books that you’d like to read; movies and TV shows to watch; new music you’d like to listen to;
  • hobbies that you’d like to try; hobbies you’d like to improve; abandoned hobbies that you’d like to take up again;
  • restaurants/food/recipes that you’d like to try;
  • shows, festivals and exhibits that you’d like to attend;
  • degrees, certificates, or certifications you’d like to earn; seminars, courses or workshops you’d like to attend;
  • new languages or skills you’d like to learn or improve
  • vacation destinations- complete with people to visit, things to do and places to stay.

I keep a copy of my Someday/Maybe list in my Command Central binder to refer back to and revise every so often. It serves as a great reminder as to why I do what I do in the first place and those days when things get a little too hectic it feels so refreshing to take a moment to read it, and dream. On paper, your life has no limits. It’s a beautiful and freeing thing.

KBwB-BFlower-50What’s on your Someday/Maybe list? I’m dying to know. Maybe we have something in common! Share your thoughts below or keep them between us by sending them to keepingbusywithb@gmail.com. Your dreams are safe with me!

Wanna take a little peek into what’s on my Someday/Maybe list? Check out my Goodreads profile for my ever-growing list of books that I want to read (which is basically, like, all the books.) I’m also a little bit of a Pinterest junkie. You can see what’s been catching my eye on one of my numerous inspiration boards here.