My chosen profession in life is "strategist", which also happens to be called a "planner". This could not be more on the nose of who I am at the core. As a child, when my mom would tuck me in at night, I would ask her what the weather forecast was for the next day so I could fall asleep planning out my day ahead. For years, every trip I've been on would not be complete without a detailed agenda and an itinerary for each day (I've since let up on that for the sake and sanity of my marriage). Above all else, I love setting goals for myself and tracking them in daily planners, of which I've likely invested more money in than any other form of self care.
I've used various methods for planning and tracking my goals over the years. In early 2019, I wrote about my approach for identifying goals and tracking them. Back then, I had monthly goals in six different categories I would track (Creativity, Personal Relationships, Self-Care, Professional, Finance, Health) and looking back, it was a good system for building new habits. As for having specific goals, what has helped me the most over the years are two things: investing in a Passion Planner and having one of my best friends be my accountability partner. My friend and I both use Passion Planners and every other week for over a year, we've hopped on the phone to talk about what goals we've accomplished and some of the challenges we've been facing. What I like most about the Passion Planner is that at the start of each year, you create a Passion Roadmap of goals you want to achieve in the next few months, year, few years, or lifetime. You then pick the one "Gamechanging Goal" to focus on for the year and then write tangible steps to accomplish it. However, my favorite feature is that halfway through the year, you redo your Passion Roadmap. Things can change, including your goals, and especially with how 2020 has progressed, certain goals I've had are just no longer attainable.
When I sat down at the beginning of July to redo my Passion Roadmap and compare it to my plans from earlier this year, I was actually surprised at how much I've actually accomplished:
Featured in an online virtual art exhibition by The Art Students League of New York.
Launched my own consulting business Mad Focused (something I've been thinking about doing for years).
Experimented with social video through my Creative Office Hours Life IGTV series.
Continued writing monthly articles on this website.
Increased my social following.
Launched an email newsletter (subscribe here!)
Refreshed multiple personal platforms and websites, along with a personal rebrand.
Continued having work flow in and being able to pay the pills despite the pandemic.
Established better daily habits and schedule now that we do everything from home.
Also, no big deal - I'm expecting my first child this fall.
I honestly don't believe I would have been able to do all of this if we weren't literally stuck at home for months. I've struggled for years to focus on getting goals accomplished on top of a full-time job and a busy social life, but sticking to a daily schedule for the past few months and having limited distractions, the silver lining has been that I've crossed a lot of my to do list. It's also advantageous to get some things completed and out of the way now before our kid arrives.
It is a bit daunting to think about having a kid and also launching a business at the same time. While many people are uncertain about what the next few months hold, I do know for a fact that our baby is coming and there will need to be an adjustment. It's also helped me set a deadline of what needs to be done beforehand, what needs to be continued throughout, and what could be picked up again towards the end of the year. I had my gut instinct about how I wanted to plan things, but I wanted to look at other aspects of my self-care practice that could help inform what I should prioritize:
To Be Magnetic - I've been following this manifestation practice for about two years. One key component is to write a list of what you want to "manifest", which could be anything from items you want to acquire, getting a new job, or finding a new relationship. The trick is to write down what can be attainable within 6 - 9 months so you can be accountable to take action and also be realistic about what can be accomplished during that time. I refreshed my list based on what I knew for sure was happening in the next few months (baby, end of the year, holidays, and hopefully an uptick in potential business).
Chani Nicholas' 2020: The Year Ahead for Your Sign - Yes, I 100% follow astrology (and I'm not alone). Earlier this year I bought Nicholas' book You Were Born For This: Astrology for Radical Self-Acceptance to get a more accurate read on my chart (Aries, Leo rising if you're curious), read the entire book in one night, and felt I had a better focus on what my goals and purpose were. In June, I decided to take advantage of a sale Nicholas had on her reading for 2020. For those of you who might be wary about astrology, astrologers did predict that 2020 would be a radical and tumultuous year of change, so I was curious to see how my reading aligned with my plans for this fall. Sure enough, September will be a time of a major, life-changing shift related to family (baby) and that towards the end of 2020 I'll have clarity about a larger opportunity or project I want to take on (which could hopefully mean an exciting new job opportunity or project due to companies planning their 2021 budgets).
Passion Planner - And of course, I redid my Passion Roadmap for the year, and I'd say that while people have been telling me about how balancing (integrating?) parenthood and a career will be tough, I feel that I'm finally getting focus on what I actually want to do and how to prioritize. Everything I want to be able to do in one to three years will be challenging, but not impossible.
The "Gamechanger Goal" I have for the next six months or so is to find a way to build my monthly income, with at least half being passive. I've mentioned on Instagram some of the methods I'll be using to attain that, but here is a list of things to look forward to from me for the next couple of months:
1:1 Consulting Sessions - My aim with my marketing consulting business is to help working creatives and their businesses. From my experience and based on the current climate, many are not in a position to pay for ongoing consulting work. What I also find is that whenever I chat with a working creative, they've made a long to-do list for themselves on what they need to do for their business, but don't feel confident it's the right path. That's why I'm launching a turnkey, one-time consulting session for each client so that they get the answers they need right away, plus have action steps based off of market research and an audit of their current business and marketing strategy. It's affordable ($495) and is a great first step for new businesses, or an opportunity to shift strategy for an existing business.
Online Marketing Courses - Along with the fact that many working creatives may not be able to afford ongoing consulting work, I want to put together some online marketing courses that will help them get the basics of strategy and what needs to go into a marketing plan. I'll likely be launching a few modules at a time, with the full course available at the end of the year. The aim is to make it much more approachable and digestible than what you typically might find in an online marketing course. After all, working creatives studied art, design and communications, not marketing.
Premium Services - For more established businesses, I'll also be available for project-based and retainer work, focusing on content strategy, audience engagement, and digital architecture recommendations. I'll only have a few spots available, so definitely get in touch if you might be interested later this fall.
In terms of other goals and habits, it's a given that some have definitely shifted because I'm pregnant. However, being in lockdown AND pregnant has made me really think about self-care and overall health, and I've adopted the mindset that it's not necessarily what you do specifically, but just committing the time and energy to do so.
It's crazy that it's already July of 2020. How do you feel about the past six months? Have you been able to be productive, or not productive at all (which is still something to celebrate)? Let me know below in the comments.