I started Bearz Repeating a year ago today. I began with two goals: share big ideas, and update this blog every Wednesday.
A year later, I would rate myself as a solid B in reaching each of these goals. Not perfect, and certainly with room to improve, but acceptable.
Let’s talk about the second goal first — posting every Wednesday — since that’s easier to quantify.
Including this article, I’ve written 48 posts of my own, and edited two guest posts that took the place of weekly content. So it’s obvious from the numbers alone that I didn’t quite get there. I had a big lapse of discipline in November before picking up steam again around the end of that month. I also missed one in mid-July.
In addition to falling short of my weekly goal a few times, I rarely posted my update at a reasonable hour on Wednesday. I imagine many of my regular readers simply treat this blog as updating on Thursday (and the traffic analysis bears this out). For a blog that advertises “Updates on Wednesday” in its very header, this is not a reasonable state of affairs — something has to change.
When discussing best practices for projects I manage, Justin Turner recently gave me some blisteringly honest advice: If I can’t even hit the deadlines I set for myself, how can I expect my team members to respect the deadlines I set for them?
I’ve talked several times about my efforts to on a more timely and actually-on-Wednesday basis. This is obviously still something I struggle with, and while that’s frustrating, it’s also important to move on from that. It’s in the past. I can’t change it; all I can do is forgive myself. Habits are difficult to build, and giving up at the first sign of frustration or upon the first lapse is a sure-fire way of never succeeding. I refuse to give up. In 2016, I will try, and try, and try again.
Whether I met the first goal — sharing big ideas that bear repeating — is harder to quantify. One way to evaluate it, though, is comparing what I’ve written to my initial list of topics for this blog. Starting out, I wrote down a few big ideas that I wanted to make sure I talked about, such as SMART goals, Pareto’s Principle, Johari windows, and Ask Culture/Guess Culture. Well, I haven’t gotten around to those last two — yet. I’m really excited to talk about those concepts, so this is a bit disappointing, but I think I know the reason why I’ve been putting them off: Because the concepts are so important to me, I really want to get their articles right. In other words, I’m letting my perfectionism get the better of me. As the saying goes, perfect is the enemy of good enough, and I would do well to keep that in mind for 2016.
One aspect of my content that I am happy about is the range of judging-related topics I’ve explored. I’ve dissected rulings and rules questions, and examined policy. I’ve discussed appeals (twice), organizing teams, making introductions fun and productive, pre-event communication, and more. While these might not all be “big ideas” in the context of something you’d see in a TED talk, I believe I’ve been successful in sharing practical concepts that my readers can use in their own events, their communities, and their own lives.
How do you measure, a year with Bearz?
Those of you who know me are aware that I’m a very analytical person. I love data, figures, statistics. Fortunately, the Judge Blog Network maintainers have made it easy to set up Google Analytics. From the very first day Bearz Repeating started, I’ve been collecting data on the blog’s visitors.
To share example of the data I have access to, here’s the five most popular articles from 2015:
- Eternal Questions (1,200 sessions)
- Alphabet Soup (850)
- A Flusterstorm in the Hand (720)
- You Make the Ruling #1 (660)
- The Shirt Doesn’t Matter (630)
One trend that emerges is that articles on specific rulings are very popular. I’m very pleased that a reference article (Alphabet Soup) and a big-picture/high-concept article (The Shirt Doesn’t Matter) also cracked the top five.
The numbers don’t tell the whole story, of course, but they’re fun and useful. In 2016, I’m going to continue digging into this data, and use it to make Bearz Repeating even better.
Familiar Goals and New Directions
My primary goal for Bearz Repeating in 2016 is essentially unchanged, but I’d like to express it more compactly and descriptively:
Every Wednesday, I will update Bearz Repeating with a high-quality article sharing big ideas about personal development, judging, or both.
Beyond this primary goal, I have several related goals. While the last goal represents a totally new direction for Bearz Repeating, the others are focused on strategies and habits to help me meet my primary goal.
- To avoid scrambling to finish articles on Wednesday night, I will finish a polished version of my article each Monday.
- To assist in my creative process and long-term content goals, I will experiment with outlining a content schedule in advance.
- I will use the month of January to explore, research, and experiment with the best time-of-day to regularly schedule my posts (midnight Eastern? noon?), keeping in mind my global audience. I will not let myself get by with the technicality of updating at 11:59pm Eastern.
- I will commit to a standardized regimen on sharing my weekly posts on social media and JudgeApps.
- I will add new dimensions to Bearz Repeating that incorporate yet go beyond the weekly blog articles. For example, I want to help judges more easily discover articles that are relevant to their current role in the program (e.g. new judges) goals (e.g. Head Judging a Classic, becoming L2/L3). To this, I plan on creating pages that structure my existing content in more useful and educational ways.
Dream big. Let’s make 2016 our best year yet.