In January I set five goals for myself for this year. I’ve been updating my progress towards those goals to keep myself accountable and ensure I keep working towards their achievement. I realized this month that while I set some general goals for myself I didn’t set specific targets and objectives that I wanted to achieve in each category. I think at my six month mark I am going to lay out some specific targets for the rest of the year. After four months I am feeling pretty good about where I am in each of these areas and am starting to form more specific thoughts around what else I would like to achieve this year.
- Get back in Shape
- Expand Thomas Woodcrafts
- Continue Growing DadGoesRound
- More Family Time
- Smile More
Get Back in Shape
I haven’t been to the gym this month, as mentioned in my March update I have switched gears from going to the gym to starting Aikido classes with my daughter. I haven’t been able to go as regularly as I want to due to my work schedule, sickness and one day a bus commute home from work that went badly and lasted twice as long as it should have. Nonetheless I am going and it hurts – but it feels good to go and I am learning. This month I will also be getting back on my bike for my commute to and from work. The first one is always the toughest as I get my gear together and get myself back into the routine.
I am not tracking my food intake and this is something that I keep meaning to start doing again since it is the most effective way I have found to reduce my weight. I used to have calendar reminders to harass me into recording my food. Apparently they have run out so I am going to reset those and get back into the habit of tracking and continue pushing my weight down – although since I am no longer going to the gym, I have no way of tracking my actual weight since we don’t own a scale.
Expand Thomas Woodcrafts
I haven’t done much in terms of marketing my Thomas Woodcrafts products this month – in part because I have been putting most of my focus into this blog and in part because I have limited time to make products and I have a craft show coming up in a little more than a week and I need to build up my inventory of products so that I have enough for the show so I didn’t want to sell much in advance of the show. If you will be in Ottawa May 15th, come and see me at the Heart, Home and Handmade show at the Hellenic Centre.
I did make continue making new products though. Here is some of what I put together this month. I have a few others that are also done that I haven’t yet photographed. You can find these and all the new ones in production at ThomasWoodcrafts.com.Depending how this month goes I will be rebuilding that site at the end of the month or early in June.
Grow DadGoesRound Blog
This has been my primary focus this month. In March I took some time off writing to rebuild my site and refocus myself and the blog. This month I have continued to tweak the design and I am writing a lot more content – with focus and purpose. I have struggled over the past 6+ months to find a new focus for this blog since I started cutting back on telling stories about my kids and posting pictures of them out of respect for my oldest daughters’ privacy. In April I feel like I found that focus and purpose. As a result I have more than 20 post and series ideas that are in various stages of development. My challenge now will be to keep up with the pace of writing that I have set for the next couple of months while also being able to work on my other goals.
I launched a new concept for this site called Dad Guide. On Mondays I will be publishing Dad Guide posts that are focused on helping fathers be better dads. Several of these are going to be series that I will then turn into e-books. The first one is half way through and is a guide for dads to help them talk with their daughters about their periods. The first post is focused on the facts of the menstrual cycle so that dads have the reference information to be able to explain to their daughters what is happening with their bodies. The second post is the how to guide for talking with your daughter and preparing her for her first period. There are two more posts to come before I bundle them together into the e-book that will be available to my newsletter subscribers. I am very excited about this series, the e-book and the Dad Guide concept.
Starting at the beginning of May I launched a series that will be running every Wednesday through May and June in partnership with my first blog sponsor STEM Camp. This series will feature a new Science, Technology, Engineering or Math activity that parents can do with their kids. I am also pretty excited about this one since my two oldest girls are constantly experimenting and quizzing each other on math questions. I want to support their curiosity and I have a very limited STEM background so I am happy to have found a partner that will help me encourage their interests.
On Fridays I will be publishing whatever I feel like – current affairs, stories about kids and life, whatever strikes my fancy that week – some weeks I suspect the thing that will strike my fancy is a break from writing.
On Sundays I have started publishing a Weekend Round Up. I read a lot of content in a week, some of which I share on my Facebook page throughout the week and I thought this would be a good way to share more of the great content that I come across. I will be sharing 3 -5 blog posts from other writers every week and I am also highlighting the two most popular DadGoesRound blog posts from the week. The most popular post written that week and the most popular piece from the archives.
In addition to all this writing – which seems like a crazy amount when I list it out like that – I am also cleaning up old posts and sharing them out on my facebook page along with content from other writers. My new site design helps readers to find older content that may be of interest in various categories. The widgets that I use to share this older content on the site shows the image associated with the blog post. Unfortunately for me I have quite a few older posts that are just text and the new design makes it quite obvious when a piece is lacking an image. So every day or two I click on one of those without an image and I add the image. I sometimes also clean up the formatting if it doesn’t correspond to my current practices. I don’t rewrite anything although I do sometimes add in pre-written tweets and other content sharing tools to make it easier for readers to share the ones they like.
As a result of all of this writing, cleaning up and sharing older content and the new site design has resulted in a tripling of my readership over the past month, solid gains in the number of Facebook page followers and for the first time, people signing up for my soon to be launched newsletter.
I am very happy with what I have accomplished with the blog over the past two months. Over the next month I will try to survive my writing schedule, keep up the growth, get my first Dad Guide series and e-book done and send out my first newsletter with the first Dad Guide e-book. I also took the opportunity to connect with other bloggers at the annual BConnected Conference. It was a great opportunity to learn, see other bloggers in person and not just online and eat quite a bit of candy. Once I have time to go through my notes and start applying some of the lessons learned I may write more about the conference.
More Family Time
I have been spending more one-on-one time with the kids over the past month, although this is more a function of my partner being out more. She has had extra choir rehearsals and has started a new part-time job. Both of these things have results in her being out more evenings and weekends and more solo parenting time for me. We are still adjusting to our new family schedule and May isn’t going to be much different as I am on the road for work more and so it will be a challenging month for family time.
I have found myself smiling quite a bit this month without having to remind myself to do it. Mostly I think because I am pretty happy with where this blog is going. That might seem an odd thing to be making me smile, however I like to know what my objectives are and I have been wrestling with this for more than six months. Suddenly I have clarity of purpose and every day I can see the results and that makes me feel good.
It has been a productive month overall and I hope to continue on that track for the next month. In May I will restart tracking my food intake, sell my products at a craft show – and get ready for that show without being up the night before putting finishing touches on my products. I may rebuild ThomasWoodcrafts.com if I have the time. I will complete my first Dad Guide series and convert it into my first e-book and I will send out my first DadGoesRound newsletter, including that e-book to a list of subscribers that is now growing almost daily.
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