Here is my monthly report on projects, goals, and the lessons I learned along the way.
My 2021 Goals
549,819/1,000,000 words for kids (A part of my #1millionwordsforkids goal) (+4,135 words)
739/1,000 Resources (Videos/Worksheets) for Members of The Religion Teacher (+17 resources)
41/24 Books Read (+2 books including The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt and Empire of the Summer Moon by S. C. Gwynne)
40/73 Books of the Bible read from beginning to end (+2 books read)
82/100 30-minute workouts (+4 workouts)
How I Spent My Time in November 2021
- 11:03 – The Religion Teacher Email & Customer Service
- 8:05 – The Religion Teacher Prayer Worksheets
- 6:19 – Morning Preview
- 5:18 – Updating Leadpages Content Upgrades
- 4:54 – Daily Review
- 3:57 – The Religion Teacher Member Pages and Newsletter
- 3:37 – Weekly Review
- 3:02 – Website Host Transition
- 2:52 – The Religion Teacher Saint Worksheets
- 2:32 – The Religion Teacher Newsletter
Total Time: 75:29 Hours
November 2021 Highlights & Lessons Learned
One Worksheet a Day
When you have a limited amount of time to work each day, it can be very difficult to get your creative work completed. All that work time can be easily taken up by essential tasks leaving no time for long-term projects like books or paid products.
I spent a lot of time in 2021 feeling very angry about my lack of productivity. This is just crazy when I think about it. I get to work for myself and do what I love. A lot of unexpected things came up this year, but I have the freedom to set work aside to focus on family when I need to.
The problem is that the urgent always took precedent over the important. I kept working on customer service emails, email newsletters, and other time sensitive projects leading without having time left to create and ship new products.
Last month was different. Instead of feeling anxious and upset with myself for not getting more done, I set my sights on a smaller goal.
I forced myself to feel successful if I just finished one page a day. For me that means finishing one worksheet a day.
If I got into the afternoon time with my kids and started to feel the anxiety of work I had not finished yet, I asked myself:
Did you finish your one worksheet today?
If the answer was “yes,” then I gave myself a break. I celebrated it as a successful day. I was able to me more present and available to family without distraction.
To my surprise it was one of the most productive months of the year even though I worked less hours than a typical month. The smaller goal led to bigger success.
I completed drafts for all of my planned handouts in The Religion Teacher’s Prayer Worksheets and worked ahead a few months for new additions to the The Religion Teacher’s Saint Worksheets Collection.
I also got organized and created a page in Notion with Kanban Boards for various worksheets projects I have planned. It sounds silly, but it feels great to move a card for a worksheet from the “Worksheets to Create” column to the “Draft” column.
I’m excited about this process for 2022 and look forward to using the “One Page a Day” approach to feel much better about my days.
Upgrades and Updates
In October my membership website crashed and I finally decided to make the move to a new hosting provider. I wanted to find a company that would help restore websites quicker and increase the speed and performance of all of my websites.
I found WP Engine to be the best step up from the shared hosting I’ve been using for the last ten years. They have been great to work with and so far the speed and performance is much better on the websites I have migrated over so far. I’ll move all the websites over during the slow December days as we near the end of the year.
But just when I thought I had things under control, I was hit with another technical issue in November. When Leadpages retired the old version of their pages and pop-ups, I had dozens of broken links to sign up for my email newsletter.
It’s my own fault. They sent multiple email warnings this year that in my busyness I ignored.
So, I scrambled to update pages and forms with free worksheets to encourage people to sign up for The Religion Teacher newsletter.
On the bright side, I have a good system now for creating the sign up forms. There is much more consistency and I will save myself a lot of time in the creation process in the future.
The big lesson here: read the technical emails about updates from software companies or else!
New Book: Advent with the Angels
I published only one new book this year and I had to scramble to get it published in time for Advent. I don’t like being this far behind, but it is what it is.
Advent with the Angels released on November 22, 2021 less than a week before Advent. I’m very excited about it, but disappointed that I wasn’t able to get the cover completed and the book up and for sale in time for schools and families to get copies for their kids.
So, the sales have been small, but the impact on my family has been worth it. I love the discussions with my kids before bed at night. I get to know them and they get to reflect on their faith.
We always say to them “Sleep with the angels” when we tuck them in for bed. I’m glad they get to spend this Advent thinking about the words of the angels as they join them in sleep.