Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed a longer than usual weekend and are adjusting to the work week and the start of another year. I like to start my year with thoughts toward the future and today I want to share my goals for 2018.
Last week when we were way back in 2017, I took a look at the year that was and reviewed the goals I set last January. Spoiler alert. I didn’t get much done, at least not when it came to the specific goals I set. I was able to accomplish a few things that weren’t goals and I learned things that will hopefully help me do better this year.
I’ve been setting and reviewing goals for a long time. Here are my goal setting posts from previous years, if you’re interested.
- My Goals For 2017—It’s All About Creating Assets
- My Goals for 2016 — Reworking My Business Model
- My 2015 Goals—In the Middle Of A Transition
- My 2014 Goals — A Continuation Of Journey Started In 2013
- What I Want To Achieve In 2013
- My Goals for 2012
- The Year To Come: Looking Ahead To 2011
- Do You Have Goals For Your Business? (2010) Part II
- Looking Back At 2008 And Ahead To 2009 – Part II
- Looking Ahead In 2008
If you want to see any of my previous review posts, you can find a list similar to the one above (except that they link to the reviews) in last week’s post.
The single word I offered for last year’s theme was assets I think this year’s word needs to be priorities. The common theme running through last week’s review was that I didn’t set priorities well and while I did get a lot done, I wasn’t always working on what I should have been working on.
I spent too much time in 2017 on things I prioritized in 2016 and earlier and not enough time on the priorities I’ve set for now and in the future. I changed my business, but I really didn’t alter my work as much as I should have.
I suppose you can add words like time and productivity to the mix too. This year I need to find a way to be more productive with my time and work more on the things I’ve prioritized for the future.
With that in mind, here are the goals I’m setting for 2018.
- Publish written books
- Write more books
- Rethink this site
- Find a new owner for the forum or shut it down
- Launch site
- Continue with fiction writing
- Spend more time on productivity management
- Make better use of all my devices
I organized my goals around my three domains, along with an added category for productivity. Eight goals always feels like a good amount, especially as it’s easy to divide by eight, which will make grading easier at the end of the year
My overall goal for this domain isn’t too different than past years, though the specifics have changed a little.
Publish the Books I’ve Already Written
Last year’s goal was to write some books, which I did. This year the goal is to publish them. I want to finish the second edition of Design Fundamentals first, but once I do, I’ll turn my attention to creating author pages wherever I can sell digital books, starting with Amazon. Naturally I’ll sell the books through this site as well.
Then I’ll upload the books, hope for the best, and figure out what I can do to improve sales.
I think three books is a good amount to start with. I didn’t want to start with only a single title, which is why I’ve waited to finish several books before selling them through Amazon, etc.
Write More Books
There’s not much to say about this goal, other than I want to devote significant time this year to writing more books, more time than I was able to devote last year.
Success in the self-publishing world is partly a numbers game where more books for sale equals more revenue from books sales so more books will hopefully lead to more revenue.
Ideally, I’d like to write four new books this year, but given I’m still working on one of three books from last year, I’ll set a more realistic goal of writing three new books in 2018.
Rethink This Site
I think this site still presents me more as someone offering freelance design and development services than someone who sells books about design and development. I also think I treat the site more as it was in the past than what it’s meant to be now and in the future. That needs to change.
In some ways this goal is a continuation of the one from last year to put the content audit to use. I think I need to take a full step back from the site and really think it through from the ground up.
That includes a rethink of what and how often I publish to the site. In 2017 I found it difficult to make time for some things I wanted to do and the reason was almost always because I needed the time to write for this site. I don’t want to stop writing here, but I know I can’t continue like I have been.
My thinking the last couple of years was that I would write series of posts, which I’d then treat as a first draft for a book. Unfortunately, working that way leads me to spend more time writing free posts here than I can spend writing the books, which I hope will pay my bills and buy me shiny new toys on occasion.
I’m working now on another series about website performance and I think it’ll run through March or into April. I may break it up into two series with another short one in between.
After that I don’t honestly know when I’ll publish next. I will publish and I don’t expect months will pass between posts, but I have to work out a better schedule for myself.
Maybe I’ll be able to follow a similar publishing schedule as last year or I’ll break up longer series into multiple shorter series so I can leave a week or two between them. Know, that I do still plan to publish consistently enough so as not to disappear from your feedreader for too long.
It’s possible what I need is to rework the kinds of posts I publish so they take me less time to write. I honestly don’t know as I’m writing this, which is why the goal isn’t any more specific than to rethink things.
Once again, I have just the one goal for this domain, which is to find a new owner or, failing that, to shut the site down.
Over the years I’ve had a lot of ideas for what I wanted to do with this site, but other things always held a greater priority for me. When I opened the forum, I hoped it would lead to more design clients, which it did, but as that’s no longer part of my business, the forum has ceased to make sense for my business.
I also no longer think I’m the right person to guide the forum forward. I just don’t have the time to put into it like I have in the past, let alone the extra time it would take to move the forum forward.
I’m still hoping one specific person will take it over, but if he can’t, I’ll find someone else or possibly close the site. My gut tells me if I create a thread on the forum looking for someone to take over, I’ll have several offers.
It simply doesn’t make sense for me to spend my time on this domain when the site no longer aligns with the rest of my long term goals. I’ll lose a little advertising money, but not so much I should notice and the tradeoff is that I’ll have more time to fill with things I think are more important.
My goals for this domain are basically last year’s goals, at least two out of the three goals from 2017.
Until a site launches on this domain, I’ll keep listing this as a goal. My hope is that the time I’ve spent maintaining the forum can go to projects like launching this site and then hopefully writing for it regularly. I won’t list publishing regularly as a goal though, just in case.
Continue Writing Fiction.
I’ve no doubt I’ll do this. As I mentioned last week, I’m currently back to reworking a novel I started as well as working on revising some short stories. Maybe I’ll add that this year I would like to publish a few of the stories and ideally the novel, if I can figure out how to finish it.
Writing fiction writing is my main priority. Everything else should support this one goal. I want to sell design books so I can earn a living while writing fiction. I want to launch a site on this domain so I can be prepared to market stories I hope to finish in the future.
The general goal here is to be more productive, but I’ll break it down into two separate goals.
Spend More Time on Productivity Management
I’ve used productivity apps for a few years, bouncing back and forth between Things and OmniFocus. Last year, or maybe late in 2016, I grew tired of both apps and productivity management in general. I felt like I was spending more time managing productivity than being productive.
For the most part my tasks are more the endless continuation kind and not tasks I thought I needed to manage. I don’t need an app to tell me that I’m going to spend tomorrow morning writing and I’m not writing so many things where I feel the need to micromanage them.
At least that’s what I thought. I certainly didn’t get as much written as I wanted to last year.
In November I took a vacation to visit my family in New York. I spent the three or four weeks prior, making sure to get a lot of writing done. I didn’t want to return and have pressure to publish something the next day.
To make sure I stayed on track, I created a simple to do list, or maybe not so simple in that I grouped lots of tasks together and indented some to create a more complex hierarchy of tasks.
Every day I reviewed the list and decided what to work on. I added new items to the list, removed items from it, and modified others. When it came time to do errands and pack I added those to the list as well. I was managing my productivity for a few weeks and surprise, surprise, I got a lot done.
I decided to buy the latest version of Things (Things 3) and once again manage the work I have to do in an effort to be more productive.
Make Better Use of All My Devices
This was a goal from a few years back. It didn’t take then, but I want to try one more time. I want to make better use of all the devices I have.
My most used device is, by far, my laptop. However, my gut tells me laptops aren’t the future of computing. I’ve thought time and again about using an iPad as my main computing device, but I always bump up against a few things that make it impossible for me (emphasis on for me and not for anyone else) to get my work done. Mainly it’s how awful I find writing and editing on an iPad. Since that’s 90% of what I do, it’s hard for me to use one for my work.
My thinking has always been that if I’m going to have to use the laptop for certain tasks, I might as well use it for all tasks. I’m changing my thinking a little.
Now my thought is that I should use each device for what I can do with it and see where that leaves me. For example, I listen to a lot of podcasts and I get alerted to new episodes through a feed I’ve subscribed to in a feedreader. I’ll open the feed in a browser on my MacBook and play the audio.
I could realistically move all that to either my iPhone or iPad by using any of a number of dedicated podcasting apps and I can probably move most of my reading of feeds there as well.
I expect I’ll still bump up against a few things and I’ll end up doing quite a bit on my laptop, but I’d like to find out how much I really need it for. The future of computing devices is changing and I’d rather be on the side that’s coming than the one that’s being left behind.
I get the feeling (like most years) that I’ve listed too many goals for 2018, but what else is new. My overarching goal this year is that I want to spend more time working on my priorities for the future and not on those of the past. I want to spend more time writing fiction and whatever non-fiction I need to write to support writing fiction.
I hope to better align my goals for 2018 with my priorities for 2018 and beyond. I suspect I’ll screw up along the way and probably change my mind once or twice about what I’d like to accomplish and where I’d like to go. In December we can both make fun of how little of what I set out to do, I actually did.
How about you? As I ask every year at the end of this post, do you set goals for the year? Do you review those goals at the end of the year? Do you think this whole practice is silly or do you find it valuable like I do?
Happy 2018! I hope it’s a good year for both of us and everyone else on the planet.
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