10 biggest mistakes I’ve made so far this year…

homer-simpson

Every three months, I examine the performance of my business, my team and our products.

It’s the simplest way I’ve found to measure productivity and ensure that we stay on track.

The phrase,’Fail to prepare, prepare to fail’, often comes to mind when we do this assessment. If you don’t know your mistakes you’re going to repeat them. When I say mistakes, I mean things you could have changed, stopped, or improved. Nothing to do with things beyond your control.

The Importance of Measuring Productivity

So, where did I go wrong?

  1. Target Market – I ignored the Indian market. 18% of the traffic comes from Indian technical writer sites.. I need to wake up to this before they head off elsewhere. We should have re-assessed our target audience.
  2. Language Skills – I stopped learning Chinese. Started well but then slid backwards. Need to get the mp3s back on the ipod.
  3. Human Interest v Technology – wrote too much about the technical writing tools and not on people/community. The top traffic to this site is all related to people. People want to read about other people.
  4. Focus – . My “eyes were bigger than my belly” and I got pulled into 100 different directions. Result. Lots of half finished articles, tutorials, courses etc.
  5. Health —  Ignored health and drove myself too hard. Get very tired in spring. Flu twice.
  6. Loss leading contracts — Should have revised daily rates earlier. Didn’t due to recession and (perceived) lack of funds. In Zig Ziglar’s Strategies for Success he says that it’s commercial suicide to cut your rates in a recession. Improve your products instead.
  7. Upgrade – I kept my old PC for too long. I had PC custom built (not as expensive as I’d thought) and got a huge monitor. Big difference regarding productivity!
  8. Podcasts – recorded 12 and didn’t get round to publishing them. Why? Laziness more than anything, even though I did the hard work. Another example of a stop/start project.
  9. Community — Didn’t participate enough in community events (offline/online). Once I started, the benefits were obvious.
  10. Social Media — wasted time on Facebook, Twitter et al. Re-assess where and how Social Media sites are of use, revise budget and define the ROI. Otherwise focus on other areas. LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/in/ivanwalsh) gave better returns.

Those are 10 I’ll admit to making. My biggest regret in the last three months was the amount of time I lost. Donald Trump, love him or loathe him, warned that time is more valuable than money. Time is the one thing you don’t get back.

How about you? Do you assess your progress through-out the year?

Download these templates to start

Acceptance Test Plan

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Acquisition Plan

Conversion Plan

Software Requirements Specification

Action Plan

Cost Benefit Analysis

Software Testing

API Documentation

Database Design

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Configuration Management Plan

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