2021 Quarter 4 Goals: Will We Finish Strong?


Well, bad news is I’ve definitely been a bit late on getting this out. However, on the plus side the last few days have been hella productive on a scale that puts many of my other efforts to shame.

So I’ll take that any day of the week!

The Summer Review ended the way it did and to be honest while I want these goal reviews to be relatively uniform when it comes to formatting and setup, the truth is that if goas are going to change from month to month much less quarter to quarter then how am I going to possibly come up with a good template for that?

The answer is obvious: I’m not going to.

But in the interest of keeping my sanity, and for the sake of keeping this coming out for you dear readers, whom Analytics assure me don’t yet exist, let’s jump into a similar form for what we used for summer and talk about how I want to finish this week strong.

Important Update: If I try to do these monthly they will inevitably fail, so we’re just calling them quarterly updates, adjust accordingly, and go from there!

A Note on Recent Productivity Boom

I’ve actually been using myself as a testing case for various productivity strategies over the past multiple months which has been kind of cool seeing what worked, what didn’t, and realizing that hey, no matter what the first 3-5 days of a new “hack” will almost always show improvement.

It’s what happens after that which really separates success from failure.

That said, the past week has been exciting AF. I’m writing as much in a day as a mediocre week. I’m writing more in a week than all but the best months, and managing to balance out most of the other side projects in addition to roping in enough freelancing to get by.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t more to be done, but it’s an upsurge in progress despite fighting through health, mental health, and other issues.

Which is good, because it only takes a couple bad weeks for this sight on my work desk to make me a bit nervous:

yearly goal letter

So these goals are for the rest of the year more or less, and with that in mind, let’s borrow from the closest thing we have to a template and take a look at what is promising to be an exciting finish to the year ahead.

Most Important Goals/Projects

This feels like the best way to quasi-customize the overall “template” or template-like setup. This also lets me do the “I made only 3/9 goals but am actually ecstatic over progress” out card because the most important goals were met.

Let’s face it – some goals and milestones are just more important than others.

  • Figure out some way to get some decent SEO progress on Assorted Meeples
  • Set up Healthy Wage & Diet Bet bets and start intensive weight loss program
  • Get new prescription glasses
  • Finish off dental work
  • Hammer out the blog posts now so by next year I’m smiling instead of lamenting lost opportunities
  • Sell some stuff off on eBay during holiday season
  • Record, edit, and publish my first good YouTube video

Goals for This Site

As stated more than once before, there are so many things being juggled right now that this site really is a back seat project compared to many more things going on. That said, when my idea for doing this site differently came up in my mind and I got excited, I’d hate for all that to be lost.

Sometimes you just want to go off the beaten track a little bit. Do something fun that you enjoy, not an optimized SEO-marketed niche site. Have enough of those elsewhere 🙂

That said, there are some post topics I’ve started that I’m really excited about and definitely want to get started.

Fall Goals for This Site:

  • Fill out the necessary disclaimers, privacy policies, etc
  • 12 Books That Changed My Life post finished and published
  • You’re Screwed – So Why Not Plan for the Long-Term? post finished and published
  • Two other blog posts published
  • Figure out a logo for the site
  • Figure out what’s wrong with the Home Page and fix it

Writing Goals (All Platforms)

As normal, this is going to be where the lion’s share of the work really takes place. I’ve been on fire as far as the putting words on paper goes, so excited to keep pushing that and seeing where it can go.

Freelance Work

Again, I see the irony in the fact that I spent so many years fighting for high paid work and here am no longer wanting to do the work, but sometimes such is life.

That said, my freelance work goals are pretty much minimum and are also tied to hopefully getting a temporary staff writer or copywriter position for that solid check at work for a year while ramping up my blogging to full time once again.

  • Do the high paying client work
  • Look at getting paid hourly/salary temp work position (if possible) for “write it and forget it” for supplementing income
  • Make enough to break even and be done with it otherwise

Premium Articles

This was an absolute biff last time, so hopefully we can radically change that. Medium.com has also changed their TOS so if I want to be with their Partner Program and make money writing for them then I’d better figure it out by the end of December.

If I have less than 100 subscribers at that point I’m out…and I need to make this work anyway so hopefully that’s just motivation.

The numbers here are going to be small. There’s just the way it is with everything on my plates right now. Of course this is for a full three months and some change to finish the year strong, so let’s put it out at:

  • 15 INA Marketplace Articles
  • 20 Medium.com Articles – either figure out publications + earnings or move on
  • 10 CC Articles
Cluttered writing desk
Sadly this might be slightly more organized than my current work station. That production, though.

Quora

Yes, we have a new entry! I’m putting it here for now because Quora potentially serves multiple functions and I’m not sure how much or how well all of it would work…so we’ll see.

Quora is a way to create social proof and do incredibly low-level SEO for sites I care about (especially since links are no-follow, but I firmly believe the mentions still do something, thought it would be foolish for high-scale SEO efforts), it can drive traffic when you have a great answer take off with a link that makes sense and adds to an answer.

Quora is also monetizing. And I’ve had some Quora answers explode before so the idea of earning for them, as well, is really appealing.

Will this format work? How will it work? Will making money on Quora be practical or be extremely impractical? Do I need to create a gaming space on Quora an an outdoor space on Quora and add content to those consistently to make a subscription model work? I don’t know.

But I know I’d like a LOT of answers out when the full rollout happens. So I have a LOT of reasons for wanting to put up answers on Quora and it gets its own spot.

  • 100 answers on Quora
  • Brainstorm ideas for Quora Publication (D&D character builds maybe?)

Blog Posts

The big one here is that some of the sites I had goals for now I’m not planning on working on at all this last part of the year. My focus needs to be on the sites showing the most results, the most life, and that way I’m concentrating on a few online properties that are showing some serious signs of life versus those that are barely seedlings at this point.

Especially since I over-extended myself so much in the beginning.

So if niche sites listed in the previous updates like that one don’t appear on this one, then that means I’ve simply put them aside for now to focus whole hog on the sites that have clearly begun showing signs of life. And at this point that is three of them with another showing some early signs of life despite only 10 posts less than a year old, so…exciting!

Still technically scattershot, but it’s a much more concentrated spread this time 🙂

  • Make lists to create order of topics for niche sites based on highest traffic/easiest to rank for at the top to lowest potential on the bottom
  • Finish foundation and formatting issues with each site so I can just focus on the writing
  • 75 blog posts for Assorted Meeples
  • 20 blog posts for Niche Site #1
  • 30 blog posts for Niche Site #2
  • 15 blog posts for Niche Site #3
  • 3 blog posts for Starter Niche Site #1

Not writing this fall: Niche Site #4, Starter Niche Sites #2, 3, & 4. I still like these sites and ideas, and might spend time organizing pages, About Us Page, Privacy & Affiliate Pages, logos, etc. Basically the structure so when I’m ready to write I can just write. Might….assuming I somehow find some free time out of my insane schedule to do so.

Ambitious? Sure. But it takes a lot to get the needle moving and I’m tired of not being where I want to be…so let’s move the needle. If I somehow manage to hit all of those goals by the end of the year I’ll be ecstatic.

Creative Writing

Don’t know why writing goals for money/freelance and creative writing goals weren’t put next to each other during the last summary. Since they’re both types of writing that would have, you know made sense from an organizational standpoint if nothing else.

Some of these are really necessary steps that I pushed off again for a few months, more is on just pushing through. The good news is that I have done enough writing on two novel manuscripts, and had characters develop enough of their story (or not enough in a couple places) that I have enough story threads it’s time to pull them together into a full plot outline.

It’s ambitious to close in on a full first draft before the end of the year…but with steady progress I could have three novel manuscripts ready to send out by my birthday next year.

I’ve been incredibly happy with diving back into the fiction the past few days and seeing those old parts of the brain warm up and start firing again.

Q4 creative writing goals

  • Create full plot outline for Alvaria
  • Create full plot outline for City of Crypts
  • 50 pages written for Alvaria
  • 50 pages written for City of Crypts
  • 10 pages written for Inked
  • Create one fiction short story from scratch
  • Write 3 poems

Weight Loss & Health

After dodging the scale for two months I bit the bullet…and was actually pleasantly surprised. Despite slip ups in meals and too much soda and too little exercise, it’s like a year of work, struggle, and steady improving habits paying off well paid off.

I expected to have gained 20+ lbs from my lightest when I was at my best before getting sick and the wheels starting to fly off the bus.

Instead it turns out I only gained 5 – and that was after a decent sized meal and a lot of milk drank only minutes before. So the damage honestly might have been even less than that.

So the improved habits save me, but I still want this to go back to getting revved up again. And if I can claim a HealthyWage prize to get a couple thousand of it after a hard, hard year of working towards the body and health I want then all the better!

Q4 Weight Loss Goals

  • Get back to weight lifting 3+ times a week
  • Keep reducing caffeine intake
  • Average 10K steps a day
  • Set up HealthyWage walking challenges and crush them
  • Get badly needed new prescription glasses
  • Get dental work finished
  • Keep dialing in the eating, cut back on snacks outside of meals

Money, Debt, and Investment Goals

Yeah, I wish I was absolutely pounding the debt into submission while putting huge numbers into the investment portfolio, but honestly this is solidly in a “Keep the holding pattern while just chipping away at it.” The main reason for this is simple math.

If I am working an average salary job around here I can chip off X a month which means it will only take about 9 years, 10 months to pay everything off. With virtually no chance of a giant exponential upside.

If I barely get by now but spend all that extra time investing in my online businesses doing things I know work – chances are 95%+ that a year from now I have 100% free time because my online and/or passive income covers all expenses.

This means I can double down on investment and see exponential growth, work with all the salary going to paying down debt speeding up the pay-off schedule to about 4-4.25 years.

Or there’s a very good chance I can sell one or two niche sites and pay off everything plus extra. Or have a site earning so much I keep it and pay off everything within 2 years or less. Or a combination of both.

Chances of huge explosive come growth? Moderately decent.

So when stepping back to look at the big picture, even though the working less hours and paying off less debt now doesn’t seem to make sense, understanding the full picture it does.

Especially when plotting things out 3, 5, 7, or even 10 years from now.

Q4 Financial Goals

  • Keep breaking even (since I’m making payments on my debts, “breaking even” is still actually making progress)
  • Keep investing 10% in the IRA
  • Get tax accountant settled for next year – be pro-active on 2022’s filing
  • Have what I like to call a “Fuck off for 2 weeks” fund (I miss the care-free hobo days)

Habits

Making the bed in the morning is second nature. Moving to my playlist marked “Daily Affirmation” and pounding out 1200+ words of work right away is also rapidly becoming second nature. That’s some good habit anchoring there (Thanks, James Clear!)!

I do need to reinforce the subconscious Kaizan when I stand back and get back to journaling quickly every morning and every evening. Thoughts to action. Don’t add more until these are as rock solid and automatic as making a bed in the morning.

Once that happens, I have at extra energy while small improvements to my life are an automatic part of the day. That’s how you create the building blocks.

Q4 Habits Goals

  • Maintain current habits
  • Reintroduce and reinforce morning journaling
  • Reintroduce and reinforce evening journaling
  • Eat a 3-5 egg breakfast every morning
  • Kaizan when I stand up – doing one single little thing to make things better when I stand from the work chair

Skills

The back end of this year is loaded and until the Delta variant runs its course I’m not looking around for dance classes, though that is towards the top of the list when health, physical strength are both in good places and the world stops burning.

  • Video Editing – I just don’t have the time to do this right and I don’t have a choice. So fuck if I know.
  • Game Design – All depends on the level of RPG Maker sales this holiday
  • Sketching/Drawing – Hopefully find some later December time to break out the sketch book and hopefully get much, much better
  • Hobby Skill – Definitely want to carve out time for this
  • Dancing – See above

Nothing’s changed from the previous two updates. There’s so much time in the day and although these are important enough to remind myself of they are not important enough to eat up time from the other more pressing matters.

If I take care of business on the other stuff this year and early next year, then that becomes an entirely different matter. Plus let’s be honest: these are hardly “basic skills.” There are entire college courses and/or degrees on these, or professional certifications in the case of “hobby skill,” and that means it will take plenty of time and dedication to master them.

Or even become remotely competent.

And I’m smart enough after taking a deep look at animation software to realize….no. Just nope. Even more mad respect to those of you who have mastered the skills to use that stuff competently and even more so to those of you who do it well.

Video Work

I don’t have time but it has to be done so here we are. Getting some different types and styles of videos out this winter to round out the channel on YouTube and see if we can get in our audience, that’s important. So we need to see what we can do.

Pretty simple list as far as what video editing, scripting, and YouTube work I need to do before the New Year to get out some of the tried and true methods for growing the gaming YT Channel.

Q4 YouTube/Video Goals List

  • 100 Days in Stardew Valley Video (and encourage Phil to match)
  • 200 Days in Stardew Valley Video (and encourage Phil to match)
  • My Time at Portia Beginning Tips Video
  • Scripting out World’s Dawn Review Video
  • Scripting out Best Games Like Stardew Valley Video (and get screenshots from people who play the games I don’t)
  • Have beginning scripting for “Season 3 Unqualified Experts” preview
  • Plan and shoot first 3 episodes of Unqualified Experts Season 3

Miscellanea

At this point anyone falling along should know that Miscellanea doesn’t mean unimportant. So I’ll skip that spiel and just jump into the list.

It’s smaller this time, as it should be, because as most of the year has passed and certain projects have began to really show signs of life, my scope of where my energy, time, and effort should be focusing in. This is all actually a good sign. The Miscellanea list in January of 2022 will be unrealistically huge.

But by the end of the year it should be small.

So this is good progress and so let’s take a look at the list:

Q4 Miscellanea Goals List

  • Focus on detail work for miscellaneous project one
  • Fill out missing 5E DnD character sheets for AM blog posts
  • Script up the video game guide videos
  • Start list of gaming blogs to outreach to for guest SEO
  • Start list of gaming podcasts to outreach for guest (SEO, Branding, & Marketing)
  • Figure out board game review template
  • Get on that passport application

What Are My Overall Feelings?

Ah, this will be the question to see. Honestly, the day I started writing this was the worst mood or procrastination “I don’t wanna do nothing” sulking mental days I’ve had in weeks. It was just…bad. Which was ironic since it was one of the best night’s sleep I have in a long time.

And by the next day even then the “terrible day” production did an impressive amount of work that I’m very happy with.

But of course this section is more appropriate for reviewing a past quarter instead of planning so we’ll move on from there.

And Away We Go…

There’s no question the plans for this fall are incredibly ambitious. But I want to get to new places fast, so that demands a hell of a lot of action at a next level pace.

Marathon Runner Long Way Away
Yeah buddy, I feel that!

There won’t be monthly updates as the quarterly just makes sense, but three months of monthly or semi-monthly updates was great because it got me moving and writing here at at least a minimum rate.

And that was the point.

So wish me luck, thanks for reading, and I’m excited to see where the next three months will take me on this part of my journey.

Shane Dayton

Writer, gamer, outdoor enthusiast, adventurer, and depression survivor tired of all the ugliness. Doing my best to live a life worth living, having fun, creating stories, and hopefully doing my part to leave the world a touch better than what I found it. Hope you enjoy the site and find something entertaining, helpful, or useful that's your kind of jam.

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