It’s the end of 2020 (finally!) and one of my favorite things to do every year is evaluate the past 12 months and make a plan for what I want to accomplish next year.
I look back at all of the projects, marketing, courses and programs, and generally how I ran my business to see what things worked really well and what things didn’t. Because one of the most simple strategies for growth is to do more of the stuff that worked well and less of the stuff that didn’t.
In this episode I’m sharing a few things that didn’t work so well and next week I’ll be sharing the stuff that did!
Give it a listen and then hop over to xosarah.com/newyearworkshop to get my process + a workbook to help you evaluate 2020 + make a plan for 2021!
One of the most simple strategies for growth is to do more of the stuff that works and less of the stuff that didn’t. You probably don’t need a ton of new solutions, you just need to focus on the stuff your audience is responding to most.
This year I didn’t spend much time testing new platforms or strategies, so this list is mostly habits surrounding my workday and not the actual strategies or what I’m posting or how much I’m showing up. Next week I’m going to share the things that worked, and that is going to include more strategies, but first, let’s talk through the things that slowed me down this year.
1 ➜ Not sticking to my plan
I’m pretty good at planning ahead. I always have a plan for my week, I plan months at a time, I plan marketing in advance for all the projects, promotions, open enrollments. And as much as all that planning keeps me on track, there were still some days when I could not stick to my own task list.
And surprise, surprise, the weeks I didn’t stick to my plan meant I posted randomly, my content wasn’t as focused, and my marketing didn’t work as well. I’m always preaching about planning and consistency because I can see first hand when I don’t – it’s reflected in my numbers.
Also I’ve been bad about being consistent with recording podcasts over the past couple of months. But you wouldn’t know it because I have been recording the podcast on Sundays. And to be honest – I hate it. I don’t want to have a task list or think about anything work-related on the weekends. The need to record just kind of looms in the background until I get off my ass, get in the recording booth (my closet), and get it done.
And one thing I figured out to fix this issue (that I will talk about more in the next episode) is that I’ve started doing talk to text for my episodes.
I set up the podcast outline in a Google doc on my computer and then I open the document on my phone, click the microphone button at the bottom of the keyboard, and then I just speak through the episode. I always thought that I could type faster than I talk but now I’m thinking that my typing skills have gone downhill slightly and it saves a lot of time if I just talk it out.
2 ➜ Not taking time off
Blaming this one mostly on 2020 leaving us in a pandemic quarantine since March. I am totally fine to work from home all by myself, talking to only my dogs all day, but after nine months of that I need a fucking vacation.
I need to leave this apartment for a week, do activities that do not involve my phone or laptop, and see new places and new things. I did take some time off during the summer and when we moved to our new apartment in October, but I was still at home I was still doing chores, unpacking boxes and having my usual routine with the dogs. Which isn’t the same as the full disconnection that happens when you take an actual vacation.
So now in December I’m feeling a little bit burned out, so I’m going to take three weeks off from work, from the podcast ,and really try to stay off my devices (aside from maybe my Kindle). But in California we are under lockdown again so there’s really not anywhere to go or anything to do. Planning lots of reading, baking, and watching Real Housewives to keep myself from scrolling.
As much as taking weekends and nights off is helpful to give yourself a break and rest your brain, those extended periods of time off are really so valuable, especially for us solopreneurs who constantly juggle a million balls at the same time.
So minus 10 points for no vacation this year and crossing my fingers for a vaccine so I can hop on a plane in 2021.
3 ➜ Tracking wins and fails…but not changing anything
I hated to realized this one! Every week on Friday I’ve been doing what I called a CEO check-in where I would open a Google doc and list out a couple things that went well that week and a couple of things that I could have done differently.
And in going through my list I realized that multiple times I wrote under do differently that I should start posting typed out tips or answers to questions on Instagram Stories. And like I said, I wrote it down multiple weeks (I literally wrote this down last week), and I still didn’t add it to my calendar or make a habit of doing it. So reminder to myself that if I am going to be tracking things I need to go back and turn them into actions. (And also I need to start writing out text posts on Stories.)
4 ➜ Sleeping in
One other thing that I wrote down on my CEO check many, many weeks is to wake up earlier.
Now I’m going to put a partial blame on the dogs for this one. Especially after getting Hazel. Because after Craig takes them out in the morning they get back in bed with me and they’re all cute and snuggly and I sometimes am just too cozy to wake up. Plus 2020 has been so uncomfortable and unpredictable that many mornings I’ve chosen the comfort of a bed full of puppies and slept in later that I would have liked.
However – I will add an addendum to this…
First, I’m really good at being focused and getting shit done so I have been able to get most of my work done (except for a few dang podcast episodes) in 4-5 hours. And second, I decided a few months ago, after writing it over and over in my CEO checkin, that I wasn’t going to feel guilty or bad about sleeping in (or really any of my choices) anymore.
So it’s more on this list to be like yo, I’m human, and also, when life gets tough, focus on caring for yourself first.
Now here’s the thing I want to say about evaluating your past year and looking at the things that worked and the things that didn’t – cut yourself TONS of slack.
2020 was hard just in terms of the pandemic. Add on top of that the political landscape, a surge of racism and anti-racist action, and then personal stuff too and I think we’re all going to be coming away with a little bit of PTSD. This was a traumatic year.
So evaluate, take some notes, figure out a few things that you can adjust and do better but don’t be too hard on yourself because this was a really difficult year to do anything. And whatever you did or didn’t get done is totally fine. Don’t worrying about what everyone else is doing or has done, we all did our best and so did YOU!
Now if you are in the mood to make a plan for what you want to accomplish in 2021 my New Year, Next Level Goal Setting + Planning Workshop is available. Head over to xosarah.com/newyearworkshop to sign up. I’ll walk you through my evaluation process, show you how to set realistic goals, make a plan that fits into YOUR schedule, and how to add in some habits to help keep you on track.
I’ll be back next week with the things that worked really well to grow my business this year and maybe give you some ideas for how you can adjust and hopefully thrive a little bit more in 2021!