A New Year

I just got back from a solo polar plunge in a local creek accessible by a short one mile-ish hike. There is ice on the ground and the temperature outside is around 25 degrees Fahrenheit. The water was cold . . . ice cold. It was awesome! Cabin fever and the promise of an adventurous new year lead to such things. 

Last year I experimented with choosing one word to help shape my year as opposed to setting a resolution. My word was focus. It served me well. Whenever my attention started to wander to new, exciting projects, I reminded myself to focus on the task at hand. My main focus for 2016 was landing a paid freelancing gig. This didn’t stop me from having side projects, but focus allowed me to not get side tracked. 

I accomplished my goal and actually have two freelance writing gigs that I work on part-time. This year I have decided my word will be productive. I want to actually set deadlines for myself and keep those deadlines. I want to grow some of my side projects into rewarding hobbies or financially viable sources of income. I want to set financial goals for myself. Create a real budget and stick with it. Build flexible routines that provide structure without the rigidity that usually leaves me abandoning them within a couple of days. 

Productivity doesn’t just pertain to work. I want my adventurous life to be productive as well. As I experiment with new routines, I plan on incorporating one off day a week where working is not an option. The day will be mine to explore and read and go on adventures or rest and eat pizza and binge on Netflix. I was unable to travel as much this past year as I would have liked. Although long road trips may or may not be possible this year, I would like to take advantage of shorter road trips and also exploring some of the wonderful things Birmingham has to offer.

Being productive helps me finish my work more efficiently with less procrastination. This opens up time to do more exciting things. To deepen relationships with family and friends. To go on long hikes with the dogs. To have time for an occasional beer with friends. To finance a life that focuses less on making money and more on the joy of living. 

Being productive allows me to be more intentional with my time, a valuable and non-renewable resource. Getting the job done now lessens the time spent worrying about what I should be doing. Allocating time for specific endeavors opens up space to truly enjoy the moment, whether that moment is spent writing an article, researching a podcast guest, reading a book, or exploring a new city. I hope framing my year in this way will actually be less stifling and more freeing that my current state of being. 

I cherish new experiences. I look forward to a year full of exciting adventures, productive business, and moving closer to my dream of living on the road. I hope to have a nice balance of work and play and be productive in both areas. 

I wish everyone the happiest of new years!

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities.”   —Stephen Covey


I am currently working on launching a podcast, Heroic Things. I hope to have it go live sometime in March. I am compiling a list of potential guests and working towards setting up interviews. I will keep everyone abreast of new developments and look forward to working more intently on this new project. 

Amy Gravlee