I love making my to-do lists. I find them to be very helpful. I have one for annual goals, one for longer-term or non-deadline specific goals, and then my weekly calendar with the top 3-4 things that have to be done each day.
However, I realize that I need to also keep a not-to-do list. This list would remind me of things that I should stop doing, or should limit. At the top of this list is to limit my time on social media between 9:00 am and 9:00 pm. Those are the hours in which I work and spend time with my family. At work, I simply don’t open browser tabs for Facebook or Twitter. At home, I leave my smartphone in my purse or on a table, away from where I am sitting.
I also would add to the list the business services that I want to stop providing. It’s the whole 80/20 rule. If 80 percent of my income is derived from 20 percent of my activities, then wouldn’t that mean I should focus on the 20 percent of activities that is bringing in the most income and stop doing the less-satisfying activities that are just not worth it?
Each year, I’ve done an assessment of what I simply don’t want to do anymore. This year, I have realized that it takes too much of my energy to try to pitch travel articles. My original goal was to publish 2-3 this year. I gave up on that about halfway through as the translation side of my business began to pick up. In less than 4 months of translating, I made more money than I could dream of pitching stories to an already flooded travel writing market.
I also decided that I would no longer do any writing on spec because it takes too much time to shop it around hoping someone will publish it. It’s just not worth the time. The only exception to this is fiction. I love writing fiction and will continue to do this, even though it doesn’t pay very much.
I also decided to stop offering online workshops for creative writing through the online platform I was teaching for over the past 3 years. While it’s emotionally rewarding, I have to support my family at this point in time. There is too much time required to do all of the marketing for these workshops and letting someone else take a cut of the money.
What will I do instead? I have another business book idea. After going through the process of publishing Branding for Beginners, I realized how useful people have found my business writings over the years. There’s another book idea in me that will need some time in 2019. I also want to offer an in-person workshop based on Branding for Beginners. I will also push to translate and edit more books by the great professional speakers I’ve had the opportunity to meet this year.
As we approach the end of the year, do you have any rituals that you do to assess what worked for you and what didn’t in your business? What will you stop doing next year? What will you do instead?
And here’s a little end-of-the year reminder: If one of the things on your to-do list for 2019 is to establish a brand image, go buy a copy of my book – Branding for Beginners. I lead you step by step through the process of putting together a Brand Style Guide, which is basically a cheat sheet for the way you market your business! The Brand Style Guide will keep you consistent throughout all of your marketing materials, making it easier for customers to recognize your brand and remember your key messages.