Why 2011 Was A Complete Failure (And A Complete Success)

As I usually do with the last post of the year, today I want to look back at some of the goals I set for my business in 2011 and how well I did or didn’t do in accomplishing them.

Unlike previous years I didn’t complete any of the goals I had set. I made progress on some, but none of them could be checked off as finished. Hence the complete failure part of the post title.

December 2011 calendar

However the only true failure is a failure to learn and not completing my goals taught me a few important lessons. Hence the complete success part of the post title comes in.

If you missed the post where I set my 2011 goals here’s a reminder of what they were. You can read that post if you’re interested in the details.

  • Redesign this site
  • Develop a wordpress theme framework for myself
  • Continue improving my small business forum
  • Write an ebook

And here are a few older posts where I looked back over the year’s goals in case you want to chart my progress over the years.

2011 wall calendar

What I Did and Didn’t Accomplish in 2011

When I set these goals I hinted I might be biting off more than I could chew. I was more right than I realized. While I didn’t expect to complete every goal listed, I did expect to complete at least one.

Redesign this Site

This site is in need of being reworked and deserves a complete redesign. It was my primary goal for the year and the only one I’m mad at myself for not finishing.

I’ll spare you all the details, but let you know the year went something like this.

Planned and wireframed the new site. Got busy with client work. Got busy being lazy. Developed a single page template from one of the wireframes. Back to lazy. More client work. A few weeks to close out the year working the template into a WordPress theme.

In the end though, the redesign isn’t finished and I have nothing to show. This site looks just as it did a year ago.

I don’t want to leave the impression that I’ve done nothing since January. I’ve actually created to different designs and have an html template coded for one, which I’ve taken over to WordPress and begun turning into a theme.

Develop a WordPress Theme Framework

At the end of the redesign process I would have a completed theme. It was my plan to abstract a few things out of the theme and turn it into a rudimentary framework I could use for other sites.

I’ve never hidden the desire to enter the WordPress theme market in some fashion. In time the rudimentary framework could be fleshed out and matured to the point where it could form the backbone of a WordPress specific blog and site.

Obviously the redesign never reached that point and so again there’s nothing to show as complete.

April 2011 calendar

Continue Improving the Small Business Forum

I admit to setting this goal a bit on the vague side. I could easily tell you about a few things I did and call it complete to my satisfaction, but I was hoping to do more than I did and so will consider this goal as unfinished like the others.

Most of the improvements I made to the forum were the usual upgrades to vBulletin. This year that meant a switch to vBulletin’s full publishing suite. Along the way I added some modules to help me run the place.

The vB publishing suite helps turn the software into more of a CMS, where members could post to their own blogs or be included as authors in something of a site wide blog. I’ve set this up to some degree behind the scenes, but it’s not quite ready and there isn’t any content ready to go.

Quite honestly vBulletin doesn’t make much easy. I’d prefer to move the whole site to a WordPress/bbPress/BuddyPress set up, but think bbPress hasn’t matured yet to match vBulletin on the forum side.

In any event while I did make improvements to the forum, I didn’t make all the improvements I wanted to make.

Write an eBook

In truth I never expected to get to an ebook, though held out hope i might have some time at year’s end. I didn’t.

Other than some random thoughts and notes I can’t say I accomplished anything with this goal, though again I never really expected I would.

Illustration of a classroom

What the Year Taught Me

There’s a success part of this story I promise, though the success is more along the moral victory lines as opposed to a true victory. The only failure is a failure to learn and my lack of results this year led me to some realizations.

It’s easy to blame my lack of results on a lack of time, but that’s not the truth. There’s always enough time, but there’s only so much you can do within that time. It’s about setting priorities and not wasting the time you have.

The year hammered home 3 main lessons for me.

  • I need to improve my time and task management skills
  • I should pay less attention to perfectionism
  • I can’t do everything alone

With the first it’s clear to me I don’t make the best use of my time. I used to be better about it, but have slipped. More focus on getting things done in the available time is a worthy goal.

Where perfectionism is concerned it’s hard for me not to be a perfectionist when working on something for myself. Perfection is something to work towards, however there’s no reason it can’t be strived for in iteration.

Get something done quicker and work to make it better.

With the last I realize there are more things I’d like to do than I can reasonably do on my own. I’d like to grow my network of people to work with and see if any are interested in helping me get a project going.

The lessons learned will come into play more when I talk about my goals for next year.

New Year's eve fireworks over Sydney, Australia

Summary

While it’s true I didn’t accomplish any of my 2011 goals, I did come away from the year with a better understanding of why I didn’t accomplish them and a hopefully new motivation to improve things.

Next week I’ll share my goals for the coming year We’ll see if I get more done in 2012. It’s easy to say I will, though the proof will come a year from now when I’m writing next year’s version of a look back.

How was your 2011? Were you able to achieve your goals for the year?

Regardless of how 2011 was for you, it’s almost 2012. Happy New Year everyone. Enjoy the holiday weekend and see you again in the new year.

Download a free sample from my book, Design Fundamentals.

3 comments

  1. I did some work on a WordPress Theme Framework. I ended up customizing somebody else’s framework. That’s ok because I learned a lot from looking at other people’s frameworks and I don’t really feel too attached too it. Leaving me flexible too evolve.

    Loved reading your blog in 2011 and looking forward to reading it in 2012. Happy New Year.

    • It’s definitely ok to customize someone else’s framework and I agree you can learn a lot that way. I’m sure any framework I might come up with will borrow ideas from others that have come before.

      What I want to do at first is develop something for myself to make it easier for me to build themes. While the designs change, I often find myself using a lot of the same code from theme to theme. It makes sense to have a common starting point to make theme development easier.

      Thanks for the compliments on the blog. I’m glad you liked it over the last year and I’ll do my best to get you saying the same thing next year. :)

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