Starting 2019 A look back at 2018 and a look forward and what I'm hoping to achieve in 2019.

I believe last year was the first time that I’ve really spent planning for the coming year and blogged about it. This year, I want to do the same, but it’s a little different.

Starting 2019

Since I spent so much time organizing and planning out how I wanted to get things done last year and since it worked out, all things considered, I want to follow the same format. But the truth is that it’s not nearly as involved since I have a methodology to apply.

In short, it goes something like this (which you’ll see momentarily):

  1. create four specific areas for the things you want to do,
  2. have a set of goals for each of those areas,
  3. if something comes along that both fit in an area and contributes to a goal, do it; otherwise, discard it.

That’s how I operated in 2018, and it’s how I want to operate in 2019.

 

Starting 2019 (With Some Notes and a Look Back)

Last year, I laid everything out in a quadrant each of which you can read about more in said post.

A Heads Up

Some quick bullet points to let you know how I tend to categorize things in my head and my notebook(s) as I go through the year

Events are things in which I need to be present, and that need a specific amount of allocated time at a location (even if it’s on a Skype call). I add these to Fantastical (and it’s broken down between something for me, something for my wife, something for our family, something for Pressware, or something for exercise).

Starting 2019: Fantastical

A task is something that needs to be done. I try to make sure these are organized regarding daily, weekly, and monthly.

However, I do have a few areas that contain projects (such as books to read or movies to see) that I want to do but haven’t don’t have a specific time that I’m worried about getting it done. I put all of these in Things.

Starting 2019: Things

First, a Look Back

Assuming that you’ve read that and before I get into plans for this year, I thought I’d do a summary of how I performed in each of the four areas I laid out last year.

Starting 2018: Personal, Work, Family, Fitness

1. Personal

  • I successfully read 12 books (one of which I read twice and will likely read again this year).
  • We started out being very aggressive with our savings which ended up being a good thing because we had to have a significant amount of repairs to our home throughout five weeks in the last part of the year.
  • I did not successfully write at least one song. I wrote a lot of fragments of songs, and I shared a lot of videos of pieces of songs or covers of songs on Instagram, but this particular goal was a swing and a miss.
  • I played more games – some board games and video games – so that was refreshing. Specifically, I got back into Zelda: Breath of the Wild and started playing Super Mario Odyssey (which has been a great game thus far).

2. Work

  • I decreased the amount of content that I wrote each week averaging three-posts-per week with one posts being specific for members.
  • I’ve had a terrific opportunity to work with some amazing people while owning Pressware; however, experiences, times, goals, and projects change. As of now, I’m primarily back to a company-of-two, and I’m enjoying it. There’s no drama to share (as much as people like to read it).
  • I have yet to release Blogging Plugins, and I’m disappointed to admit that. Thus, the goal is set for this year (and I’ve plugins in the hopper and a plan for how I’m going to roll out the service in 2019).
  • I’ve done a good job of unsubscribing to newsletters that weren’t providing the best use of my time.

I’d also like to add that this is the first year I’ve participated in a mastermind. I was very skeptical of them at first, but I can honestly say that with the right group of people-oriented around the similar goals, it’s been nothing but an edifying and positive experience and I’m going to continue participating in 2019.

3. Family

  • We traveled less this year but made the most of the trips that we did and also enjoyed much of what we did around where we lived as well as with whom we’ve stayed. We already have some trips planned for 2019, but keeping trips light works better for us.
  • Regarding simplifying, I think I did a pretty good job. We culled a lot of things, and I’m in the habit of always looking for more to remove or something else that I can reduce, so I believe I’ve developed an ongoing habit.
  • Meghan and I took a five day trip to the beach to celebrate our tenth anniversary. We were about five months after the fact, but it was worth it. We spent a lot of time resting and reading. It was great.

4. Fitness

  • I successfully got my weight down to 180 early in the year then fluctuated within 10 pounds as planned. I did a lot of running during the three months of summer, and I did a lot of HIIT and lean-muscle building. Overall, this was a solid goal that I’m aiming to achieve this coming year.

Now, a Look Forward

Starting 2019

I really like the approach of breaking goals out into four distinct areas as it makes it easier to plan and easier to know if it’s something worth pursuing. That is if it doesn’t fit in one of the pre-defined categorized and it doesn’t contribute to one of the goals I’ve set, then I discard it.

So, with that said, these are the plans I have for 2019. You’ll notice they are distinctly less than what I wrote last year, but that’s because I’ve gotten a new system in place and fewer but more meaningful goals in place.

1. Personal

  • Continue Reading. I’d still like to read 10-12 books, but if I read more, then that’s all the better. I’ve got a long list of books I’d like to read and, depending on the type of book, I read them, or I listen to them via Audible. It’d be nice to read more, but I care more about the quality of the experience than the quantity of simply checking something off a list.
  • Reduce Social Media. I’ve mused before that I’m uncertain that social media is all that good for us. Though I think the verdict is still out, I find that I’m significantly more focused on my goals and on material I’m reading and working on when I’m not endlessly scrolling through another service. I’m still thinking through how to approach Instagram (which I’ll discuss a tentative plan in a moment), but I’m likely to remain using Twitter only when I’m at my desk.
  • Write at Least One Song. I’m going to carry this one over from the previous post because it’s something I’d still like to do. I’ve got enough fragments of songs recorded on my phone and lyrics written in notebooks that I should be able to work something out, but it’s not a strength I have.

The fact that I even have to provide some type of disclaimer for something like this is another issue. For social media, nothing that I share is prescriptive for anyone other than me. That is, I don’t really care what another person opts to do with a given service for themselves. If it works, great.

As far as Instagram is concerned, I’m thinking that I’ll likely keep my account in Private mode to have a higher level of control as to who is following me. I want to tighten up the number of people I’m following, and I don’t want to treat it as an endless journal of photos when there are other ways to do that (see Day One).

Starting 2019: Day One

So I may delete all photos from the past year and start over again each year doing exactly this.

2. Work

  • Improve the Membership Experience. I’m extremely grateful to have the members on the site, but I hope to improve the experience for them, too. This not only includes making the administrative area more intuitive for them but also offering more details and discounts.
  • Change up the Newsletter, Maybe. The number of people subscribed to my newsletter fluctuates between 1400 and 1600 people at any given time. I try only to send it once a month, it includes the content for posts throughout the months, and any deals I might be running. I’m not sure I want to continue running it this way, though, so we’ll see. I may survey the readers to see what works best for them.
  • A Podcast. I talked about this a little bit earlier this year, but it’s taken months for the idea to come into much more clarity. I’m talking to a few other people around me about the notion of continuing to start a podcast, what it will look like, and things like that. I have a plan for how it’d be set up, some potential names, how it’d work, and how long I’d give it a try. We’ll see.
  • Focus on a Specific Area in WordPress. This reads like I wasn’t focused on work, but in the last year, I’ve found there’s a very specific type of project that I enjoy working on so I’d like to go after that specific area in the WordPress economy.
    • Part of doing this includes redesigning the Pressware homepage,
    • And continuing to focus on Blogging Plugins.
  • Publish an eBook. I have at least one series of posts that I’ve been planning to convert into an eBook for those interested in WordPress developers and who may be freelancers or just getting into the business. This is something I’d love to have ready in the first quarter (or second, at the latest) of 2019.

It’s been a while since I’ve spoken at a WordCamp. I took the last two years off completely and am now considering doing applying to speak at WordCamp Atlanta this year.

And if there are other online conferences, which seem to be a new thing cropping up, perhaps I’ll apply at those.

We’ll see.

3. Family

  • Keep On Keeping On. Right now, we’re in a really good place, so I don’t foresee us mixing it up too much. I think balancing the proper amount of travel, extracurriculars, and spending time with other friends works well.
  • Sharing a Room? One thing that I guess is worth mentioning (I really don’t know, so why not?) is that my kiddos have gotten to be really good friends – which we love – and have been sharing a room for the last few months. The problem is the room they are sharing is a one-person bedroom so we’d like to adjust that. This means I may be trading out my office for a bedroom and having them move into the room in which I currently work.

4. Fitness

  • Lifting. At this point, I’ve learned enough about myself to know exactly what it is I want to do and what it is I want to achieve. So for the first quarter for the year, I’m looking to repeat LIIFT4 (which I love because of the combination of lifting and HIIT workouts) and yoga (which I’ve done a great job of leaving out of my workouts for about a year).
  • Weight. At the time of this writing, I gained about four pounds from Thanksgiving to Christmas which isn’t something I wanted to do. I exceeded the range of weight I was comfortable with so I want to lose seven pounds in the next four to six months. Any part of weight lifting mixed with cutting weight can be tough, so I’ve got to make sure I’m mixing in enough cardio and cutting enough calories to handle lean muscle mass simultaneously and reducing fat.

After that, we’ll see.

Ready, Set, Go,…

Not only is this post longer than usual, but the content is also outside the usual type of stuff that I write.

Nonetheless, this is a “once of year” type of thing. Plus, when I’ve been blogging this long and get to interact with so many of you via Twitter, why would I not write something like this?

I enjoy hearing what you’re up to, so don’t hesitate to share, and let’s aim to get this stuff done and revisit it in about 365 days.