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Project Planning

Project Planning can be a bit of a mess at times.

Like, there’s often a load of ideas, and notions, and wonderings, and what-ifs floating around in my brain and it’s tough to get it all figured out.

I often use a sort of Mind Map technique in my Bullet Journal: there’s a resource for getting started with that here

Quite honestly though, I do love ‘big picture’ project planning.

I love having a big blank wall in front of me, or a white board, and filling it with a big ole brain dump so I can see it all right there in front of me… and then starting to put it in order.

So, I found a method that’s been really working for me.

Post-It Project Planning

Pat Flynn has already done a helpful video on this, so I don’t have to reinvent the wheel here. He says:

Have you ever started something but never finished? In this video, I’ll show you the P.A.T. technique so you can learn how to plan anything and actually get it done.

As an entrepreneur, my day is full of creating plans and executing them, and as more and more fill my plate, I’ve learned a specific planning technique to make sure I finish what I start.

If you don’t have a “plan for planning” what can end up happening is you’ll pile up a number of goals and to-dos that can lead to procrastination, it can have you feeling unaccomplished, and ultimately you might even give up.

We don’t want that to happen.

Watch the Project Planning video now…

 

Project Planning my Ogham Journeys Programme with Post Its

I used a method quite similar to this when planning the Beta run of my Ogham Journeys Programme.

That’s been really successful, and I will definitely use this particular project planning method again this month as I refine the course content for opening it to my mailing list (end of September) for our first full annual Programme run.

[If you’re interested in Ogham – Click Here to Join My Author Mailing List.]

How do you do your project planning?

Show us your own method, or try this one and share the results in our Facebook Community Group Here! – www.facebook.com/groups/dotheworksystem 

Guest Post – Izzy Swanson on Being a Business Owner

Izzy Swanson from Feileacan Ministry had a wee rant on Facebook today, and I thought it was gorram RELATABLE that I asked her if I could turn it into a guest post. So here you go.


My friend Angela said it best “Business owner, it’s not just a job it’s a lifestyle”.

It is a life I am beyond grateful for but it comes with a lot of responsibilities. There are things I don’t think people really know about this life so I want to share a few:

1. I’m always “busy”. Not too busy that I need to hear sympathies or unsolicited advice about how to take care of myself, but my life is scheduled and that means I’m rarely going to have time to do anything random. People constantly say and do things that make you feel bad for this including just not being your friend altogether. This is a bummer but something I am no longer losing sleep over.

2. I have serious boundaries about my down time. If I say I’m not working I mean I am literally disappearing from everything except random social media posts. Posting on facebook does not mean I’m working. Football means I’m not working. As mentioned above I take care of myself. Busy includes self-care time. You would be surprised how much judgement there is about this and how much people don’t respect those boundaries.

3. This is my livelihood. It means that it is my first priority so other things have to come second, except my husband and son of course. It also means that my work is how I pay my bills, it is how I make sure I can feed my child and meet his needs, and is also how I can manage part 1 and part 2 above. This idea that I should be available to provide services for free because it is spiritual is not ok. If you recieve spiritual services and pastoral care from church ministers remember they recieve a salary for that. They are compensated for their time. The only difference here is that I’m pagan and I don’t have a church to pay my salary. I have to work for it.

4. Because it’s a business I have to spend a good portion of my time marketing and my livehood as mentioned above depends on this. Small business owners need support through feedback from the peoole they provide service to so if I ask for a review or a share remember it could mean the difference between paying my bills and not being able to. Try to be compassionate and not make peoole feel bad about the fact that they have to do this.

This isn’t meant to be a rant or target any one person. It’s something that happens in some form on a consistent basis. It’s something that needs awareness and needs to be understood. Thank you for reading and thank you for your support.


You can find Izzy’s excellent business – Feileacan Ministry – at http://transformationreiki.com/

Your Sleep Cycle

I woke this morning at the wrong point in my sleep cycle.

The first thing I knew was an annoying cock crow that confused the fuck out of me. Not a real rooster mind you – I use a random selection of bird noises to get me up each morning. I’m not even sure why… maybe the different sounds stop me getting used to the alarm? And, generally, I do like to wake to more natural sounds than the ‘Reveille’ (that bugle call used by the military to wake everyone at sunrise), or a version of ‘the Auld Triangle’ going jingle jangle, like they used in Mountjoy prison to wake the inmates.

Alright so I know there’s other options for alarm noises to disturb your sleep cycle, but I was going for the most annoying but effective ones I could think of. Your methods may vary.

What is the Sleep Cycle though?

A sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes, and during that time we move through five different stages of sleep – some of which you might already be familiar with, at least in passing. The first four stages make up our non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, from very light sleep during Stage 1 to very deep sleep in Stage 4, where it’s really tough to wake someone from. When we’re in NREM sleep, we don’t have much (or any) muscle activity, and our eyes don’t usually move. But all of our muscles are still functional, which changes when we move to the fifth stage, when rapid eye movement (REM) sleep occurs.

REM sleep is when most of our dreaming is going on, and though our eyes are not constantly moving, they do dart back and forth, up and down. Nobody really knows even yet why our eyes move, but one of the generally accepted theories is that it’s related to visual images we’re watching play out in dreams. During this stage of the sleep cycle, our eyes are going like nobody’s business… but the muscles that move our bodies are paralyzed (except things like the heart and diaphragm, coz obviously we’re still alive and breathing).

This paralysis sounds a bit grim, but it’s actually stopping us from getting up and moving around while our subconscious and unconscious are doing their thing, which is useful for those of us who don’t want to walk out into traffic in our nighties, or attack the person sleeping next to us because we think they’re doing something nasty due to a dream that’s going on. A breakdown of this natural paralysis is why people go sleepwalking or get night terrors in which they do some pretty awful things while effectively unconscious.

Honestly, you don’t want that.

 

A typical night’s Sleep Cycle

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as just running together a couple of 90 minute sessions and calling it a night. To understand your sleep cycle, we have to get that they change throughout the night.

During the first two to three sleep cycles, you’ll spend most of your time in deep NREM sleep (stages 3-4), but in the final two to three sleep cycles, you’ll be more in REM sleep with some lighter NREM sleep. It’ll also change according to when you fall asleep, as the earlier parts of the night tend to bring more NREM sleep, and also what stage of life you’re at, as kids tend to get more deep NREM sleep than adults.

 

How to Optimise your Sleep Cycle

Getting woken in the middle of REM sleep, like I was today, is not ideal.

It leads to that sensation of grogginess, a poor reaction time, and general fog that’s actually called sleep drunkenness, or confusional arousal. Being woken from REM can cause significant mood problems, and your blood pressure goes up. Like, it’s not optimal at all at all.

There’s tech you can use to track your sleep cycle and wake you naturally based on finishing one and before you start another. That’s amazing, but I don’t have that tech. (If you use something like that and find it useful, would you mind popping over to Our Facebook Group and giving a recommendation?)

Generally, I stuck with analog, and just tracked my sleep and how I feel the next day in my bullet journal, over about two months (not perfectly, as we’ve seen I’m not good at filling in trackers) to try to figure out what’s best for me.

I came up with a minimum of 7.5 hours and a max of 9 hours, if I can get it. That’s 5 or 6 sleep cycles, respectively. So I figured out that if I need to be awake by 8am, I’m going to sleep by 11pm to get my 9 hours, and that means tech off by 10pm and reading, journalling or talking (or Jon reading something not too interesting to me!) til I fall asleep, which usually takes around the hour to wind down.

Have you figured out your own sleep cycle yet?

Be well

L x


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In Darkness – with a Guided Meditation

Yesterday started off bad. I woke up in darkness, at 5am, from anxiety dreams. Then my Brain insisted on replaying every single sexual assault I’ve ever experienced, in High Definition visuals and sound.

So that’s not fun.

How do I cope with that? Well, it feels very dark to me, when it happens. I used to (years ago) try to run away from that. Find the light. Try and make it so the darkness doesn’t exist and I don’t have to live there.

But you know what?

These things are dark. There are dark things in my past. Also, dark things in my present, and most likely my future. Because we don’t live just in the light. We need the darkness too. In part, we are the darkness.

So, I went into the darkness, and learned to be comfortable there. Yes, I’m talking metaphorically, to an extent, but also quite literally. In that I cope with these things through Meditation.

Ye know that’s not just some woo weirdness that hippies and mystics are into, right? It’s a really valuable, effective, and vital part of any mental health management programme. Ask any modern psychologist or therapist. They’ll tell ya.

Yesterday morning, from 5.30am to 6.30am or so, I meditated. By that time, I was calm and relaxed and I was able to drop back off into a doze until the alarm went off as usual at 8am.

At that point, I will admit, I made sure Jon was awake so I could have a wee cuddle and feel safe in that. And that’s ok too.

Today, I was working on stuff for my other side project, www.Guided-Meditation-Journeys.com, and I recorded a meditation featuring darkness, which feels appropriate to share. It is the basis of the ‘learning to be ok in darkness’ element of my Journeying practice, and my own technique of guided meditation journeying has developed from it.

You can listen to the Darkness Meditation Here…

 

Be well, and I hope you have balance today.

L x


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On Writing

Writing books is hard.

I mean, for me it’s hard. I do have a friend who cranks out 5000 words a day as well as a consistent stream of blog posts, articles and translations from Old Irish (I’m looking at you Daimler). I don’t even hate them. Most days.

My writing goes a little differently, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t used to be this tough. Like, for my second book, I wrote it in 3 months – Lúnasa (start of August) to Samhain (end of October). While working a full time job at the heritage centre and raising three kids.

I don’t even know how I did that. How does anyone do that?

Evenings, weekends, early mornings before work, lunchtimes at work. It’s not easy, but I feel like I was more focused back then (all the way back in 2013). So, I know it can be done. I know I can do that.

Have I been doing it though? Have I fuck.

When I got the contract for this next book (Pagan Priesthood, Llewellyn 2019), I thought I’d LOADS of time. I sort of lost myself in research for a while, and fooled myself into thinking I was doing ok.

And I ended up in a situation where I had to get my shit together and do the remaining 60,000 words in 3 months of solid writing. Sigh.

How do you do that?

Well, firstly you give yourself some time off each week. With the best will in the world, it is not ideal to think you can write 7 days a week in those circumstances. That’s a great writing habit to be in, long term. I know there’s a lot of famous writers who do it – write words every day, no matter what.

But under pressure and under my own anxiety around not delivering a book – or worse, delivering a shit book – I decided not to add to my writing pressure.

So for the last 3 months, I had set writing targets of 1000 words per day, five days per week – which is 5000 words per week, four weeks of each month (or split out accordingly, in a five week month like this one).

I have Scrivenor, which is an excellent writing programme, but because I’ve been working across different machines I’ve just put it all in a Google Drive folder so I can access it anywhere. It means I have to manually compile it after wards, as I’ve split it into a doc per chapter, but that’s ok.Bujo Writing Tracker

And I track my targets and word count in an excel/google sheet that I manually update each day (pic above), and a little word tracker chart in my bullet journal. The last is a just to trigger my reward hit though, as I love manually writing it in and seeing the little line rise up steadily. It seems so much more satisfying than just numbers on a screen.

I’m not doing as well this month so far as I’d like to be, but I’m not technically behind as yet. The writing has just been a little patchier than I would have liked. Trying not to ‘blame’ myself for taking time off, but I do feel like I’m not on top of things this week after coming back, and I’m playing fierce catch up.

While still trying to be kind to myself and take evenings off.

Speaking of which, it’s 6.30pm now and I should be done for the day. There’s a stew on the boil downstairs, and the smell is making my stomach a little growly.

The bad news is that I have one more thing to do – record a guided journey for my Patreon – before I can finish up. And I might have to work the weekend, as I’ve got Ogham classes to sort out and teach.

Again with the sigh.

I’m doing my best though. Sure what else can ya do?

 


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The Power of Habit

This is my current audio book – ‘The Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg, and I’m really enjoying it. I think I will go buy a paper copy so I can really go through it carefully and digest it properly.

I’m going to go ahead and quote you some parts of Duhigg’s website, as it’s important stuff.

[In the book] we learn why some people and companies struggle to change, despite years of trying, while others seem to remake themselves overnight. We visit laboratories where neuroscientists explore how habits work and where, exactly, they reside in our brains. We discover how the right habits were crucial to the success of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, and civil-rights hero Martin Luther King, Jr. We go inside Procter & Gamble, Target superstores, Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, NFL locker rooms, and the nation’s largest hospitals and see how implementing so-called keystone habits can earn billions and mean the difference between failure and success, life and death.

At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, raising exceptional children, becoming more productive, building revolutionary companies and social movements, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. Habits aren’t destiny. As Charles Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.

So, apart from the day to day stuff and the brain stuff which I’m finding fascinating and INCREDIBLY useful, there’s also the company/organisation and the society stuff which is giving me IDEAS. Coz like, we need to be changing this world right now. And that starts with me and you.

Here, check out the Power of Habit TEDx talk anyway.

I’m doing ok with my own power of habit process.

Like I said the other day, drinking water is a keystone habit I have to take care of. If I get my morning routine right, the whole day runs better. It’s important stuff.

Most importantly for me, is not having to think about things that I don’t have to spend my spoons on. It just makes fucking sense for me to have as much of my brainwaves as possible looking like that middle bit on the rat in the maze scans, which is less than when they’re sleeping. (Go watch the video, if you haven’t, and you’ll see what I mean.)

That’s the power of habit, and it’s saving my sanity.

Get your copy of the book:

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change, by Charles Duhigg (you can get it on Amazon US here – https://amzn.to/2OoPS1h, and on Amazon UK here – https://amzn.to/2AWMngS)

Maybe There’s Another Way?

It’s 6.30pm and I have NONE of today’s work done yet.

Well, I’ve a good bit done, and I guess it counts as work, but not the kind of work I can list out in my bullet journal and tick off. Not the kind of work I can get paid for.

My youngest is starting secondary school in September. End of this month actually, with the way the calendar is falling.

So this morning was errands and chores for the family. First, the doctor for a repeat prescription order for me (see me adulting?!) and a tetanus injection for Jon. He stood on a rusty nail in a world war II bunker on saturday night. Yeah, it was that kind of weekend away.

The young man needed a haircut, we had some food shopping to do, then we got his specialty crested uniform jumper and a good pair of school shoes. He hasn’t had proper shoes since he was about 7… couldn’t get him out of his runners.

Then we had to go into town and grab the necessary grey trousers and white shirt combo, which my sister had convinced him to try on before buying, with a cautionary tale of my nephew’s clown pants debacle after he’d went on his phone in the changing room and just chosen a pair at random when she called him out.

Nobody wants to start a new school in clown pants.

By that point everyone was worn out and hungry, so we had a late lunch/early dinner before getting home around 4pm.

I sat straight down to work, with my To Do list from yesterday sitting undone as I took care of this week’s lesson in my Irish Magic 14 Week Course. I’d actually forgotten that was due today until I sat down and saw my weekly agenda, and realised it was Wednesday and I hadn’t done this week’s lesson yet (usually I set them up on Mondays, but I took Monday off!)

That’s just gone out now though, so all is well with that deadline… but I have nothing else done. I’m feeling quite overwhelmed looking at the list, so I took the path of least resistance.

Hence, writing this post.

Ye are helping my head too, you know?

In this situation, my usual response is to put the head down and work til midnight, trying to get it all done.

But maybe I don’t do a very good job on things that way? Maybe I end up with half arsed work today and even more half arsed work tomorrow. Maybe there’s another way?

So, I just took some time and chatted it over with Jon too. I’ve a couple of emails to send so I can schedule some client and student time that’s due, and I’m going to close the bullet journal and shut down the computer after that. I can figure the rest out with a good early start tomorrow, fully back on schedule.

I’m finding another way to do things. I am giving myself permission to rest and recharge. My work will be better because of it.

This is new. I’ll let you know how it goes ok?

 


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Dehydration

So I came back from my wee break, a little dehydrated. Did you know alcohol consumption can cause dehydration? I mean, I knew this, but I just wanted to make sure you did too. Just in case like.

According to the ever trustworthy and reliable WebMD.com, signs of mild to moderate dehydration include:

  • Thirst
  • Dry or sticky mouth
  • Not peeing very much
  • Dark yellow pee
  • Dry, cool skin
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps

On the more serious side of things, signs of severe dehydration include:

  • Not peeing or having very dark yellow pee
  • Very dry skin
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Rapid breathing
  • Sunken eyes
  • Sleepiness, lack of energy, confusion or irritability
  • Fainting

 

Now, while this particular case of dehydration for me is very much self induced due to alcohol consumption and simply not keeping up with my usual water intake levels on top of that because of being away and a change in routine… the results are the same. And they’re not pretty.

You see, dehydration is a thing I suffer with. I struggle with this, daily.

To most people, it seems that I drink a lot of water. Like, to function normally on an average day of not really moving around very much, I need at least 5, but ideally 6 pints of water (about 3 litres, depending on what type of pints you use). And that’s in addition to the water I get from my food, my daily green smoothie, and the odd juice, isotonic drink, or herbal tea, as I fancy them. I drink one big strong cup of coffee most days, only very rarely going over that – like if I’m in a social situation or something.

And that’s the fluid intake I need.

Most people I know don’t drink that much. I am 6ft 2” and have a fairly fast metabolism, generally, so that’ll be having an effect for sure. But even apart from that, it seems a lot to folks who figure out how much fluid I’m taking on board as standard.

Except when you look at it, it’s not really that much.

According to the CDC, referencing a report by The Food and Nutrition Board – “Dietary Reference Intakes: Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate”, this isn’t really much above the recommended daily intake (I go by the men’s recommendations because generally that’s more aligned to my physical size and workings). They say:

“The vast majority of healthy people adequately meet their daily hydration needs by letting thirst be their guide. The report did not specify exact requirements for water, but set general recommendations for women at approximately 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of total water — from all beverages and foods — each day, and men an average of approximately 3.7 liters (125 ounces daily) of total water. The panel did not set an upper level for water.

About 80 percent of people’s total water intake comes from drinking water and beverages — including caffeinated beverages — and the other 20 percent is derived from food.”

Unpacking that a little bit, I’d like to gently point out that for a lot of people, unfortunately that 20% doesn’t arrive from their food as they’re not eating enough fruit and veg. Or any, in some cases.

And of the remaining 80%, the vast majority of that should at least be from herbal teas, non-sugared fruit juices, and ideally from just plain old water. I know people who claim that 3 litres of tea or coffee a day does them just fine, but come on. It’s not ideal now is it?

So, I’m not that far off with my current fluid intake, to avoid dehydration.

What happens when I don’t get it?

The thing is, for me, getting my water intake every day, tracking it and making sure I meet that goal, is a sort of keystone habit. It’s what I build the rest of my self care around.

Not really on purpose, it just works that way for me. Dehydration is the canary in the coalmine – if my lips are dry or my pee smells strong or I wake up gasping for a drink in the morning… I’m off track. I haven’t been paying attention. I’m out of that self care mindset that I literally need to have as a foundation in my life, or I won’t survive (never mind that thrive part).

Because if I don’t pay attention to drinking enough water, I stop the bigger stuff too. It gets too much, and it’s usually not even a conscious thing. Sometimes I am aware of it, I know I have only drank like a pint of water and it’s nearly bedtime and I’m watching it happen but feel too overwhelmed or powerless or self sabotaging (or whatever fun and games are going on in my head that day) to stop it. Those days I try to tell someone, ask for a bit of poking around my self care, some accountability and even support with the feeding and drinking stuff.

Other days though it just slides by accident and… it doesn’t feel like a big deal. I’ll catch up tomorrow. (We can talk about how this is a sign of subconscious self sabotage too, another day.)

But then I don’t sleep quite right that night, and I wake up tired and out of sorts the next day, and I resolve to hydrate properly that day but there’s so much else to do and I maybe get half of what I need in. And I’ve skipped one of the meals. At this point some part of my brain is beginning a low level panic, which will – if I don’t get a firm grip on it then and there – kick off a spiral of guilt and self recrimination and overwhelm which leads to further and more serious executive dysfunction. Sleep goes, food goes, cleaning myself goes, routine goes… and it’s a whole shit show of dragging myself back from all of that.

How do I do that?

I drink water. I start a new page in my journal, write the date at the top, and I draw 6 little water drop shapes – 1 for every pint of plain water I have to drink that day. And that is my goal. Drink a pint of water, colour one of those drops in blue.

Because when I can do nothing else, I’ve learned that I can do that. I can use that to begin again.

Today, I’m not on a spiral, and my dehydration doesn’t feel that serious. But I have got to make sure I fill in those water drops today, so it doesn’t get serious. No matter what else I get done or don’t get done on my daily list, that is my priority.

Now, I’m not being rude here my friend, but, when was the last time you peed? What colour was it, and how did it smell?

Check yourself before you wreck yourself, and however many little blue drops you personally need to get in your own day, to make sure you’re doing well… Get enough water into you today.

 

References

Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate. (2005, 05). doi:10.17226/10925

What is Dehydration? What Causes It? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/dehydration-adults#1

Taking a Break

I’m doing it! I’m taking a.. wait for it… a short break!

I’m taking a break with family and friends and food and fun and EVERYTHING.

It’s my son’s 13th birthday on Monday, so we’re heading away early in the morning and I’ll be back on duty by Tuesday, so expect your next post and email by then (are you on the list? Go Join the Mailing List and get the updates first!).

Problems I am having with this plan:

  • I knew it was coming, and I didn’t batch or get ahead of my work well enough to not be in a panic and probably working til midnight again tonight and be wrecked before I even set off in the morning. Sigh.
  • I promised ye daily emails. Well, daily (ish), to be entirely fair to myself. And a lot of folk have been in touch saying how helpful they’re finding this. So now I’m LETTING YOU DOWN. Sigh.
  • *mumbles* I don’t really believe I deserve time off, because I haven’t done enough. Super sigh.

Yeah, not all of that makes sense. I know, I really do.

But you know what? I’m taking a break anyway.

Because logically, I know the world will not end if I don’t stay working all weekend. Logically, I know that my family will not starve if I’m not at my desk from 9am to midnight every single day of the week. Logically, I understand that my body, mind and spirit all need proper down time.

So, see you Tuesday?! What can you do to take care of yourself this weekend?

Be well,

Lora x

 

Last Day of the Month

When I started this business, I knew I had a lot to learn.

Every time I got into a business planning book or other resource though, I kept hitting a snag – I didn’t have a baseline. Like, I didn’t have any idea of how I was doing, or what my current numbers were, so that I could try and improve them.

Some of this was just new business blips: I hadn’t been doing things long enough to have any data. But as time marched on, as it inevitably does, I began to realise that I have personal gaps too with regard to this stuff.

I had ‘set up an accounting system’ on my list for – I kid you not – over a full year before I even began to do anything about it. And even then, I was only tracking income and expenditure by hand in my bullet journal, for nearly another year. That is data, sure. But it’s not really useable data in the long term. It still has to be entered into an accounting programme so that I would have a set of actual accounts by the end of each year.

So ‘set up a digital accounting system’ went on my list, and to be honest, that’s where I am now. I went with Quickbooks Online, becuase it seemed the simplest, and I’m just starting the data entry and set up on all of that now.

But it’s HAAAARRRRDDDDDD.

I don’t really know what I’m doing. And though I have a separate business bank account, I don’t have a different business credit card. And we run a home office. So, personal and business accounts are intertwined to the point where I’m just setting up one big accounting system, and I’ll have to seperate things out from there. I figure having the big picture in a useable format is at least a better place than the one we’re in right now.

So, that’s happening, at last. No doubt I’ll share my fears and frustrations over that as we go too. And maybe it’ll keep me accountable (bad pun, soz not soz) because even just admitting to how long of a mess I’ve let this get into is embarrassing. Guess I should keep working on that from here, right?

Otherwise, I like to track things in my bullet journal  at the end of month so that I can refer to, and see the context for, what’s happening in the rest of the month. And next month. We’ve talked about trackers and how bad I am at keeping up with them before, so to get this in order for myself I had to set it up as a new habit, which means a clear Cue –> Habit –> Reward structure.

Another factor in the success and continuity of any new habit (or replacing an old habit with a new one, within the same cue to reward structure), is community. Now, this can be a community of 2, or of 1000, that doesn’t seem to matter.

I chose a community of 2 for this particular habit, and incorporated that into the reward. So, on the last calendar day of every month [cue], myself and my partner (in business and in life) Jon go on a mini planning [habit] ‘date’, to a cafe or restaurant [reward].

We bring our journals and some pens, and our phones to look stuff up, we order what we want, and then proceed to track last month and set ourselves up for next month.

We each look at and compare to the previous month:

  • Our social media stats to see how many new followers are with us that month;
  • Our mailing lists to check how many sign ups we got;
  • Our Patreon  accounts to see how many new Patrons have come on to support us and our work.

Then we look back at our annual, or 6 month, or quarterly goals (we’re each at different stages in our businesses, so this looks a little different for each of us), and we figure out what our one or two primary goals should be for the coming month.

Mine, this month, are to finish the new book I’m working on for Llewellyn Publishers – that deadline is the first of next month, so this is the last leg of the manuscript journey right here – and to get my sales funnel set up for a course I’m publicly launching in 2 months time.

To get that course launch sorted, there’s a few back steps that have to be in place, so I’ll need to take care of those this month, then be ready to get going with a content marketing plan on the course topic at the end of this month. That will run throughout the second month, to prepare for opening the course programme for signups for a short window at the end of that month. If all that makes sense?!

So, this coming month I’ll be working on getting the structures in place and running right on my main author/educator page (this is my primary wordpress website, and needs to change hosting and themes, to support the plans I have for organising my content, marketing and education delivery in a clearer and more user friendly way). Then I’ll need to set up specific mailing list and landing page structure within that primary system, just for this programme. I’ll only run this particular course programme once per year on a timed basis, so I’ll need to make sure there’s a lead capture system in place for folks who don’t make it in through this window, so I can offer it to them next year.

During the end-of-month planning date today, I sketched out some rough ideas and plans for how I’m going to achieve my goals, and drafted an affirmation I can use during my morning routine, which focuses me for not just what I want to achieve – but how I’m going to do that. For example, with regard to the book project, I’ll have to write 1000 words a day, 5 days per week (at least) to finish the final 20,000 words this month. I will do this first thing when I sit at my desk each day, so that I’m fresh and don’t run out of willpower, to make sure it gets done every single day I need to make that happen. I also track this on a chart in my bullet journal, giving myself occasional little reward stickers as my daily word count climbs higher up the graph, or on days when I really didn’t want to write and I did it anyway.

Wordcount Tracker Last Month

Here’s a picture of the chart from Last Month.

What? I like stickers.

How can you incorporate some of these ideas into your monthly planning or tracking? Which ones are relevant to wherever you are in your business or life situation? Just like me and Jon – this is going to look different for different people, depending on where you’re at.

If you do nothing else, think about the habit formula.

Cue → Habit → Reward, and a community to share it with. If you don’t have anybody near you that shares a goal you both with to turn into a habit, then pop over to our New Facebook Group and introduce yourself there. I’m hoping that will turn into a supportive, useful community for folk to join in with.

All the best,

Lora x

 

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