Do you create yearly goals?
Honestly, I have never been a person to sit down and set yearly goals for myself. I also don't do New Years Resolutions. It always felt like too much pressure and a bit like I was setting myself up for failure.
OR Maybe I was just being lazy.
Regardless, this year I am doing some 2016 goal setting. Are you?
If you do yearly goals for yourself, how are you at achieving them? (Tips are always welcomed around here.)
If I had to give a theme to my business life in 2015, it would be "Killing Projects." 2015 started with my plate overflowing with projects.
Thinking back it looked like a buffet of lovely lovely food.
All of the choices are amazing but there is no way that I could "eat" all of that in one sitting or "do" all of that in one year.
Buffet Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alsis35/
As a result, I spent 2015 refining my goals and my projects. The digital space provides a great deal of opportunity and that can be exciting but it can also become overwhelming. As a result, I had to let get of a few projects and pick the projects to focus on. This was not an easy decision for me and I do hope that they will be picked back up some day.
The Power of Learning and Listening
In 2015 I spent a great deal of my time listening carefully to successful people. There were some wonderful conferences, terrific email exchanges and amazing podcast content.
If I had to recommend one podcast above all podcasts it would be Kate's Take and this is an excellent episode to start with: http://www.eofire.com/becoming-more-efficient-theming-your-days/. This episode is all about theming your days, what that means and how to utilize it.
In this excerpt from Kate's Blog Post, you will see how powerful thinking about your time themes can truly be.
DO THE WORK
Two major reasons why theming your days works – why you’re able to be more efficient, get more done, and make more money in your business – are:
1. You no longer wake up asking yourself, “What should I work on today?“
2. You don’t have to readjust and refocus 3 to 4 times throughout the day as you jump from one unrelated task to the next.
But theming your days is only going to help you be more efficient, get more done, and make more money in your business if you actually do the work. ~source: Kate L. Erickson
My key takeaway about productivity is that there are plenty of hacks and everyone must find whatever method works best for them. However, there is one fact that seems to be universally true and it is that context switching interrupts productivity.
What is context switching?
Context switching is when you spend part of your day writing a blog post, working on a client project, doing a piece of code and then other random tasks. Before you know it the day is up and you were busy but didn't actually finish anything.
You sure are worn out though right?
In this article by Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brain-wise/201209/the-true-cost-multi-tasking you will learn how important focusing one task at a time really is. You can lose 40% of your day because you switching tasks during the day.
Task switching is "expensive" -- There has been a lot of research on task switching. Here's what we know from the research:
- It takes more time to get tasks completed if you switch between them than if you do them one at a time.
- You make more errors when you switch than if you do one task at a time.
- If the tasks are complex then these time and error penalties increase.
- Each task switch might waste only 1/10th of a second, but if you do a lot of switching in a day it can add up to a loss of 40% of your productivity.
- Task switching involves several parts of your brain: Brain scans during task switching show activity in four major areas: the pre-frontal cortex is involved in shifting and focusing your attention, and selecting which task to do when. The posterior parietal lobe activates rules for each task you switch to, the anterior cingulate gyrus monitors errors, and the pre-motor cortex is preparing for you to move in some way.
There was a time when I would think to myself that I should work for an hour or two on multiple projects. In my mind it was the best way to give all of my important projects the attention that they need. However, at the end of the day, nothing was finished and instead of feeling accomplished, I just felt spent.
Then when I heard Kate's podcast and it inspired me to start rethinking everything. At first, I was thinking of my day as themes such as (this is podcast day or this is build a new site day) but now I am taking it even further.
Now I am looking ahead and theming my weeks. One of the realizations is that most everything that I do takes more than one day to complete. While theming my days was great, I still would end my day frustrated. One day was just not enough time to get all of my podcasts written, recorded and uploaded.
Looking Ahead to 2016 Goals
Since 2006, Chris Brogan has been coming up with 3 words to represent his yearly goals http://chrisbrogan.com/3-words-2015/. We all know that statistics say that new years resolutions do not work for most people.
In the excerpt below Chris talks about how Focus is a bit too unfocused. I highly recommend that you stop by and read his entire post.
Secondly, I’ve heard from people over the past 8 years who have told me that vague words rarely help. “Focus” is on a lot of people’s 3 words lists and people report back that it doesn’t help them. Why? Because the word “focus” is a bit too, well, unfocused. It’s a word in search of a problem. ~Brogan
When I started planning out 2016 I kept pilling on tasks for myself. As I said earlier, there are so many options in the digital space. Here is a short list of my long list that I started piling on:
- Spend more time on Instagram
- Create more Instagram images
- Create more video courses
- Write cards to my best friend just to say hi
- Read more
- Find a reposting software
- Figure out the best way to do interviews
- Clean up my Evernote
Stop it Renee'
I stopped and forced myself to ask a very important question. What is the ultimate goal. This is when I remembered the 3 words.
Right now my desk is a mess of papers. I have sticky's on the wall and the white board in a 4 square format. When I paused and looked around, I noticed a theme in my notes.
Growth is what I am trying to achieve and I decided to make it my primary focus but I knew that I need a few things that complimented it.
Here are my 3 words for 2016:
Bonus Word: Plan
As a note: Chris says that 4 words is a no no. I am going to skate by with a bonus word and see how it goes.
In 2015 I doubled my blog numbers from 2014 but that is not enough. Considering how little effort I put into my blog in 2014, that is not a worthy statement. In 2016 I need to focus on growing blog traffic as if my life depends on it because the life of my blog does depend on it.
It seems logical to me that the income that my blog generates will grow as traffic to the blog grows.
One of the consistent ideas about blog growth that I read over and over again is how important guest blogging is to growth. So far, I have avoided this because it has been a struggle just to get content written for my own blog.
However, in 2016 I want to attempt to do some guest blogging and general blogger outreach. These are second quarter goals for me and I will keep you updated. With that said, if you have any ideas that you would like propose for I Teach Blogging, do let me know. Outreach goes both ways and I would love to see a few guest bloggers in ITB.
In 2014 and in 2015 we attended some truly amazing conferences and the people that I met along the way are awe inspiring. Sadly, I did not do a very good job of keeping in touch and it is a goal to rectify that. How can I help my peers achieve their goals? How can I lift up the folks that I admire? Sometimes bloggers can find themselves in a bubble and we need to remember to bust out of that bubble.
Friends are a critical part of life and they are a part that has been on the back burner for me. I would really like to step it up and just be a slightly better friend in 2016. This can be as simple as texting a bit more, a few more emails, a birthday card and a phone call.
- Less negative news
- Eat better
- Does the info serve me right now? JIT (Just In Time Learning)
- Read more
Years ago in my corporate life I attended a training seminar about JIT (Just In Time). It was related to manufacturing and not keeping too much inventory. The goal was to make sure that the shop had exactly what they needed at exactly the right time. This required a great deal of logistical planning but the savings for the company was significant.
This concept has stuck with me over the years and in 2016, I want to apply to my learning. I don't know about you but I run across free and paid downloadable items that I know will help me on a near daily basis. Sometimes, I know that they will be helpful for a future project that is coming up and so I grab them.
The temptation is to go ahead and look them over straight away. That is a bad idea though because it is using brain space that doesn't need to be used yet. Brainspace is a real issue and we only have so much of it. This is why I want to practice more JIT in my life. It will be a serious challenge but I want to only intake information that serves me right now.
In 2014 and 2015, I was fortunate to be given quite a few books. Sadly, I have not been reading them and that breaks my heart. Reading feeds the soul and so more reading of books is on the agenda.
Putting all of those goals together
Once I had broken it all down, I needed to commit it to paper, organize it and say it out loud. Here is a general outline.
- Revenue Streams
- Bonus Revenue Stream
- Future Revenue Stream
I defined what I expected to be my money makers in 2016 and I added in a wish list item. Then I wanted to make sure that all of it is building towards something, which is my future money makers.
- Video Courses
- Worthy Affiliate Relationships
- External Blogs
- Niche Blog Boss
How to get there?
It is great to create a list of how to make money but then the real questions becomes how do I do that? This is when I turned to my mentors Josh and Jill Stanton over at Screw the Nine to Five.
A few months back I joined their membership site called ScrewU, which is all about how to create a living in the digital space. Then you can Screw your 9 to 5, which means quit your day job and create a life of freedom.
By the way, a life of freedom does not mean a life free of work and effort. It just means that you do those things on your own terms.
My Thoughts on Entrepreneurship:
Being an entrepreneur allows you so much freedom. You have the freedom to work on a holiday, work from home, work from a coffee shop, or work on the side of the road. As long as you working, there is so much freedom.
So I turned to their sales funnel method: http://screwtheninetofive.com/how-to-create-a-sales-funnel/ and started taking notes. We all need guidance and community and the Screw U community means the world to me.
After boiling it all down, this list is a general idea of what I will be doing on a monthly basis. It is all about creating valuable content for ITB readers and listeners.
- Valuable Podcast Episodes
- Epic Blog Post
- Detail Tutorials on excellent products
- Explainers on how to start a blog and keep blogg
- WordPress Tips
- Social Media tips
- Growing Email lists
- Provide to the point content upgrades
- Newsletter updates
As you can see it is extremely content driven and creating content is extremely time consuming. When I started documenting all of this, I realized that nothing could be accomplished in a single day. It has taken me 4 full days to put together this post that you are reading. This is when I came up with the idea to theme my weeks, see below.
Weekly Theme Plan
Week 1: Podcast Episodes
Week 2: New Blog
Week 3: ITB Epic Post
Week 4: Maintenance / Special Project
Old Show Notes Cleanup
2016 is going to be an exciting year and it is going to be a darn busy one for sure. I am ready for it, are you?
This is a high level overview of what I have detailed out for 2016. In this post alone, there are quite a few issues that can be detailed out even further, such as what the heck is SCRUM. I can't wait to start sharing these exciting tips with you.
Have you planned your year and if so how did you do it? What questions do you have about my year and more importantly, any suggestions?