Each month I like to assess my time on creative projects and progress on specific goals in my work as a creative entrepreneur and author. Posting that self-assessment here helps me stay accountable to my mission. Here is my report for September 2019.
My 2019 Goals
My One Word: Together
89% / Double the number of members of The Religion Teacher (December 2017 to present) (+11%)
3,969/5,000 copies sold of Christ in the Classroom (July 2019: +732 since January 2019)
204,614/1,000,000 words for kids (A part of my #1millionwordsforkids goal) (+9,617 words)
1/4 new published works of fiction on Amazon.com (+0 published books)
6/7 paid speaking gigs (+2)
59/100 books read (+11 books)
15/73 Books: Read the entire Bible from beginning to end. (+1 book read)
70/100 30-minute workouts (+9 workouts)
Incomplete / Play Bruce Springsteen’s “Thunder Road” on the harmonica.
How I Spent My Time in September 2019
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:
- 37:04 – Speaking (Owensboro, Grand Rapids)
- 22:33 – The Religion Teacher Email & Customer Service
- 9:49 – The Religion Teacher Membership Launch
- 9:04 – The Angel Academy
- 5:19 – Tales of the Ten Commandments
- 7:13 – Daily Review
- 5:58 – Morning Preview
- 3:37 – Weekly Review
- 2:33 – The Religion Teacher Blog
- 2:14 – The Religion Teacher Weekly Newsletter
Total Time: 126:08
September 2019 Highlights & Lessons Learned
As I sat down with my wife to plan ahead for the Fall, I realized that I had schedule a speaking event or family trip every week from the beginning of September to Christmas! I’m excited about all the trips, but I did not expect this amount of traveling.
I really enjoyed spending two Saturdays in September with catechists and teachers in Michigan and Kentucky. Both events went well and I really enjoyed having the time to be able to do a deep dive into the principles and strategies in Christ in the Classroom.
The Religion Teacher Launch
Every September I send a series of emails to The Religion Teacher email list to help religious educators refocus priorities and set goals for the year. I follow that up with an opportunity to become a member of The Religion Teacher and access hundreds of exclusive resources. The response was great. I warned of the dangers of:
- Tedious Teaching
- Kumbaya Catechesis
- Selfish Service
Thankfully I wasn’t alone in the fight against those three Enemies of Encounter. I’m excited to be a part of this group and to be able to work with such passionate religious educators.
On the fiction side of my work, I continued to work on stories for the Angel Academy series. There is so much potential in this book series and I really want to get the approach right. I finished and shared a draft of what I was calling book one. The challenge was trying to introduce a series while still writing something that would work well as a stand alone novel.
I am going to continue to write stories for the Formative Fiction weekly email newsletter to hone in on a better approach for this book series.
Along the way I recorded a milestone along the way to 1,000,000 words for kids:
As a family, we tried something unexpected in September. To try to save money on groceries we took up the Shelftember challenge. The kids were not pleased and we all had to make sacrifices. We learned a lot about being frugal and creative with food.
The basic idea is to eat the food that usually just sits on the shelf gathering dust. Plus, only spend $25/week on groceries.
It felt like Lent in the fall! We made it through, though, and I’m happy to say we saved hundreds of dollars on our (large) grocery bill. It costs a lot to feed six people!
We heard about the challenge from a friend, but we did some resource and it was started by a finance blogger, Jordan Page. Read more about the Shelftember challenge here.