rediscovering short-term goals

Jay Clouse Uncategorized

It has been 369 days since my last “weekly email” was sent. It has been 192 days since my last formal journal writing. I had built up a decent readership, you guys were great at opening up with commentary and replying to my email blasts…it was, by all my own personal measures, successful.

What happened?

Well, that’s a great question. And honestly, there is no great response. I distinctly remember having the thought, “Why am I writing these on Medium? I should put curate this writing on my own platform and own it.”

It was about that time that I decided that I would dump my Squarespace website, and neglect Medium (and writing in general) until I rebuilt everything in WordPress.

And here we are, 192 days later.

I know what you may be thinking – and you’re right. It doesn’t take six months to make a personal website and blog. So what happened?

I fell into a trap. I believed that by keeping my desire to rebuild this thing top of mind, that meant I would find time and get it done. Au, contraire!

Here’s a short list of the things on my mind at this very moment:

  • Getting this post finished by 4pm
  • Going to the gym today
  • Responding to two meeting requests
  • Updating my sales records
  • Texting my dad
  • Boobs
  • Organizing/formatting my Create Columbus notes
  • Damn, Real Friends is a great new track by Kanye
  • What will I make for dinner tonight?
  • Shit I need to fold my laundry

You get the point. Keeping something top of mind does not turn that thought into action. And it’s shockingly, scarily easy for days, weeks, and months to slip by. Even doing the math, it’s absolutely insane to me that it took me this long to get this going.

We are all so busy all the time. Work, personal relationships, some volunteer work…where can we carve out time for personal projects? Simply put, you just have to do it. But you have to make a concerted effort and be smart about it.

I got over the hump when I put a list of deliverables for myself to accomplish over Christmas vacation. I outlined what I wanted in my new website, earmarked the pieces necessary for a minimally-viable product (MVP), and broke every piece into steps.

  1. Research WordPress themes
  2. Pick a WordPress theme
  3. Set up hosting
  4. Download theme
  5. Get to work

…and so on.

I’m about to say something that is not at all a revelation,  but it bears repeating:

Big projects are much more manageable when broken into actionable steps.

Once I had broken it into digestible pieces, I put those pieces into a to-do list. Then I put that to-do list on my calendar. Suddenly, I was committed. Each one of these steps could be said to represent one evening I decided not to go out. One beer I didn’t drink. One movie I didn’t watch.

And now, the MVP is done. Look for some added areas in the coming weeks, but I’m back to writing and sharing with you folks. Not only did I rediscover the power of near-term goals, but I rediscovered the joy of creation.

I’m excited to ship a journal and email every Sunday. There will be some overlapping content, but my email family will receive some extras that I won’t publish here. If you haven’t already, I’d recommend signing up for the list on the left.

Huge thanks to Joey Hendrickson, Ian Hoyt, and Jake Larkin in helping get this site buttoned up and running. For more tactical steps for turning thoughts into action, check out this video from Nils Root and ‘Thusiasm.

What’s a project you’re working on, or want to start? Leave it in the comments, and let’s hold each other accountable.


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