How to Simply Summarise Your Year

Yikes! When I heard last week someone say it was October, my heart missed a beat!
Three quarters of the way through the year –
Where has it gone?
What have I done?
Is the year escaping me?

I’m convinced the world is spinning faster as days fly, weeks skip and months on occasions simply disappear!

Four years ago I felt the need for a way to summarise my year.
A single sheet that would encapsulate what I’d been up to over the course of 12 months so at year’s end I could see what I’d experienced – I could view my year at a glance.

Map Journal to create a year at a glance

Journal Map

I pulled out a Journal Map.
Seeing the central map on these A2 sized sheets as a representation of journeys both in general – and more specifically as a portrayal of Life’s Journeys.

Year at a glance summary sheet

My Years at a Glance from 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

Above are my past 4 years of Year at a Glance
As you can see – They’re no works of art!
They’re merely a pragmatic way to summarize my year on a single sheet!

Month at a glance
Using each of the 11 surrounding boxes I record a highlight at the end of each month.
A scribbley, messy, reminder of what the main thing was that happened in the preceding 4 weeks.

Journaling like a mapmaker series

Such as kicking off my How to Journal Like a Map-Maker series of blog posts…

Or ~

Heading to ProBlogger on the Gold CoastHeading off to the Gold Coast for the ProBlogger Conference where the lovely Rachel Devine offered new profile photos to 50 attendees.

I have to say – My Year at a Glance is a lifesaver!
As I roll my eyes saying – where did that time go?
I can reflect and recall moments that deserve to be memorable.

2014 Year at a Glance
So what has happened to 2014?
Above is my year at a glance so far!
No flicking through pages and pages of diaries, or checking out some (soon to be superseded) on-line app.

October at a Glance
And in the coming month… I’m flying to Greece for the travel blogging conference TBEX.

Where have you been and what have you done?
And how do you recall your highlights?

Have you considered creating a Year at a Glance?

Do share in the comments below 🙂

40 thoughts on “How to Simply Summarise Your Year

  1. You have such an artistic talent and I do love how – with just one glance you can remember what you’ve done. Pictures are much better reminders than words. I agree that time is spinning quickly. Hope it feels like that come winter.

    • I noticed on your blog you responded to a comment with:
      “Nice to hear a comment from someone who thinks they could do it” –
      That’s how I feel about what I do – I want other people to not feel daunted but to just give it a go! 😉

  2. Your maps are so creative and I love the “year at a glance” idea. As for time, my theory about the days, weeks and months whizzing by at lightning speed is that we’re having fun doing what we want to do, when we want to do it. No more clock watching!

    • And for me, it doesn’t help living in a sub tropical climate, where there aren’t the demarcations of seasons to remind you another 3 months has passed!

  3. For us our own blog, accompanied by an old-fashioned paper diary where we jot down the names of places we passed and a few cues, is our way to store travel memories. The most important thing is to name photos early, best within a couple of days, or we forget small details.
    ps: and there you painted a big red arrow, pointing to Sydney, through our home town Byron Bay – as if it doesn’t exist…
    Juergen | dare2go recently posted..Museum of Pre-Columbian Art in SantiagoMy Profile

    • I think those who aren’t using a so called “old-fashioned” paper diary in years to come will possibly live to regret it when platforms get superseded (like video players have) and their material is no longer accessible!
      I love Byron Bay so no big red strike-through intended LOL 😀

  4. I’ll never give up my old fashioned paper journals — well, until some unfortunate relative has the task of ‘cleaning out’ my stuff one day — You always have such wonderful, creative ideas and I think one day ‘maybe’ I’ll give it a try. Time is just going too fast as you noted to get everything done!

    • Maybe at the end of each month you could try dedicating one page to a pictograph summary of the highlights so when you flick through you can see your months at a glance fly past?! 😉

    • I use whatever is the quickest and simplest way to convey where I’ve been and what I’ve done that doesn’t involve a wall of words!
      You should give it a go – you may surprise yourself! 😉

  5. Love your journal maps and I wish there were one with a globe map. They are works of art as you’ve created yours and such a treasure in this digital age. I can only imagine framing them as a group over the years. Nice work!

    • I think, when it comes down to it, to be able to enjoy travel memories in the future one simply has to allocate 10 or 15 mins at some point during the day – While it initially feels like an intrusion into running free and simply enjoying the experience, the pleasure I’ve had from flicking through my story maps far out-weigh that little bit of time taken out of the trip – and in fact, once I’ve started, I find their creation at the time actually adds to the fun of the trip 😉

    • Yes – the way the year flashes by it’s great to be able to literally see at a glance where it’s gone and what I’ve done.
      Really looking forward to the travel bloggers conference… and Greece 😉

  6. I love the way you memorialize your year! Not being an artist, I summarize mine in my Christmas letter every year (it’s very short and sweet): number of countries, states and continents, and a few photos. This year, so far, I have visited 11 countries, 21 states and four continents. And, I scrapbook!

    • Wow! You’ve had quite a year Marilyn – and I love the fact that you use your Christmas letter to review your year –
      Not being a scrapbooker I admire your patience – Would love to see an extract (or two) some time! 😉

    • How exciting you’ve been inspired to create story maps – And had fun in the process!
      For the year it is simply a case of stopping at the end of each month and saying – What have I done?
      That’s it!! 😉

  7. You are an artist, whether you consider yourself one or not. These are interesting and beautiful and fit with your talents and abilities, I’m sure. My “year at a glance” would most likely be a photo diary of sorts. You’ve given me an idea, as I often have to look back to see when I visited a particular island. The years are starting to run together! Thanks for preparing this thought-provoking post!
    Debbra Dunning Brouillette recently posted..St. Croix’s Underwater WorldMy Profile

    • I think it was that very feeling of years starting to merge together that made me think I needed something where I could see events in their place!
      This works a treat! 🙂

  8. I truly love the idea of summarizing this year with a story map. It’s been a busy year and there is no way I will remember everything I did in 2014 in a few years or even next year. Your story maps are beautiful!

  9. I also can’t believe how fast the year has gone. Yes, of course I LOVE your maps and artwork and just go ‘Ahhh’ each time I see another (Btw, I love your lead photo to this post), but I know I couldn’t do the same. But we do use Photo Books to record our trips and travels, so they don’t totally get forgotten. But oh to be able to draw and have your talent – sigh!

    • It’s like your writing Jo, it simply takes doing it repeatedly, so slowly but surely (read dogged determinaion!) something other than a kindergarten rendition appears!
      Love that you create photo books – Now that’s something I keep saying I’m going to do… But it turns into one day! 🙂

    • Recording your memories, by any which way you can is important if you want to be able to enjoy the all important memories in years to come – you should trypictogramss too 🙂

  10. As you know, I’m a HUGE fan of your work! I love, love, love this year at a glance project. And I look forward to hearing about your travels to Greece, which is high on my list of places in the world I’d love to visit.

    • TBEX and Greece were fantastic Patti 🙂
      We spent a week on the island of Tinos, and a week after the travel blogging conference going up to magnificent Meteora where monasteries were built atop tall narrow mountains!
      And then down to Delphi which was wonderful!

    • It’s never too late to do a year at a glance Sally so I’m super happy you’re going to do one now for 2014 🙂
      As time goes by, you’ll be more and more pleased you took the plunge when you did!

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