Goals (2022)

I have decided to retire the ‘less, more, none’ format1 and replace it with a simple list of what I hope to do/achieve in 2022.

  • Be as attentive as I can possibly be2
  • Exercise regularly3
  • Travel4
  • Visit galleries and museums 5
  • Read as many books as possible6
  • Take steps to support and advance my career7
  • Write regularly8
  • Upgrade our tech9.

There will be a whole host of other things that we do this year. For example, keep doing the crossword every morning and continue to buy more ‘grown up’ furniture10 but the items above are the most immediate list of personal and shared goals that came to mind when I sat down to write this.

  1. The ‘less, more, none’ approach was useful when I first started using it but I found myself shoe-horning items in to the format. I feel that a simple list is more flexible.[]
  2. Focus on one person / one task at a time.[]
  3. I failed miserably with this in 2021 yet I know how much it helps me both physically and mentally. []
  4. It’s been far too long since we (Jennifer and I) stepped foot in another town let alone another country. Keeping all fingers and toes crossed that we can get back on the road this year.[]
  5. It’s also been far too long since we experienced art and culture without a screen being involved.[]
  6. Reading more books over the past two years has undoubtedly had a positive impact on my mental health.[]
  7. I completed an M.Ed in 2013 but as I continue to consider whether Headship is something I want, I am thinking about completing an NPQH.[]
  8. As noted in my review of last year, I am adding this but I need to give some genuine consideration to what I mean by ‘write regularly’? What type of writing do I want to do? Who am I writing for? What should I write about? Does it need to be published on this blog?[]
  9. Neither of us seek to replace our devices when the latest and greatest phones/computers are released but both our laptops and phones are really starting to show their age. This looks like it will be the year to invest in replacing them.[]
  10. We finally replaced the IKEA bed that we’ve had since we got married. It only took 17 years![]

Less, More & None (2021) – Review

Less

  • allowing my task list to build up
    • I am really pleased with the way I managed my time this year. I maintained a good balance between my day to day tasks and larger projects. There were no changes to the systems or tools1 that I use, but I did adapt the way I approached some aspects of my job, improving my delegation and making best use of mornings to get two to three smaller tasks off my plate before the day has really begun.
  • looking at my mobile phone when people are talking to me
    • This is the second year now that I have been a lot better with this. I still find that I have to remind myself to put my phone away but I have built up some better habits around my phone in general that have helped a lot.
  • reading doomscrolling the news
    • I also did well with this. While I did keep up with some of the news surrounding the pandemic as well as the current political landscape2, I managed to direct my attention towards the culture and lifestyle sections of the paper most of the time. I was far happier spending time reading about people, places and ideas that could enrich my life rather than dwelling on everything that is wrong with the world.

More

  • exercise
    • I am sad to say that other than walking regularly, I failed to make exercise a priority in 2021. I have no genuine reason or excuse for this and plan to find ways to make sure that it is a priority in 2022.
  • reading
    • I read 52 books in 2021. That is two more than my target and 11 more than 2020. I posted a complete list of everything I read on this blog.
  • saving money
    • We carried on where we left off in 2020 and added significantly to our savings. 💰💰💰
  • seeking opportunities for personal growth
    • Reflecting on this goal, I am not sure what I was considering exactly all the way back in January 2021 but I have achieved a few things this year that I am proud of:
      • I have finally achieved a sense of equilibrium at work and feel better placed to develop myself further as a leader and to be able to consider the next steps in my career
      • I have been (re)learning French
      • I have cooked regularly for my wife3
      • I have finally taught myself how to tackle cryptic crosswords, and while I am far from being an expert, I now understand the rules and can work my way (slowly) through the Guardian cryptic crossword
      • I have continued to develop my appreciation and knowledge of Jazz – in particular piano-led groups4 and the development of the be-bop and hard-bop styles.
  • writing
    • This just did not happen and I do not have an answer to how I get back to writing regularly. Maybe I am not supposed to right now? I will likely include writing in my goals for 2022, but I think I need to reflect on the type of writing I want to do and where it is published to better understand where/how it fits into my life. I enjoy writing but since I completed my M.Ed in 2013 and took on more senior roles at work, I have consistently struggled to make it a regular habit.

None

  • making excuses when it comes to exercise
    • See my response to the first item in the ‘more’ section.
  • skipping my ‘morning reading’
    • I did not miss a single day and ended up re-reading the entire ‘Holy Bible’, not just Paul’s letters as I had intended. I did not make as much headway with ‘History of Western Philosophy‘ by Bertrand Russell5 but I did re-read (again) ‘Meditations‘ by Marcus Aurelius and I also finished ‘On Writing‘ by Stephen King, which was as much a biography as a guide to writing well.
  1. See bullet point two in my review from 2020.[]
  2. All I see when I think about the state of the world is the ‘This is fine’ meme taken from the comic by KC Green.[]
  3. at least once per week[]
  4. Brubeck/Clark/Evans/Garland/Hancock/Monk/Powell[]
  5. I am going to make this the sole text for my morning reading in 2022.[]

Less, More & None (2021)

Less

  • allowing my task list to build up1
  • looking at my mobile phone when people are talking to me
  • reading doomscrolling the news2

More

  • exercise
  • reading3
  • saving money
  • seeking opportunities for personal growth
  • writing

None

  • making excuses when it comes to exercise4
  • skipping my ‘morning reading'5
  1. Do, defer, delegate or delete.[]
  2. Once per day is more than enough[]
  3. After reading 41 books in 2020, I want to challenge myself to read 50 in 2021.[]
  4. I will get outside and run even if it is icy cold or teeming down with rain. And if I really can’t get outside to run then I will work out at home. There are no excuses. There is always enough time, enough ways to keep to fit, and enough tools (apps/videos/guides) to be able to exercise every day.[]
  5. One of my daily rituals is to read from a selection of philosophical and theological texts. It helps focus my mind at the start of the day.[]

Less, More and None (2020) – Review

Less

  • (cont.) spending time on ‘urgent but unimportant’ tasks
    • I did a much better job of this in 2020. I was able to be more strategic and to delegate tasks more willingly. Something I have always struggled with.
  • tinkering with apps and organisational tools (I need to pick a system and stick to it)
    • I broke this down into three areas (notes/schedule/projects) and settled on one app to manage each of them:
      • Drafts for writing: ideas, notes, lists, blog posts and reference material.
      • Fantastical to organise my day: lessons, meetings, calls and events.
      • OmniFocus for task and project management.
    • I also made some changes to my daily and weekly reviews that kept me better organised.
  • avoiding difficult / time-consuming tasks
    • I did well with this as well, in part due to the improvements I made to my organisation as noted above. In particular, I started using the ‘forecast tag’ in OmniFocus for these tasks and also scheduled time in my calendar for when I would work on them. This meant that they were always visible and would not be missed in my daily review. Scheduling time in my calendar meant that progress was made on them each day until they were done. Incremental progress FTW!

More

  • trying new foods and recipes
    • Jennifer and I are always exploring new recipes but we did even better this year building a wide range of new meals into each month. And like 2019, we struck a healthy balance between meat-based dishes and vegetarian ones.
  • rediscovering old music
    • I immersed myself in Jazz, exploring a wide range of styles (hard-bop, modal, avant-garde…) and musicians. I improved my knowledge of the genre’s development and discovered a number pieces that entered into regular rotation. My top three tunes for the year are:
    • Having spent a lot of time over the years listening to the more avant-garde and challenging work of Miles Davis and John Coltrane, I was surprised to see how much I leaned toward smooth and modal Jazz over the course of the year. Red Garland, Bill Evans and McCoy Tyner (all pianists) featured prominently. Maybe I am mellowing out!?
    • In addition to this, I also revisited a lot of music from my youth (80s/90s). According to Spotify, my most listened to artists this year were: Queen, Radiohead and Nick Cave.
    • I spent some time listening to classical music too; mostly Beethoven, Chopin, and Fauré, so the piano featured prominently there as well. Maybe I should learn to play the piano in 2021?
    • I made a number of new playlists in Spotify and updated some of my existing ones. They can all be found via my Spotify profile.
  • visiting new places
    • This did not happen for obvious reasons. Instead we made the most of our local area while doing all that we could to keep ourselves and other safe. The time spent here at home was not wasted though, I read more books than I have done in a long time.
  • mobility exercises and yoga
    • I failed miserably with this one unfortunately, and I haven’t done as well with my running over the last three months of the year either. Exercise has to be a habit and requires commitment. I will be re-committing to this in 2021 and ensuring that I can forge good habits to get back on track.
  • (cont.) writing
    • In terms of writing, I never truly found my mojo. That said, I did publish 24 full blog posts (20 more than 2019 ). Two blog posts per month is not what I was aiming for at the start of the year. As with exercise, writing has to become a habit. I will be committing to working towards this in 2021 as well.

None

  • (cont.) looking at my mobile phone when people are talking to me (still trying to make this stick!)
    • I finally made some headway with this in 2020. I took to leaving my phone on the coffee table or even in a different room and this helped. Still, I can do even better so this item will graduate to the ‘Less’ section for 2021.
  • saying yes to projects or ideas that will only have short-term or limited impact (aiming for a year of quality not quantity)
    • When faced with a pandemic, partial school closures and a constantly changing set of guidelines and rules, it has been hard not to have to work on projects that were about ‘short-term’ impact. Sometimes you simply have to adapt to the needs in front of you and I feel that alongside my colleagues, I did a good job in helping to keep the school going under very challenging circumstances.

Less, More and None (2020)

A shorter, more focussed list for 2020…

Less

  • (cont.) spending time on ‘urgent but unimportant’ tasks
  • tinkering with apps and organisational tools (I need to pick a system and stick to it)
  • avoiding difficult / time-consuming tasks

More

  • trying new foods and recipes
  • rediscovering old music
  • visiting new places
  • mobility exercises and yoga
  • (cont.) writing

None

  • (cont.) looking at my mobile phone when people are talking to me (still trying to make this stick!)
  • saying yes to projects or ideas that will only have short-term or limited impact (aiming for a year of quality not quantity)