I think we can all agree that 2020 had more than its share of challenges. It will go down in history as one of the worst years of most people’s lives, I think. But I do think it’s important to take note of the good things that happened on both a large and small scale. As I do every few years, I’ve put together a highlight reel post for the year. This year, I felt particularly compelled to write this post to illustrate that as bad as the year was, for many reasons, I had much to be grateful for, and I hope you do too. Taking a moment to contemplate the good things that have happened can be really valuable.
Here are some of the highlights of 2020 for me and for Peace of Mind Organizing:
Daily yoga. After dabbling on and off with at-home yoga (via the wonderful videos from Yoga with Adriene) for about a year, a daily habit was cemented this year. I have done yoga each and every day since April 1. I adore Yoga with Adriene (here are nine reasons why). And I look forward to keeping the daily habit going in the coming year. The pandemic helped: because I wasn’t leaving the house in the morning to work with clients, I was able to create the habit of doing yoga at the start of my day, which turns out to be a great time for me.
I embraced YNAB and got control of my business finances. It may be paradoxical that the year where my income took a dive because of the pandemic was the year I was able to get control of my finances and get out of debt. (Almost…I have one or perhaps two more payments and I’ll be debt free.) The reason I was able to do it is the software and app You Need A Budget. (By the way, that’s a referral link. If you click on it and sign up after your free trial, you and I each get a free month.) As a YNAB enthusiast, I am thrilled to share with anyone willing to listen. I’ve been using YNAB for a couple of years for my business finances, but it was only in the last nine months or so that I got fully on board and started using it the way it is meant to be used. Combining YNAB with Profit First means that I not only pay my bills with ease, I pay myself and my taxes with ease and I have reserves. It feels like a miracle. Starting tomorrow, I’m going to be using YNAB to handle our personal finances as well!
We published an episode of our podcast each and every week. My friend Shannon and Wilkinson and I started our Getting to Good Enough podcast in June 2018. Today, we published Episode 136. Every Thursday morning, without fail, we’ve published an episode. A few (like today’s) have been repeats of episodes that we consider particularly useful. I’m very proud of the fact that we keep producing content and we keep enjoying ourselves along the way. The big bonus is that people are listening! In the past year alone we’ve had about 60,000 downloads.
My daily task management Trello board has kept me on task. For years, I’ve jumped from task management system to task management system in my attempts to stay productive. 2020 was the year that ended. Since May, I’ve been using Trello in a particular way that allows me to stay on top of what I need to do and feel rewarded for accomplishing what I get done. It’s my north star that I consult multiple times per day. I’ve over the moon about it. I’ve blogged about it twice, first in May in a post called Trello + automation = productive bliss and then again in August in The nitty gritty of my Trello daily task management board. After seven and a half months of daily use, my enthusiasm has not waned in the slightest for this particular system, which uses Trello’s Butler automation to put in front of me the things I need to do every day. (It uses so much automation that I have to pay $10 a month for a Business Class membership, but it’s well worth it.)
I spoke at RootsTech. Family Search, the genealogy arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, puts on a gigantic genealogy conference called RootsTech each year for the last ten years. I’ve attended many times and co-presented in 2017. This year was special because I presented alone (a talk called The Imperfect Genealogist), my talk was attended by several hundred people, and it was my last trip on a plane. I returned home on March 2, just before the world turned upside down. I was especially delighted that RootsTech used a picture of me presenting on its Facebook page and in its call for presenters for the next year! I think it was because I was wearing my hand-knit striped skirt and because I was smiling (or perhaps laughing). Incidentally, RootsTech has gone virtual for 2021. If you’re interested in genealogy and haven’t yet signed up for RootsTech 2021, I urge you to consider it. It will be held February 25 to 27, 2021 and it’s free of charge!
I drove to Washington state. My father turned 90 on September 11, 2020, and I could not let him celebrate that milestone without me. But I wasn’t willing to fly and risk bringing the coronavirus to him. So I drove, 2,000 miles each way. I just realized I never wrote a blog post about planning that big trip, but here’s a post about the great gift I gave him. I’m very proud of myself for making that drive on my own, and for planning it well so that I felt safe. And I’m delighted to report that it was very enjoyable, despite the hovering danger of COVID. I traveled in September, just before the surge that hit the Great Plains states that I traveled through. I had a really good time driving by myself for about 30 hours in each direction. It was a very special opportunity and I’m glad I took advantage of it. (There are now only two states I haven’t been to: North Dakota and New Mexico.)
I helped get out the vote. Back in 2018, I started writing Postcards to Voters, urging registered Democrats to vote. I kept going with the writing and have now written 2868 cards. I also became a notary specifically so I could notarize absentee and mail-in ballots in Missouri. It felt really great to channel my political concerns this way. And of course a highlight of the year for me was that the candidates I supported for president and vice president won.
I implemented some changes in business practices. The pandemic gave the little shove I needed to make a few changes with Peace of Mind Organizing. I’ve decided I will working less with clients in person (sending team members for hands-on work) and doing more consults virtually. This shift away from hands-on work goes hand in hand with shifting priorities that make me want to be home more. I’m excited to continue serving my clients even if I don’t get as much face time with them. I’m fortunate to have great team members who work so well with our clients.
I read 50 books. For the past five years or so, I’ve set a goal of reading 50 books in the calendar year. This is the first year I’ve achieved it (probably another accomplishment assisted by the pandemic). I keep a spreadsheet that I add to after I finish a book. I note the number of pages, so I can tell you that those 50 books added up to 18,204 pages.
I’m wearing the same dress for 100 days! It’s crazy to be so excited about this, but am absolutely loving the 100 day dress challenge that I’m currently taking part in. I’ve worn my Rowena swing dress from Wool& each day since December 4 and look forward to wearing it all the way to March 13!