Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Life Success System

Transition can be so beautiful...
According to many business minded blogs, systems are the way to success. This is what many self-made people argue, and indeed, it would appear this kind of structure helps ensure focus. When a person has a system, a standard operating proceedure to fall back on, it guarantees that certain things get done no matter what.

It might seem a little awkward to talk about "personal standard operating procedures," after all, applying a business concept to one's life feels rather robotic. That said, I can say quite honestly that it works. I can say this, because in order to fulfill my promises to myself and ensure I achieve my goals, I have implemented a few systems of my own.

At first, it was a bit of experiment. I started off with some casual things. Once I experienced a little success with these smaller items, I decided to apply the same concepts to other areas of my life.

Because I hate veiled language and undelivered promises, I will explicitly share with you what I have done and then what I intend to do. In short, I'm going to give you my system. Keep in mind, it might not work for you. Just because it works for me, does not mean it will for you. The fact is, a system only works if it is used consistently. If you cannot follow it consistently, then do something else. This means you may experience some trial and error. I can attest that I have tried all manner of things and I have finally come up with something that works for me (and works for me in all aspects of my life).

The first thing I wanted to do was change a few habits. In order to do that, I downloaded a 21 day habit app (21 Days Effect from Google Play). I then chose three habits I wanted to establish. Each day I had to check into the app and choose whether or not I had completed the habit for a total of 21 days. At the end of the 21 days, I would input three new habits (or select one of the previous for another 21 days).

Now, I will openly admit that I need the check in. I need some accountability and I hate failure. Hate failure. I cannot stand being unsuccessful at something, thanks to a strong perfectionist streak. The check in, even if it is just within the app, is enough motivation for me to maintain focus on my selected daily goals for the 21 days.

I decided to choose some physical goals - like calorie counts and exercise quotas. Later, after a little success with the app, I added some professional goals. These I based on the things I feel called to complete in order to achieve my long term vision for myself.

My long term vision is a five year plan that includes my writing, finances, level of reknown, "day job," and family life. In order to realize that vision, I divided it up into yearly items. I realized I could only control myself, and so rather than worrying about how things would be received, I decided to ensure I did everything within my power to realize my vision every year, month, day, and hour.

This year, it meant applying to doctoral programs (check!), publishing a nonfiction piece (in beta reading as I write this post), finishing the Khloe Alwell series (80% finished with the manuscript of the last book!), finishing Andrew from the Rollins Pack, and completing related marketing/publishing changes for all related items. On top of all that, I need to assure my family is provided for. In order to do that, I need to have a way to make money consistently.

That seems like a lot when I write it out like that. Okay, actually it is a lot. But if I break it down into bite sized chunks, it isn't. Really. In fact, I plan to get it all done by July.

I decided the order in which to get these things done. First, my nonfiction book is in beta reading. Until I get feedback about that, I am unwilling to publish it. In the mean time, I can write a guest post or media packet item once a week related to the book.

Next, I decided to focus on Khloe. My Khloe fans have been waiting patiently for the last installment, and it's time I fulfill my promise. I gave myself several weeks to rewrite the 80k that was written, and then another month to complete the first draft. Then I gave myself a couple weeks to rewrite into a second/third draft. When that was complete, I would send it to a few beta readers. With feedback, I'd do another draft, give myself a day for coverart, and publish. I took less than a week to rewrite the 80k and already I am up to 92k. By giving myself very achievable daily goals, I am able to pace myself and maintain momentum. When I have more time and energy, I rewrite or write more. When I don't, I focus on reaching my daily goal.

By putting my daily writing goal into the app, I have added accountability. It is enough to make me feel like I'm in a race with myself, which is ideal for the competitive perfectionist.

Needless to say, I divided the tasks for Andrew in a similar way and will complete it when I send Book 4 to beta. After Andrew, I hope to have my nonfiction piece in hand, will rewrite it, and publish, along with a nice marketing campaign in relevant sites and blogs. I get my daily goals done before I do anything else, and I'm golden.

Once those book related items are done, then it is time to focus on developing a consistent income stream. In my five year plan, my books do that for me. Right now however, I need an alternative. This is especially true if I enroll in a doctoral program.

I have a TON of business ideas on any given day. In fact, it's a little crazy how varied my ideas are (products, services, websites, brick and mortar...you name it). There are several issues with this, however...
  1. Isolating the best idea.
  2. Hammering out the details.
  3. Making it work.
In the past there was also the question of having enough energy to get started. Getting started is the first difficult thing. The second difficult thing is continuing before the idea builds enough inertia to be self-sustaining.

Getting started is scary for me, but I can do it. In the past my true hurdle was waiting for sufficient inertia.

I have written more than enough books to feel good about publication. I feel good about my overall plan. While I continue to follow my plan for writing, marketing, and publication, I need to decide what I idea to develop for a consistent income stream. That way, when I have finished my publication goals, I can transition seemlessly to my business/income development goals.

So far my system works. I'm moving along on a good clip. I am sure of my success. I just need to decide what that success will look like and then I can make it happen. I have a system for that.

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