Starting last month, I decided there was value in sharing monthly progress reports on my journey to develop this project and my own habit recipe. Since I write about habits and productivity, I thought it would be helpful to see exactly how I apply those lessons personally. I’ll be honest about where I slip-up so that you can identify and avoid those pitfalls. Above all, I no longer discount the power of accountability. It certainly has had a significant impact on my ability to get the right things done.
Here are my “buckets” of projects:
- Accounting/Corporate Leadership – this includes my role as the Director of Finance at Port Royal Ocean Resort and a few traditional accounting projects through the CPA firm I share with my husband.
- Non-profit Leadership – this primarily includes my responsibilities as President of Texas Business Women.
- Purpose Project – that’s this Habit Chef project and all of its related tentacles.
- Relationships – having a great relationship with God, my husband, my daughter, and my extended family and friends is very important to me, but doesn’t always come naturally, so I track progress in this area just like I would for any other project.
- Personal Habit Development – my own journey to living and giving my best.
At the beginning of each month, I set goals and action plans for making consistent progress in each of these areas. Weekly, I think about the bigger picture and review those plans, scheduling the projects on my calendar and in Remember the Milk (my task management app). Daily, I do my best to simply follow my own plan.
Bucket by bucket, here’s a recap of February’s results compared to its plans.
Personal Habit Development
In January, I overhauled my entire schedule. My goal was to free up blocks of creative time in the morning without sacrificing my workouts, and I pretty much achieved that. For February, my goals were to reinforce my morning routine and work from my home office on Wednesdays. In reviewing my calendar, the first part of the month was a struggle, but I got on track towards this end. This is mostly attributable to the volume and complexity of accounting projects I had to focus on, and I’m comfortable with the way I navigated it.
Going forward, my primary goal in this area is to return to 95% compliance with paleo eating and to track my meals with a food diary (starting on March 13 – after SXSW). I also want to continue refining my weekly schedule, allowing for half-speed days on Wednesdays to keep my productivity higher at the end of the week. To some degree, I still struggle with focus during my 5-7am morning block, and I want to improve that too.
This is another area where January was a tough act to follow as I’d finally made some big strides in spending quality time with those that matter most. For February, my goal was to preserve the “date day” with my husband and to ride with my daughter as she drove to school at least two days per week and plan out her 5 hours of work in advance each week. We did well with all of these goals.
I also wanted to build on my new habit of praying first thing each morning. After I finished my first study guide and struggled for several days, I realized that I really need that reinforcement. Towards the end of the month, I started working through I’m a Fixer-Upper from my good friend Alene Snodgrass. It’s fantastic and exactly what I needed.
In January, I was laser focused on finishing up our year-end financials and was incredibly relieved when that was over. What I failed to remember is that setting up our budgets and allocations for the new year and preparing the financial reports for January was even more challenging. It’s a fierce one-two punch. Fortunately, my teammates are all pros and extremely organized and efficient. We pulled it all together just in time for our February 20 deadline.
In addition to the financials, we weathered a week of fieldwork for our 2012 audit, implementation of virtual desktops throughout the organization, and a General Manager transition. In terms of stress, it was a whopper of a month. Looking back, I realize just how blessed I am to be part of such an amazing team at Port Royal. I’ve worked alongside some really special folks in my career, but I think I can say that this team takes the cake for top-notch teamwork, collaboration, diligence, trust, and commitment to excellence. The times may be tough, but we’re up for the challenge.
Our TBW Spring Conference was March 1-3, so most of February was spent preparing for it. While I did take care of the tasks on my list, most of the credit for this month’s success goes to the conference team on the ground in Wichita Falls. They did an amazing job organizing the event and bringing us phenomenal speakers. We also make big strides in our planning meetings, and I look forward to sharing that progress over the coming months.
In January, I completed only 53% of my goals for this project. Ouch.
I was tempted to sandbag and scale back my goals, but I went the other direction, setting some ambitious ones: rebrand the site and its design, launch the podcast, and publish an article every Thursday.
How’d I do?
- The new site design went live February 24, and I couldn’t be happier. After nearly four years of struggling to find my voice, I think I figured out what I’m here to share. I must also thank my good friend Stephan Noack for nailing the design elements even when I couldn’t always express what I envisioned.
- The first episode of The Habit Chef Podcast went live on February 26 and it’s in all the major directories. (If you haven’t tried Stitcher yet, you should. It’s pretty spiffy.)
- I published January’s Progress Report, The Surprising Secret to Finding Your Freedom, and What Do You Practice?, missing only the second week.
I was determined to do better – and I did. For the first time in nearly a year, I made significant strides on this project. Woot! (The progress actually started back in January, but the first fruits were visible this month.)
I’m looking forward to doing even better in March, though I know how challenging it will be. With nearly every task, I struggle with the resistance. Reasons to procrastinate lurk at every turn. My anxiety about recording my voice is enormous on podcast days, and there’s never a good time to write. (I’ve written the last few posts from my lap while cruising down thousands of miles of Texas highways. So thankful for my road warriors and mifi!)
You could say I’m simply undaunted. I’ve decided to keep creating, writing, and sharing, even when it doesn’t feel good. Despite the frustration and the often-bruised ego, I know with certainty that’s what I’m called to do.
Sharing in this much detail is definitely new to me. I’d love to know if this is helpful to you, or if there’s something different you’d like to know about.
(If you’re reading this somewhere other than my website, click here to go directly to the article.)