Every month I send out an email to subscribers of the My Monthly Theme Series that dives into my plans for the month ahead. I publish the results of said plan here on the blog within one week of the month ending. If you’d like to subscribe to the monthly series so you have an understanding of what I’m working on each month, then click here.
The focus for the month of February was to work on the talks I have in my repertoire. I’ll cut to the chase: it went…okay.
I think what it boiled down to is that I had to broad of a theme for the month. I had high expectations for my month, and I didn’t meet them as they were initially set out. I am glad that I recognized this during the first week of the month.
So I made an adjustment.
Instead of focusing on all of my talks during the month of February, I focused on the two I needed to work on: my talk for Think Better Live Better and my talk for Tropical Think Tank.
Next time February rolls around, I’m going to be more realistic with my monthly theme. It’s the month with the least amount of days, so I need to align my theme with that in mind. In fact, it would have been better for me to focus on simplifying during this month. After all, the month with the least amount of days would be ideal for the concept of removing friction from my work and my life…right?
All that said, here’s what I set out to do during February related to the technological aspects of presenting talks and how I did with them:
- Build slide decks for my Think Better Live Better talk and my Tropical Think Tank talk. Out of the three “tech things” I set out to do during February, this was the one I handled well. Mind you, I revise the slide decks right up until days before each talk, but I’m happy with what I created. I’ll dive into that in the third point below.
- Revamp existing slide decks for 2 of my other talks that I may present later in the year. I did not do this at all. Instead, I focused on just the two talks I needed to work on. This was a wise move as I wanted to make sure I locked down those talks. If I dedicated any time to other slide decks, I think my decks for the more pressing talk would have suffered. (I’m going to spend some time figuring out what talks I actually want to do going forward during the month of March. I didn’t commit to that fully in February, but I started to figure out which ones I wanted to keep in my toolkit and evolve. I also started thinking about which ones I no longer want to do. When I finalize everything, I’ll update my speaking page.)
- Spend time learning more about Keynote. While I didn’t do a “deep dive” into Keynote, I discovered how I want to build my slide decks going forward. I built my slide deck for Think Better Live Better by writing and drawing my slides with my Apple Pencil in Paper by 53 on my iPad Pro. After I created these slides, I exported them to Keynote as a deck with just a couple of taps. The whole creation process was exhilarating, and the feedback I received from attendees was that my slides stood out because of what I did. So I’m going to work at getting better at making those kinds of decks – they may even become my signature slide decks from now on.
Now let’s break down what aspects of my talks received my attention and energy over the course of February:
- Rehearse. I made some progress here but not enough. It’s because I wound up changing some stuff for the first talk and I had a massive breakthrough with the second talk just two weeks before I was set to deliver it. I still have time to rehearse more for the second talk, so I’ll do that. Writing this report is just the catalyst I need for that.
- Kill old and irrelevant talks. This was indeed a challenge, so when I shifted my focus to dive deeper into the two talks I needed to work on, I pushed this aside for now. It’s still on the agenda. It’ll get done in March.
- Update my speaking page. Once I’ve killed some of the talks in my repertoire, I’ll update my speaking page.
My Daily Themes did help me with my talks during the past month, but they actually helped me work on the other tasks I needed to take care of before my travels in March more. Here’s how each of my Daily Themes fared during February:
- Sunday was Planning Day. I mapped out my talks further, and I planned what needed doing before my travels for work and home. In one instance, (the last Sunday in the month) I spent only one-quarter of the day planning. The rest was recording podcast episode needs since my kids were out of the house. This was my only real window to do so in the six days I had between Florida and the Philippines.
- Monday was Administrative Day. A lot of my time on Mondays went towards setting up Productivityist to be running as smoothly as possible while Anne and I were on the road. Hardly any of my Mondays were dedicated directly to my Monthly Theme.
- Tuesday was Writing Day. This day was split between writing newsletters, blog posts, and scripts for my talks. Looking back at what tasks were completed during the month on Tuesdays, I’d say it was pretty evenly split.
- Wednesday was Audio/Video Day. I had three Wednesdays in February where I was home, so those ones were focused on preparing recordings for podcast episodes. The one where I was in Florida received a little bit of audio and video focus, but the focuse was mainly around show notes and other low-energy tasks.
- Thursday was Training Day. I spent every Thursday learning about the events I was speaking at, reviewing any materials needed to help me with my talks, and learning about platforms like Zoom. I also did most of my reading on Thursdays this month and spent time getting more into ConvertKit. All in all, this Daily Theme was the most “true to form” throughout the month.
- Friday was Deep Work Day. This day, like Tuesday, was a 50/50 split for the month. I spent half of the time deeply focused on developing the two talks I had on my plate and the remaining half doing “triage” for my impending travel. I usually don’t allow for coaching calls to happen on Fridays but because I wanted to get all of my clients in before the month was up, I made an exception to the rule for the month of February. I’m glad I did. It worked well and has freed me up to do more deep work during the month of March when most contact I have with other people will not be scheduled.
- Saturday was Family Day. Since I was going to be away from my kids for almost all of March and one week in February, I wanted to make sure the time I spent with them was quality time. Anne had a hand in making sure that happened by scheduling a family swim day on the last Saturday of the month. Whenever I’m away from my family, I miss them immensely. I need (and want) to make sure that when I am not traveling that I adhere to that 2:30pm “quitting time” on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from now on. I’ve set aside some time in March to formulate a plan to make that work. (One of the things I’ll be bringing up in my talk at Tropical Think Tank is ensuring that I set aside more time for family. I’ll dive deeper into that in next month’s report.)
So that’s what February looked like. It didn’t go as I initially planned, but by drilling down my theme to focus on what was pressing it made it possible to build something I could feel good about delivering. As of this writing, I’ve delivered one of the talks. I’m on a plane getting ready to deliver the second in just a few days.
I’ll let you know how it went when I get back.
Next month: March 2017 – Relationships