My 2022 Goals & Visions
In addition to the concrete goals I’m working towards this year, I’m also sharing the vision for why the goals exist in the first place. I find a vision to be much more motivating than a goal, but a goal to be much easier to act upon than a vision.
My 2022 Vision
I called 2022 my “Year of the Worksheet.” I wish I had made worksheets my priority sooner. This was one of my most prolific and profitable years yet. I published more products and produced more creative work than any other year before and I worked less hours than I ever have before in order to be present to the family. The focus on worksheets also let me to make connections with new people. It helped me stand out for a unique skill instead of being just any other author.
568,137/1,000,000 words for kids (A part of my #1millionwordsforkids goal) (+2,092 words)
I see a kid putting into action something she read in a book. She is trying to overcome a challenge in a new way with a positive attitude. She surprises her parents and explains where she learned it: that book by Jared Dees. (Or: that worksheet…that video…that exercise with Jared Dees.)
819/1,000 Resources (Videos/Worksheets) for Members of The Religion Teacher (+23 resources)
I see a teacher showing The Religion Teacher videos and using worksheets that get kids thinking and praying in class. They experience something with those resources that keeps them thinking the rest of the day: an encounter with Christ. The teacher returns to lesson planning feeling less overwhelmed and more excited to teach the next class.
14/24 Books Read (+3 books including Dune; Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids; and How Will You Measure Your Life?)
I see myself talking to friends and family about some of my favorite books.
17/100 Non-fiction Books Started & Skimmed (+3 including How Will You Measure Your Life? and Make Time)
I see myself talking about non-fiction books on social media and during interviews because these books helped me improve my life and create my own work.
52/73 Books of the Bible read from beginning to end (+0 books read)
I see myself reading the daily readings with a new perspective remembering the experience of reading the entire Bible.
22/100 30-minute workouts (+6 workouts)
I see myself working out often and having more energy and happiness around my kids and at the computer for work.
23/200 word vocabulary to learn American Sign Language (+1 words)
I see my son and I having conversations in sign language during our one-on-one time during the day.
How I Spent My Time in April 2022
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 top ten projects I spent the most time on last month:
- 7:38 – The Religion Teacher Email & Customer Service
- 4:50 – Morning Preview
- 4:12 – The Religion Teacher YouTube Videos & Member Videos
- 4:00 – Daily Review
- 3:22 – Weekly Review
- 2:53 – @jareddees Social Media
- 2:03 – The Religion Teacher Spanish Worksheets
- 1:48 – The Religion Teacher Newsletter
- 1:32 – The Religion Teacher’s Creed Worksheet Collection
- 1:06 – Accounting
Total Time: 44:10 Hours
April 2022 Highlights & Lessons Learned
One of the greatest advantages of working for yourself is that you can take a vacation day whenever you want. I don’t have to worry about how many PTO vacation days I have. This gives me a lot of flexibility for family trips and doctor visits.
This month we had a lot of both. Our family went on a road trip during spring break to visit family and see a lot of museums. I also spent a few days in Napa with my wife to celebrate her 40th birthday. Then we had a few doctor visits up in Chicago for my son. These activities coupled with extra stay-at-home dad days so my wife could get more time in the office led to a new low in working hours for the month.
Most people are expected to work forty hours a week. I only worked forty hours in the entire month. When I read Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Work Week a decade ago, I wasn’t planning to build a life that allowed me to work only a few hours a week. Still, I used many of the principles throughout the last ten years to be very efficient with my time. Now, without planning it, I’m working less hours and spending a lot more time as a stay-at-home dad.
To be honest, I have to forgive myself constantly for not working more. I should be enjoying the extra time with my kids, but I often get anxious about spending so much time as a dad. It’s been a constant learning experience, but I’m working on becoming more grateful. These kids are only going to be young once. Eventually, they will all be going to school during the day. I need to appreciate this extra time I get to spend with them more than I do now.
Justin Welsh inspired a little experiment.
Working as a solopreneur can feel pretty isolating. Read through these monthly project reports and you will see an almost monthly failed attempts at social media.
Justin has been finding a lot of success on LinkedIn. I had barely opened LinkedIn in the last few years. I decided to run a little experiment and set up a little daily writing routine to post on LinkedIn.
The results shocked me. After just a few posts, I received voice mails, text messages, emails, comments, and DMs from friends I haven’t heard from in years. The little posts really made an impact.
Nothing went viral. I didn’t get thousands of new followers. But the articles made an impact. That was priceless.
It was an experiment. I’m not sure what the plan will be long-term, but I’m enjoying the writing process and it is helping me become a better working father.
Here are the top three posts:
- Since I started waking up at 5am . . .
- The drive-through line at Chick-fil-a was barely moving . . .
- If you’re an experienced dad, remember . . .
Here is my LinkedIn profile if you’re interested.
I enjoy making whiteboard videos more than any of the other projects I get to work on. I seem to forget this fact every month until I make the time to set up the lighting and record a few videos.
Setting up a system in Notion has been a game-changer. I move through the process from idea to description to batch recording to formatting and worksheets much more quickly than in the past.
The Religion Teacher’s YouTube channel passed 25,000 subscribers last month. I’m not nearly as focused on YouTube subscribers as I am on newsletter subscribers (which passed 74,000 in April), but it is a fun metric to watch as it grows.
I don’t consider myself a “YouTuber” but more and more people know me from the videos. One of the hardest things about being a creator is choosing what to work on. This year is my “Year of the Worksheet,” but this includes the worksheets to support the videos. More videos means more worksheets.
As this year progresses, I’m trying to decide where to dedicate my time and energy the most for the future. It may be that I shift away from writing (books, articles, social media) and towards videos instead.