So, friend, now that the first quarter of 2023 is over, how’ve you done with your plans for the year. Are you on track? Off track? Or somewhere in the middle? This is what’s on my mind today.
Back in December, I wrote about three things I thought I needed to address for this year. One I wanted to absolutely stop doing, one I wanted to start, and one I thought was fine as it is. Here’s how I’ve done thus far…
The thing I wanted to stop doing
Obsessing over the business performance measures everyone seems to tell me I should obsess over. Specifically, I’m referring to my website analytics. You know, the whole deal. I was getting a bit carried away with checking something that I had little control over, and at this stage of the game, really wouldn’t accurately reflect real performance for my small business. I told myself I needed to stop. How’ve I done? Great, actually.
These days, I only check in on my business analytics once per month. How’d I do it? Basically, I did two things: 1) I told myself that the behavior I had adopted wasn’t logical, and 2) I scheduled a monthly check-the-business-analytics item on my calendar. Yes, this is really all it took once I realized that I was kind of chasing something that at this stage really wasn’t that meaningful. In truth, watching the data in my reports was more of a fascination than anything else. Sort of like watching a 3-D printer print something. Interesting, sure. But meaningful? Not really. So, what has not being so obsessive about the numbers allowed me to do instead? Easy…rather, I’ve been able to place more emphasis on developing my strategy for moving my business forward, and then, focus on implementing that strategy. Two examples: better promoting what makes my business stand apart from others, and growing my subscriber base. I’ve found this to be far more productive in terms of my attention, and best, I’ve made real progress on both.
And the thing I wanted to start doing
This was to work on building my creative muscle. As I wrote then, this wasn’t about production per se, but more about habit or culture change. I felt that I needed to spend more time developing a consistent habit of creative, self-initiated doing which I felt was necessary for me to achieve my goals for the business. Commonly, people working in creative fields think of this as content creation. And I think that’s right in part. But for me right now, I can’t just focus on creating content, I need to also push out in multiple directions to see which most resonate with me. How’ve I done? Pretty good, I think.
Thus far, my most obvious content strategy was/is to continue publishing my thoughts and experiences in this journal. My goal back almost a year ago, was to publish bi-weekly. I’ve had blogs before, and before set similar goals. But the one thing I’ve not been able to do is achieve consistency. Until now. Thus far, I’ve updated my journal as planned for approaching one year without a missed date. How’ve I done it? I focused on writing about what was actually on my mind and/or happening with me – my experiences – rather than what I thought others’ might want to hear or read. In short, because I focused on what was important to me, I’ve had little challenge with being consistent. Other examples are I’ve started producing short how-to and informational videos for my website and e-newsletters; I’ve created a few digital download products and explored how to effectively deliver them through my site; and I’ve created a digital font in my hand for use on certain printing projects. Each of these will play a role in the further development of my business.
Lastly, the thing I wanted to keep doing
Which was to continue learning to live my new schedule. I written before about how doing this has proved much more challenging than I ever would have figured because habits and behaviors learned over years become deeply engrained. So, how’ve I done? Ha! I’m still working on this one.
But, I’m getting better at it. Now, it’s so much easier to tell people (and myself, for one) that, for example, Thursday-Friday are my baking priority days. I used to say this, and then continue to schedule meetings and other things to do over this time. No more. I’ve evolved. Now, Thursday-Friday is for baking, and nothing else is more important than that. As a result, those days are calmer; busy, sure, but the days flow more predictably. I’m able to get what I need to get done, and don’t feel burnt up at the end. The obstacle wasn’t time, it was me.
So, that’s my report. How’ve you done with your own plan? I hope you’ve made good progress. And if not, well, try to understand what’s holding you back. Be the version of yourself you aspire to be. You can do this.
We’ve got big things to accomplish.