I place a lot of importance on words. Articles swirl around in my head for weeks until I feel content enough to write all the words down. This one has been about three weeks in the making.

I place a lot of importance on visual attributes, too. I can’t start writing a piece until the right font or font size is there. It’s why I can’t seem to take up using writing apps that favor monotype fonts. It’s also one of the reasons why I can’t stand Reddit.

I’m writing all of this because I wanted to not have a resolution this year. They never really work for me. Instead, much like in yoga when you choose an intent at the beginning of class, I’ll focus on a theme that I’ll try and carry through the year.

My friend told me a few weeks ago that he admired how deliberate I was in what I do. I wasn’t really certain what he meant then, but I can see where I want that to go.

One of my biggest regrets of 2016, besides not eating enough donuts, was how many times I would respond to the question, “How are you?” with “Busy.” Every time I said this, I would wince. Sometimes, the other person would respond and say, “That’s a good thing, right? Business is good!”

Yes. Yes, that’s true. Business is good. And perhaps being “busy” is someone’s definition of success, but it certainly isn’t mine. It means that I don’t have enough time for friends, exercise, healthy eating habits, or inspirational hobbies.

Like lots of other people, I want to work less and yet make more money. At the end of 2016, I already started implementing some of the habits that will help me reach this.

  • I’m trying to cut out duplicate work, which means I need to create templates for contracts and proposals.
  • I need to streamline my note taking, so they all end up in one, searchable place.
  • I also need to stop getting distracted by notifications. I cut out almost all my push notifications and my email app no longer notifies me of new mail. Instead, I set three weekday ToDoist reminders that tell me to check my email. The first time I check my email, I sort and then create other ToDoist items in case one email requires outside work. The next times I check my email, I only work within my email. No link clicking or checking Facebook. If there’s an interesting headline, I’ll use Pocket to read it later.

The idea for all of the above is that it’ll free up some time for me to focus on current and new projects. In fact, I’ll smooth out my processes, so I can more deliberately focus on other creative projects.

The word also expands into my general life

  • Is attending that networking event really necessary or am I trying to get my people quota in for the week? (In case you didn’t know, I’m pretty introverted.)
  • Do I let something skate by or do I call out what happened? In the last few weeks, I’ve tried to first work things out privately and then take it publicly if the responses are less than satisfactory. It’s a cacophony out there, filled with promotions and lies and sadness. If raising my voice on the slightly elevated platform that I now have will help someone else on a lower platform, then I will do it.

Projects I would like to tackle in the new year:

  • Create some sort of mentorship program within the coffee community
  • Read at least one non-fiction or general fiction book a month. I already tear through several trashy romances a week (not sorry: this is my guilty pleasure)
  • Successfully grow at least one edible plant this year (vegetable, fruit, and/or herb)
  • Start a resource center and/or newsletter that highlights marginalized voices in the coffee industry
  • Figure out how to stage/edit photos that are dark and moody. I might need to take a Lightroom class on this!

I would like to be more deliberate in my choices this year.