If there is one secret I have discovered with blogging it is learning the art of setting short-term goals. It is easy for us to dream. We all love to think about what our blogs could become. Yet, we often lack a clear focus of what we should be doing in the here and now.
We have so much vying for our attention that our blogs get pushed back on the back burner. You can easily become discouraged by this or you can see your blogging career as a journey. My son recently taught me a few lessons that I hope are an encouragement to you.
Blogging Through the Eyes of an 8-Year Old
My 8-year old son wanted to start a blog about Legos a few months ago. I guess it is the Lemonade Stand of years gone by. While I was encouraged that my son had some ambition, I wasn’t convinced that he was going to do a whole lot with it. After all, he is only 8 years old. If anything, I saw it as an opportunity to encourage his creative spirit and not crush it.
It has been a little while since he did any work on his blog, but just last week he suddenly became re-energized about it. He asked me questions like:
- How can I get people to visit my blog?
- How can I earn money talking about Legos?
- How can I record some video talking about Legos?
I have to admit, the questions came as a bit of surprise to me. He wants to create videos talking about Legos cause he thinks if other kids saw how the finished product worked, they would want to buy them too.
He also wants to create a business card with his blog address so he can pass them out at school and to kids in the neighborhood. One of his motivations is because Christmas is coming and parents are going to be buying lots of Legos for their kids. I said, “What about Santa Claus?” and he just gave me a look. I guess those days have passed.
A Simple 90 Day To Do List
Not wanting to squash his ambition, I told him he needed to create a to do list if he wanted to get these things done. So he took a section of my whiteboard and wrote out his To Do List for October-December. See the picture above to see the actual to do list he wrote.
Does it really need to be any more complicated than that? Do you have a simple To Do List with a reasonable deadline? About a year ago, I did something that has profoundly sky-rocketed my productivity. I created a simple 90 Day Goals Whiteboard.
My 90 Day Goals Whiteboard
While blogging is a marathon, I believe focused sprints is what can propel you to get things done. I have a whiteboard hanging on the wall above my computer. It is my “boss.” It reminds me of the short-term commitments I have made to myself. It is one thing to say you are going to do something; it is an entirely different thing to write it down and put a deadline on it. Michael Hyatt recently wrote about the power of writing down goals when he wrote his latest New York Times best-selling book, Platform.
My whiteboard is divided into 6 sections. These 6 sections cover every area of my life. They flow from my Life Plan. Two of the sections are dedicated specifically to blogging goals. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to set reasonable 90 day blogging goals:
- What content/products do I want to create in the next 90 days? Creating is the most important skill of every blogger. Creating can include blog posts you want to craft, podcasts you want to record, books you want to write or products you want to create.
- What bloggers or people do I want to personally connect with in the next 90 days? You should be actively building relationships through blogging. Connect with other bloggers in your niche through guest posting. Connect with your audience and make them feel a part of your blogging community. No blog is an island.
- What new systems or processes do I want to change or start? Do you need to change your theme? Do you need to start a mailing list? Do you need to improve the sales pages on your blog? Does your about page need updating? Do you need to start outsourcing some of your work to create more time for yourself? This is the business side to blogging that you cannot ignore. While the first two questions should take precedence, you need to make room for systems and processes.
- What podcasts/blog posts/products do I need to consume in the next 90 days? You have heard me say it a lot: true bloggers are learners at heart. They learn so they can share. Do you need to upgrade your blogging skills? Maybe you need to enter Blogging Your Passion University to make sure you aren’t missing out on what you need to do to build a successful blog. Maybe you need to grow in a specific area. We refer to this as Just-in-time learning. It is when you place a 100% focus in one key area and see it through to the finish. For example, we recently launched Kindle Your Passion and walked a group of students on how to write and publish a Kindle book in 30 days.
My 90 Day Structure for Crushing My Goals
While you can use any sort of deadline you wish, here is a simple system to consider. I set my 90 day goals according to the seasons. This way I end up with four 90-day sprints a year.
- January – March (April 1st Deadline)
- April-June (July 1st Deadline)
- July-September (October 1st Deadline)
- October-December (January 1st Deadline)
This process helps me for many reasons. Sometimes life gets busy and I “fall off the wagon” for a few weeks. I just dust myself off and get a renewed focus on trying to meet the deadline I have given myself. Sometimes I am overly-ambitious and have more on my list than I can reasonable accomplish. I don’t sweat it. Like it has been said:
“Shoot for the starts and you might just land on the moon.”
I figure that if I get most of it done, it is better than getting zero things done. I want to encourage you to keep things simple. Here is a simple step by step process to take.
- Set a few blogging goals and set a 90 day deadline
- Place your goals where you can review them often. Let them be a “boss” to you.
- Re-focus your efforts when you need to. Don’t be discouraged when you “fall off the wagon.” Dust yourself off and start again.
- Shoot for the starts. It is not so bad to land on the moon.
Do you set specific blogging goals? If so, what do you do that works for you? Please share in the comments below.