It’s unbelievable. More than 50% of the year is gone.
This means a brutally honest check on my progress. I have never done this before. In the last few years, I’ve held only year-end reflections on my progress.
This year is going to be different.
This mid-year reflection allows me to check on my progress and to make the necessary corrections to get closer to my yearly goals or even to modify my goals.
In January, I decided to ship 10 products in 2019, while working full-time and doing 7 hours/week consulting for a startup. You can read more about my plans in this post.
I set up OKR framework to define the objective and KPIs for 2019. Here is how these look:
Objective: Create things I enjoy for other people so their lives will be better or funnier. This means building and shipping products.
- Build and launch products:
- Learn to code -> Key result: spend min 4 hours/week learning to code
- Build and ship products -> Ship 10 products in 2019
- Make money from it -> 1000 USD/month revenue (strong validation of doing what people need)
- Improve my personal brand
- Publish actionable content regularly on my blog -> Publish 2 in-depth posts every month (I also have a guideline I have to follow)
- Promote my content -> Fully execute my promotional checklist for every content I write (2/month)
Shipping products is my most important metric for the year.
Here is the update on the KPIs:
Build and ship products - Plan: 5 in the first half of the year; the number of shipped products: 5. - I did it!
Products I built:
Learning to code - Plan: 12 hours/month, but on average, I spent 3.5 hours learning to code. This seems significantly lower than I planned.
Make money - Plan: 1K USD/ month. Actual: 1 USD/month - yes, I’m making money! :D This metric wasn’t that crucial for this year but was added as a KPI to measure product success.
Publish actionable content on my blog - Plan: 12. Actual: 2
Promote my content - Apart from sharing them on social media and on my newsletter, nothing happened here. Ouch.
- Sold one of my side projects (for 100 USD, so I’m rich!)
- Got featured on the front page of TheNextWeb
So, what happens next?
The biggest problem is that I've spread myself thin in the last 6 months. I’m working 40 hours a week and also doing 7 hours of consulting, plus learning to code, shipping products, writing blog posts, promoting content. You get it.
I did almost everything, and apart from hitting the most important metric (build 5 products in 6 months and 10 in a year), every other KPI is just lagging behind.
Following this path won’t help me reach my goals (plus, considering that my son will be born within a week, it will be even harder). So, here are the changes I’m making:
- Won’t stress about publishing actionable posts, apart from the bi-monthly update posts. Since there are no actionable posts, the promotion won’t be necessary.
- I keep focusing on the single-most important things. In order to be able to ship the products, I need to improve my coding skills, so I have to spend more time doing online courses (minimum 4 hours a week). In the meantime, I will work on the products, applying the things I’ve just learned from the courses.
- I will cut back on consulting hours. The minimum hours I have to spend on it is 5; currently, I’m working for more than 7 hours. Reducing it by 2 leaves 2 extra hours for coding.
- On a high-level, I won't focus on improving my personal brand but rather on building products and learning to code. I need to ship another 5 products. That’s the most important thing for the next 6 months.
Despite not hitting most of the KPIs in the first half of the year, I still achieved much more in 6 months than in all of 2018. I shipped 5x more products, had insane progress with coding and learned a lot along the way.
If you’re doing or planning to do something similar, I recommend you stay focused on the single-most important thing. Don’t try to change the world within a year. I know it’s hard because there are so many things we want to do, but focus is essential. There is no other way.
Which one would you choose: delivering mediocre results on many things or doing an excellent job in one or two selected areas?