2014 highlights, and goals for 2015

Over at Fast Company this week, I’m writing about how to budget next year’s 2000 working hours, and why 90-day goals beat annual ones. Both have figured into some goal setting and reflection I’ve been doing the past few days. The hours (probably just a bit north of 2000) that I spent working in 2014 produced a few things:

  • The published version of The Cortlandt Boys, my novel. I had most of the draft in January, but I still did several rounds of revisions.
  • Roughly 150 posts for Fast Company on time management, productivity, and leadership. These garnered millions of page views.
  • A similar quantity of posts here with my musings on life. These did not garner millions of page views, but the numbers are solid enough that I’m happy.
  • Assorted articles. A highlight for me was having essays in USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times within a month of each other. Newspapers may not be the wave of the future, but I still enjoy writing for them!

In the non-working chunk of the 8760 hours that comprised 2014, I had a few other highlights:

  • Gestating a baby to 37 weeks. I had more elaborate fitness goals, but this highlight kind of put those on hold. Oh well.
  • Enjoying little moments with my kids. There are too many to mention, but I’ve enjoyed walks with the 7-year-old, baking cookies with the 3-year-old, chaperoning the 5-year-old’s field trip. Such moments are easy to miss in the busy-ness of day to day life, and I don’t want to miss them.

I decided to set quarterly goals for 2015 as a way to keep myself focused. When you set them for the year, it’s easy to procrastinate. That may be why the novel came out in late December! I think quarterly goals will allow me to spread my focus over the whole year.

Q1: Personal: welcome baby! Work: Sell enough copies of the novel to earn back the investment in editors and production. Also, get I Know How She Does It (or whatever the title winds up being) into the advance copies stage.

Q2: Personal: take a vacation over spring break. Yes, even though we’ll have an 11-week-old baby. Sign up for voice lessons. Work: launch I Know How She Does It.

Q3: Personal: train for a fall half-marathon. Take a summer family vacation. Work: Come up with an idea for my next non-fiction book, and turn in the proposal.

Q4: Personal: run a half marathon, and figure out a chorus to join in 2016. Work: finish the draft of my next novel (I may do a modified version of NaNoWriMo again to do this).

What’s on your list for 2015?

29 thoughts on “2014 highlights, and goals for 2015

  1. I never thought of setting 90 day goals. A terrific idea for a procrastinator like me! Thank you for suggesting this method of goal setting! Now if I can just stop procrastinating on writing a list, I may just accomplish something.

    By the way, I like the new book title. I always wonder how women with “big” careers do it all. I even think the title could be simply “How She Does It,” without the “I Know” part.

    1. @Sara – I really do think the 90-day idea is a good one. Knowing I need to write a novel and launch a book seems a bit overwhelming, but giving each its designated quarter makes it doable. And so glad you like the new book title!

  2. I really like the new title!

    As for goals, I’m working on a quarterly schedule too. Q1 is all about transitioning to ONIX and reworking our website to actually communicate with customers. Personally, I want to figure out how to run regularly without hurting my knees. Should be a good start to a great year!

    1. @Calee- glad you like the new title! No suggestions on the ONIX front, but on the running my best advice is to go slowly. I think I’ve avoided injury because I run a lot slower than I am capable of running. Like 2+ minutes per mile slower. Takes longer and may not be as good an aerobic work out but I hope to make it up in longevity…

  3. Oh I love this idea! I’m going to make 90 day goals too. The months just fly by. If I make quarterly goals, maybe I can see some progress. Happy New Year.

    1. @CC – I don’t see why not. Even a quarterly goal is probably big enough to be broken down. At some point things stop becoming goals and start becoming next steps/to-do list items. Not exactly sure when that is, though!

  4. Hi Laura, thank you for the fantastic idea of setting 90 day goals. Weight loss is my main goal for 2015. I am 20 kgs overweight and want to get to a healthy weight and improve my fitness before starting a family next year. While losing 20 kgs in a year is very achievable, thinking about losing 20kg just seems so so hard. However, losing 5kg by 31st March seems completely achievable! I started working with a trainer in September and while I have improved my fitness and toned up I have not lost any weight before Christmas (and in fact put on three kgs). It has been a very difficult couple of years due to helping a sick family member who died at Christmas 2013 and stress eating has been the main way I have been coping with it, thus the weight gain. While I have organised to keep seeing my trainer, as well as seeing a dietician and psychologist this year, the 90 day challenge has sparked my competitive spirit. Thank you so much and I look forward to reporting on the effectiveness of this strategy in 3 months!

    1. @Nadia – best of luck on your resolution! I agree that trying to lose a lot of weight seems very daunting, but breaking it down, like any goal, makes it seem more manageable. I look forward to hearing about your progress!

  5. I tend to do annual money goals that I break down into monthly action items, but I do like the idea of setting quarterly goalposts for specific projects. I’ve got a few backburnered projects that would benefit from being allocated to their own quarter so they actually get my focus.

    You have inspired me to add a fitness goal for the year: I’d talked about working up to at least fast walking a 5K in 2014 but the chronic fatigue/pain AND pregnancy rather put that plan to bed. I think it could be a very reasonable 2015 goal.

    1. @Revanche – I like the quarterly idea because it is long enough to be big, but short enough to be doable. It’s just a nice balance. And the 2015 fitness goal could be broken down into quarterly chunks too. Maybe you schedule the 5k in the latter part of the year, and do a shorter distance in the first half of the year… Good luck!

  6. I like the idea of goals by quarters! I’m going to adopt this idea.

    The new title is great — it sounds like it will cover similar terrain as the blogger Modern Mrs. Darcy’s e-book with the similar name. I love that you share your publication journeys here — it’s all very interesting!

  7. The 90 day goals fit in very nicely with the 3 month review you mentioned in your article/interview with Greg McKeown a few months ago, right?

    I am feeling some “goal fatigue” right now – or maybe it’s just post-holiday crankiness, so reading everyone’s goals is making me more tired than inspired. Hoping the mojo will come back soon ;D

  8. I love reading everything that you write. You provide wonderful insight on life and such helpful tips on being productive. Thank you for being one of my inspirations for starting a blog as part of my pursuit of a more meaningful life. I recently posted my goals for 2015:
    http://creatingmykaleidoscope.com/2014/12/31/2014-financial-accomplishments-and-plans-for-2015/

    As you can see, our goals are very financially focused due to issues with debt. Also, we are having another little one this Spring. I am really enjoying drafting blog posts and my eBook (definitely chose the wrong career). Maybe I should make publishing the eBook a first-quarter goal so it can done before the new baby arrives.
    Thanks for another great idea!

    1. @Harmony – I just checked out your blog. Congrats on paying off $12k in credit card debt. That is awesome! I think ebooks can be a great side income stream, if they’re pitched and promoted right. I’ll hopefully have more insight into this soon.

  9. I love the idea of quarterly (or anything smaller than “one year” really) goals. To me, the idea of “seasons” (winter 2015, spring 2015) seems more appealing, less “business” but that’s obviously semantics. I still haven’t worked mine out yet, but I may borrow this idea.

    1. @Ana- whatever you want to call it! I like the Q1 etc designation because it makes me feel business-like and official, even if I’m talking about planning a vacation 🙂

  10. The 90 day goal could really work for me. It is great that you have set out family vacation time now. I am always upset at the end of summer because it seems like the vacation part never happens (I am married to a farmer). But I think I am going to plan something now so that I don’t feel let down.

    1. @Denise – summer is tough in some lines of work. Could he do a longer winter vacation? Maybe if you plan far enough ahead you could go to the southern hemisphere and hit summer anyway!

  11. I am beyond impressed with your goals given you’ll be juggling 4 kids. We just welcomed a 2nd baby this fall, and the adjustment had been TOUGH. At least for this year, I am trying to make my goals very well within reach. Things to motivate me throughout the year, but not puts added pressure on myself. My main goals are 10,000 steps every day (but giving myself 2 “off” days a month, some form of exercise 5x/week, and trying 2 new recipes a month. My only professional goal for the year is to survive in one piece so I can set more challenging goals next year when things hopefully aren’t so chaotic. 🙂

    I just discovered your blog this year, and have really enjoyed your thoughts and a view of your life. You are obviously a student of your own writing on time management because everything you are juggling is so impressive to me!

    1. @Ali – don’t be too impressed, I haven’t actually juggled the 4 kids and those goals yet! We will see how it goes. It will definitely be an adjustment to be plunged back into the baby stage with random wake-ups and kids who can’t just entertain themselves. I think if you’ve got multiple little ones, the professional objective of surviving in one piece is perfectly appropriate!

  12. I agree with Harmony.
    I always find something inspiring and useful from your blog.
    My husband and I have been doing quarterly goals for the last 10 years. We tweak them regularly. We do this when we make an 11 hour drive to visit family on the holidays. (Makes the time go by).
    I hope you have Happy New Year and enjoy your babies.

    1. @Shelley – thanks! My husband and I discussed some of our goals for 2015 during the 10-hour car trip to Indiana and it did make the time go sort of faster. Sort of. It still is a long drive!

  13. I love to new title! What about a subtitle: What high-earning women know about time and money (or something along these lines). (I was just re-skimming All the Money in the World as part of a stack of New Year’s reading and think that book has a great subtitle)

    1. @Elizabeth – so glad you like it! I think the subtitle is currently going to be something like “How successful women make the most of their time.” It’s pretty time focused, rather than money focused, though the two are always related…

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