Episode 35: Jenn Uren on The 90 Day YearSep 28, 2021
Resources mentioned today...
Undertanding rhythms and routines can be hear here
Productivity journal by Michelle Rayburn
This is a transcript of the This Mom Knows Podcast - Episode - 35
Every January, a new year starts. The calendar rolls from the old year to a nice, shiny new number. There's something about it that - it makes it feel full of promise and potential kind of like a fresh journal just waiting to be filled or a blank canvas waiting to become a masterpiece. It's a vast open space of possibility. The kids head back to school, and you jump into your New Year's routine. And all as well until...Spring Break when it all falls apart. So we give ourselves a little space, we look forward to when things get back to normal and we ride that wave until the next big disruption comes. By the time we get to the end of the calendar year, we often look back frustrated with the messiness of all of it and maybe even disappointed with how the year turned out. Chances are pretty high that it was not all that you had hoped and imagined it would be. So you look forward to the next New Year full of promise and potential. And you make the same mistakes all over again.
Now, I think we have the right idea at the beginning of the calendar year, but we have the wrong expectations when it comes to how far out we should plan. So I want to propose to you that there are in fact, four New Years within a calendar year. There are the holidays, which encompasses New Year's, there's Spring Break, there's Summer Break, and there's back to school in the fall. Now think about it. If you look back on your typical year, these are usually the times and the events that bring us to a halt and throw our routines out of sync. Can you hear yourself saying, "after the holidays, I can..." Or "when we get back from Spring Break then" or "once we get into our summer routine..." Or "as soon as the kids are back in school."
The thing is, we make plans and we create rhythms and routines in a fantasy land. There is no year for the mompreneur that doesn't encompass at least one of those regularly scheduled disruptions, usually more often all four to act otherwise is not living in reality. So what if we actually embraced these natural disruptions? What if we planned for them rather than having our plans thrown off by them? What if we accepted the fact that our year is 90 days long, and we planned in 90 day stretches? We would get four years of productivity out of a 12 month calendar year, we would have built in breaks that were anticipated, and we would have the opportunity to do lots of things well, by intentionally focusing on it.
Now we already know in theory that this is a good idea because we hear it everywhere. Have you heard this one? How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Or maybe you've been told, take a goal and break it down into smaller steps. Like if you want to pay $10,000 of debt off in a year than you need to find $833 a month, or $194 a week or $27 a day. Maybe you've heard take a project and turn it into a series of actionable items. Like "create a podcast" is not something you can check off your list. But "brainstorm podcast names" can be so can "choose podcast name" or "order microphone". Those are things that move us forward. It's the same idea. We're breaking the year down into four opportunities to do meaningful work. And then we're taking those opportunities and we're breaking them down even further.
So the first thing we need to do is make sure that our time is focused on the right things. Now if you haven't listened to Episode 33 on Your Best Yes, I encourage you to go back and do so it will help you assess the things on your plate and work through a process of removing the things that just don't fit. I even have a helpful tool you can download to make sure that you're saying yes to the best and no to the rest and you can grab that link in the show notes.
The next thing though, that we need to do is understand our rhythms and routines. We didn't we just say that these are disrupted and change every 90 days? Well, yes. Soft of. By understanding the natural rhythms and routines that emerge we can figure out where we need to start over, where we need to adapt, and where we just need a minor tweak. So it's in understanding these patterns that we can maximize what we accomplished during our 90 days. And I will link below to an earlier episode that we did on figuring out your rhythms and routines that will help you with this.
Then we can plan our time. So now we can take that advice from earlier and break our goal down into those smaller, actionable steps. And here's when we can decide what we're going to do. So how do we do that? Well, this is a time when I am a fan of seeing the entire 12 months. You can order a wall calendar, or you can print out a monthly calendar template, but put them up on a wall where you can see the whole year at one time. Then take and block off mark off the four natural breaks so that you just remove those from your year. Then you're going to make a list of the big picture goals that you have for the year. And don't worry about the details yet, just just the end result. So maybe, maybe your goal is by the end of the year, you want to have a social media strategy in place. You want four new coaching clients, and you want to host a live event. So take those goals and mark them on this calendar. So will you be doing your live event in September? Put it on the calendar. Is your podcast launching in March? Put it on the calendar. Do you want your social media strategy in place by the end of summer? Put it on the calendar.
So now you could go crazy here, but try to keep it to just a handful of goals. You're a mompreneur, so there's also a good chance that that you'll have some family focused goals in there as well like maybe purging and prepping for that garage sale, which of course is a whole other topic that we could talk about because I do love a good garage sale. But let's get back on on track here. Once you have the four New Years marked off, and you have your deadlines for your goals, now you can step away from the calendar.
Before you start in this next step though, take a moment and Google your goal plus the word checklist and see if anyone has created a resource to help you shortcut it. So for example, if your goal is to start a podcast, Google something like podcasts checklist, and you're going to find a variety of resources. John Lee Dumas has a great journal that would help you systematically go through and do all the things you need to do. And so for a few dollars, you can save yourself a lot of time by looking into what somebody else has already created. A quick search for social media strategy chest checklist is going to give you several sources that give aspects of it that you could use those to pull together to create a more detailed list to help you know what to do. So let someone else do the heavy lifting as long as you can, so that you can spend more time doing the work to achieve your goal.
Now we're going to pull it all together. So you can do it longhand on a sheet of paper, you can do it in a document on your computer. When it comes to breaking down a big project into smaller pieces. I really like a product called Swift To-Do. This app gives me a place to house lists and tasks for every aspect of life as a mompreneur. I can rearrange them, make them smaller groups under a bigger goal, assign due dates, keep notes, make them repeat, you name it, you can probably do it in here. And so it's a good place to do a lot of that in. And one of the reasons that I like the digital format is because then I can flex when things don't pan out like I expected. So if I end up with a stomach bug, for example, I can just take those days off and rearrange the tasks without my goal being all messed up on the bigger picture because I don't have to cross a bunch of stuff out, I just sort of reallocate it and go from there.
So once you have this long list of tasks, now you want to arrange them in order, like the actual order in which they need to be done. So if you're having an in person event, for example, you have to book the venue before you can announce the dates because you might not have taken into account that the local university has a parent weekend scheduled the same weekend that you wanted to hold your event and there are just no venues available for rent. Then once you have an order, you can start to see if there's any natural groupings that you can pull together to consolidate some steps. So for example, under both social media promotion and creating deliverables, you have a step of take branding photos. Well, you could group that into one thing and move that up earlier in the process, so that it's not under both of those individual tasks, and it's happening one time.
So now take that list and assign some values to it. Do you think you could do that task in 15 minutes? Or is it gonna take you three days? Now this is going to help you subdivide and schedule. Ideally, in addition to the things that you're already doing to maintain your business, you'll only have a handful of key things to work on each day in order to reach your goals and keep growing your business. Now you can plot those tasks out under your calendar. So there are lots of ways you can do this. One way is to count up the number of weeks in that particular stretch, say between spring break and summer break, and then assign the section of your task list a number that correlates to that week. So if there are nine weeks between spring break and summer break, you would have nine numbers on the calendar, one for each week, and nine sections on your task list that would correspond to each of those weeks. This might sound a little confusing, and I'd be happy to walk anyone through this.
Then you can schedule block times on your calendar to work on the things but you already know what you need to work on each week. So that keeps you moving forward. Now if you're a pen and paper person, a great resource for keeping track of your goals, and your progress is Michelle Rayburns 1-2-3 ideas in progress journal. You can use this to keep you on track and manage it. It's a 13 week journal. So you get four of those for the year.
Does this feel overwhelming? Probably. Sometimes it can help to talk it out with someone. And did you know that's one of the services that I offer? You can talk it out in a one on one phone call or you can schedule a weekly time where we work on these things together. I know from personal experience that it's easy to overcomplicate our own things and sometimes the easiest way to simplicity is an outside perspective.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the 90 day year, so let me know what you're thinking.