Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Looking back: It's review time




 Just like Hilke, the Buechertiger I've been delaying the writing of this post, my annual review. Some of my reasons are the same (not feeling I've accomplished enough) and some are different.

This time last year I was in an optimistic mood, satisfied with the achievements of 2011 and excited at the potential offered by a brand new year, 2012.This time around I have not felt the same at all. 

My dissatisfaction  has come largely from not finishing either of the major projects I've been working on: my Book Art Object edition 4 contribution, and the wedding album for my friend. Both of these are now well-underway, but both also still have quite a long way to go. I'm annoyed with myself and cross that I can't start 2013 with that lovely blank slate, that I wrote about last year. It really feels as if these projects are infringing on 2013.

Summer /Christmas/ New Year is always a challenging time energy-wise. There is such a lot going on socially, people wanting to catch up and in high spirits, and its almost impossible not to over-do things.This year, I mis-managed even more than usual, by pushing myself hard in November and December to try to complete the BAO edition and the album.

Early in January, I soothed my self-disgruntlement by joining Michael Nobbs Month of Reflection and Planning.  (If you don't know Michael Nobbs, he also has ME/CFS and blogs at Sustainably Creative, where he focuses on ways to remain actively creative for people who are low on energy or time.) Taking a whole month may seem a bit of a luxury, but it is our summer here, hot as you-know-where, and I really do need to be taking it easy just now.

I have been using a couple of tools for my annual review for the last few years, and this year I am trying another one as well. That makes three! Hmmm! Lucky I have a month. 

I'm using (in my own fashion, of course):


  1. Alyson B Stanfield's Year End Review 
  2. Chris Guillebeau's Annual Review
  3. Susannah Conway's Unravelling 2013

   Alyson's review is totally focussed on artwork, and I discovered to my pleasure, that my list of works completed was in fact, not too shabby. I also found that when I looked at last year's review, there was an unfinished project then too, and what's more, I still haven't returned to that one! So maybe carrying projects over isn't so bad? At least the review process has shown me I need to consider that.

Chris's review is much broader in its scope. He covers every aspect of his life, and builds in quarterly reviews, which I have realized are a great idea. When I returned to mine, I discovered that in 2012 I had stuck firmly to my vision in some areas, but in others, quite different paths had presented themselves. 

A year is a long time, and while I love to have goals, I think the reason so many New Year resolutions fail is simply because things change. Perhaps Quarterly Resolutions or even Monthly ones would work better for most people. 

Finally, new for me this year is Susannah's Unravelling workbook.  Susannah runs Unravelling e-courses, where participants use photography to dig into their daily lives. I've never done one, but I do enjoy Susannah's photography and her genuine style of blogging. 

She suggests choosing a word for the year, identifying something personal, that you would like to work on in the coming 12 months. Last year, while I didn't complete her workbook, I did choose a word, and to my surprise I found that it really did colour my year.

 So, review is well-underway and looking pretty good after all. There's still nine more days in the month of reflection and planning, so next time I'll share some of the things from 2012 that pleased me most, and hopefully some Plans (note the capital "p").







15 comments:

  1. hmmmm monthly goals or to-do lists sounds friendlier than a yearly one.... I'm not game to write a to-do list this year!

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    1. Paper not long enough Ronnie? ; D

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  2. I've used Alyson's review, but not some of the others. Look forward to seeing them. Also, I set my goals in very small weekly chunks...with a few longer term ones thrown in, but even the longer term ones I look at in terms of what I can get done this week...and what I will do next week. Helps keep things in perspective and me not overwhelmed with it all!

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    1. Hi Sasha! I hope you find the other review tools helpful. Isn't it interesting how differently people respond to pressure? Thinking about weekly goals sounds very high pressure to me - not enough wriggle room. But it is obviously perfect for you!

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  3. Well Amanda, I too was a little cross with myself for not finishing my BAO project before now but I have decided sometimes you just have to go with the flow of life, when the time is right it will be right. I am slowly working on my edition now and enjoying it, which for me is the main reason I wanted to do it...if I had pushed it earlier I doubt my head would have been in the right space and I would be only going through the motions to tick it off my list. Whether my project makes the exhibition deadline or not does not worry me...I just want to enjoy the experience of making and now the time feels right.

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    1. Woops! Up too late and answered in the wrong spot - my reply to you is down further Vicki.

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  4. I find it good to set goals and deadlines and try to meet them but in the end I also like to go with the flow and just do what feels right at the time.

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    1. You must be good at "letting things go" Helen. I will have to keep practising...

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  5. I can't do goals. It is too much to put upon myself. If I did have a goal it would be not to put too much pressure on myself and just keep working in my studio every day.

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    1. Actually Roberta, I find goals like "turning up at the studio" are great too - less focus on the outcome, and more on the process.

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  6. I tried setting myself goals in the past and always failed. Frustration and even depression took hold. Finally -and fortunately- I realized that goals are met when one is ready to meet them and we cannot always know beforehand when that will be. New projects arise and interfere with the pre-established ones, life gets in the way (stubborn thing!) and our mind wanders along surprising paths, that can be more creative than the planned ones. I gave up on setting goals and deadlines, I just listen to my creative needs. Don't be too demanding with yourself, Amanda. Creativity and demands are not on very good terms :)

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    1. Wise words Ersi - I'll try to bear them in mind.

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  7. Vicki, thanks so much for mentioning your own BAO experience. It's very useful to me to be reminded about the enjoyment factor from time-to-time. That is supposed to be what it's about, isn't it? I'm very skilled at turning anything at all into "work"! Perhaps my word for 2013 should be FUN.

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  8. I find this a wonderfully inspirational post, Amanda. Looking forward into digging a bit deeper into this topic by following some of your links. You've done SO much this year, I'd say and shared with the rest of us along the way. Thank you!

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    1. Thank YOU Nancy! Really hope the links prove helpful for you.

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