You would think that with such a novel lifestyle as a traveler has, that it would be impossible to fall into the kind of day-after-day routines that one experiences living a stationary life. But that isn’t the case. Oh, the routine has more variables than one of a person living a stationary life, but it is still a routine.
Routines lead to efficiency, which is nice. But they also make you stop pondering if there might be a different, better way of doing things.
To ensure the routines I get into are helping me more than harming me, I added a sort of monthly review to my calendar a while back. At the end of every month I go over what I did that month and what worked well, and what didn’t. And then I adjust for the next month. My next one is coming up this week, so I thought I might as well blog about it.
Longtime readers will know of my annual review process that I blogged about early in the life of IO. I still do the annual review, and doing this smaller step every month has made it easier to do the big one at the end of the year.
For the monthly review I divide my life into three basic categories: work, personal, and travel. Everything I do falls into one of these categories, and there is often overlap between them. Your categories may well be different than mine.
I look back over my to-do calendar for the month of everything I had written down, whether it was finished or not. Day by day it’s hard to see patterns, but when you take the time to look at the month as a whole like this, patterns emerge. I look at my best days and think on what I did those days that worked so well for each category, and write out answers. I do the same for the worst days.
Usually by the time I get to this point, it’s quite clear to see what’s working well and what isn’t, and make the necessary adjustments for the next month. Occasionally I do need to rest on my answers for a day or two, and come back to it.
This is not a magic fix-it. How good of a month you have is also subject to internal factors, like overall mood for any given month, and external factors, like unexpected problems beyond your control. But it doesn’t take much time – maybe a half-hour to an hour a month – and I definitely have seen improvement in my life since I started having a monthly review. And maybe it’ll help you too.
Life is an experiment. We’re constantly trying new things and tiring of old ones. Constantly leaving behind who we were in favor of who we are. Bad things happen when we allow ourselves to stagnate. Having some sort of process like a monthly review in place, it makes working towards where (and who) you want to be much easier.
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