Welcome to my April 2018 Project Report. My goal with these monthly reports is to help other authors, entrepreneurs, leaders, or anyone else who wants to make an impact through their work. Each month I will share how I spent my time as an author and creative entrepreneur and the successes, failures, and lessons I learned along the way.
How I Spent My Time in April 2018
I track every minute of time I spend working on projects using an app called Toggl (here is why). Here is a list of the projects I spent the most time on last month:
- 15:28 – The Religion Teacher Email & Customer Service
- 9:00 – Launch of The Religion Teacher’s Catholic Mass Worksheets
- 7:28 – The Daily Learning Log (archive)
- 4:43 – Fiction Writing
- 4:31 – Weekly Review
- 3:40 – Morning Preview
- 3:35 – Tax Preparation and Planning
- 2:57 – Daily Review
- 1:54 – The Religion Teacher Newsletter
- 1:26 – The Religion Teacher’s Guide to Lesson Planning (Revised eBook)
Total Time Spent: 70:23
Here is what I produced last month:
- Worksheets: 0
- Articles/Blog Posts: 41
- Newsletter Emails: 19
- Videos: 1
- Books: 5,782 words
- Workshops & Webinars: 1
2018 Goal Update
In the past I tried to focus only on mission and vision and not specific performance goals. I’m trying something different this year and setting some big goals for myself as a entrepreneurial author. You can find my goals here. This is the progress I have made so far:
58% / double the number of members TRTm members (audacious goal)
0/5,000 copies sold of Christ in the Classroom (good/great)
0/1 published work of fiction (good)
3/7 paid speaking gigs (expected)
22/50 Read 50 books (good goal)
51% Paid Off / Pay off mortgage in 2020 (good goal)
Best: 00:00 / Run a 5K under 23:00 (good goal)
Incomplete / Start a support ministry for startup founders. (expected goal)
You can read about the process I used to set these goals along a scale of success here: A Simple Process for Setting Bigger Goals.
April 2018 Highlights and Lessons Learned
Spring Break Vacation
My wife, Jen, spoke at the National Catholic Educational Association conference in Cincinnati during spring break so we made a family vacation out of it. We spent some time at our alma mater, Miami University, then a few nights in Cincinnati. We took the kids to the aquarium and I drove them down to see the giant Noah’s Ark museum in Kentucky. We spent a lot of time in the hotel pool. It was a lot of fun, but needless to say I got very little work completed. Working on vacation is hard when you work for yourself. Vacations are great break from a full-time, 9-5 job, but when you work for yourself and by yourself, there is no one else to keep your business running. I still woke up early (5:00 a.m.) and prioritized my time to focus on the bare minimum necessary to keep things going: customer service, email newsletters, and the Daily Learning Log.
The Catholic Mass Worksheets Launch
At the beginning of the year, I had planned to create and launch a new set of worksheets for The Religion Teacher each month. Sadly, it took until April for me to launch the first one. I am really excited about this resource and I am glad to see the response. There was a nice spike in new memberships and sales thanks to a series of emails, a webinar that I did using Facebook Live, and some bonus incentives. I would love to get to the point where I have a simple system for launching these resources and creating awareness especially among people who already have access to them as members of my website.
With my first attempt at fiction, I am writing a series of fables to help teach young people how to live the Beatitudes and the Ten Commandments. What I love most about fables as a writer is the length. At 400-600 words each, it gives me the chance to practice creating story ideas on the fly and writing something with a complete narrative arc.
I was very pleased to come across Ray Bradbury’s advice to novice writers last month because it gave me some reassurance that writing these short stories is the best thing for me to do right now. He suggested that authors write a short story every week rather than a novel during a year. Not only will you have gained confidence by completing fifty-two complete works, you will also increase your chances of writing something that is actually pretty good.
“I defy you to wrote fifty-two bad ones,” he said. “It is not possible.”