Have you set your goals for this month yet? I made mine on the 1st:
I also like to take a picture of these goals and make them the wallpaper on my iPhone, so when I’m not in the office, I can look at them and think, “Is what I’m doing RIGHT NOW helping these get accomplished?”
This is in an effort to improve my consistency and writing.
I think blogging everyday helps me “find my voice”….it’s hard to write EVERYDAY in a voice that isn’t mine.
If I don’t accomplish this goal, I made a resolution to donate $300 to a particular homeless shelter. That’s a BAD thing for me since I hate that homeless shelter’s location. (Damn…I just realized what a gigantic asshole I must be. I’m making myself donate money to a homeless shelter as a PUNISHMENT)! Oh well…whatever works for each person.
It’s also kind of fun and gives me an excuse to sometimes write posts with little substance (no jokes please).
It will force me to pre-write posts in advance for days that I am travelling and will get little/no time to write.
1.) I am starting that 6-pack experiment in April and have begun preparing for it by eating ultra-clean and ultra-lean. Pretty much all day I’m eating 100% raw foods only…that’s not the plan for the whole month, but it’s been my diet for the last week. It’s not hard as I expected (because I’ve been eating well for a few months now), but keeping this up for a full month and resisting the urge to pig out at social events gets HARD.
However for the month of April I want to see a dramatic change in the way my stomach looks…and for that I need to be calorie deficient for weeks at a time. I can easily keep my current physique with the way I’m eating now, but my diet must be extra-ordinarily good to see those extraordinary results.
2.) As you know I own a business called House Of Rave which is all online. Over the last year I made a lot of small tweaks which cut down on the number of customer support inquires and time spent getting orders out. At a bare minimum I need to spend less than 30 minutes every weekday administering the site…the rest runs on it’s own. That alone can pay all my bills and still save money.
Pretty cool eh! 30 minutes of work per day!
Well…I also like the business to GROW….so to maintain AND grow the site takes about 2 hours per day (mainly spent adding product photo/video reviews).
I will admit…over these first few months of 2010 those small required amounts of time have spoiled me. I’ve stopped updating the site as much as I should. The 1st quarter is never a FANTASTIC time for a business like mine (which sells party supplies) and is also enduring a bad economy, but I think I’ve been slipping quite a bit on my responsibilities to it.
Extraordinary effort doesn’t necessarily mean long hours (although that certainly helps)….because with this business a very consistent tweaking of small things every day can make a HUGE impact. I’ve proved this many times, including one time I documented 30 small changes I made with very clear results (aka MO MONEY)!
I think what I’ll do in April is one day blog about a small HoR change, then the next day document the diet and steps I’ve taken to get a ripped-ass six pack.
It’s simply a giant year calendar that faces my bed so I see it all the time. If I accomplish my daily to-do list, I put a checkmark. If I don’t finish the to-do list, I put a dot:
The whole reasoning for this calendar is to make finishing my daily goals consistent. The quote I keep on top of the calendar sums it up:
Excellence is not an act, but a habit –Plato
Here’s the number results of these four months (weekends included):
Good Day: When my written-the-night-before to-do lists get completely finished. Bad Day: When to-do list not fully finished. Most of the bad days are weekends.
UNEXPECTED CONSEQUENCES: The to-do lists I give myself are generally quite a bit of work. A standard to-do list generally will keep me occupied for a full 8-12 hours. Sometimes it takes less, sometimes it takes more. Most of this work involves me staring at a computer, so 8-12 hours of this per day gets a little straining.
I noticed when I tried getting a checkmark 7 days of the week, I burned myself out! The following days would be very unproductive and filled with low quality work because I was burning myself out. So after figuring out different ways of becoming more productive, I found out the best way is to allow myself about 2 bad days per week. This can be the weekdays or weekends…whatever I feel. This way the work is enjoyable and I still get large amounts of work done.
Here is a recent shot of the filled out calendar:
The first month I was getting REALLY pissed if I didn’t fill out a checkmark for the day, so I started working very hard the next day to fill it out. After a while I started making checking these off a habit. It’s helped me stop procrastinating as much, because in the middle of the day I think, “I can either continue to screw off and get a dot for the day, or just start doing this work, getting it out of the way and get a checkmark for the day.”
I also have less fun going out if I don’t finish all my work. When I finish off a great day of work, it feels good and well deserved to go out. So being more productive actually allows me to have more fun!
Anyhow, I’d highly recommend this Seinfeld Productivity Calendar method. It’s definitely helped me become more focused and productive through the day!
Think of a ship with the complete voyage mapped out and planned. The captain and crew know exactly where the ship is going and how long it will take – it has a definite goal. And 9,999 times out of 10,000, it will get there.
Now let’s take another ship – just like the first – only let’s not put a crew on it, or a captain at the helm. Let’s give it no aiming point, no goal, and no destination. We just start the engines and let it go. I think you’ll agree that if it gets out of the harbor at all, it will either sink or wind up on some deserted beach – a derelict. It can’t go anyplace because it has no destination and no guidance.
While 2007 was a good year, it was also a relatively stagnant year. At the end of 2007 I wasn’t much further along as I should or could have been with clear cut goals. It’s a pretty gross feeling.
Somewhere in the February to April part of 2008 I once again started focusing and making very clear cut goals on yearly/monthly revenue and other things. It worked great. Making month to month comparisons was especially helpful because you can literally SEE yourself slipping or getting lazy in numbers:
Before I made my 2009 list of goals, I made sure to really think about each goal first. I used this criteria:
Is this goal something I REALLY want?
Am I willing to put in the time and effort to accomplish this, or is it just something I’d “like” to accomplish?
Will this actually benefit me?
Here are some of my top level biz goals for 2009:
Have first $83,333 revenue month at House Of Rave ($1,000,000/year equiv) by 4th quarter 2009.
Spend around one full month with the House Of Rave drop shipper to re-vamp and improve processes.
Keep a more aggressive track on month to month income, taking a few minutes on the 1st, 10th, 15th and 25th of the month to make sure monthly goals are being met…and if not, ways to meet them by months end.
Start preparing for holiday seasons & mini-seasons 3 months in advance. One month for product additions, two months for tweaking.
Any changes made should be measured. Don’t simply make changes and see they improve things, actually measure what was improved. How did each specific change effect traffic, conversion rate, or revenue (and other metrics)?
…tying in from #6: Keep a close watch on month-to-month trends and numbers. Print out charts and keep in a folder like I keep my daily to-do lists.
Maintain and increase current year-to-year growth rate of House Of Rave: If I compare House Of Rave revenue from X-month 2007 to X-month 2008 there was a minimum of 177% increase and a maximum of 504% increase. I’ll post the numbers at some point. Profit was increased by 307% from 2007 to 2008.
SOME PERSONAL GOALS:
Start buying proper furnishings. For some reason I hate owning a lot of big stuff, especially furniture. It has nothing to do with money, but everything to do with portability and freedom. Previously I’ve lived in furnished apartments which provide all the furniture (and it’s nice furniture too). When I started living in a house I absolutely detested the idea of having to BUY a bed. It took the combined force of my mom and my roommate (who owns the house) to make me buy a bed. My mom literally stuffed hundreds of dollars in cash into my palm saying I had to buy a real bed with it…and my roommate said he wouldn’t let me live there if I slept on anything but a proper bed.
I can sleep on the floor with a thin sheet for all I care, so a bed seemed like a ridiculous notion to me (I know I know….I sound like a homeless person).
Anyhow, a few months ago I think I officially became an adult when I…….bought new pillows. Under my own will power I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond and bought a king sized pillow and a body pillow. It was a big step. It was the first (non-forced) purchase I’ve ever made that benefited my own physical comfort. This is the first cautious step into slowly becoming somewhat of a grown up.
Spend a few short minutes every morning for some thinking time. I used to take yoga classes and after an hour of intense positions you’d just lay there. Those few moments made all that work worth it. Like clockwork this sudden feeling of mental clarity would hit me. My mind would slow down to a halt and this euphoric sensation would take over. It’s hard to describe, but very cool.
I would try to duplicate this some mornings without the hour of yoga preceeding it, and I found that simply sitting in a comfortable meditation-like position (but not comfortable enough to fall asleep), would yield a similar clarity, but without the brain-shutting-down part. This means I can think about my plans, goals and objectives for the day in a clear state. I also tend to get some great ideas during this time (although about 50% of my ideas still come to me whilst showering).
Doing this morning exercise every day would feel great and be very beneficial.
So far these are the only goals I have that I know I can stick to. They can always be modified or added to during the year.