Goal Setting Simplicity: Bullet Journal Wins

Goal Setting Simplicity: Bullet Journal Wins

It’s that time of the year again. The holidays are looming, and it’s time to wrap up 2014, and set some clear and simple goals for 2015. I love goal setting, but the process can get out of hand, so I decided to look for an app. With luck, the right app would help me to both clarify my goals, and to track them.

So, I searched, and searched some more. I found apps which were either too complicated, or had social integration, or were unappealing to me in other ways. Apps may work for you. If you’re looking for apps, check out Michael Hyatt’s list of seven goal achievement apps.

At the end of it all, I decided that…

I’m Sticking With My Bullet Journal

Why? Because for me, setting goals, and working toward their achievement, requires lots of thought. You can set and track a simple goal, such as improving your health by exercising each day, using an app. However, larger goals are more complex. I’ve made a short list of two primary goals for 2015, but they’re complex. They require setting mini goals, and creating projects to achieve those mini goals.

As I said in this article on bullet journaling resources, I’m a big fan of paper; working something out on paper is powerful.

In my bullet journal, I can create collections for each goal, and collections for mini goals too. Major tasks go into the monthly spread. Things can handle daily tasks which repeat each day, or several times a week; it’s fun to tick them off — entering all my “must do daily” tasks into the bullet journal isn’t efficient. The day entries become too cluttered.

Planning: in Evernote, and Two Journals

I keep Evernote open all day; I write drafts of everything in a Drafts notebook. Whenever I get an idea for a blog post, I create a note in Drafts, with a short outline. However, for planning, paper’s essential. Recently I bought two notebooks from NanamiPaper.com, because I’ve become obsessed with thin Japanese paper.

One’s for ideas — oddly, enough, it came with a Idea Diary tag. The other notebook’s for goal planning.

I’d started using this system before I started looking at apps. Three notebooks for goal setting seemed like overkill. As it turns out, it’s what I need, for now.

How do you manage goal setting? I’d love to know if you’ve developed a system, and what you use.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.

Time Management, Self-Management: Bullet Journaling

 Time Management, Self-Management: Bullet Journaling
Time Management, Self-Management: Bullet Journaling Resources

Time management is self-management. We all have the same amount of time; it’s what we do to manage ourselves that counts. I became interested in time management again a few months back when I discovered bullet journaling.

I’m a big fan of paper; working something out on paper is powerful. For a couple of decades I fell in love with tech, because I was writing for several computer magazines. That made me feel slightly guilty that I still used so much paper. I got over that very smartly, when I realized that using both paper and digital tools helped not only my productivity, but also my creativity. It just makes sense to keep doing what works.

Unfortunately, my diaries, journals, binders, and planners were a long way from being a real system. Not only did I have more paper notebooks than I could keep track of, I also had a blizzard of sticky notes on my bulletin board, my library shelves, and on just about any flat surface.

Although I’d been hearing about the bullet journal, I scoffed at it. Then in desperation, I decided to give the system a trial. Not only did I find it powerful and effective, I discovered something else. There’s a huge paper planner community. Who knew? My battered old Filofax is 25 years old, so I ordered a Hobonichi Techo, which is superb. Just right for bullet journaling in 2015.

Combining bullet journaling with digital tools like Evernote works for me, and I’ll write more about that in the coming months.

Bullet Journaling Resources

If you’re interested in trying bullet journaling, here are the resources I found valuable.

The Bullet Journal Website: Here’s What You Need to Know

Start by visiting the bullet journal website. Watch the video, grab a notebook, and get started. You’ll learn a lot about yourself. Here’s what I discovered immediately: I was more productive.

You can hide and ignore tasks you haven’t done with a digital task management tool. With a bullet journal, you can see that you’re migrating tasks over and over, and that fact alone irritates you enough that you DO that pain-in-the-rear task, or tasks. I hate administration, and while that won’t change, my bullet journal ensures that I DO those tasks.

The Bullet Journal Communities

I’m a member of two groups, the Bullet Journal Community on Google+, and the Bullet Journal Junkies Group on Facebook.

Lovely people on both those communities. If you have questions about notebooks, signifiers, methods, or anything else, ask.

Blog Post and Videos: Tips From Bullet Journalers

Here are some blog posts and videos which helped me to get started with bullet journaling.

33 Days Later: an Update on My Use of the Bullet Journal Method Task Tracking System: Jewel Ward offers this insight:

“What I like about the Bullet Journal method is that the act of manually transferring my tasks from day-to-day, week-to-week, and month-to-month forces me to be more aware of that I need to do, what I have done, and, what is feasible to do within the time frame I have available. It does take more time, but overall, it saves me time.”

How the Bullet Journal Cured Idea Overload Syndrome — Renee Shupe’s insight:

“I discovered that using pen & paper over a digital process actually has me reviewing the ideas and taking action by either crossing them out as they are no longer valid or hashing it out and building a plan for implementation.”

Video: How I set up my Bullet Journal – from Hailey Cairo, an excellent primer.

Video: My Bullet Journal from Miss VickyBee, another excellent primer on how to get started.

Will bullet journaling work for you? I’ve no idea. However, if you’re as desperate to develop a sane time management system as I was, you’ll love the system. Watch Ryder Carroll’s video, and start. You’ll know whether it helps within a day or two.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.

Writing Journal 60: From Goals to Plans

Writing Journal 60: From Goals to Plans

My writing journal for Saturday, October 11, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

It’s Saturday, so it’s a short writing day for me. I have a couple of coaching calls this evening.

I start with the mystery novel, which is still flowing right along. Only 1,400 words today, because I plotted out a few more scenes, so that I could build the sleuth’s arc.

Next, work on the two nonfiction books, which went well, with another 1,300 words.

Then Honey’s breakfast. I need to hide her monthly worming tablet in her breakfast. She’s fussy, and won’t take tablets; I need to mix them in her food and hope they dissolve so she doesn’t see them.

Lots of email this morning; the backlog is building up. I’ll need to deal with some of it late this afternoon, if I get back in time.

An interesting message from a coaching client asked about goal-setting. I tend to have a “whatever works” attitude. If you’re achieving your goals, you’re doing it right, so don’t mess with a process that works.

If you’re not working happily towards your goals, here’s what works for me, and for my students.

From goals to plans

Here’s my basic method:

Intention => Goal => Plan

Your intention is vital — what do you WANT? Why do you want it? One of the many reasons I journal daily (obviously this journal is highly expurgated :-)) is that it helps me to set goals that I really want to achieve, and which have real meaning. For most of us, it’s a real challenge to cut through the noise in our heads, and discover meaning in our lives.

Your goals grow from your intentions, and your plans grow from your goals. As someone said, all plans are useless, but planning is essential. Without a plan, you just stand still. A plan gets you moving.

Initially, your plan is fuzzy. It will come into focus, as long as you take the first step. Sometimes, all you can see is the first step. Take it, with confidence, and the next step will become obvious. Take another step, and you’ll see another few steps to take. You’re moving, headed towards your goal, and that’s all that counts.

Your comfort zone

Try to take ONE small step outside your comfort zone every day. It doesn’t matter in what area you choose. My latest steps outside my comfort zone are into art. I love art. I watch artists’ videos on YouTube. I can get completely lost in images. But it’s my firm belief that I can’t make art. So, I’ve decided to step way outside my comfort zone, and do a small sketch each day for a week.

Ghostwriting the company history book

The client reviewed the first draft of the company history book. I also sent a scope of additional material I thought would be effective. We’ve reached an agreement for the additional material, so it’s full steam ahead on that.

I slotted it into my schedule; then it’s time to leave to run errands.

More blogging

I’m back. I catch up on some emails, and review my clients’ blogs.

Blogs are like rabbits. They multiply. I always seem to take on more than I should, because I get excited about a new project’s potential. A couple of my blogging commissions will end soon. If the clients want to commission me again, I’ll subcontract the work. I need to cut down, to focus more on coaching, my own fiction, and my own blogs and websites.

I’ll do more blogging tomorrow; Sunday is my big “blog planning” day.

With my daily review done, it’s time to prepare for my coaching calls.

After that, I’ll catch up on my reading.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Write An Ebook In 8 Hours Or Less

Write An Ebook In 8 Hours Or Less

Want to write an ebook in a day? You can. As you may know, I write a lot of books, usually for clients. I’ve got a process that I share with you in my Words into Cash: Write and Sell Your Ebook in Just 8 Hours program.

If you’re interested in writing fast and well, I encourage you to check out this program, because we’re withdrawing it on September 7. We’ve got many more programs scheduled for this year and next.

Why write a fast ebook?

Money’s one reason. Would you believe that an ebook on attracting hummingbirds to your home made $500,000 in a single year? People want information on many different kinds of topics.

I love watching birds on my daily walks, and if I had the time and inclination, I could write an ebook on attracting native birds to your garden.

Would it sell? Who knows? If you write a quick ebook, and spend just eight hours on it, it scarcely matters. Some ebooks can be sleepers. You can write an ebook, forget all about it, and months later discover that it’s taken off.

However, important as money is, it’s not the only, or even the primary reason for my clients to write ebooks. They may write an ebook to educate their audience, for the credibility it gives them, or just because a competitor has an ebook and they want one too.

Ebook marketing is hard, right?

Authors can get tied in knots over marketing. They think that “marketing” is a mysterious process, which takes a long time, and is embarrassing into the bargain. No one wants to beg people to read their book.

If you shudder at the idea of marketing, and think it’s hard, let’s look at a simple process for setting your goal for marketing, and your goalposts.

  • Decide on your goal for ebook marketing. Do you want lots of sales, to become known as an author, to sell a coaching program, to sell a product…?
  • Set your goalposts. How will you know when you’ve scored a win? Your goalposts might be getting your ebook into the top thousand ebooks in its category on Amazon. Or they might be getting ten speaking engagements. Or getting your new product into stores across the nation. When you set your goalposts, you define what “success” looks like for you.

Once you’ve set a goal, and the goalposts, marketing starts to look a lot less intimidating.

Setting your goalposts is vital. When I’m coaching business people and authors, I encourage them to look beyond sales, or the number of downloads they get if they’re offering their ebooks for free. Your goalposts – that is, the measure of your success, may not involve large numbers of readers at all.

Here’s an example. One of my clients, a management consultant, published his ebook on Amazon, and had 100 Createspace copies printed. He sends a printed copy of his book to prospects, and leaves several copies behind after he pitches prospects. He’s tripled his client list in the past year.

Would you spend eight hours writing an ebook if you knew it would triple your business? Our Words into Cash: Write and Sell Your Ebook in Just 8 Hours program is available until September 7.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

photo credit: cindiann via photopin cc