Here is my monthly report on projects, goals, and the lessons I learned along the way.
My 2021 Goals
510,900/1,000,000 words for kids (A part of my #1millionwordsforkids goal) (+12,162 words)
649/1,000 Resources (Videos/Worksheets) for Members of The Religion Teacher (+15 resources)
14/24 Books Read (+3 books)
36/73 Books of the Bible read from beginning to end (+1 books read)
34/100 30-minute workouts (+8 workouts)
How I Spent My Time in April 2021
- 13:56 – The Religion Teacher Email & Customer Service
- 9:35 – The Religion Teacher’s Apostles Worksheets
- 7:46 – Formation5 Daily Email Newsletter
- 7:20 – Daily Review
- 6:54 – Morning Preview
- 6:46 – The Religion Teacher Videos
- 6:08 – Weekly Review
- 6:00 – Social Media
- 4:13 – Taxes and Accounting
- 2:42 – Theoloji 101
Total Time: 86:46 Hours
April 2021 Highlights & Lessons Learned
One Person, One Project, One Page
I took an honest look at the year so far and came to a realization:
I have not accomplished enough.
The problem isn’t productivity. I’ve created a lot. The problem is I haven’t finished the projects I started. I had not shipped or sold anything this year.
You can look back on the monthly reports and see a variety of different projects. They were all good things, but I didn’t achieve any real sense of accomplishment.
During a journaling session I came up with a mantra to help me focus on the most important work every day:
One Person, One Project, One Page
Who is your audience?
Better yet, who is in your audience?
I could say something generic like “teachers” or even something more specific like “religion teachers,” but that isn’t as helpful as thinking of a very specific and actual person.
Or, if not an actual person, I could pick a persona.
Many authors, creators, and business come up with a “persona” as their audience. They even give the persona a name and truly think of him or her as a real person.
I got narrowly focused on helping just one imaginary person last month. Instead of creating for an audience, I created for “Catechist Cathy.”
Cathy isn’t a real person, but she is a collection of many people I know.
Cathy volunteers at her parish on Sundays in the religious education program. Teaching isn’t her full time job. She loves the kids and teaching, but she’s a little overwhelmed by the content she has to teach each week. She signed up for The Religion Teacher newsletter to get weekly ideas to use in class. She loves things that are practical and easy to implement like worksheets and videos.
Instead of working on many half-finished projects, I focused 100% on one project at a time until it was completed.
This was so transformative.
I started, completed, and shipped a new collection of worksheets: The Religion Teacher’s Apostles Worksheets.
I planned, outlined, and recorded a full set of videos to be posted next month.
I created worksheets and graphic organizers for member videos and scheduled them to go live next month.
I worked on just one project at a time until completed. No exceptions other than the regularly scheduled newsletters.
If I felt excited about something else, I reminded myself I can work on it only after I finish the ONE project I’m working on.
My goal: one page a day.
It is easy to get overwhelmed by the scope of any project. Writing a book, for example, is extremely daunting even after you outline what you need to write.
So, you have to forgive yourself for not finishing it fast enough.
Instead of getting stressed out by all the work and avoiding it, set a small goal: one page a day.
The truth is I wrote a lot more than one page a day, but that is only because of the gained momentum from sitting down and doing the first page.
Since I wasn’t writing a book last month, I used the “one page” as a metaphor. I broke down each project into parts:
The Religion Teacher’s Apostles Worksheets = One Worksheet Per Day
The Religion Teacher Videos = One Video Per Day
The Religion Teacher Blog = One Post Per Day
Any time I felt stressed out about not finishing enough work, I simply asked myself: Did you do your one page? Yes? Then don’t worry about the rest.
I am so excited about this process and I can’t wait to continue the massive productivity boost into the summer months.
Just a quick update about The Religion Teacher YouTube channel.
I dedicated a lot more time to the channel in the last year. The results have surprised me.
Recently the channel passed:
- 3,000,000+ views
- 18,000+ subscribers
I heard recently that if you ask kids what they want to be when they grow up, “YouTuber” is the #1 answer. I think it’s funny that the kids that watch my videos in class feel like they know me. My daughters’ friends joke about it. My kids jokingly call me “Mr. The Religion Teacher.”
I almost completely abandoned social media for years as I focused on writing and building up The Religion Teacher. I realized, however, that creating content without connecting via social media is a very lonely way to live. I started re-entering social media and experimenting more last month, particularly on Twitter. I’m excited about the lessons I’m learning and the relationships I’m building.
Other than the daily posts to The Religion Teacher social media accounts, I started two things:
I’ve been reading and studying the best threads on Twitter. Threads are a series of tweets. Some people call them “Tweet Storms.” For many people, the Twitter thread has almost completely replaced the practice of writing an article.
I’m actually using the Twitter thread format to write the entire first draft of Theoloji 101. It is an incredible format (especially when you set out to write an entire book on a phone).
I spent a little time researching and writing this interesting story about Einstein a thread:
I also started a weekly collection of my favorite threads. Here are the first few editions:
Finally, I started experimenting with two new platforms. I sign up for every social media platform as soon as I hear about it in order to claim my username and learn as much as I can about it. I signed up for two new platforms: Bitclout and Racket.
Bitclout has been fascinating to watch, but it has received a lot of criticism. I will withhold my thoughts for now, but I think everyone should be watching and learning what happens there.
Racket is very new as well. I love the concept and the audio recording tools are very simple and easy to use. I’m excited to use it going forward to connect with other creators.
I created two test Rackets: