Getting things done versus getting results

Getting Things Done Vs. Getting Results

I’m a great believer in planning because it’s a key step for creating a successful outcome and achieving your goals. I’ve achieved many of my life goals including living and travelling in Europe, the USA, South East Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Australasia.

In 2007 we shut down our successful business in New Zealand and relaxed in the jungle and on the beaches of Central America for 18 months without doing a jot of work. Since then we moved to Australia to set up a new business and settle down to give our kids a strong and stable environment for their education.

I’ve worked hard to make my dreams come true by focusing on them and taking steps to make them happen.

I love planning and it helps me stay focused so 10 weeks ago I created a 10 week plan for my blog and published it in a post called 5 Simple Steps to Planning for Success. I want to share results of that planning with you because I’ve learnt some invaluable lessons from this process that should help you achieve your goals and work out how to create your own success. This plan was focused on my blog so there should be some good lessons for bloggers here too.

9 Reasons For Planning

  1. To get more done.
  2. To anticipate problems and work out how to solve them before they happen.
  3. To work out your priorities.
  4. To commit to your plan.
  5. To motivate you – I love crossing things off lists!
  6. To create a visual tool that keeps you on track.
  7. To consider all the possible steps you need to take.
  8. To create a schedule of activities.
  9. To create a sense of urgency.

Why 10 Weeks?

10 weeks works for me because Australian school terms are 10 weeks long and when my three kids are at school I can get more done. I like the way I can divide my tasks into four ten week chunks because staying focused on something for a year can be hard but this makes it more manageable plus it frees up the school holidays for family time. You may have a different time schedule that suits your needs better.

The Plan Followed Up

Weekly Tasks

Every week I planned to write two posts for Get In the Hot Spot and one guest post for another blog. It sounds easy but I have my web design business to run, copy writing clients with deadlines, three kids and a household to manage too.

I stuck to my weekly blogging tasks well, posting 2 posts here without fail. I was also supposed to write one guest post a week and although I didn’t do that regularly I’ve probably sent out about 15 guest posts over the last 10 weeks and 5 of them have been published:

Copyblogger – The 8 Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers
Change Your Thoughts – Learn How to Love Yourself
The Skool of Life – Struggling to Keep Motivated and Keep Blogging?
Problogger7 Signs of an A-list Blogger In the Making
Illuminated Mind –  How to Stop Being a Perfectionist

What happened to the other 10 guest posts?

Two were rejected, some are pending review and some people never wrote back to me which means either they didn’t want them, didn’t see them or the blog owner is waiting until I least expect it to publish them. It’s the most frustrating thing about guest posting.

Lessons Learned

If I want a guest post and an influx of new traffic from that every week I need to write and send out more than one guest post each week. I need to step my guest posting up and start sending out at least 2 guests posts a week (3 would be better) then follow up on them quicker to make the process more efficient. If my guest post hasn’t been accepted a fortnight after being sent off I need to rewrite it and send it out to another blog.

Extra Tasks For the 10 Week Plan

What I did here was set an ambitious schedule because I thought it would help me get more done. Here’s the list I made and how things panned out.

1. Work out a plan of action to reach my blogging goals. Done!

2. Redesign Get In the Hot Spot. Done!

3. Incorporate video or audio. Done!

4. Complete my 12 step blog program – it’s a course I’m developing to help people learn to blog by giving them only the most important information. I’ve started writing it and am testing it out on two budding bloggers to see make improvements to it and make sure it makes sense. Done! I’ve finished the first draft, still lots more to be done but I’ve completed the first step which was the goal.

5. Create a free product (probably an ebook) to encourage email subscriptions. Not done!

6. Find a sponsor. Not done!

7. Open a store and sell two select affiliate products that I believe in 100%. Done! I earned money from my blog for the first time, a total of $529.46. Not much for 10 weeks work and totally disproportionate to the amount of time I put into my blog but it was an experiment to see if I could earn money from my blog and eventually turn it into a viable business. The experiment shows the potential’s there but only if I can continue to grow my blog and get more new targeted subscribers.

8. Create a survey to poll readers on what type of product they’d buy from me – I’m thinking of an ebook but want to see which topic interests readers most. Not done! Coming next week I hope. But the school holidays are upon me and my main priority for that is to hang out with the kids and have some family fun.

9. Create a product and get it ready to launch in September. In progress… The blogging course will probably be the product. It makes sense to use that but I need to complete my survey to see what the demand is or if my readers would prefer a book or course on another topic.

10. Design and lead some blogging seminars for small business owners or writers in my local area – the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. In progress… I can use my blogging course and I’ll be leading my first seminar on July 24th as part of the Reality Bites Non-Fiction Literary Festival. I’d love to see you there if you’re in the ‘hood. It’s free for budding writers and bloggers.

Total Tasks Completed Looks Good

6 Done!
2 in progress…
2 not Done!

Other Things I’ve Done Over the Past 10 Weeks

Been whisked off to Shanghai once and Sydney twice. Read more about it in How I Got Headhunted For a Vacation.

Been featured in the local press three times and on the radio once.

Been interviewed or mentioned on several other blogs.

Sorted out my Facebook page. I’d love it if you join me there!

Results of Getting Things Done

Writing this I’m impressed. It looks as if I’ve been a veritable productivity machine even though at many times I’ve been hard on myself for spending too much time reading or hanging out on Twitter.

But what I’m trying to do here is grow my blog by getting new subscribers and the results of that are very disappointing.

My blog has grown but progress is slow. In the last 10 weeks I’ve gone from 1,200 subscribers to 1,400 and I need to improve on that.

Yes, I made some money but if I could swap those 529 dollars for 529 subscribers I would.

Getting things done is good but only if you do the right things.

I’ll be making another 10 week plan when the kids go back to school and focusing on growing the blog first and foremost. I know what I need to work on and will be focusing on these three areas:

  1. Getting more guest posts on big blogs that my target audience read.
  2. Sorting out me search engine optimisation so I can find new targeted readers that way.
  3. Making it easier for my existing readers to spread the word about Get In the Hot Spot on Facebook, Twitter and by email. I have the buttons at the bottom of every post but I need to make them more noticeable and more user-friendly.

I can see now that getting things done is great getting results is better.

Stay Tuned

I’ll keep writing and posting new posts over the school vacation and will be back on board with a vengeance when my little lambs so back to school in July. I still love blogging and I’m still excited about the opportunities it’s bringing me.

Have you been making progress with your goals over the last 10 weeks? What can you do to get results faster? And of course, if you’ve got any advice or questions for me leave a comment below, I’d love to hear them.

Thanks for reading!

Image: John Trainor
Author: Annabel Candy

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Carmen June 25, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Wow Annabel! You are a whirling dervish. As a fellow blogger I’m amazed at the ambitious goals you have set for yourself and while you may feel the progress is not as fast as you’d like, I’d certainly say it’s faster than most. Blogging is really hard work and made harder sometimes because there is often no pay-off for quite a while. Your personal organization will pay off in the long run I’m sure. Just stick to it – you’re a great example to follow!

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Annabel Candy June 25, 2010 at 2:46 pm

Hi Carmen, lol, I am. Maybe too much whirling and not enough derving…. or whatever:) Thanks for the encouragement. I know I am impatient but who isn’t? When you know what you want you want it now! I probably just need to chill out and let it happen:)

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Positively Present June 25, 2010 at 9:15 pm

Very useful article! I really enjoyed it and got a lot out of reading it. Just retweeted it so hopefully others will enjoy it as well! :)

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Annabel Candy June 25, 2010 at 11:28 pm

Hi PP, it’s probably something we can all relate to – the feeling of doing stuff constantly without ever getting much done:)

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Joshua Noerr June 25, 2010 at 11:51 pm

Anabel, you touched on a subject near and dear to my heart. Getting things done and producing results are two different things and it really boils down to execution.

I always encourage people to, at the end of the day, write down what results they produced, not what they did that day. You can fill a huge list full of non-essential tasks that did not get you anywhere, and what good would that do? But if you executed, and produced results, then you have had a successful day.

It’s also important not to feel like you have to have this kind of day everyday. Sometimes it’s ok to hit cruise control, and just decompress for a day. Great post, cheers!

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Annabel Candy June 26, 2010 at 9:20 am

Hi Joshua, thanks for chipping in and the top tips! I think that’s true as well – super productivity isn’t going to happen every day. I’ve noticed I’m in full force about two days each week and the other days I should probably just switch off the computer and head to the beach:)

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Ted A. Moreno June 26, 2010 at 12:00 am

Great post. I just started following your blog and you offer some really good info for bloggers.

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Annabel Candy June 27, 2010 at 9:38 am

Hi Ted, thanks for leaving a comment too, it’s great to see your smiley face and a real pleasure to know who my readers are and why they’re here:)

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Barbara Hammond June 26, 2010 at 1:07 am

Annabel you are an inspiration to many of us out here in the weeds! My goals are similar, as far as growing the blog. I have an e-book in the works, as well and I’m keeping my fingers crossed on that! I also have another children’s book almost finished (2nd in the Duffy Chronicles) which will help no-kill shelters. The e-book will be free but with a donation to the purchaser’s favorite cancer charity. (it’s about my husband’s amazing struggle and recovery from cancer).
I know you and your family have been through many moves and changes, as has mine. I would love to have you guest post about how those kind of changes make us stronger. So, when my blog grows up I would love your guest post!
Keep on inspiring us!
Thanks, Barbara

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Annabel Candy June 27, 2010 at 9:41 am

Hi Barbara, Thanks for the lovely long comment. It sounds as if you have some amazing stories to tell. We’re so lucky today that we can get our stories out there on a shoestring thanks to the Internet. I’d love to write a guest post for you someday. Seem to be a bit overstretched at the moment though plus school hols of course!

You can repost any of my articles on your blog though. I have the uncopyright thing here at the bottom so feel free to reuse anything that appeals:)

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rob white June 26, 2010 at 3:02 am

Hi Annabel,
This was a really pertinent topic for me. Coming from the world of real estate and restaurants the blogging world can be very amorphous. It seems there is no end to the tasks one could assign themselves. Whereas with developing real estate and opening restaurants progress is a very tangible thing to measure… things are getting built or their not etc. Blogging is such a different paradigm I have to constantly remind myself to be patient. Your article is a gift because it helps me put focus back on my own bottom line of results

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Annabel Candy June 26, 2010 at 9:22 am

Hi Rob, really interested to find out a bit more about you here and what you’ve learned from it. It’s true that a blog or website is never done and that can get depressing. I guess we’ll get used to it though! Part of it is also letting go of perfection and accepting work as being good enough. Thanks for visiting!

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Teresa June 26, 2010 at 3:17 am

Fabulous darling! I may join you with the blogginh eventually with my ‘Adventures of a scaredy cat’ idea haha

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Annabel Candy June 26, 2010 at 9:28 am

Hi Teresa, I hope you will, you have an amazing talent for writing, entertaining and uplifting people. It would be criminal not to share that with the world. We need you out here:)

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Bamboo Forest - Tick Tock Timer June 26, 2010 at 3:47 am

Very good post. I like how meticulous you are in executing your goals to grow your blog and business. Your ambitiousness is certainly inspiring.

You write:
“Every week I planned to write two posts for Get In the Hot Spot and one guest post for another blog. It sounds easy”

Doesn’t sound easy to me :) For one: You first have to come up with two worthy ideas for your blog and then an additional idea to write about for the guest post.

It’s clear you’re working very hard. And, really, you have to, to become a successful blogger.

I’d like to up my game with guest posting frequency. One of my goals is to get ‘tick tock timer’ as the number one listing in google when ‘online timer’ is searched for. I think I can do it.

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Annabel Candy June 27, 2010 at 9:43 am

Hi Tick Tock, I’m not short on ideas, my problem’s getting the posts coherent, useful and completed! I like that goal of yours for seo, should get you heaps of new targetted visitors and your site’s still quite new so no reason you can’t do it in time:)

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Heather June 26, 2010 at 9:37 am

Love your accountability Annabel -that also helps to get things done! I tweeted!

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Annabel Candy June 27, 2010 at 9:44 am

Hi Heather, thank you! I missed all the good part though, I’m going to mention them another time, there’s plenty of good too:)

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Vern June 26, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Hey Annabel. Another nice read. Good point with your plan, I like that you stuck with It. I have come from just checking my e-mail in December 09 , Now just working on my own projects so I feel your pain. Of course I am far from your graphic skill sets. Any hoooo just checking in. I needed a break and I know that your writes are always great. Actually now you have me thinking that I should be sticking to some of my own tasks. Just so easy to get side tracked while working on-line. I look forward to your release of…. ????… What ever It may be that your working on, but no worries here as I am quite convinced It will be worthy of us, your readers .
Till then V.H.

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Annabel Candy June 27, 2010 at 9:46 am

Hi Vern, thanks for the support. I’m not a graphic designer though… I work with qualified experienced graphic designers to make sure my client’s and my site look great as well as working and being well organised and a good read:) Yes, getting side-tracked is a problem!

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Sandra Lee June 26, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Annabel, I completely LOVE the articles you write about planning and then evaluating your own blogging progress. They hold so many invaluable lessons for us beginner bloggers and provide encouragement too. I’m amazed by how much you accomplish given your other life responsibilities. Bravo! Your personal blogging advice is excellent. I especially appreciate advice that’s pertinent for bloggers who are not necessarily trying to start an online busy or become A-list bloggers but just want to be more effective.

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Annabel Candy June 27, 2010 at 9:48 am

Hi Sandra, thanks so much for that. Even if a blog’s for fun it should still achieve those goals so really happy my experiences help you.

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Roman Soluk June 26, 2010 at 7:50 pm

I like your attitude, Annabel! Besides, I also like planning. The more I plan, the more I manage to do.

Thanks for sharing this great info!

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Annabel Candy June 27, 2010 at 9:49 am

Hi Roman, yes, I’m with you there: “The more I plan, the more I manage to do.” Thanks!

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Dia June 27, 2010 at 7:14 am

Wow, very nice Annabel! Planning is essential to success, if we don’t plan and manage our time accordingly, then it would be hard to achieve what we want. Thanks for sharing

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Annabel Candy June 27, 2010 at 9:50 am

Hi Dia, thanks for visiting and leaving a comment, always great to see you here:)

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Bob Benditzky June 27, 2010 at 10:58 am

Hi Annabel,

I am thoroughly amazed how organized you are. I always over complicate things but, you have created a plan that is very straight forward and easy to monitor your progress (and short comings).

I totally enjoy your style of writing. It makes me feel like I’ve known you for quite some time.

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Annabel Candy June 27, 2010 at 8:07 pm

Hi Bob, it is good to keep it simple. It think next time I’ll have a week off in the middle to catch up on back logs or just have a breather:) Thanks for the lovely writing compliments, Love that!

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Jacinta Dean June 27, 2010 at 6:30 pm

Hi Annabel,

I feel exhausted just reading that post, plus you put me to shame!! :oops:

You do all of this around 3 kids!! I only have one! Although she is a 3 year old tornado! :lol:

I am a big believer in creating a plan and setting down the goals and tasks to detail. Sometimes it is the only way to get things done in this online world. It is very easy to get side tracked otherwise.

Congrats on growing your subscribers, I need to work on that one although I still have a whole list of other things I need to do too!! ;)

Too many tasks, too much to learn! I need a clone! :lol:

Hope all is going well.

See you back here soon. :cool:

Cheers

Jacinta :D

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Annabel Candy June 27, 2010 at 8:10 pm

Hi Jacinta, well,a three year old’s another kettle of fish and it’s took me 10 years of parenting to really get the hang of it and make time to do the stuff I want to do as well as all the mummy things:) We do need to enjoy our kids too. Pick the main goal, the main think you need to do and just keep working on that bit by bit whenever you can. If you can resisit the temptations and make sure fun time isn’t on the computer at Twitter/Facebook then you’ll get there slowly but surely. Good luck with all your plans!

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Boris June 27, 2010 at 9:08 pm

Annabel,
You are leading by example! Thanks for sharing your plan and its execution.
All the best,
Boris

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Annabel Candy June 28, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Hi Boris, I try, I do hope other people can learn from my mistakes… and successes too of course!

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J.D. Meier June 28, 2010 at 3:39 pm

I like your rundown and rationale.

> Open a store and sell two select affiliate products that I believe in 100%
Where can I see your store?

I haven’t really done anything to try and grow my blog yet. Instead, I’ve been refocusing on my tribe and making sure that I’m truly building a sustainable tribe that connects at the values. I finally realized that a big part of my tribe is the people I work with. Once I realized that, it made it easier for me to focus on the language to use, the topics to focus on, and what angles to play. Basically, it got simpler.

When I do try to grow my blog, I’ll probably follow your lead and invest in guest posting, as well as write articles. Meanwhile, I need to focus on wrapping up my latest book and making sure it hits the mark.

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Annabel Candy June 28, 2010 at 6:42 pm

Hi J. D. You can see it right here – in the top bar where it says shop! Now I know why no one ever clicks on it:) Oh but wait, there’s a big shop button too. Still, interesting feedback! I think if you don’t feel the pressing need to make money building the “tribe” is the way to go. A book? That sounds exciting, look forward to reading it, you’ve got a lot of knowledge to share and heaps of great ideas.

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Baker June 28, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Wonderful post on time management ! Thanks for sharing this great info.

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Annabel Candy June 28, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Hi Baker, thanks for taking the time to visit and leave a comment:)

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thebloggingrobot June 29, 2010 at 7:33 pm

Great way of being able to lay things out properly, and the key is giving it that time to be taken care of. Great post that appeals to the common sense that we wish we had.

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Marlon Ribunal July 7, 2010 at 4:21 pm

Perhaps I need to replicate this 10-week plan. I am trying to become a pro-blogger. I have just learned something new from this post! You’ve just earned another subscriber! ;-)

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Vinish Parikh July 8, 2010 at 1:58 pm

Great article, planning is essential for everything and you have blend planning into blogging in a great way

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