It's nearly the new year, folks! How did that even happen? I feel like just yesterday I was planning out how I would grow my business in 2017. None of that happened and honestly, I didn't give myself much support in making it happen. I had big plans but didn't put the systems in place, the infrastructure, to support it.
I'm starting 2018 simply and with a purpose. I preach about systems to you guys constantly but know the complexity and overwhelm it can cause. I'm so excited to go back to simple, sustainable systems that stick.
Working a day job means that I need to switch from business owner to finance officer mode when I'm at work. It's the only way that I can concentrate on doing my job well. I turned off email notifications so that I'm not triggered to jump back into creative business owner mode but I need to take it a step further.
In our tech-driven society its so easy to get frustrated when things don't happen instantly. If I don't reply to an email for a whole day it ticks some people off. Implement an autoresponder though, and BAM! Boundaries created! I plan on guiding people to different places in the autoresponder too, like "click here to book a consultation" or "read my most popular blog posts by going here".
Using a paper planner
This year I'm running the 2018 Frankie Diary. I picked it up at my local newsagent last year and I loved it. I've tried planners with more space for more stuff but I never end up using it. It gets overwhelming and I put it in the drawer and it stays there for the year. The Frankie Diary has a different hand illustrated pattern for each month and it just has the vintage vibe that I adore.
I've been trying to find a balance between digital calendars and day-to-a-page diary because going all in on one or the other just didn't work for me. The Frankie Diary has a week spread across two pages and just enough room for me to write down birthdays, personal appointments and big milestones like launch dates, webinars etc. I've bought cute stickers (check out Studio Calico for some serious cuties), washi tape and pretty pens - who wouldn't want to stick to using a planner when it's that gorgeous?
For tasks related to projects I'm working on, I'll break them down and enter them into Asana.
Naming conventions in Google Drive and Evernote
ERGH. You guys, I teach people how to use Evernote and I'm still not using it as well as I could be! My biggest issue is dumping things in there and not being able to find them again because I haven't been consistent with naming the notes and notebooks. It's tripped me up more than a few times.
Put really simply, a naming convention is a uniform way of titling your files/notes and folders/notebooks. I've got a notebook titled BBS - 1. Company Culture and then another notebook titled Company Culture. Both have different files in them. I've got to set time aside to reorganise both Evernote and Google Drive so that it's that much more efficient. What a waste of time if not!
Use recurring tasks in Asana
I wrote about end-of-month tasks on the blog and how corporate are kicking our creative asses when it comes to keeping accountable to goals. Month in, month out there are the same set of tasks that need doing.
I already use a Weekly Tasks template in Asana with recurring tasks like "engage in Facebook Group X" but I've started collecting a column of monthly recurring tasks as well, and drag them over to the end-of-month activity day as they roll around. By using the recurring date feature in Asana, I can mark a task as complete and it will regenerate with a new date depending on the time period I've set it for. I won't have to rewrite the same to-do list every time.
Maintaining a finance bible
Accounting nerd alert! My day job is working for local government and there are policies and procedures for everything. We get audited yearly and the record keeping has to be spot on. I've taken some of my work practices home with me and have started printing off my Profit & Loss statements monthly to do my income reports and it prompted me to start looking into other aspects of my business finances.
I have this idea to start a Finance Bible. So far, I plan to print off my P&L statement, my bank statement and my Balance Sheet (a report that tells me what money I have in my bank accounts and what's promised to unpaid bills). I'll put my Monthly Stats sheet in there too. I want to be able to grab the binder off the shelf and see my financial progress each month.
Tracking my stats
I've seen a huge shift surge in my website traffic this week and I suspect is has everything to do with the uber honest income reports that I started sharing in November. It's shaped how I talk to you guys and the reaction has spurred me on to keep being totally transparent and unfiltered with what I share.
I've been blogging and emailing consistently since that momentum started and it's been paying off - THANK YOU FOR READING! You're now a view that I'll track on the monthly stats sheet that I created and I'll be serenading you as I lovingly write the number down each month (FYI I'm usually singing country songs when I do my end-of-month stuff. I just really dig it!).
Watching the stats grow or decline is delicious fodder for planning out the next month's goals. If something worked I can set a goal around keeping at it or increasing the effort. If something aint working then I can reasses the next course of action, push my Warby Parkers back up my nose and get back into the roots of what I do and reel - I mean - bring you back in to read something again.