2016 Annual Plan

After completing the 2015 Annual Review I have decided to extend it with an annual plan (before the year has really taken off) and define things that I want to maintain and those that I want to improve or achieve. Similar to the annual review this post will be divided into each category with a short description.

Relationships

One of the main things I want to work in 2016 is my mindset when it comes to relationships and time dedicated to them. I really value people and my connection with them, but sometimes work takes over and I begin to feel that time away from work and spent in developing my relationships is a mistake. Of course this is not as well understood in those particular moments, but I want to improve it nevertheless. My goal is to become more aware of the time I consciously invest in my relationships with people – to become even more open and honest, to listen and support.

Health

One big part of health for me is sport and its effects on physical and mental health. As shown in the 2015 review I believe I managed to maintain my exercising schedule and this should be continued throughout 2016 as well.

Maintain

So I want to maintain my calisthenics training and also push it a big because I have been doing the same routine about 4 times now. I am planning to sit down and make my own customised plan by making some of the exercises more challenging and hopefully more rewarding.

Improve

Sleep. In the last few years I have viewed sleep as a waste of time. Even though I know a lot of the negative implications of the lack of sleep and the positive ones from its abundance my view was still like that. And because of my view, my habits regarding sleep were the same or simply put I didn’t get enough of it. This needs to change. In 2016 I will be working on improving my sleep time and also quality. This will happen in a few simple ways:

  1. First, I will be using an app called SleepBot. It will allow me to
    • a) track how much time I sleep
    • b) wake me up at the best phase of sleep so that I am refreshed rather than groggy
    • c) track if I move a lot during my sleep. It does it by putting the phone on your mattress and it detects any movements and vibrations. I am not sure how accurate this is, but the feature is there so why not try it.
  2. Second, we have been trying a guided meditation service called HeadSpace recommended to us by a dear friend of mine – Katarina. Basically you get the author guiding you through a process of relaxing and concentrating on your breathing. I was skeptical in the beginning but the results have convinced me otherwise and I want to include them as part of my sleep improvement program.
  3. Third, by avoiding late night snacks and coffee, and certain types of food I hope to improve my sleep.
  4. Fourth, I have installed an app on my laptop called Flux. What it does is, as the evening approaches the app changes the color scheme of your monitor to remove the blue colors. Research has shown that the blue spectrum of the light signals to the body that it is time to get up and work, which doesn’t help to get to sleep easier if you have some stuff to do before bed. (I have a similar one for my phone as well now called Twilight).

Ankle. As mentioned in the end of year review I have been having problems throughout the whole of last year and I want to work on improving the strength of the injured area by following a stretching and exercising regime.

Writing & Reading

Writing this blog has been one of the most rewarding things I did last year. The comments and feedback I have received from people has been unbelievable. I never ever, even for a second thought this would happen when I wrote the first article. I am dedicate to keep it up and continue writing. And since my writing is influenced also by what I read I want to keep that up and learn more. Some of the biggest decisions I made last year came as an influences from what I have read and I am eager to learn more this year too.

Travel

There are few main travels planned for 2016.

Scotland. In April I am planning to go on a 7 day “extreme survival” course in Scotland (more info here). I have done other courses with that company before and for me they have been very rewarding. This one though will be a challenge on a new level and I am excited for it.

Iceland. (see the trend of coldness there?) In mid/end of June I am planning to do 2-2.5 weeks of a cycling trip in Iceland. I am still deciding on the details (whether to cycle around the island or just to certain locations) but I am committed to doing it. As part of the preparation I will be doing more cycling to get ready, since if I do decide to go around the island it will mean covering the distance of around 1400km.

An interesting detail is that as part of the preparations I have discovered a travel-organising website called TripOMatic. It provides points of interest for each area, you can add locations that you want to visit for each date of your travel (it tells you average time that place requires to be visited) and you can create a map of the trip. I am not sure if this is what I will be using for the final planning, but I am testing it.

If you want to know more about the planning of the trip and other details, please leave a comment and I will consider doing an article on it.

UK. I am planning to be back in the UK for longer this year from March onward. I hope this to allow me a more consistent schedule and as a result greater productivity and more time with some friends and with Andra!

Bulgaria. In September I will be in Bulgaria to join Balkep and Huma as an invited instructor on a regenerative landscape design course. This will most likely be just for a few days, but I am looking forward to it as I feel warmly about teaching people that are excited about a subject.

Time Management

A simple thing, but very important. I have felt throughout 2015 very distracted while I work. I check my emails, social media, talk to 3-4 people and do other stuff at the same time. That needs to change as well since I am neither present with the people I talk to, nor effectively doing what I need to do.

My plan is to dedicate certain parts of the detail to “radio silence” type of schedule where I will turn off all social contacts and focus only on what I need to do. Once that’s done I will resume as normal. At the moment I am looking at apps that allow me to do that kind of “switching off” easily.

Another thing I am experimenting with is a way to try and see how I spend my time on the computer. This will happen by using an application called RescueTime. The app simply tracks how much time you spend on certain websites or software on your computer. They have a free version with limited features and I am going for that to try it. Hopefully it will give me an insight of where I waste time and where I don’t spend enough.

Finances

Last year I felt like I lost control of how I spent some of my hard earned income. At the middle of December, based on the insight of my friend Andrea Oggiano I started recording where my spending goes. I tried a few different mobile apps and the one I am going with is called Spendee. It is a very basic app – if you have an income, you press the (+) button and add the income to a category. If you are spending you press the same button and add that to its relative category. At the end you have a beautiful report which tells you what % and how much you spent on each category. You can also see how much you spent in total each month, week, day.

A side benefit, that is very important in fact, of using the app so far has been that it made me extremely conscious of every purchase i make. This is because when I am about to buy something I think “Oh I need to add this to the app” and every time I do that I see how much other things I’ve added the same day. So basically it reminds me to try and add less entries. The app requires discipline and is not for everyone, because it can be tedious, but so far it has proven very effective in my case.

Based on my insights from using Spendee I can see that I can save some money if I start eating more inside and also spend more wisely when I travel.

Professional Growth

Startup group. I want to really focus and push this further because I love the idea and the team behind it and it is one of my long-term goals. I want for 2016 to be a year where we design and launch a product.

Online design course. I have postponed the Keyline Design Course as part of Huma last year. This year I want to get it launched and this is one of my main goals in terms of professional growth.

Freelancing. In my freelancing business I will be focusing on keeping my existing clients happy and also adding a few improvements to my processes. This should help me get more efficient and deliver greater value to them.

Giving Up

Ok, so a lot is in for 2016, but I think it is reasonable and I am excited for it. However, whenever you decide to take something on, you must give something away. Failing to do that means that you are putting your goals at risk and below is a list of the things I am planning to consciously put on the side in 2016.

Climbing. It won’t be one of my goals to push climbing. I will still do it when I can but it won’t have my main focus the way that the calisthenics training described above will.

Music. I won’t be focusing on learning to play the guitar even through it was something I wanted to do last year as well. It will be on the list of things for the future, but it is not part of my goals this year.

Diet and food. I have been historically bad at keeping my diet as healthy as I wish. For me physical health constitutes of three main things – movement (sport), rest (sleep) and quality fuel (healthy eating/food). I am happy with my progress in terms of sport and strength and will be maintaining that in 2016. I have added sleep to the things to work on, but food won’t be there. That doesn’t mean I will mindlessly stuff myself with anything, but it means I won’t devote specific attention to improve it in the same way as I will for the other two. I believe this will provide me with a lot of freedom and peace of mind to progress with sleep and sport.

Other projects. I have quite a few opportunities and projects that I can work on in 2016, but I have decided to put all of them on hold. This wasn’t an easy decision, in fact it is a pretty significant one, but I believe it will be for the better. You will read more on that in later posts.

Summary

Another first, the first ever time that I have made such a plan. Maybe most of it won’t happen, maybe it will – no matter the outcome I found it liberating to cut stuff out and clear my focus on a few major things. Writing this will also, hopefully, help me have a reference point and keep an eye on “the big picture” as the year progresses.

What about you? What did you think of this plan? Is it unreasonable, do you see any weak links? Have you considered doing such a plan for yourself as well?

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3 thoughts on “2016 Annual Plan

    • Ilina, I am really happy that you find some of the information useful. For me it is largely an experiment of trying to improve those areas. Please write back when you get some time using the apps and let me know how it went. I will be interested to compare it with my own experience 🙂

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