Darren Beale Web developer, retailer & photographer

Doing, Aiming & Being Challenge

Doing, Aiming & Being example mindmap
Doing, Aiming & Being example mindmap

This week there’s a quick update from me and then an expansion on my Doing, Aiming & Being challenge for you. There’s 6 months of the year left, do you have an idea of what you want to achieve? If not why not give this short exercise a try and see what comes of it?

If you do give it a go then why not share it with me, I’d love to see it. You can email me, bealers@siftware.com, and I’m at @bealers on Twitter.

I also contradict last week I’ve made my mind up and have decided that I’ll keep the show as Knuckling Down, but simply with shortened episodes. This gives me the option to do the odd long-format episode when I’ve got some more experience (and the time!)

Things are still rough around the edges, but I feel like I’m gaining some momentum and have a long list of things to talk about so I’m feeling confident that things will improve.

A full transcript of the show is available below.

Hello campers, I’m Bealers, and welcome to this rainy 9th of July in 2016. This is Knuckling Down, my short weekly podcast, where I use you, the internet, as my accountability partner. I share the things I’m working on, and as I run my business and as I work on my discretionary projects, and I also dig a bit deeper into other things that I’ve learned during my journey, whether that be professionally or on a personal level. As I got better from being miserable and very unwell, through to being relatively happy and certainly a lot fitter and healthier, and feeling very positive and productive.

The aim is this is going to be short show, no more than 10 minutes, and that I do it from home, and before if you watched the original pilot of Knuckling Down, I was at my office, I was talking about doing a podcast that would be very much interviewing people and getting experts in on this or that. I don’t have the time to be doing that right now, I need to knuckle down myself.

I’m at home, I’m doing this in my own time, and it’s going to be very quick. It should hopefully give you some value, but at the same time, I’m using you as an accountability partner, as I said, to make sure that I carry on  and I do the things that I say I want to get done.

Last week I did do the first one of these more shorter-form shows. I called it my diary, and I hadn’t called … I’d said Knuckling Down was dead, and then I realised that actually … that’s crazy, fool, I’ve already got an iTunes feed. I’d already set it all up, so I should be moving that all over onto my blog over the next week or so. That would be the one iTunes feed, and that does also then give me the option to occasionally do a longer show, certainly as I find my feet and I feel more confident doing these random talking into the camera on your own.

I won’t go for the long update that I did last week, but I’ll just give you a reminder of the things that I’m working on at the moment.

I’ve got 2 core projects as I see them. One is my business, Siftware, where we as a team help the owners of websites keep, maintain and secure, and updated, and basically provide support and maintenance.

I also am focused very much at the core on staying healthy both mentally and physically, though I see it both to be the same thing.

On the discretionary side, there is me writing a book called the One Notebook. I am building a SaaS product. I personally am building that and my team aren’t, because they’re busy on doing actual work. I’m trying to find a day a week to work, to keep my code skills certainly not completely rusty, and that’s called Notebud. It’s going pretty well, and hopefully get that done by September.

This month in July, the other discretionary project is me sorting my blog out, so this has been going about 18 years; certainly as a blog, well over 10. It’s full of rubbish, so I’m going through, pruning a lot, cleaning it up, making it be more sensible, how it’s laid out, and generally just updating it so it better reflects the Darren Beale of 2016 rather than me 12, 13 years ago.

My update for this week

It’s been a pretty good week, I have to say, pretty positive.

Most of my most important tasks that I define at the beginning of the week and add each day, depending on what’s changed day in and day out, I got all of those done, which I’m really pleased about.

I’m working quite well towards my fortnightly goals, which tie into goals that we set with our Mastermind group. I had a good sales meeting in London this week, which was quite positive. It’s been a while since I’ve had to go and actually physically see a client. Normally everything’s done over the phone or a video. It was quite good, it felt a bit like a job interview, it was quite odd. I felt comfortable and confident, that’s good to see.

On my new thing, I’m trying tracking my discretionary project and progress on an index card. I’m colouring in little blocks for progress, and this week at least one project was worked on each day, so that was good to see.

From a professional perspective, I did lots of really good work when I knew you could start Marketing Your Business Through SEO. My aim was to have 3 keyword categories completely fleshed out. I’m getting ideas for different words, looking at search volumes, and just building that out, fleshing that out. I’ve done that now, I’ve got 3 categories, and I started mapping that to existing content, and also coming up with ideas for new content. I’ve got a pretty busy week next week ,but certainly by the middle of the month I should be ready to start actually shipping new content that should help my target audience for Siftware, which is people who need their website maintaining or supporting. Give them some value, and hopefully that should give us some better Google juice over the very long term.

Also running, my shins are holding out, which is brilliant. I had a bit of a scare a few weeks ago where they started hurting again, but I’ve kept on running through that with physio’s advice. Up to my goal now, 20 miles a week without any pain. I’m not going to try any kind of pushing the miles or the speed or anything over the next month. Just going to keep it at that volume, and then I can think about building on that base. I’m really delighted by that, because … this is a great t-shirt, “I run to keep away the crazy.” That’s very very true.

That’s all. I’m feeling like we’re back on track, and finally I’m now waking up again naturally early, which is brilliant, because I was having to set my alarm to get up, and that is a slippery slope to not being [arsed 00:07:14] and getting up a bit late, but now back on that as well.

That’s my update done. Last week at the end of the episode, I poorly set you a challenge. I didn’t explain it very well, and I figured I should probably do that in a bit more detail.

My challenge was based on thinking that this is July, there’s 6 months of the year left. I’d recently done my 6-month review, where I looked at the goals I has set in January, and I looked to see what’s changed. As expected, at least 50% had changed. I had achieved quite a bit of what I wanted to get done throughout the year, but parts had changed. I started knuckling down, I cut out a lot of things that I hadn’t got time to be getting on with. I reviewed all my goals, and during that process, I tried a different tack and my challenge to you was to try the same thing.

I’ll explain it to you now. There will with a copy of this feed to be able to download, or a hypothetical example to give you some ideas of how to lay this out.

Ultimately, there are 3 areas. There’s the doing area, what you’re working on right now. Just put it all down on a page. This can be everything from major projects like building a house or whatever it is you’re doing, or writing a book. Pretty major things, right down to very small micro-level things like fix a contact form on my website or unblock the drain. Whatever it is, from the very prosaic all the way through to the great big chunky stuff, just write down everything that you’re doing. At the bottom of the page, list out all the things that you want to achieve.

You will, if you read up about setting goals, very quickly you’ll be told by everyone to only focus on things that are measurable and achievable and timely, and all the other SMART things. I would actually disagree with that at this level.

This is a high-level kind of brainstorming exercise. Just put whatever you want. If you just want to say, “I want to be fitter,” write that down. You don’t have to, say, give it a time limit or anything. Obviously, remember that goal was just dreams or deadlines, but at this stage, dreams are fine, so mark all those on the page. On the right hand side or left hand side, whichever way is your preference, write down things that are causing you problems at the month, so it’s like an 80/20 analysis. The 20% of things that are causing you 80% of the pain. This could be you’re stressed out, you’re tired all the time. It’s all of those sort of things. Put that down on that side of the page.

Then just draw some lines between them and try and see where there’s a congregation of lines, really.

For example, in the hypothetical example I’ve provided for you, you might be feeling quite overwhelmed, you’ve got loads to do. That’s going to be a line to pretty much all the things that you’re doing … section. One way to work towards being less overwhelmed would be to see maybe where some of the doing things aren’t really joining up with your goals at the moment.

There’s no set way of doing this, in a right or wrong way. Your brain is wired differently to the way my brain is wired. Thankfully, for you. Just see what you come up with, and then from that you should be able to figure out what you want to prune out.

That’s the aim of the exercise here, is to prune a lot of your doing. As I say, it should come quite natural to you. It’s a bit like the thing where you flick a coin and the right choice … they’ve got 2 things, should I go left or should I go right? You flip the coin and it says right, you go, “Damn, I want to go left.” Go left then.

It’s the same with these. Look at where all the lines come, look at particularly in terms of the ones that are working towards your goals, or the ones that aren’t working towards your goals. Basically cross a load of them out, and say, “Well, I’m not working on this stuff right now, because I can’t get that done in the next 6 months. I can’t get all this done, I’m going to still feel overwhelmed, I’m going to still be stressed out,” or whatever it is that you’ve got.

You’re also looking to … in terms of the goals … you’re also thinking, “I’m trying to work towards removing some of these pains.” That’s the idea, so you’ve got a goal but also, not only are you going to be getting stuff done, but you also want to be removing friction, anxieties, whatever it is.

I hope that makes a bit more sense, try it out. As I say, there’s an example for you to have a look at. The idea here is that you give it a go. You’ve got 6 months of this year left. It’s not too late to start. Figure out some things that you want to get done in the next 6 months, and then you’re going to prune a lot of that out, because you ain’t going to get it all done.

Then don’t get too stressed out about how you’re going to get it all done, because you don’t have to do it all in July, or August or September.

The idea is that you’ve just got an idea, a vague idea of the things that you will be doing over the next 6 months. Then maybe you can prioritise that over the coming months.

Write down your doing things on a Post-it, pop it on the side of your monitor. If you want to share it with me, I’d love to see it. You can email me, bealers@siftware.com, and I’m at @bealers on Twitter.

I hope you have a great week, and I’ll see you next week.

Thanks very much.

By bealers
Darren Beale Web developer, retailer & photographer