I think February is the busiest month of the year at work. Many people in Australia take the whole of January off, so when they come back things feel like they really step up a gear and many bigger projects get started. Next year, I’m going to try to remember to take some leave at end of Feb/beginning of March!
With the pickup in pace, I felt I haven’t keep up the momentum I started with in January, but nevertheless did manage to squeeze in some activities that kept me somewhat on my focuses outside of the office.
I also haven’t quite settled on a good system to help me plan out fun activities and passion projects. Activities are time-based, so at the moment I’m using my work diary’s year-on-a-page section, but it’s not quite right for being able to pencil in plans. I’m using my Trello system for passion projects, but again, find it hard to visualize my plans across the year.
Fun activities update
This month, the short local walks have reduced a bit as I’ve had a busy period, but we are still getting out at least once a week. Ideally we would be walking at least one evening and a longer walk each weekend.
We did, however, manage go on a weekend trip to the alpine region of Australia. These things always take a bit of effort and planning, but are so worth it. I checked my planner of activities and realizing that we were running out of summer weekend with no local sports events, we pre-packed the car and took off early one Friday afternoon.
We had a lovely, cosy night with dinner and craft beer at a local pub followed by toasted marshmallows over a camp fire. The next morning we packed our camping gear into backpacks, intending to do a wild camp half-way around a 22km trail. Unfortunately I didn’t read the instructions properly, and missed where we needed to turn off the path and find the camp area. Instead we did the whole thing in a single day, unnecessarily toting along tent, sleeping bags and cooker etc., but at least we figured out what our daily kilometers should be for future overnight hikes!
The other major bit of planning I did was to book in some leave in preparation for a two week trip to Tasmania. It feels so great to be able to travel with a bit more piece of mind, and I’m really looking forward to the longer break. One week is just not enough to switch off from work! I also need to be better at putting in leave in advance. Booking it when I feel like I need it usually means that by the time it comes around, I’m already a little burnt out. Part of the focus on fun will be to get into the habit of having trips planned out.
I didn’t attend any yoga classes this month as I just had too many late evenings. So glad that I didn’t bother with a membership to the studio – I would need to be going at least twice a week to make it worth it, and feel like this would add a bit of pressure and guilt.
Passion projects update
My Vocal premium membership ran out and I haven’t renewed. I do have two of my short fiction stories on there (see the link to them here), but won’t be putting in any more effort to this platform. My Etsy store and Redbubble account haven’t seen much activity either. I might revisit these later in the year, but for now the little test experiment with both is enough to tell me this is not going to be a priority.
My freelance writing on the other hand, has been very busy! I’ve written 10 articles this month which feels about right for the time I want to put in. It’s definitely not passive income, but it’s something I enjoy and that I find quite easy (thanks in part to the practice I’ve had writing this blog!). I earnt about $290, it’s a bit hard to say exactly how much because of the invoicing system, USD/AUD conversion, and the fact that I’m not considering tax (I’ll pay that at the end of the year). I’ve decided to put this extra income into the mortgage, which is my financial focus this year, as my fun activities have already been budgeted for.
Health and wellbeing update
I track some specific health and wellbeing areas using a traffic light system, where a green light is about a 75% success on my ‘ideal’ habit rate.
As you can see, pressures have work have taken a bit of a toll on my health habits. First to go were drinking water and using my sit/stand desk, but my exercise has also suffered. Diet has kept good thanks to my heavily embedded routines, but alcohol has crept back up. Flossing has never been my strong habit, so no surprise that this is red.
It just shows what an impact work can have on your health habits, even when they are well set up and only require ‘tracking’ rather than active management. Trying to change your lifestyle whilst in a highly demanding job would be very tough indeed. It also shows me how much time it takes to actually exercise as much as I want to, and do all those other things. It makes part-time work, which is one of my FI goals, look all the more appealing because I can easily see how I would benefit.
Personal finances update
This month I paid $600 into my FIRE fund (investments), and an extra $3,150 onto my mortgage. I have a quarterly target for these savings, and anything left over will go into my ‘fun fund’ (a separate bank account I’ve set up) which also gets depleted from throughout the quarter as I spend on activities.
The fun fund is looking a bit slim, with only a couple of hundred dollars left, and flights and hotels to Tasmania not yet paid for (although we are staying with family, so only shelling out for two nights). I did however, discover that I’m currently being underpaid thanks to some mislaid paperwork (always check your paycheck!), so I’ll be receiving my back-pay in the next month which should even things out.
How are your 2022 goals progressing? How are you tracking them?