I know it sounds like I said it a thousand times since I started to write for this blog, but I seriously can’t believe 2018 is getting to an end…
As holidays are around the corner, I’m trying (with little success so far) to take time to review my year, and more importantly to plan for 2019. Now that I’m sitting at my desk with a few hours ahead of me, I’m having a look back over the past few months to see what 2018 was made of, and start setting some personal goals for 2019. It’s really me throwing words on my keyboard, trying to reflect on my year, but I hope this will be of some interest for you!
I’m writing this post as a testimonial for my future self. So it’s really me sharing the story of the past 12 months, and trying to highlight accomplishments and lessons learned to set relevant goals for 2019.
Throwback in January in my bullet journal. My system has changed a lot since then,
even if it looks very alike my current journal.
I knew 2018 would be an exciting, terrifying and tough year before it even began.
One year ago (I mean, exactly 1 year ago), I was resigning my position as a project manager in an innovation firm, to start working as a freelancer. I’m not going to enter in the details of why and how I did that move (even though I could do that in a future post if you’re interested to learn more about this story), but I can tell you that was the most terrifying thing I did my all life.
I knew I had good reasons to leave my job, but I honestly didn’t really have a plan for what I was going to do for a living. I actually had a few ideas, but nothing concrete enough to be sure that everything would turn out fine. The only thing I knew was that I was bored in my job and couldn’t stand to go to work for something that seemed so pointless for me.
That was my state of mind as 2018 was just about to begin: relieved and proud of myself for taking the risk to leave a comfortable yet boring position, excited about the freedom I just got and terrified about the future that was totally open but also super blurry at that time. I was standing at the edge of the cliff, not sure I was ready for the new year to begin.
Part 1: January – May
Wandering and being lost
I think there are 2 parts in 2018 for me. The first part exactly matches the first 6 months of the year. I spent the first 6 months of the year wandering, wondering what I should do as a job and how I could find my calling after 5 years working as an innovation project manager.
My word of the year for 2018 was “dare”.
I wouldn’t say that I really dared the first 6 months, but I definitely changed the way I was used to see my daily life. Before that, I was the girl who would say no to a drink after work or to an unplanned getaway. Because I was the girl planning weeks ahead and who absolutely hated see her plans fall apart.
That changed this year. I decided to take every opportunity I had to spend quality time with my friends, and to laugh as much as I could. Changing from “everything planned” mode to “YOLO” was a major change for me. I realised how much I had missed over the past few years. And it reinforced my will to let life surprise me.
That’s how I decided in a blink to go to Paperworld in January, to take a week off to go skiing with friends in February and it took me 5 seconds to book flight tickets for a 2 weeks trip in Ecuador.
Let’s say in a few word that I’ve been enjoying life at its best. But it had a major drawback: I’ve been extremely anxious about the future at the very same time, for I still didn’t know what I wanted to do, and started a lot of projects that I dropped because they didn’t feel right after all. I was wandering, and to be honest, I was lost. I knew I was looking for my calling, but couldn’t see how to find it. It’s not like someone gave me a map to go find it. I knew it was probably out there, but I had no idea where to start to find it.
Switch from “everything’s planned” mode to “YOLO”
… And that’s pretty it for this first part of the year. But It’s been the game changer I was waiting for for about every areas of my life.
Start projects with a purpose
Saying that I didn’t know what to do about work doesn’t mean that I haven’t been working for months. I just spent loads of time planning and starting projects that never made it to the end, because I started them for wrong reasons. They were just here to fill the hole I felt growing inside me and to make me feel like I was doing something about it.
The turning point
I said that 2018 has 2 parts for me. June has been the turning point and that’s when the clouds above my head started to clear. It only took me a trip at the other side of the globe and 2 weeks of deep talk with someone special to me.
Long story short, I spent most of my month in Ecuador with a very dear friend of mine. We were visiting the country, and catching up after her 6 months trip in South America during which we didn’t really had the opportunity to talk. Our days were made of discoveries, gorgeous landscapes, connection with nature and long (long) talks about our lives and what we should do with them. For my friend was to head home in Europe with me after 6 months travelling, with about no idea of what she would do after this experience.
We were basically in the same boat, trying to find our way.
And after hours of reflection and crazy brainstorming, I knew something for sure: I didn’t wanted to be the girl talking about other’s work. I wanted to be the designer of something that would help people bring their projects to life. I wanted to put all my knowledge and experience in something that could potentially have an impact on people.
That was what I was missing in my previous jobs, and that was what I was craving for: working on something that could help people, real people that I could make connection with.
July – December
Big goals, little sleep
The last 6 months of 2018 have been intense for me.
After I realised I wanted to design and craft my own product, I started to work countless hours on this project. I didn’t sleep much the last few months, busy with PROJO, and still craving for time spent with my friends.
Switching from a bullet journal to PROJO – the project journal to plan my projects and everyday life.
I’ve never worked that hard in my entire life. Compared to the last 6 months, graduating from my design school was just like vacations (or is it my memory that is too blurry to remember how hard it was?). But I’ve never learned more and be happier about my work than the last months either.
I think I knew for a long time that launching a product was what I wanted deep inside, but the fear of failure has been holding me back for almost a year. I’m still scared for about everything: did I do that right? Is it going to work as planned? Are you able to do this for real? Are you strong, skilled enough to launch your own business?… I’m still super insecure about my work, but that’s just because I finally do something that actually matters to me.
My biggest project and accomplishment of this year: bring PROJO – the project journal to life.
Designing PROJO, keeping up with the blog and social medias, while I was trying to make some time for my personal life has been challenging. Good news is that my friends are all pretty incredible and they’ve been supporting my project from the very beginning of this new adventure with kind words of course, but also with their skills, helping me craft the Kickstarter campaign, put the PROJO packs together or just sticking labels on parcels to help me with shipping. I’m a solo entrepreneur for now, but I can tell you that I’ve been far from alone in this crazy adventure.
- Starting something that matters to me: launching PROJO has been one of the biggest challenge of my professional life. I’ve been all in this project for months (and I still am), spent countless hours working on it. But I have faith in this project, and I know this is what I want to do now. No matter how tough and demanding this is, I know why I’m doing it and it gives me all the energy I need.
This is my big accomplishment this year. I could really break it down into a lot of smaller accomplishments such as: getting back to my love for design, not dropping something when the first difficulty occurs, crafting my first videos… and so much more!
- Listen to your inner voice: the past few month have taught me that I really should pay attention to what my instinct is telling me. On both good and negative feelings, I need to trust my gut a lot more.
- You can ask for help: I realised I how amazing my friends are. I’ve been harassing them with my doubts for weeks before I launched PROJO. Now I know that I can count on them as they can count on me. And that’s pretty heartwarming!
- I’m not a lazy person, I’m just better if love what I do: I thought for years that I was someone that would never do more than the minimal. I realised that it’s just lies I was telling to myself. I can do a lot when I know why I spend my energy and time doing something.
- I’m the biggest threat for myself: I tend to put a lot on my plate, and to push myself to hit the finishing line in time when I have set a goal. What I learned is that I can’t do that forever. Freelancer life is not a sprint, it’s a long-distance race: I need to slow down, take time to rest and ease off the pressure I put on myself. Otherwise, I’m heading straight for burn-out in 2019.
Big yes or not at all
One of my goal for 2019 is to learn to say “no”.
I tend to say yes to any request I receive. This is not really helping me to keep my stress level under control, neither it is helping me to get back to a better sleep routine.
In 2019, I want to do the things that matter to me. If I don’t want to say a big, enthusiastic yes to something, I want to be able to say no.
My goal here is really to declutter my projects list, and be more meaningful about how I spend my time. Time is the most precious thing I have. I don’t want to waste it in stuff that I don’t care about.
My time and energy are limited. So I need to focus more on
the key projects that really matter to me and cut the rest!
Let it go
I’ve recently realised how much time and energy I’m spending on things that doesn’t matter. I’ve been trying to meet everyone’s expectations (the ones that exist just in my head, and the ones that people are putting on me), and I do realise that I can’t be perfect for everyone at anytime.
Cleanliness has been one of those things that have drained my time and energy this year: it’s true for my flat that is always perfectly tidy whenever someone is visiting me, or for my journal, that I try to keep as clean as possible.
One of my goal in 2019 is to let things go. Just a bit. And my first baby step will be to drop my Muji erasable pen and to replace it with a permanent fineliner, and learn to deal with mistakes and imperfections.
Make time for myself
Keeping a balance between my work, social and personal lives is a real challenge. If I still have a happy work and social life, I have difficulties to take time for myself, even though me time is something I need in my daily life. In 2019, I want to take the time to have hobbies and to spend time on:
- doing things that I love; such as DIY, knitting, sewing…
- get back to an healthier diet by making time to cook (and eat for real)
- sleep. Like stop being sleep depraved all the time
Grow my business
This would certainly not be the easiest one of the lot, but as I’m always putting work before everything else, I know I’ll do everything to make it happen. I already have plenty of ideas and projects I can’t wait to start. And I’ll definitely rely on my PROJO to help me make some magic happen in 2019!
The biggest challenge in 2019 will probably to keep all these goals on track at the same time. It will certainly require a lot of time management experiments to get to some result… I already started to experiment a few new ideas, with the hope to get to a more balanced schedule.