2014

Top 10 Posts of 2014

Top 10 Posts of 2014

Happy New Year, y'all! I love this time of the year - looking back, reflecting, dreaming about what the New Year will hold, and making plans to make it happen.

I always love looking back and seeing what your favorite posts were, so this year, I decided to put together a little recap post. Without further ado, here are the top 10 posts of 2014:

Goals for 2014: July Update

Goals for 2014: July Update

Can you believe we're more than halfway through 2014?! It's been a crazy year so far but a lot of good has come from it! Here is an update on the goals I set at the beginning of this year:

SMARTER BUSINESS
Schedule more emails - Boomerang is the best. I schedule all my invoices at once each month - huge time-saver!

No checking email after dinner - I did pretty well with this during the semester, but I've slacked off this summer. Time to get back to better boundaries!

Streamline the workflow of my business - I did some research at the beginning of the year on invoice management programs, but I'm not sure it's the right time to introduce something like this into my studio. Working on a few new plans for billing and payments to implement in September.

Start a new mini blog series - Yes! I created a Taxes for Freelancers series this spring - see posts here, here, here, and here.

Read The $100 Startup - Started it this month!

July Goals

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Happy July!

One of my favorite things about this month is the opportunity to display our patriotism and celebrate the gift of freedom.

In years past, this has meant lining up along Main Street, waving a flag and cheering the parade along its hilly route; sprawling out on a quilt under the stars, savoring a dish of ice cream, and admiring the fireworks display with appropriate "oohs" and "ahs"; and listening to John Philip Sousa marches on repeat.

This year, I think we'll cook some of our favorite all-American (i.e. Southern) food and watch the fireworks from the roof as we munch on chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches.

Here are my goals for the month:

Walk every day and do 30 minutes of bike exercise each week
Go berry-picking (or cherry-picking)!
Review a few sight-reading series to recommend to students this summer/in the fall*
Clean up files from the school year – save/organize on hard drive*
Organize Lake J trip receipts, update records, and file
Start reading The $100 Startup
Schedule brunch on the roof with friends
Spend some time reassessing my annual goals and adjusting as needed
Complete final component of PhD qualifying exam

*carryover from last month

Have a happy 4th of July, y'all!

June Goals

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May was a wonderful month of rest and rejuvenation. I finished my last semester of formal classes as a PhD student (hooray!) and we did lots to celebrate the return of warm, summery weather:

- took walks almost every day
- visited our neighborhood bakery (on a few occasions)
- had happy hour on the roof
- tried a new-to-us recipe for homemade donut holes
- visited with family (and played a few mini concerts!)
- played tennis
- celebrated Memorial Day with a visit to a little farm vineyard for a wine-tasting and picnic lunch

I am looking forward to the fun things we have planned for June!

- my year-end studio recital
- our annual Lake week (see here and here)
- house-sitting with three sweet pups!

JUNE GOALS

Walk every day and do 30 minutes of bike exercise each week
Finish reading A Million Little Ways
Continue intentional time off of social media - daily after dinner and time on weekends
Take steps to organize finances
Look up berry-picking schedules for local farms
Review a few sight-reading series to recommend to students this summer/in the fall
Clean up files from the school year - save/organize on hard drive
Finalize workshop materials for June conference

Happy June!

May Goals

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April was a good month - a busy month, but a good one.  Our little bell choir played two special pieces on Easter Sunday, we had happy hour on the roof for the first time this season, and we tried a few new recipes.  I finished several school projects (one step closer to the end of the semester!), received my article in print form (ahh!), wrapped up the Piano Olympics Festival, finished reading Margin, and sent out the first edition of a new email newsletter - short notes of inspiration, helpful resources, and creative ideas for music teaching.  The second edition will be on its way to your inbox this afternoon!  Not on the list?  Sign up here

I am so grateful for the longer, brighter, warmer days; our evening walks down Park Ave., and time to sit outside and be still at the end of busy work days.  May is when the magnolias bloom all over the city.  It's also the beginning "festival season" in Rochester - looking forward to attending two festivals this month!  Here are my goals:

MAY GOALS

Take a walk down East Ave. during the annual Busker Festival
Do some form of intentional exercise every day
Start reading A Million Little Ways
Continue intentional time off of social media
Go to the Lilac Festival with SD
Write year-end summary letters for each student (Piano teachers - have any of y'all done this before? Something new I'm trying this year.)
Choose final recital repertoire with students, plan details
Prepare workshop materials for June conference
Go see The Amazing Spider-Man 2!
Write out ideas/vision for new blog series (very excited about this!)

Happy May, y'all!  What are you most looking forward to this month?


April Goals

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Okay, so it doesn't exactly look like this in Upstate New York yet, but I'm holding out hope for you, April! (We may or may not have gotten six inches of snow this weekend, but that's beside the point.)

This month, I'm looking forward to more evening walks with SD, more music-making (currently working on an arrangement of "Falling Slowly" from Once), and more intentional rest. Maybe you (like me) have had a rough start to year. Maybe your shiny goals from January are losing their luster. Maybe you're feeling burnt out and uninspired. The good news is that January 1 is only a date on the calendar. You can reset or revise your goals at any time. You can set small action steps any time. You can make choices about how you spend your time. I intend to celebrate this month by living in the moment, cultivating daily gratitude, and making time for the small things in life that mean so much. April is a fresh start, full of promise and potential - let's make the most of it!

APRIL GOALS

Plan an adventure with SD
Continue 60 minutes of intentional exercise per week
Write a note of encouragement to a friend*
Continue reading Margin
Send out my new email newsletter (the first edition is going out later today - it's not too late to sign up!)
Plan intentional time off of social media
Commit to no email after dinner
Celebrate Easter with SD (and the Bell Choir!)

*=carryover from last month

Happy Spring, friends!

March Goals

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"Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all." - Emily Dickinson

In a number of ways, March is a fresh start for me. Winter is fading and I am reminded again and again of God's faithfulness to us when I think about the promise of Spring. "This I call to mind and therefore, I have hope..." (Lamentations 3:21).

MARCH GOALS

Schedule 60 minutes of intentional exercise per week*
Go skiing with SD*
Give an oral defense of my paper (part of my PhD Qualifying Exam)
Write the third "Taxes for Freelancers" post (read Part I and Part II)
Start the Piano Olympics Festival(!) and find ways to document assessment
Write a note of encouragement to a friend
Send a "just because" gift to a friend
Continue reading Margin (I got a head start last month, as you can see!)
Work on Email Newsletter for April (sign up here!)

*carryover from last month

What are your goals for March? I'd love to hear them!

February Goals

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Ashley Danyew | February Goals Happy February!

I don't know about y'all, but January was a l-o-n-g month. Though a little busy at times, it was full of some really good things - I met a few really big goals, pressed "send" on a big fear, and challenged myself to step out of my comfort zone a few times. However, I had multiple projects on my plate all the time and between the early working mornings and late working nights, I got a little burnt out. This is my final semester of PhD coursework (hooray!) and I want to enjoy it instead of letting it consume me. This month, I want to set better boundaries. I want to be better at separating work from my personal life. I want to take more deep breaths. Here's to a great month!

FEBRUARY GOALS

Present my first workshop in Knoxville! Set more work boundaries Plan the first-ever "Piano Olympics" for my studio! Begin planning year-end recital (book venue, communicate with parents) Start organizing tax materials and write the next "Taxes for Freelancers" post Plan studio goals for March Schedule 60 minutes of intentional exercise per week Volunteer with RAIHN (a hospitality organization for homeless families) Start a new 7-week handbell choir session Go skiing with SD

What are your February goals?

Goal-Setting for 2014 - Part II

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It's been a great first week of January!  I had a chance to spend some time this week really thinking about my goals for 2014 and planning for what I'd like to see happen.  Here's where I am:

Based on the things I learned in this post (I even added a few things to the list since I published it - take a look!), I decided to choose goals that are a little more broad - lifestyle ideals rather than things to attain or cross off a list.  I want to live a purposeful life this year.  I want to spend my time doing things that are meaningful and add value to other people's lives.  I want to be intentional about the things that get my time and attention.  I want to live a life that reflects peace and joy.

So without further ado, here are my goals for 2014:

SMARTER BUSINESS

Schedule more emails (thanks, Boomerang!) / No checking email after dinner / Streamline the workflow of my business / Start a new mini blog series / Read The $100 Startup

BETTER TEACHING

Less planning before lessons, more discovery in lessons / Set monthly goals for the studio - things to focus on in each lesson / Think of ways to send formal communication home to parents at the end of year / Plan a year-end recital

PROFESSIONAL

Present my research at Eastman / Finish my course work and pass my qualifying exam / Teach two workshops / Find ways to add value to others through writing or mentoring

LIVING

Take intentional time off on weekends (and times off of social media) / Plan adventures and trips with SD / Plan 90 minutes of intentional exercise per week / Read Margin / Write more / Create an Artifact Uprising book for our first five years together

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JANUARY GOALS

Finish reading Entreleadership and choose a new book Research online invoicing and workflow organization Research and donate to a birthday party mission organization Plan studio goals for January + February Create presentation and materials for my first workshop! Set new budgets + investment plans

This is a work in progress, y'all.  I may edit or add to this list as the year progresses but for now, this is where my head and my heart are.  Each month, I'll be sharing a few of my more action-oriented goals, to keep me accountable and to help bring this list into a living reality.

What are your goals for the year?  Feel free to post them in the comments below or, if you blog your goals somewhere, please share the link - I'd love to read them!

Here's to a wonderful 2014!