I’ve just finished the summer of swim parenting. We’ve driven over 3000 miles crisscrossing the southwest to attend three out-of-town meets in the past three months. Couple that with three more in-town meets, thirteen practices per week, and other non-swimming activities and it’s been difficult to focus on much else. But the swim season has ended. The kids are back in school. And I’m ready to ramp up my blogging activity.
But before I go into details about my blogging plans, I wanted to share a little historical information that I discovered about the term, “first 100 days.”
The expression first became popular with President Franklin D. Roosevelt. President Roosevelt wanted to use his first few days in office to begin pulling the country out of the Great Depression. As Roosevelt took office, the country was in turmoil with the stock market having lost 85% of its value, a quarter of the workforce unemployed, and the banking system teetering on failure due to cash hoarding.
During his first week in office, Roosevelt jumped in with both feet, making changes to secure the banking system and laying the groundwork for what would become his “New Deal.” By the middle of 1933, the term, “first 100 days” would be forever linked with the beginning of the Roosevelt presidency and would thereafter be used to measure the effectiveness of all future Presidents to follow.
What Will You Do in Your First 100 Days?
But no matter what your endeavor, the first 100 days are critical. This period represents not just a time of learning, but also a chance to set your tone for the future. It is during this time that expectations are often low giving you the opportunity to shine and possibly catch others off guard.
I am such a believer in starting off on the right foot that when interviewing potential new hires, I often ask the question, “What will you do in your first 100 days?”
And while having detailed specific plans isn’t always necessary, I do want to know that the candidate has thought about what life will be like working in the role.
I hire people who are self-motivated, forward-thinking, and well-prepared. How they answer the question about their first 100 days tells me much about how they will perform in the job.
What’s Most Important?
For most new hires, I am looking for a response that addresses the three aspects of any role that you need to master – people, technical, and culture.
People. Companies are run by people. To get anything done, you need to know who to go to. Learning who does what and building relationships with people is critical to your success. Depending on your role, the people you need to know include supervisors and above, subordinates and below, and most importantly, your peers. Unless you’re the CEO, you will have peers.
Technical. This refers to the skills needed to succeed at your job. Technical attributes can include programming, analytical skills, sales ability, or many others. When you start a new role, you may already have a solid foundation in the technical aspects of the job. As you move up, this will become more of a hiring requirement. But just having the technical skills doesn’t mean you are ready. You will need to apply those skills to your new company and new position.
Culture. This aspect of you new job will be a significant determinant of your satisfaction in your new role. Culture spans both the entire organization and your specific area within the company. If the culture in either area is misaligned with your own goals, you will struggle to feel comfortable.
My First 100 Days of Fall Blogging
I like to find opportunities to create little motivational incentives. Setting up a number of goals for the first 100 days of fall blogging does just that.
Plus, I do better with checklists. When I organize everything into a nice, neat spreadsheet, I know what I need to get done and I can track how successful I am completing those items.
I created the following goals to guide me over the first 100 days of fall blogging:
Post 4 articles per week. This will be a monumental task. I’ve struggled with consistency in posting and this drives me crazy. I generally write when I’m inspired without much regard for sticking to an editorial calendar. This creates periods of writer’s block. I have also noticed that the more often I write, the easier it becomes. When I go for longer stretches (as in the period between this post and the prior one), it becomes more difficult to get the words out. A concern about writing and posting daily is keeping up the quality. In general, I’ve been able to maintain a pretty high quality standard up to this point, and I don’t want that to change. I am going to use the next 100 days as a test period to determine if I can post more frequently and maintain the high quality.
Respond to comments within 24 hours. I am so appreciative when readers not only take the time to visit the site and read the articles, but when they go through the effort of leaving a comment as well. Comments are motivating. They help you realize that the page view stats you see are real people (at least some of them). I love the interaction and commit to respond to comments within 24 hours.
Visit and actively participate on 10 sites per week. This actually seems too low. There are so many great sites, the harder part is not spending all your time reading articles online. But by setting a specific target, I can measure my success in achieving that target. And there’s nothing to say that I can’t exceed the target. It’s smart to set reasonable expectations and then try to beat them.
Take off Saturday or Sunday. We all need time away. After the latest swim meet, my family rented a house in the mountains for a few days before returning back home. It was truly remarkable. Nestled on a steep slope facing the ski area, we spent many hours sitting outside enjoying the scenery and each other’s company. I am a big believer in being proactive. And that means scheduling time away from the site. As I am a solo operation at the moment, it’s difficult to get away for more than a day (and still respond to comments within 24 hours), but I can (and need to) get away for at least one day per week.
You may notice that all of the above goals are things that I can control. As I’ve mentioned before, focus on the inputs and let the outputs take care of themselves.
Readers, thanks for hanging in there with me over the summer of swim parenting. Please let me know what you think about my goals for the first 100 days of fall blogging. And share your goals for the next 100 days (or whatever time frame you prefer).