January and time to revisit priorities and goals, both from last year and for the year ahead. I had some time over the holidays to reflect and plan ahead, including my annual review of priorities and how things are lining up. My 2023 priorities will carry forward into 2024, but how did I do in 2023, the year that was.
Here's a review of my priorities and how they stacked up last year.
Clearly some work to do on numbers 4, 5, 7, and 9, but overall, I came out of the year satisfied and happy with my progress and accomplishments.
Looking back - 2023 in review
This year was more successful than I had anticipated. Opportunities and engagements came from some surprising connections, demonstrating several times the importance of reputation and network (priorities 6 and 8). While self-employment is always feels famine-or-feast, with intrinsic uncertainty about the long-term, I was blessed this year with a constant and steady influx of work. There was even the milestone of having to decline an opportunity (priority 7) due to being fully (even over) subscribed in the summer. As a result of this busy-ness, several personal development priorities (especially 4 and 9) were missed, in exchange for the long-term benefits of those connections and the continued reputation for excellence in contributions, organization, and integrity (priorities 2, 3, and 6).
Most of my time this year (703 hours or 51%) was my work with research teams and organizations in proposal development, grant facilitation, and program and project management (aligned with priorities 2, 3, and 6). Contributing to the development of others (priority 1) remains high and represented a close second in the proportion of my work (537 hours or 39%).
Despite the increased diversity and volume of work activities, my time on business administration was lower this year, at less than 10% of my time, which hopefully reflects an increased efficiency in this area. However, there was (again) a relatively small amount of time spent on personal learning, development, and creative work (just 33 hours or 3). While some of the output I did achieve included writing that I’m quite proud of (I consider my Closing the Books post to be one of my best), I know I want to put more effort into this area next year, as it is very satisfying creatively and as a contribution (priorities 1 and 9 combined). Similarly, being more diligent and disciplined with both writing and some marketing initiatives will be goals for next year to maintain the growth of both me and the business.
A CLEAR goal from 2023 that I did meet was getting better at tracking and estimating my time. I can still get better at logging my hours and categorizing the work for better analysis and billing, but I’m very happy with the data I have for the year and how easy it was to generate quotes, invoices, and the data for this blog post. The tracking data continues to help me refine my billing rates to ensure I’m valuing my work and time fairly and respectfully (priority 5).
Other completed goals include the development of a second leadership course (just under the wire in December), attending networking events, and completing a year-end review (this one). Check, check, and check.
Looking ahead - goals for 2024
I want to focus on increasing the personal learning, development, and creative work (priorities 4 and 9); this is a repeat of a previous goal that I did not meet to due to not prioritizing and creating time in my schedule for these activities. I plan to employ time blocking in my calendar as a way of creating these opportunities for learning and writing. We’ll see if my creativity can align with that schedule, and that I can be sufficiently disciplined to follow it.
Some SMART and CLEAR goals for 2024:
There will be a few more personal goals for the year – family, friends, travel, reading, and home (out with books and clothes). I usually take a few weeks into the year to settle on those goals and resolutions, with a clearer plan by the end of the month. With those and the above, I have a pretty good (and busy) plan for 2024.
Word of the year
For 2024, my word-of-the-year is “sustain”. Last year was a year of growth and establishing stability for Lyric Management, and so for this year I want to keep that level of activity at about the same level, while making room for some more creative pursuits. As with priority 7, just so much and no more work, while sustaining the success and good relationships I've been blessed with so far. I also want to sustain the momentum I have with networking and community work, continuing to work hard, live well, and give back.
In keeping with that last bit, I’ll be delivering a webinar on Setting Goals and Priorities – join me on 31 January, noon-1pm Pacific time. You can register at the Lyric Management website.
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.
Interested in more on this or other topics? Check out my upcoming webinars and presentations at www.lyricmgmt.com. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn for the latest on these and other topics. You can also join my mailing list to receive a monthly newsletter with blog posts and webinar schedules, and to be entered in a monthly draw for a prize.
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.