January and time to revisit priorities and goals, both from last year and for the year ahead. In December, I completed a reflection and retrospective of 2022. Now it's time to plan for 2023.
My priorities – what I might also call my motivations – for 2023 remain the same as last year:
And how did I do on these in 2022?
Not knowing exactly what I was getting into for 2022, my expectations were both optimistic and realistic, and my specific plans quite loosely set. I had the benefit of sufficient savings to try several different lines of work to see what fit, what was sufficiently profitable, and where did I need and want to focus. Along the way, some things worked well, a few things less so.
Contributing to the development of others is the theme of most of my work. Teaching – be it independent webinars, invited programming, or more formal instruction – is the largest part of my work (34% or 317 hours*). Combined with coaching, mentoring, learning circles, and leadership squares (18% or 166 hours), the development of others is clearly the predominant mode of operation for me.
Surprising to me is the amount of activity in contributing to science (25% or 237 hours). This included proposal development work with a team at UBC, coordination of a research communication event (poster session at BC Cancer Summit), and internal proposal reviews for institutions and funders. This was a wish more than a plan, but I’m very pleased with how it has worked out.
Also surprising to me: the amount of time spent on company management, including admin, billing, proposals, and marketing (16% or 153 hours), and the relatively small amount of time spent on personal learning, development, and creative work (just 6% or 59 hours). The company management time includes some creative work on the newsletter and networking, so taking that into account that amount is probably about right (in my old life, management and admin was typically 10-15% of total operations). I guess my former bosses were right – it still feels like a lot. And since marketing and sales are things I loathe, it was interesting to see how much time I spent doing them and how little return I felt they delivered.
One approach in this that didn’t work so well was webinars through Lyric Management. I offered webinars on project management and self-development at several times during the year, but other than a few near the end of the year, most were cancelled due to lack of interest. This is where some more marketing analysis is needed.
* How did I keep track of my hours? I use a fantastic tool called Toggl. The online and mobile apps are easy to set-up and use, and make beautiful reports for reporting and reflection.
Goals for 2023
For 2023, I want to focus on increasing the learning, development, and creative work. Some of the learning will contribute to the teaching and training work – as upgrade my own skills and knowledge, I’ll be passing that along through students and clients.
I also want to get better at tracking and estimating time, keeping track of expenses, defining billing rates. A quick calculation shows me that I earned on average $18/hour, and the actual amount is likely less (my tracking only started in March, and I’m forgetful about logging all my hours).
Some SMART goals for 2023:
I learned another approach to goal-setting: CLEAR goals. These are: Collaborative, Limited, Emotional, Appreciable, and Refinable.
While some of these elements are challenging as a team of one, the inclusion of some emotional connection – a compelling “why” for the “what” – and the acknowledgement that goals should evolve over time (scope change, anyone?) are interesting perspectives for personal goals. I see the CLEAR approach as perhaps a bridge between resolutions (ways I want to be) and goals (things I want to do). Perhaps CLEAR goals might indicate “the direction I want to go”. Some additional goals that are more about direction than accomplishment:
There will be a few more personal goals for the year – family, friends, travel, reading (40 books is this year’s target), and house (could this be the year we finally declutter?). With those and the above, I have a pretty good (and busy) plan for 2023.
In another approach to goal-setting, I’ve determined that my word-of-the-year is “stability”. After several years of upset and change and uncertainty, 2022 was a much more positive and manageable year than I could have expected. It wasn’t boring, but it was more even-keeled and calmer than the preceding few, and given how it began I consider it a real blessing that it was as stable as it was. If 2023 could be similarly stable, that would be terrific. I’m starting with my two feet firmly planted, and ready to get started on all this year has to offer.
Some other good reads about new year’s goals are here, here, and here.
Do you set annual resolutions, priorities, and goals? Do your priorities change over time? What approaches do you find effective for setting and achieving goals? Please comment below or email me at email@example.com with your questions and feedback.
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Who is Robyn?
My career as a research project manager is rewarding, dynamic, challenging, and fun. I'm looking forward to sharing my knowledge and experience in communication, organization, and common sense approaches in research management and leadership, and to enabling others to learn and grow in this exciting career.