2018: The Year of GTD

New Year. Same Goals.

You have a list of things you wanted to do in 2017. Probably the same goals from 2016.

You started off strong the first month + then hit reset again in March. Then in August. And again in November. Welp. I’ll try again next year.

You’re going over your goals again in December and figured you can change the “7” into an “8” and call it a day.

Then the cycle begins again.

I’m definitely not judging because I’ve been there and done ‘alladat. Used a sharpie and turned 2015 into 2016. Made a list of 20+ things I thought I was going to do, learn, and be.

No plans set and lots of distractions. Then the end of December came and not one thing was crossed off my list and now I’m feeling like a loser. Trying to figure out who do I have to talk to and get a do-over.

So, to break what feels like a never-ending cycle, I have a roundup of great articles to help you reach your goals and make this the year you get things done. Finally.

And when it’s time to do your review at the end of the year, you can high-five yourself for handling your business, champ.

What you’re going to do is pick a strategy/system below to help you get started. And if you need some inspiration after your note-taking, I’ve got you covered. You’ll find a Trello board below with some ideas you can add to your goals list – personal or business.

31 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Setting Next Year’s Goals
“Asking ourselves reflective questions can jump-start our learning. When we’re more aware of our interests and desires, we can create goals that align with what we want — not what we think we’re supposed to want.” – (Robin Camarote/Inc)

3 Mistakes You Make When Planning
“When planning, don’t fall prey to the tendency to begin discussing actions, or actually performing actions, before you are clear about what needs to be accomplished.” – (Ann Latham/Forbes)

You Can Achieve Anything As Long As These Conditions Exist
“Success is a function of persistence and the willingness to work hard for thousands of hours to make sense of something that most people would give up on after a few hundreds.” – (Thomas Oppong/Medium)

How to Squeeze a Full Year out of 12 Weeks
“Get rid of annualized thinking: Ditch the 12-month calendar (at least when it comes to your business) and strip it down to 12 weeks. Every month is condensed into a week and every week is boiled down to a day.

Imagine getting a week’s worth of progress made in one day. That doesn’t mean doing the same amount of activity in a single day – it means thinking critically about the tasks that are truly most important to your goals and spending time on those things.” – (Carrie Dils)

10 Insights That Will Change the Way You Set (and Achieve) Your Goals in 2018
“1. Focus on the process, not the outcome. Why are goals that focus on process so much more effective? First, by definition process-goals require you to come up with a more specific, concrete plan for achieving your longer-term goals. Second, they force you to focus on your present actions and therefore feel more urgent than longer-term goals.” – (Doist)

Don’t set goals for yourself—instead, create systems that make it easy for you to succeed
“So I set about creating a system, using the project management app Trello, that would give me a bigger, birds-eye view of how I live my life. To design it, I broke it into four sections: Two focused on big-picture issues, and two that dealt with concrete changes. The basic idea was that with a system that was actionable, yet not overwhelming, I could generate a lot of “small wins” on a daily basis—providing momentum for much bigger projects.” – (Khe Hy/Quartz)

How To Set, Plan, And Achieve Your Life’s Greatest Goals
“Getting down your goals is the first step to empowering yourself. Writing them down and being able to reference them is a way to keep them slipping from your field of view.” – (Lauren Moon/Trello)

The 90-Day Plan: How Goals Become Targets You Achieve
“As a freelancer, you’ll find yourself working within the following 4 major areas of focus:
1) Your OFFERS;
The more focus you dedicate to one area, the more concentrated you can generally expect your results to be. The more areas you expand your focus to, the more divided your attention will be.” – (Lanie/Miss GSD)

The Goal Setting Workbook: Free Download to Make This Your Best Year Ever
“Create S.M.A.R.T. Goals & Habits: By December 31st, I will walk 10,000 steps every day. To get there, I will start by walking 3,000 steps this week and increase this quota by 200 steps each week after that.” – (Patrik Edblad/Medium)

15 Bulletproof Strategies for Achieving Your Goals
“Instill self-discipline. By instilling the right habits into your life, you can become self-disciplined. Habits such as waking up early, practicing gratitude, eating healthy, exercising and getting ample sleep help to instill that much-needed self-discipline into our lives. With the right set of habits in your life, anything is possible.” – (R.L. Adams/Entrepreneur)

Why You Should Choose a Theme for the Year Instead of Making Resolutions
“Choosing an overarching theme allows it to take shape in various aspects of your life, versus one specific area. For example, your resolution might be to drink more water or join a gym. Those are great goals, but instead, you could make your theme for the year “Experience Health.” Choosing “Experience Health” as your theme could lead to much more than upping your water intake and joining that gym, you may also begin to consider other aspects of your health such as mental clarity and healthy relationships.” – (D’Ana Joi/Joi-Knows-How)

Tony Robbins explains what anyone can do every day, month, and year to be more successful
“Express gratitude daily. Spend a minute each on three things you are grateful for. Relive them as moments.” – (Richard Feloni/Business Insider)

I break down my life into 4 ‘task buckets’ — and it’s helped me be great at everything I do
“I use a modified Pomodoro Technique with a 50-minute “on” and 10-minute “off” for every task slated for that hour. During the 10 minutes is when I do a good deal of my texting, daydreaming and whatever else there is. Rest and relaxation is scheduled where applicable. All tasks fall into one of four main buckets. Learn, Build, Experience, Share.” – (John Gorman/Business Insider)

At the end of the year, you can Conduct Your Own Annual Review (Elana Lyn Gross/Career Contessa). Even though this is for work performance, you can answer some questions and use it for your next review.

Copy this Sprints + Goals Trello Board to stay on track.

If you’re a Trello fan, here’s tips and templates to use for your projects:
How to Organize Your Entire Life with Trello (Melanie Pinola/Lifehacker), copy one of these Trello boards to get started – Inspiration and Inspiring Boards, and take this Sprints and Goals workshop from Mariah Coz and use this Trello board to get some inspiration for the new year.

Sign up for Streamline in 7 – Free email course

Learn How to Prepare, Organize, and Improve Your Workflow. Get 11 scripts, 7 checklists, and lots of tips to help you streamline your workflow. All delivered to your inbox.

And there you go! All the resources you need to handle your business in 2018. Tell me below what you’re working on this year. I also recommend reading The 12-Week Year by Brian Moran. I’m still going through the book but there are a lot of tips and tricks to help you win this year.

Also: one thing to remember – Goals are subject to change. Life happens. Feelings change. Better ideas pop up. And things don’t go according to plan. So, don’t trip if you need to take a step back and go a different direction.

I listened to this podcast way after I wrote this post, but this is something I needed to hear and I wanted to share with you: “Be okay with changing directions in your life.” – Whitney from Skinny Black Girl Code on “Why You Should Live Life Organically in 2018”.

Photos: CreateHer Stock

How to Improve Your WordPress Website + Get it Client-Ready (+ free checklist)

Ever thought about switching up your style and adding a little “je ne sais quoi” to freshen up your site?

Maybe you’re promoting the hell out of your content but you’re still not getting any love.

You could be just starting out and have no clue what to add to your pages and posts to attract the right folks.

Instead of having you in these biz streets wondering what to do or where’s the love, keep reading to find out how you can improve your WordPress website and get those clients rolling in. Then you can start swimming in Scrooge McDuck money. (Maybe not that much but anything is possible, yeah?)

And when you’re done reading this post, make sure to download your Better WordPress Website Checklist and copy this done-for-you Trello board to get started tout de suite.

Thinking of a Master Plan: Your goals for your blog and business

Better Copy + Content: What to write on your essential pages

Beauty and The Brains: Your website – design and recommended plugins to use

What’s Next: What to do after your relaunch

Recap: TL;DR version

This post contains affiliate links. That means I receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase or sign up using one of my links. Thanks so much for your support!

Not sure how to improve your WordPress website and get clients running to your virtual arms? In this post, I'm sharing tips on what to write on your posts and pages, plus what tools to use to help you revamp your website. Copy the done for you Trello board and download your Better WordPress checklist to get started. Photo Credit: #wocintechchat

How to Improve Your WordPress Website + Get it Client-ready - What are the top 3 main goals for your website? Photo Credit: CreateHer Stock | @msguery
Photo Credit: CreateHER Stock

Thinking of a Master Plan

Ask yourself a few questions before you get started:

What are the top 3 main goals for your website?
Do you want visitors to view your sales page and schedule a call? Show off your portfolio so visitors can see what kind of work you’ve done? Want your audience to sign up and download a lead magnet that gives them a taste test of what you have to offer? Donate to your non-profit organization? Or maybe you want to sell info products or courses that teach folks how to DIY what you do?

What problems are you solving and who should stick around?
Who are you helping? And how can you help them go from point A to Z? What’s in it for them when they call/buy/sign up? Is it related to your products and services? Will your blog, brand, and business help them do/make/achieve better things for their biz?

After you answer those questions, you’ll pick one goal and add it to each page on your website. Let’s get started!

Better Copy + Content

Know what to write on your essential page and all you’ll have to do is add your voice to it. Whether it’s class clown, corporate-y, or cussing, be yourself!

What do you love to do? Who do you want to work with? Why should they work with you? How can you help them achieve their goals? What’s the next step they should take?

“I’m [name] and I help [audience] with [their goals or struggles] by [your solutions]. Read more about how I can help you achieve your goals [linking them to your about page, services page, or portfolio].”

Same as the Home page but also tell them about the person behind the brand.

Who are you? Where you’re from? What’s your struggle story? How you got started in your field? What are your skills and experience? What do you love about what you do? Who do you want to help? What are your beliefs/values/passions?

Add a picture of your gorgeous face and workspace. Add some fun facts about you and then tell them what to do next (aka your CTA – call-to-action).

Related Posts: Here’s 11 resources to help you write your about page. Read 30 Tips on How to Build Your Personal Brand and How to Stand Out When Everybody is Doing the Same Damn Thing

Make sure your posts are useful + relevant to your audience.

Did you answer the most frequently asked questions on that topic you’re writing about? Are you using graphics (screenshots, GIFs, stock photos) to break up your content? How about adding bold or emphasis tags to highlight the important deets? Can you make it Google-ready and SEO-friendly by adding important keywords in your post, URL, and alt text for your graphics? What content upgrade can you add to make it an even better blog post? Can you add click to tweet quotes to make it shareable? Did you add opt-in forms throughout the post? (Don’t forget to test the forms!)

Tip: Become an opt-in beast: add one to your home page, about page, footer, end of every blog post, and sidebar. Add a link to the Subscribe page on your menu or use Hellobar to add one to your header. You can even add a checkbox on your contact form like I did on my 17 Hats contact form:

How to Improve Your WordPress Website + Get it Client-ready - Add an option to your contact form to grow your email list. | @msguery

Related Posts: Find out how to get more people to read your content with these 17 simple edits and tweaks. Here are 50 Blog Topics for Creatives

What do you enjoy doing? What problems do you solve? Who do you want to work with? What’s your process like? How do you take them from point A to B then C? How long does it take? What are the benefits of working with you? What do they get after working with you? Did you add “starting at..” prices? How can they get started? Did you answer the FAQ? Any myths/assumptions people have about your industry?

Sprinkle some results-focused testimonials. Add a link to your portfolio. Make it easy to contact you by adding a link to your “Hire Me” form or add it to the bottom of the page.

On your hire me form, ask for their name, email, link to your website, budget. Leave a text area so they can ask questions or give you details about their project.

Related Posts: Read 26 Questions to Answer on Your Services Page. Use this Sales Page Outline and then get to booking, good-looking, with these daily to-dos. Create dope work and then get some Powerful Client Testimonials after the project is done.

Tell folks who you are, what you do, and who you want to work with. How long does it take to respond to their message? What are your business hours?

Add a link to the FAQ page (or add FAQ on the same page). Add a link to “Hire Me” form. Add your business email and links to active social media accounts. Add a quick form to fill out (first name, email address, message). Make sure your form works by sending a test email.

Add the work you love and want to do more of. You can keep it simple by adding a screenshot or mockup with a link to the project. Or you can keep it fancy and use a method mostly used for job interviews: STAR method. You can also use it for your next blog post, proposal, or your portfolio:

Situation: details about the project – who’s the client, what they do, what goals and struggles they had before working with you
Task: what was your job, what’s the solution/service you provided
Action: how you handled it – your process to solve their problem (no tech talk, speak their language)
Result: what was the result – link to demo site or project, show the finished product (before and after screenshots or mockups – Smartmockups or take a screenshot on Am I Responsive)

How to Improve Your WordPress Website + Get it Client-ready - Use mockups (smartmockups.com) in your portfolio to showcase your best work | @msguery

Don’t forget to add their testimonial. And then end with a call to action – “Now accepting clients for March 2017. Get Started on Your Project” or “Let’s Work Together” linking to your services page or Hire Me form.

Tip: If you’re just starting out and don’t have anything to add to your portfolio, get started with these projects:

your very first client is you, so any work you did for yourself, add it!
rebrand/refresh/redesign your favorite shop’s logo/website/design
create a sample project for your dream client (and turn that into a blog post – “Behind the Scenes: My Web Design Workflow” or “Beginner’s Guide: What I Need From You Before We Work Together”)

Related Links: Find out How to Get Clients When You’re Just Starting Out. Get inspiration from Briefbox (for designers) or Uplabs (for developers). Work with non-profit organizations from Taproot to grow your portfolio.

Who should sign up for your email list and why? What will they get for signing up? How many times will you be in their inbox? (Monthly or weekly.)

Add an opt-in form and give them a preview of what you’ll send – maybe a link or screenshot of the last email you sent to your subscribers.

Related Link: Learn 3 proven ways to use email marketing for services businesses and the 5 Steps for a Winning Email Marketing Strategy

Answer the who, what, when, where, and whys. How can they get in touch for more questions? Add the same questions from sales page and a contact form on the bottom. Make sure you answer these 4 questions on your FAQ page.

Add links to popular posts, a search bar, and an opt-in form. You can also add a general freebie where no signup is required. (Like a list of your favorite tools.)

Start Here
If you’ve done this for a while, round-up your popular posts. You can find out from Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/source/yoursite.com, Google Analytics, or your WordPress dashboard. Share your latest posts and what topics you’ll talk about. Add a mini-bio with a link to your about page and how to get in touch with you.

Privacy Policy and Terms + Conditions pages
Make sure you add those 2 pages to your site. Use free generators like Terms Feed and Iubenda.

How to Improve Your WordPress Website + Get it Client-ready - Use mobile-friendly theme. Update themes and plugins. Delete unused plugins and themes. Compress all images. | @msguery

Your Website: Beauty and The Brains

Freshen up your website and keep it updated and secure with a few recommended plugins.

Make sure your site is distraction-free by adding more whitespace and fewer ads/badges. If you want to keep the ads, create some graphics to match your brand. Choose between 1-2 font styles and make sure they’re easy to read. Stick to 2-3 colors that aren’t too bright. Add some images or icons to stand out. Make sure your navbar is easy to find and has a path leading them to your main goal (Home -> About -> Blog -> Services -> Contact/Hire Me Form)

Use a mobile-friendly theme. Most themes are viewed on mobile devices, but if your site is a bit outdated, it’s about that time to upgrade since most of your visitors are will be using their phone or tablet to view your site.

Related Posts: Use MailChimp’s Content Style Guide for tips and writing great content. Learn how to Design For People With Accessibility Needs. Graphics looking tired? Try Canva to freshen up your brand or grab some free stock photos from The Stocks

Now you don’t want all that hard work to go to waste so make sure you do the following to speed it up and keep it up to date:

First, backup your site. If your username is “admin”, “test”, or the name of your site, it’s time to change it. Update your theme and plugins. Delete any unused + outdated plugins. Delete any graphics, drafts, or files you’re not using. Use tools like LastPass to create stronger passwords or use a password-free login like Google Authenticator – Two Factor Authentication.

Update WordPress core as soon as possible or find a great web host to keep your site up and running with the latest version of WordPress. Or skip the boring tech stuff and get a developer to handle it for you.

Related Posts: Learn How to Make Your Site Mobile-friendly. Site always down? Time to choose a better host. Find out How to Speed Up Your WordPress Site and Why it Matters. Read about why you should update to the latest version of WordPress now (not now but right now!):

WordPress last week silently patched a high-severity zero-day vulnerability that can allow unauthorized users to remotely modify a web page’s content and change any post.

Tips: Check grammar and spelling, fix broken links, disable pop ups for mobile devices to avoid penalties that can lower your ranking (+ annoy your readers).

How to Improve Your WordPress Website + Get it Client-ready - Use mobile-friendly theme. Update themes and plugins. Delete unused plugins and themes. Compress all images. | @msguery

Recommended Plugins
Download Jetpack – “The one plugin you need for stats, related posts, search engine optimization, social sharing, protection, backups, speed, and email list management.” And then try one of these plugins to make your site better:

How to Improve Your WordPress Website + Get it Client-ready - Promote your business on all social media profiles. | @msguery

What’s Next

Social Media
Time to update your social media accounts. Add info about what you do and who you work with, plus a link to your freebie, subscribe or sales page on all of your profiles.

Pinterest – edit your showcase and highlight your boards (latest blog posts, your portfolio, group board)
Twitter – pin your latest post or subscribe page, share your posts and follow-up by posting it the next day, next week, and month
Facebook – add your business page to your personal profile (when you’re connecting and engaging in Facebook groups, folks can check out your page), pin your latest post to your business page, and use the button to link to your subscribe or services page

Linkedin – You have a lot more space on Linkedin so you can add that same formula on your home page here. Don’t forget to add a call to action.

Related Posts: 8 Ways You Can Grow Your Blog and Business, How to Use Instagram for Business, How to Crush Social Media Campaign Planning

After your website and social media revamp, it’s now time to organize your process. You’ve made changes to your website (and maybe your offerings), so it may be time to refresh your process also.

Before your clients start rolling in, think about ways to make your workflow easier for you and your clients. It doesn’t have to be a perfect system since you’ll make some changes as you grow, but planning your process will save you time and headaches so you don’t have to do all the things at the last-minute. The first step is to learn how to onboard new clients faster with 6 free tools.

Related Posts: You can learn how to make your clients love your business and keep them coming back for more. Here’s how to manage client expectations and how to get referrals from your clients. Check out Shopify for tips on working with clients.

Let’s Recap

For my TL;DR peeps, following these tips can help you grow your audience and your business:

Copy this done-for-you Trello board and download your Better WordPress Website checklist and use them as your launch guide to revamp your WordPress site.

Figure out your main goal for your site and point your visitors in that direction.
Opt-in here. Opt-in there. Opt-in everywhere!
All social media roads lead to your website.
Create dope and relevant content and share with your followers on social media
Do the same for your email list and remember to educate and share what you have to offer
Keep up the good work and then bada bing.. bada boom – notifications from PayPal singing “Just Got Paid“.

Have some tips you want to add? Tell me in the comments below. And don’t forget to share this post with your folks.

Photo credit: WOC in Tech

What’s in My Blogging Toolkit (+ free downloads)

Forgive me, Blog Mother. For I have sinned.

It’s been 4 months and 20 days since my last post.

I know. I should be purged. Please let me explain..

What Had Happened Was…

I was all over the place. No process. No schedule. And, like everything else in life, I was winging it.

It went something like this.. Hmm.. I should write something. Writes a little something. Procrastinates. Some more writing. Researches topic. 20 tabs and 6 hours later. Dang, I forgot about you. Saves draft in Google Docs. Goes back to procrastinating. The end.

Or worse. I would live post on TMI posts (over 1000 words). So, burnout was an understatement.

I was also super annoyed with all the noise: You should post about this. At this time. Every other day and on every social media outlet. Now create content for your email list and then you’ll gain 30,000 signups in 3 days.

And all of that noise led me to “I got better things to do.” (I really didn’t and I’m all caught up with Stranger Things to prove it.) So here I am, months later, wondering why my site isn’t popping. Silly rabbit. Traffic is for the consistent folk.

What's in my blogging toolkit? Freebie Download: Favorite tools + resources to use for creating blog posts. Plus monthly theme ideas, + best times to schedule posts + see stats on social media. | msguery.net

How Marjy Got Her Groove Back

There are 6 million ways to blog, but I’m going to K.I.S.S. (keep it simple, shorty) and just do my own thing. Want to know what that thing is?? Course you do, that’s why you’re here.

Created a checklist and template
I was trying to remember all the basic to-dos when creating a post. Now I have a checklist and template to follow so I can give my brain a break.

Created monthly themes
I have 12 themes laid out for 2017. I have plenty of ideas to last me a while, but creating themes will help me when I don’t know what to write. (e.g., Jan. – Planning/Learning, Feb. – Self-care). My goal is to have 2 posts every month: one for the blog and a mini-post for my email list.

Batch processing + scheduling
I’m going to avoid burnout thanks to Mattieologie’s #BatchPlease webinar she had a few weeks ago. And I’m also using this worksheet from Paper and Oats to create batch days for content creation (and other blog + biz things).

I’ll choose one weekend and split the following tasks:

  1. Plan – Mind map and outline on paper. Research links, stock photos, any missing info (with a time limit).

  2. Create – Type post in Google Docs and add graphics using my templates in Canva. Transfer the post to WordPress with Wordable

  3. Edit – Use Grammarly to clean up, and check for broken links.

  4. Extras – Create freebie in Google Docs or Canva. Add it to resources library using Easy Content Upgrades (affiliate). Add opt-in form in post.

  5. Schedule – Add categories on WordPress, repurpose content and use Buffer to share on Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook, set reminders to share in Facebook groups. Use Board Booster for Pinterest to add it to my secret board and which automatically moves the pin to my main boards.

Get in and focus on where I fit in
Instead of wasting time on Google+ or Periscope, I’m going to focus on Twitter and Linkedin. And for Pinterest, I can just pin (and re-pin) my posts when I’m on it. (Which is all the damn time. #KanyeShrug)

Trello + Evernote
I get easily distracted so I put all devices on airplane mode and write any + all random thoughts down (or add it to Evernote) and get back to creating. Later on, I organize and add it to Trello. I made a board for all things blogging.

I have links to tools like Headline Analyzer, and resources (blog post ideas, secret inspiration board on Pinterest) all in one spot. Plus, a calendar to keep track of deadlines.

If you’re in the same boat and want to get your ish together for 2017, copy the checklist/toolkit with all the tools and resources for your next blog post.

If you were in the same boat, what did you do to get back on track? Let me know in the comments. And don’t forget to share with your folks below.

Photo Credit: Bloom and Flourish