In my last post, Reflecting on My 2022 Year as a Writer, I outlined how I was doing a deep-dive into the successes and challenges which the previous year brought me. The reason I did this was not only to gain perspective on how my year went, but also to determine where I needed new strategies for improving on my performance in 2023.
Now, let me just pause a moment to add a clarification point. While I will, in this post, use words like “performance” and “optimization,” I am not a hard-core self-improvement afficionado… at least not to the point where it becomes a “toxic productivity” issue, the likes of which some voices are starting to speak out against on social media. With that in mind, please take the inclusion of these words as descriptors only, and not buzzwords or hype terms. I am a writer—as a user of words, I am a purist at heart.
I am a huge proponent of self-improvement, it’s true. Ever since I was little, I understood that there was always something at which I could be doing better. That’s not to say I strove for improvement in every single thing I did. I was also a practical child—I recognized even then that there were some things I just didn’t care enough about getting better at. But turn the clock forward a few decades, and the business of my writing is one thing I do care very much about, and is one part of my life at which I do strive to improve.
With my year in review done for 2022, I turn to 2023 with a clear vision and understanding of where my improvements can be. Here is what I have been doing to ensure that the new year brings as much success as I can orchestrate for myself.
Tips and Tricks from Influencers
In the weeks leading up to 2023, once I had completed my year in review (and sometimes at the same time that I was working on this), I was also planning out my strategies for the new year. But these plans didn’t form out of a vacuum. I love gaining insight from influencers and industry experts on ways to improve—realistic ways that promote self-care and self-kindness. Two of my favourites this year have been Alexis Giostra (a.k.a. Miss Trenchcoat), and Alaina Fingal of The Organized Money. Alexis’s business planning videos have really helped me to pinpoint ways in which I can create better business strategies. And Alaina Fingal is a planner queen—I thoroughly enjoy watching how she uses her planner to help keep her business on track throughout the days, weeks and months of each year. I’ve implemented several of their strategies already, and plan on continuing to do so in my 2023.
The 12 Week Year
I first learned about this book from another influencer I enjoy watching, Ali Abdal, and I have since come across tons of other influencers talking about this book by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington. Up until now, I haven’ spent much time reading self-improvement books (and by “not much” I mean “big fat zero”). But what I was hearing intrigued me, so I decided that this was the year I was going to read The 12 Week Year. I won’t spend a whole lot of time diving into the details of this book, since so many others have done it before me (and have probably done a better job than I ever will). But let it suffice to say that what I am reading so far is extremely eye-opening. 2023 will be the year that I implement my own 12 Week Year strategy in my writing business… starting with the first twelve-week goal of the “year”: finish the book and plan out my strategy for the next twelve.
In my last post, I mentioned that I was interested in implementing a Notion strategy for keeping myself on track, and that influencer Jules Acree was someone I found incredibly inspiring. In the weeks leading up to 2023, I spent an inordinate amount of time on leveling up my Notion game (okay, so that buzzy term was a bit tongue-in-cheek, lol), and I started by creating a true dashboard layout, the way Ms. Acree has done with her Notion profile. Since then, I’ve created pages for my daily habits tracker, my morning admin routine, my content calendar, my media and outreach schedules, my home renovation wish lists, daily brain dumps, personal admin tasks… it’s a thing of beauty. We’re now a week into the new year, and I can report with honesty that I have engaged with my Notion every single day, and I am truly amazed at how much I have gotten myself together by optimizing this tool.
2023: I’m Ready for You!
This year, I’ve decided that my word of the year is Push. Having reflected on the past year, I’ve determined that I can push myself harder. It’s not necessarily that I wasn’t working in 2022, or that I should have done better and created more. But one thing I did learn about my past year was that I thought I was more overwhelmed than I actually was. The reason for this, I think, is because I wasn’t in the right headspace to surge forward. Well, this year, it’s all about the push. And I’m excited for it. I’ve spent time figuring out the best ways for me to achieve this, ways that will keep my momentum going and that I won’t be overloading myself to the point of exhaustion.
I’m a week in. I’ll check back at the end of my first twelve weeks and let you know how it’s going.
What about you? Did you spend time planning for your 2023? I’d love to know what you did, and how it’s been going for you.