I find it easy to look ahead and stay focused on the next item or project on my to-do list. It is also easy to lose sight of what is most important. It is essential to find time to make sure tasks and projects align with a higher mission.
I like to look back each month and examine where I spent my time and how well I progressed towards reaching my goals.
My 2020 Goals
94% / Double the number of members of The Religion Teacher (December 2017 to present) (+4%)
236,447/1,000,000 words for kids (A part of my #1millionwordsforkids goal) (+15,125 words)
19/260 1-Hour Writing Sessions (+19)
481/500 Resources (Videos/Worksheets) for Members of The Religion Teacher (+9 resources)
5/75 books read (+5 books)
21/73 Books: Read the entire Bible from beginning to end. (+0 books read)
12/100 30-minute workouts (+12 workouts)
How I Spent My Time in January 2020
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:
- 19:20 – The Religion Teacher Email & Customer Service
- 15:50 – The Religion Teacher Membership Launch
- 12:24 – The Itsy-Bitsy Quitter Book
- 10:02 – Weekly Review
- 9:26 – Daily Review
- 5:22 – The Greatest Tree God Called to Be Book
- 5:03 – The Religion Teacher Webinars
- 4:56 – The Religion Teacher’s Bible Biography Worksheets
- 4:58 – Morning Preview
- 3:42 – The Religion Teacher’s Saints Worksheet Collection
Total Time: 132:41
January 2020 Highlights & Lessons Learned
Setting 2020 Goals
For my 2020 goals, I kept last year’s unfinished goals and the annual goals that worked well for me in 2019. I will make adjustments as the year goes on, but I’m focused on accomplishing what I still see as good external measures of where I need to be heading as a writer.
The only new addition is the 1-Hour Writing Session goal. I did not hit my quota for daily word count last year. I’m hoping that a focus on time spent rather than output will produce better results.
I started writing two new books in January:
The Itsy-Bitsy Quitter is something I’m calling a “nursery rhyme novel.” It is written like a business fable book. The main character in the story learns three important secrets to sticking with something she wants to quit. I’m happy with the first draft and looking forward to sharing it with my daughters.
The Greatest Tree God Called to Be is a poetic children’s book. Children’s picture books are often written in rhymes. I thought I might give that format a try by writing a collection of stories about salvation history from the perspective of trees. I gained immense respect for authors of picture books. I am not verbose by any means, but writing in such tight prose was very challenging!
The Religion Teacher Launch Experiments
When I worked at Ave Maria Press, I hosted nearly 100 webinars and presented a half-dozen or so in their webinar series. I tried to offer a couple of webinars for The Religion Teacher community in January to give people an additional level of training and interaction with other religion educators.
In my mind “Wednesday Webinars and One” sounded really great. It was great for my schedule, but not so great for others. I’m pleased with the feedback on the recording and a lot of viewers really benefited from the presentations.
Most of all, though, I’m always pleased to be able to spend January and September refocusing the mission we have as religious educators through a series of emails. These email series may be the best thing I do to advance the mission of kids encountering Christ in the classroom. It gives me the chance to share the vision I have for religious education and how The Religion Teacher resources help people get there.
Bible Biographies Worksheets
Another new project for January was a series of worksheets featuring biographies of major figures in the Bible. I made my way through the Book of Genesis and created what I feel are really simple and useful resources to help kids learn about and reflect on the lives of God’s people in the Bible. I’m looking forward to creating a large library of these biography worksheets from every part of the Bible.