Monday, January 22, 2018

This month in review, this quarter in view

Last year, for a few months, I was doing review / in view posts here. I started off doing them weekly in March, then later dropped to fortnightly and then 4-weekly, before abandoning them altogether in November as end-of-year shenanigans took hold.

I did find them a useful, albeit unsustainable, exercise for most of the time I was doing them. It helped me to get a bit of perspective on my life and activities balance, and gave me a bit of a boost in weeks that I felt I wasn't achieving anything (counting your tasks can have the same effect as counting your blessings in that regard!) I plan to sporadically do a similar thing this year, but I'm not going to commit to a particular schedule, as that gets a bit difficult to sustain.

As the New Year is no longer brand-spanking new, though, I thought I'd do a little overview of how our summer has gone so far (I date "summer" for this purpose as being from Boxing Day onwards) and the big-ticket items coming up between now and the end of term one (Good Friday).

The summer has been quite a good one. It has not been the height of excitement or indeed relaxation (we haven't gone away anywhere big, although we have done day trips and fun things) and I have been back working from home since 8 January, so that has not been completely challenge-free, but it has still been a positive month overall.

This first term looks frankly monstrous with work commitment levels, but I am hoping to get through it intact. I am trying very hard to plan for a scaling down from term two onwards, to recalibrate my business commitments in the second half of the year to be never more than 4, and preferably 3 - 3.5, days a week (rather than the 5-6 I could easily fill now - only having the kids home, and one unexpected migraine that kicked out most of a planned work day, has stopped me working full weeks since 8 January). This will partly be achievable by developing more formal subcontracting relationships and really using others' expertise.

As indicated below, despite how busy I am, I am also going to take two Mental Health Days during this term on weekdays where I can have 6.5 hours while the kids are at school to do something relaxing and recharging. I will probably use one of those days for doing a bunch of mildly enjoyable but also necessary non-work things like getting my hair cut and going gift / party shopping - this one I'll locate close to my 9-year-old's birthday party in late Feb, so I can make sure I have enough unstressy time to get everything I need for that. The other day, not sure, see what I feel like when I get there!

So we'll see. The nature of my work is such that things really can change on a dime, so my projections below might end up needing adjustment. This is the putative plan though, for now.

Summer in Review

- Multiple friend sleepovers, hang-outs and playdates for all three kids
- Weekly ice-skating visits for 12-year-old and some combination of friends and family
- Several swimming-related excursions (beach / pool)
- Day trip to Hanging Rock (that was magnificent)
- Visit to the Triennial exhibition at the NGV (also magnificent)
- 2 x movie trips (a split one where some of us saw Ferdinand, some of us saw Wonder, and one of us saw The Greatest Showman; and a me-and-kids-and-their-friends trip to Jumanji)
- A two-night holiday at grandparents for the kids
- Dinner out to Hellenic Hotel for husband and I (while kids were away!)
- Much Ado About Nothing at the Pop Up Globe for me with a friend
- So far, 7 days of paid work for me (4 in week of 8 Jan, 3 last week), with an anticipated 3.5 days this week to round off the month
- Finalisation of Japan trip plans and payments
- Participating in Month of Poetry challenge - haven't missed a day yet!

Term in View (from now til Good Friday)

- Kids back to school and school routines from 29/1 (primary schooler) and 2/2 (high schoolers)
- Return to weekly gymnastics, swimming, jujitsu and skating classes: Two key differences will be the extended length gymnastics class for almost-9 year old , which will add one pressure, and the 14-year-old self-commuting to jujitsu, which will relieve one pressure (although we will still be picking her up at the end) 
- Average of 5 days booked work per week over 4 client projects for me, with at least one, and probably two, interstate trips to clients
- Preparations for our overseas trip (!)
- Plan for two Mental Health Days across the course of the term (dates TBC)
- Special events: youngest's 9th birthday and party (late Feb), Roger Waters concert and overnight hotel stay (me and hubs), Evanescence concert (14 year old and her dad), husband's birthday, friends' second wedding

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