Monday, January 06, 2014

A is for Assessment

To my regular readers: I mentioned that I was taking part in the VA Tips & Tricks Blogging Challenge? Well, it's about to start. I hope that you find my posts useful/entertaining or something. At least, not BORING! Maybe even interesting enough to want to read posts by other participants? There's over 60 of us!

I also want to thank you for always showing up, no matter how busy your own lives get. You make me want to be better; do better. Which is what inspired this post.

And to my new visitors who came through as part of the challenge, thank you for visiting my blog, Storypot. I hope you enjoy your stay here.. and we can make you want to come back:-) And thanks Gaynor for inviting me to participate in the challenge. 


For the past couple of months, I've been doing an assessment of my life and career.  I wanted to see where I was doing things right, and could pat myself on the back for the success, LOL, and what I was doing wrong, so I could work towards improving.

I also wanted to use the information I gathered to better plan my days, so I could set realistic goals and do what I need to do with minimum stress. I decided to divide my assessment into separate life categories to try to make it all make sense:


Pumpkin, watermelon, squash &  cucumber run wild in backgarden

I started with health because I have learnt that this is the most critical aspect of our lives. Without good health, the centre doesn't hold and the rest of your life plans can crumble.

So here are some of the issues my assessment raised:

  • Are we eating the best we can, with what we can afford?
  • Are we eating enough variety of vegetables to get the nutrients Mma and I need, keeping in mind that Mma has high blood pressure, diabetes and had a stroke, and I had ulcer and weight issues?
  • Where do we get most of our vegetables? Is that the best source we can have?
  • How do I grow enough vegetables, fruit and herbs, and variety to meet our needs? 
  • How much does my current garden contribute? 
  • Do I need to improve our food output? What resources do I have NOW that can allow me to do so?
  • Do we eat within our means? If not what can we do to lower the cost without reducing the quality?
  • What is the status of our bodies and our treatment needs - annual check ups, dental needs, do mammogram etc.

  • Do we have an accurate record of our income and expenditures?
  • How much, in total, do we earn
  • Where and how do we spend our money
  • How much debt, savings and investments do we have?
  • Do we live beyond, within or below our means?
  • Are we stressed about money?
  • What do we need to do to reduce our lifestyle costs without impacting on our standard of living?

To assist me in answering some of these questions, I joined Simple  Living Forums, where I was able to access a great number of tools and meet very supportive people who are on similar journeys and are very happy to share what they learnt.


Available on Amazon
I would like my work life to be made up of writing for clients, creative writing projects (children's books and novels), blogging and some self-publishing.

So my questions were:
  • Is it realistic to do less work for clients and increasingly expect my own projects to pay bills?
  • How well have my own projects done to date? What proportion to my income did they contribute?
  • Has that proportion grown over the past 3 years, or has it gone down, and if so, why?
  • What can I do to improve things so there is growth in 2014/2015?
  • What  % of client work do I want to work with in comparison with my own projects? Would these clients bring me the required income to maintain my standard of living while growing my publishing business?
  • Is my blogging contributing to my life and business? Of all my blogs, which ones are the best 3 contributors and why? Can those qualities be duplicated in my other blog ventures?
  • Do my self-publishing ventures contribute significant income to my business and why/why not? What can I do to imrpove their performance in 2014/5?
  • How much can creative work contribute to my income? What do I need to do to grow this aspect of the business? 
I'm also planning to do a monthly assessment of my business. My blogging friend Lori Widmer has a  very nice format that I can adapt to meet my specific needs.

There are two reasons why the state of my home is very important to me: this is not just the place where I sleep: this is where I work, socialise, create, hang out. So it's very important that it is very appealing to me, and meets my needs. But money is a very critical issue as always, so I need to do all this on a tight budget.

So the questions for this aspect of my life were:

  • Does your home provide an adequate place to live, socialise, work, entertain and play?
  • What do you need to do to improve on how it serves you in 2014/5 without breaking the bank?

Once again, Simple Living Forums provided the tools including how to repurpose things I have to better suit my needs.


Definitely not my idea of entertainment
Just because I have moved to a rural area and live a simpler life does not mean that I should cut myself off from fun.  So I had to ask myself:

  • What do I consider fun? 
  • What activities do I enjoy? 
  • Have I been making the time to engage in them? if not, why not?
  • Is there a way for me to do more of these activities?
  • How much do they cost me per month/annually?
  • Is the expense worth the experience?
  • What can I do to enjoy what I love while keeping costs down?
As you can see, this turned out to be a very intense, introspective process. But I'm happy that I did, and I am hopeful that it will help me grow into a a me who lives a more successful and fulfilling life.

I'd love to learn how you have changed aspects of your life, or which aspects of your life you'd like to change. 

And I would be honoured if you chose aspects of the questions I asked myself to assess your own life, health, money situation, work situation etc.


Cheryl said...

I love how you broke this down into sections of your life. So much easier to manage and accomplish! Looking forward to reading more of your work :)

Damaria Senne said...

Thanks for visiting Cheryl. I hope to see you again during the challenge.

Unknown said...

Breaking things into categories help me as well. I admit I need to do a better job at this so I appreciated reading how you are doing it. Thank you for pointing out different areas some I didn't think of.

Damaria Senne said...

I'm glad this is helpful for you Shawn. Good luck on your own journey.

Gaynor said...

Hey D! Firstly, I know, I rock. LOL. But thank you for the acknowledgement! Secondly, sjoe as always your post is profound and thought provoking. You've asked so many questions, just as I think I have my whole life worked out, I'll have to go and do some assessing. Good post!

Damaria Senne said...

Thanks Gaynor.I'd be happy if this post could help my readers as they consider some of their life issues, be it business, money, health or any combinations thereof.

Susan said...

Loved your post - especially the part on health. So many of us entrepreneurs take our health for granted and without it nothing else works. Thanks for sharing.

Damaria Senne said...

Thanks for visiting Susan. I learnt that the hard way when I'd wake up in the middle of the night in incredible pain due to an ulcer. My business was affected by this illness quite a lot.

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