Sunday, December 26, 2010

Best Year Yet 2011

I have finalized my Best Year Yet (BYY) 2011 Plan. If you are unfamiliar with BYY, follow the link and see what it's all about. You don't have to pay the $99.99 for the online fee -- just buy the book and follow along -- or I can guide you thought the process and help you make 2011 your Best Year Yet.

Part of the plan is to find the 8 key roles that you play in your life (or that you wish you played in your life). My roles are: Risk Manager, Writer/Photographer, Adventurer, Boyfriend (hate this term), Son, Head of Household, Friend, Tim/Self/My CEO (whatever you want to call focusing on your self).

Under each of these roles you then put together a list of goals that you want to accomplish in the coming year. Here are my goals per role:

Risk Manager
  • Pass 3 CPCU Exams
  • Grow Professional Network
  • Attend RIMS (Local/National) Events
  • Teach Team Insurance Coverages/Basics
  • Learn to fully utilize STARS (our Risk IT system)
  • Learn basics of claim handling
Writer/Photographer -- This is a role that I like to do, but am not really active in
  • Buy new camera and learn to use it by 1/31/2011
  • Write/Blog 3x weekly
  • Actively journal all vacations while traveling
  • Research travel magazines and article submission guidelines by 2/28/2011
  • Submit 2 Travel Photos and 1 Travel Article to magazine by 12/31/2011
Adventurer -- My definition here is broad -- basically the point is to get out of any boring routines and try new things regularly
  • Take 3 classes in new subject by 12/31/2011 (Photo, Writing, Cooking, Dancing/Salsa, etc)
  • Try 3 new outdoor activities this year (local or traveling)
  • Attend RIMS Events and actively mingle with new people
  • Visit 8 never before visited restaurants in Chicago by 12/31/2011
  • Golf 1x monthly from May-October
  • Visit driving range 12x between March-November
Boyfriend -- I am omitting the goals from the blog because they are not just related to me, it's both me and Mike and it's not fair to post my goals for us on a public forum.

  • Spend 2 quality nights/month with mom
  • Encourage mom to get out of the house and live her life
  • Provide mom a list of locations/things to do (without details) for mom to research in 2011 (intend of joining her on some of these things)
Head of Household
  • Create list of improvements to home by 2/28/2011
  • Budget for additional house payment by 3/31/2011
  • Organize Closets/Pantries/Public Areas Quarterly
  • Create master list of household chores and stick to it (things like replace furnace filters, smoke detector batteries, winterizing, summerizing, etc)
Tim/Self/My CEO
  • Pick 3 personal books and read them (ask friends for advice on books) by 12/31/2011
  • Plan health improvements including nutrition, exercise by 1/31/2011
  • Create health metrics to track progress by 1/15/2011
  • Track health metrics monthly
  • Read the magazines you subscribe to within 10 days of their arrival
  • Meditate for 20 minutes 2x weekly or do Yoga alone weekly
  • Find a new charity to work with (find 6 charities and intro events by 3/31/2011)
Friend -- Omitting this as well, because this is my perception of how I handle the world and how I want to handle it going forward. My perceptions are not meant to indicate how others should react -- so my thoughts might make some people feel inadequate in this you aren't seeing any of it.

The next step of BYY is to complete a master list of 10 goals -- or your Top 10 Goals for 2011. This doesn't mean that the above mentioned goals aren't important or we are forgetting them, the list below is just the things that are most important in 2011.

Top 10 Goals:
  1. Make friends a visible priority
  2. Schedule 2 hours of "Tim Time" weekly
  3. Provide love and support for Mom
  4. Spend more time being creative -- photography, blog, personal journaling, painting
  5. Expand Risk Management knowledge through study and networking
  6. Focus on "us" when spending time with Mike
  7. Try one new thing monthly
  8. Improve "house" to "home"
  9. Practice Gold Time Management Weekly (tons of articles, just google it)
  10. Omitted on Blog
So this is my basic Best Year Yet plan for 2011. There is much more that goes into this, but you can see where I am and what I am planning in 2011. I endeavor to provide monthly updates...if I don't, please email/SMS me and ask for a status update.

One Three Day Weekend Down

Today is the final day of my three day weekend. This is the first time in years that I've spent a three day weekend in Chicago without guests in years. It's nice and also a bit unnerving. To keep myself sane, I decided to make a list of things that needed to get done this weekend. Some of these things are pretty lame "To-Dos", but they still made my list:
  • Clean litter box
  • Tighten bolts on bar stools
  • Organize hall closet
  • Read magazine backlog
  • Finish Best Year Yet
  • Read Body For Life
  • Confirm all CDs are in iTunes
  • Organize bathroom cabinet
  • Buy Christmas wrapping paper (on sale)
  • Buy new camera
  • Take down Christmas tree
  • Dispose of Christmas cards
  • Go grocery shopping
  • Balance checkbook/pay bills
  • Be Creative -- (see follow up post discussing BYY)
  • Plan Cape Town
  • Plan Victoria Falls
  • Watch regular holiday movies (Christmas Story, Miracle on 34th, It's A Wonderful Life)
  • Watch netflix movies in house (Gran Torino)
  • Watch 3 Favorite Movies (Fight Club, Talented Mr. Ripley, Foul Play)
I did all but the following: Clean Litter Box (it will be done tonight, I promise, Lilly), Take down Christmas Tree/Cards. All in all, pretty damn successful, I'd say.

I haven't even worked at all this weekend, which is quite surprising. I checked email only once and nothing but mailing list emails arrived. How great. This next week is another short week, but we have so much to do at work and I'm the only one on the team in the office this week. It will be a good week -- I'm excited to close out 2010 and kick off 2011 on a positive note.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Goal Help

One of my goals for 2011 is to read more for pleasure. I've got a lot of work related reading/education goals, but I figured I'd like to explore some of my friends favorite books. The problem is, I have this blog hidden from many people, so I won't have a lot of options here.

I'll try Facebook too.

I want to read books that are important to my friends. Tell me your favorite book -- and if you'd like tell me when you first read it and why you love it so much.

I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours...and I'll even go first. My favorite book is The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. I read it my junior year of High School with Mrs. Burkes in APUSH (right after we read Sister Carrie, another FAV of mine). As I finished this book, I took my first trip to Europe and saw the places Ernest was talking about in this book. Really hit home and I love it. So many great quotes in it too. One of my favorites is used all the time - "Oh, go to hell". 'nuf said, huh?

Email me or comment here about your favorite book.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

That time of year...

As we've flipped to the last page of our calendars (wait, who still uses a monthly paper desk calendar anymore...aren't we all keeping digital calendars which automatically "flip"...anyway, just go with me here) we begin reviewing the current year and to take score.  Some of the metrics are obvious:
* Am I in more debt or less debt this year
* Am I fatter than I was last year
* Did I fly enough miles to keep my status
* How many things did I cross of my yearly to-do list
* What resolutions lasted past January 10

Each year I complete a program called Best Year Yet. It is a simple 150 page guide book of self reflection and planning.  This is the third year I am doing it.  The first year was with the help of an executive coach and it was great.  This year (2010) was less focused, but was still positive.  The process starts by reviewing your accomplishments for 2010.  These don't have to be grand, they can be a simple as being proud that you only gained 5 pounds instead of 10 like the prior year, or extreme like you wiped out all of your debt and didn't feel handcuffed by the restricted spending.  The point is to list things YOU are proud of or you consider an accomplishment.

There are 10 questions you answer, some are simple lists and others are a little more intense. The author contends the program and plan can be completed in 3 hours...maybe I am too contemplative or just slow, but it takes me more than 3 hours. 

I flew to LA this weekend in an effort to keep my status on United (see sample list above). I used this relative down time and plugged through 5 of the questions.  I won't go into specifics here, but am willing to share every detail if someone out there wants to do the program.  My accomplishments were easier to find this year than in the past (maybe it is just practice with the program...I think we often are silent to ourselves on our accomplishments but wear our disappointments as a big feathered hat all the time--this ain't Mardi Gras people).

My disappointments were a lot like they were last year...which tells me I am not focusing on them as much as I should.

I intend to finish the plan this week, which will include a 2011 Paradigm Shift (I know, I know... it basically reminds you that the negative thinking you've been doing needs to stop...not all negative thinking but one specific thought process or hindrance), a focus on improvement (traditionally I call mine "My CEO", basically trying to control/live my life how I want balancing work, social, charitable and familial obligations with what has been called "Tim Time" since college (time just to be alone and do what you want with no other obligations), and a list of Top 10 goals for the year. 

A few years ago a couple of my Top 10 goals were "Help Dad have an easy and rewarding end of life process", "Find a new charity to replace Children's Place", "Plan a foreign vacation and study the language".  These goals all had varying degrees of success.  You then put together milestones throughout the year to make sure you are working on them all year and not just doing a mad dash in December, and under the milestones you list tasks.  For example if your goal was to pay off a credit card by June, one task could be to cut up the card so you couldn't get more in debt. This isn't really Best Year Yet, but it helps me stay on track.

I require every member of my team to do work goals like this, including milestones and tasks. We meet monthly to review progress. This isn't a time to say "Dammit Joe, you didn't work on any goal this month", it is to help the team stay focused on their goals and for me to pull in additional resorces they need to be successful.

A quote I lke from this book is "If we don't change our direction, we might end up where we are going".  It makes perfect sense...if you don't like where you are in life now, do something to change it or you'll be in the same state forever.  If you are on a road trip but never look at the signs around you, you won't end up where you truly want to be.