My challenge to myself this month has been to find ways to give myself time to simply live. To remove unnecessary things from my mind and the way I use my time. And I think I’ve at least found some promising strategies – time will tell how efficient they are.

I’ve gone over my priorities and thought about how much time I would like to spend on them. When I made a schedule for a week and penciled my priorities activities in I had the first clue: I can’t take on anything more. Not without letting something else go.

I’ve identified some of my time-thieves (smartphone and outdated routines).

An unscheduled day per week is also something I want to try. The focus will be on appreciating everything that is good in my life and slowing down.

And I’ve found my questions for evaluating activities:
* Does this activity add value to my life? (Is it aligned with my values and goals?)
* Does this activity add joy to my life?
* What am I prepared to stop doing in order to make time for this? (One activity in – one out.)

This challenge has been different than my previous ones. I’ve been doing monthly challenges the whole year, together with my friends. Generally, I’ve done more practical tasks though. This was an interesting challenge – to focus on an idea for a whole month. I haven’t done that for a long time! I like learning new things and tend to shift focus depending on what I happen upon. This blog, to post about the same subject for the whole month, has helped me keep on track.

But I can’t say I’ve really tried these ideas I’ve come up with yet. Yes, I did uninstall a lot of apps from my phone – but I’ve still used it a lot more than I want to. The unscheduled days have been scarce in December – a month of many seasonal extra activities. And add to that an extra intense period at work… Not the most restful month of my life.

But then again most of the extra activities were related to family, which is a top priority for me. There have been a lot of joyful moments as well. And now I feel very well prepared to try this for real next year (which is next week).

New Year’s Eve also happens to be my birthday, so it’s both the calendar year and my own personal year that’s coming to an end. I have a tradition: on New Year’s Eve, I take some time to sit down and write a summary of the year that’s ending, and also my wishes for the coming year.

It started out as a short bullet list – the pros and cons of the year, and a short list of things I wanted to happen. Not new year resolutions, more like wishes. Nowadays I tend to write 2-3 pages of summary, and one of how I would like the coming year to be. I still note the best and worst of the year, but I also make a short summary of what we’ve been doing – travels, repainting the house… The big small stuff of life. (I don’t read the wishes for this year until after I’ve summarised how it actually went.)

I’ve been doing this since 1991 (wow… it doesn’t feel that long ago!) and I’ve kept them all in a binder. I take it out this time of year only. Once I’ve made this year’s entry I often review the others. It’s a good way to take some time to reflect on the things that have changed over the years – and the things that don’t. It’s a tradition I really enjoy, and recommend you to try – either for New Years or for your birthday.

I’m really looking forward to 2017, and wishing you a great year!