I am on my spring break right now. From March 17 until April 6, 2019, I am officially out of paid work and on free time. I will not get paid for this vacation time. I never usually am.
To me, this feels more like the time to really focus on setting my resolutions and goals for 2019. In Japan, the school year and the business year officially starts in April. For me, this feels like a new beginning. Even though my teaching year is done, I feel like it’s New Year’s so I am motivated to set goals for the upcoming year. I am taking the time to focus and really think about what I want to achieve for 2019.
This year, I’ve decided not to do a list of goals. Instead, I am focusing on a theme that will provide me with the framework to make decisions. This year, I will dedicate myself to becoming STRONGER. To do this, I need to create systems and processes that will help me achieve my goals.
Scheduling my time
I’ve actually mapped out my schedule for the week. Because I have a lot of free time, I need to schedule and write down clearly what each day looks like. Last year, I found that if I kept myself uncommitted to blogging or other projects, I would wake up and decide right then or there if I wanted to work. This did not really help me become productive.
Instead, this year, I’ve taken the decision away. I have to write and work on my blogs on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, from 8:00 am to 11:00 a.m. I then give myself time in the afternoon to work on household chores or administrative stuff like paying bills or going to the bank to deal with finances. On Monday mornings, I work on free-lancing projects. In the afternoons, I will work on teaching tasks for my job. On Thursday mornings, I work on preparing for my weekly lessons. From Thursday to Saturday, I am full-on teacher mode.
Last year, I also started doing something called the 90-Day goals. This essentially means that for the year, I set myself a theme and a list of projects that I want to finish within 90 days, or a three-month period. I find this to be short-enough to create the urgency of a deadline but long enough to actually have the time to get things done.
Last year, I was able to become consistent at blogging because of this system. For every 90-day period, I would commit myself to writing 10 blog articles for each of my sites. It worked, but this year, I am planning to be even more consistent, which is why I have dedicated a day for each of the blog. This forces me to write one blog article a week.
So far, for 2019, I have achieved a lot of my goals for the first few months. Mainly, I wanted to get my Japanese and US taxes done. I am also in the process of applying for my Japanese driver’s license, which I have put off for such a long time. I have until the end of March to finish the rest. I should be able to accomplish all these goals in the allotted time.
Writing Down Plans
One of the tenets of the Getting Things Done system is to write down plans. So far, by having all of the goals written down on my computer or even in a simple notebook, I have been able to concretely work on the steps towards my goals. For example, to apply for my driver’s license, I needed to create a checklist of the documents I needed. I wrote down what, where, and when to get what I needed. It worked like a charm. I think I am motivated by ticking off the steps on the checklist.
One of the things that I need to work on for the year is to create a financial plan–a solid one and not some vague one that remains only in my head. I decided that I wanted to write down concrete numbers and dates. Once I have gotten that all typed up, I will share it with the blog. Again, this will be a way to keep myself accountable.