My 2020 Un-Report

If your inbox is anything like mine, you’ve got lots of end-of-year emails reflecting on 2020. Mine is full of emails with lists and pretty infographics about how much work people did, how many Zoom meetings they attended, and how many loaves of sourdough they baked. I had planned to do this, too, and I even did some research to compare numbers based on my 2019 “annual report.” But when it came time to sit down and write it out, I realized I had zero interest in doing so. 2020 was a really hard year, and I have no interest in looking backwards and reviewing it. Frankly, until last week, it felt like it never ended.

I will say my brief foray into last year’s numbers was useful to me in one sense: despite the pandemic, and the politics, and the PTA, and the homeschooling (and…and…and…), I did roughly the same amount of work for roughly the same amount of people. Despite all of that extra “stuff,” I stayed the course and did what I needed to do, and realizing that feels good. But it took a toll, mentally and physically, and I’d much prefer to look ahead to see what I can do to make this year better.

Word of the Year

In service to this goal, I’ve decided my word of the year for 2021 is “Choose” (I highly recommend reading Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project if you want to know more about this idea). I spent so much of last year reacting to chaos, so this year I want to be more thoughtful and deliberate in what I do and how I do it. Even though none of the external stuff has changed yet, it’s at least a known quantity, and I can adjust how I move through it. So here are just a few of the things I’m planning:

  • Choose focus. During the day, this means turning off email for an hour or two at a time, so that my attention isn’t being pulled in multiple directions even if I’m not working on something big. I’m still available to respond quickly but don’t have to always be on alert.
  • Choose calm. Whether it’s a rush project request or something at home I hadn’t planned for, I’m taking the extra few minutes to think it through, breathe deep, ask questions, and figure out a plan. 
  • Choose automation. One of the things I’m exploring this year is automating what I can to save time. So far, I’ve done that with my calendar using the Calendly app. No more emails back and forth—if someone wants to talk for more than a few minutes, they can sign up for a meeting slot here:
  • Choose breaks. My time off at Christmas was a HUGE difference-maker—I haven’t felt that creatively charged in a while. So even if it’s just a 15-minute break when I’m stuck on something, I’m taking it. 
  • Choose health. My desk treadmill broke and is out of commission for another few weeks, so I’m looking for alternate ways to get up and move a bit throughout the day (even if it means walking around the kitchen while I take a phone call or dancing to one song on the Oculus VR Synth Riders game). I’m getting more sleep and trying to cut down on the coffee, too…baby steps.

 One thing I’m grateful I don’t have to choose or change? The work I get to do and the fabulous people I get to do it with. So my “chooses” for the coming year are enhancements rather than overhauls, and that feels pretty great.

What’s your word for 2021?

Let’s Look Forward, Together

If you’re ready for a different kind of year, too, then let’s work together to see how we can make 2021 better for you. We can talk about delegating design tasks to free up more of your time, chat about strategy, or explore some ideas on efficiency. Reach out today for some help.