The title of this goal review says it all. March was a month of complete and utter mayhem. That’s not to say it was a bad month, per se, but it was the month when all my plans seemed to be tossed out the window and kicked around like the Fates’ playthings.
The primary catalyst for all this craziness? My daughter preparing to sit her driver’s licence test. Where we live, young drivers (18 – 21 year olds) are required to have 120 hours of supervised driving before they can take their driving test. If you’re racking up those hours over a two year period (kids can get their learner’s permit at 16) it’s not so daunting but… it took a long time before my daughter was confident enough to start doing some serious driving so we were squeezing a lot of driving hours into a short time frame. This resulted in my sitting in the passenger seat for up to two hours at a time while taking long drives around our (luckily) scenic location. Add to that, a two hour lesson with an instructor each week which required me to drive her to our regional city, hang around while she had her lesson and then drive home again – good-bye three hours of potential work time! I did manage to get some reading and prep work done during these sessions but not enough to really make a difference.
The icing on the madness and mayhem cake was a prolonged bout of insomnia. Everything, and I mean everything is so much more challenging when you’re sleep deprived and stressed. Of course, the two conditions are mutually reinforcing so it can be a tough cycle to break. Luckily one source of stress is now resolved, my daughter has her driver’s licence so no more taxi driving or long scenic drives or hanging around during lessons. Yay! But, now I get to worry about her being out on the road on her own.
In total, I calculated I lost around 40 potential work hours during March.
March Goal Review
So… how did I do with my March goals, you ask? No prizes for guessing!
Here’s my goal review:
- Secure my first [paying] freelance writing and/or editing job – FAIL
- Preserve my home grown apples – FAIL (some got eaten though!)
- Employ a zero sum budget – PASS-ish (I employed this system for most of my budget but not all)
- Get my house in order. Ha ha ha ha… FAIL!!!
What Worked in March
One thing we did do really well last month was control our grocery (eating out/supermarket/pet food) budget and managed to reduce it by nearly 20% on the previous month, which was a huge reduction on the month before, too. We’re now spending around $440 per month and that includes eating out, all consumables (two adults) and feeding three hungry felines. I was really pleased with that outcome but I know there’s still fat that can be trimmed from the budget so stay tuned for another reduction in April.
Not surprisingly, fuel costs went up. In fact, that part of the budget was over the previous month by about 70%. Now that my scenic tours are over, I expect that figure to drop considerably in April.
I also sold all the plants I’d previously propagated, as discussed here, and managed to get a few more cuttings and runners started so I can keep this little cash earner going. I hope to do a lot more with this in the future.
March was definitely a month of highs and lows with a fair sprinkling of frustration in there, too. But I learned a valuable lesson: sometimes it’s important to let go of your expectations of what you can sensibly achieve in a specified time.
I was very excited about making the decision to pursue my first paying freelance job but in order to commit the time to my daughter and keep my primary business functioning, I just couldn’t allocate sufficient time to the task. Rather than stress about it, I chose to let it go until other responsibilities were completed. It’s back on the agenda for April though.
Well, that’s March’s goal review done and the first quarter of the year completed. I’m not sure I’m on track for everything I hope to achieve this year but I’m excited to see what April brings. Can’t ask for much more than that… except maybe a good night’s sleep.