A few years ago I started writing a monthly report to a few friends sharing my progress on CruiseSheet. My primary motivations for doing so were that these friends were interested and asking about it anyway, and I felt that they might hold me accountable or offer me some good advice along the way.
Those benefits came, but the biggest benefit was unexpected. Writing a monthly report forced me to take an accurate look at my month, assess my progress, and think about where I wanted to go from there. Sometimes a month felt pretty lackluster but I'd look back and see that I'd done a lot more than I remembered. Other times it went the other way and I realized that I hadn't done much at all.
I enjoyed writing the monthly report so much that I started writing a general life one for a much smaller group of friends. I have categories like finance, coaching, friends, family, and miscellaneous. Just as my CruiseSheet specific one made me reflect on what I was doing within the business, this one helped me keep track of my life.
The biggest thing I've learned from my general monthly email is how much actually happens in a month. Sometimes the month seems to have flown by, but as I am forced to take a few minutes to reflect on it and look through my schedule, I realize that actually quite a lot has happened.
I can also see the interplay between different things, while my CruiseSheet report only shows a fraction of the picture. The last month where not much happened with CruiseSheet I spent a tremendous amount of time with family and friends, traveled a lot, and ran an event.
I've never had a month that I can remember where I didn't use my time in a way I wasn't happy with, but watching it every month helps me keep that in balance. Knowing that I'll have to write to some friends about what's happening with CruiseSheet sometimes makes me take stock halfway through the month and push to complete something that I may not have otherwise done.
The last report I create is just for myself. I make money in a variety of different ways, from amazon sales to CruiseSheet to coaching, and I don't really pay attention to the financials of these things on a daily basis. For the most part I do them because they're big parts of my life and because I've determined that time spent doing them is worth it.
Having a set time every month where I look at each account gives me a general idea of how I'm doing and sometimes reveals things I didn't know. Before I did this I had no idea that once in a while I'll have massive spikes in book sales and tons of people buy a book, usually Superhuman by Habit.
Think about what is important in your life and write a monthly report for it. If you have a friend who will also do the same, make a deal and send them to each other. If you don't, you can just save it on your computer or you can even send it to me.
Picture is (most of) the awesome group of people (+Leo) that came out for Superhuman 3! I love doing these events and working one-on-one with my readers. I will be announcing some new events soon. If you want to come to an event, sign up here:
Vegas Events (the most intense and progress-focused)
International Events (a mix of social + progress. Budapest will be next, maybe Tokyo later)
I always look forward to the first of the month, and ironically it's because there's a bit of work that I do every first that I really look forward to. I write a couple monthly reviews.
One of them is for CruiseSheet, but another is just for life in general. I send it to two friends who usually send me monthly reviews back.
If you feel like you're getting a lot done on a daily basis, that's great. Or maybe it's not. A very common trap, one I've spend a bit of time in myself, is immersing oneself in work that feels important and keeps one busy, but doesn't actually produce anything. This applies to work beyond career — it could also be said about working out, learning, social life, or anything else.
Longer periods of time don't have the same paradox. If you look back at your year and can list all of the things you accomplished that year, they're probably all important. Busy work gets forgotten by the end of the year. A month is similar to a year in this regard. Looking back at a month is usually a pretty good reflection of your progress in life in general.
Edit: I gave up on financial goals in late 2011 after some huge financial and artistic wins... money shouldn't be taken too seriously. For the record, they were all basically on track, some were being massively exceeded, others were a bit behind schedule, but were all happening.
I set my next 10 years of financial goals on June 28th. That was exactly a month ago.
1 year - Critical Thinking [my first book] out. Blog income trickling. Some info products. Some freelancing. Something else, some X-Factor thing bringing in cash. Net monthly income positive. Health insurance. $50,000 in the bank. Expenses = income per month minimum.
3 years - 3 to 5 books out, many products out, blog income robust, some working on big exciting deals. $10,000 per month total, $5000 passive at least. First property owned. $300,000 in the bank.
5 years - 7-10 books out, many many products out, many passive income internet properties, working on big exciting things, $50,000 per month total, $40,000 passive at least. $1,000,000 in the bank.