When you set blogging goals, it’s important to come up with a way to track your progress. Here’s how I tracked one goal in particular.
One month ago today, I started a little experiment to track one of my ongoing blogging goals: I devised a point system to track how well I was doing in my efforts to get more regularly ahead of the game with respect to scheduling posts.
I use an editorial calendar, specifically the WP-Editorial Calendar plugin for WordPress to help me plan out blog posts and when they’ll run. It also allows me to easily see at a glance which days do and do not have a post scheduled so that I can better prioritize what to write next.
Here’s how I explained the system I had created in my April 3rd post:
So the way I’ve come up with to track this progress is a simple daily two-point system.
For the month of April, I’m going to give myself one point for every day on which the next two days’ posts are written and scheduled. I’ll give myself a second point each day if on that day, there are at least four posts total scheduled ahead, whether it’s the next few days or even a month or more in advance.
The month of April has 30 days. If I make the goal every day, I’ll have amassed a total of 60 points.
There were a few days during the month of April that I was able to get as far as seven consecutive days ahead of schedule, which was wonderful because it allowed me to take a couple of days off completely from writing and work on some other projects.
But I intentionally chose not to include any “extra credit” option in my “scorecard.” I wanted an honest count of the two goals with no mechanism that might cloud the view of what I actually set out to do.
I also set a goal within the goals: I would consider the experiment a success if I scored at least a 50 for the month. That would be 50 out of 60, or about an 83.3% success rate. No one’s perfect, after all. I can assure you that I’m far from it.
And I knew, oddly enough, that when I started the month, I was already behind the eight-ball: I had four or five posts that were still in draft mode and were almost complete. But by April 1st. they weren’t “complete” enough, so on that first day of the month, I got a big fat zero. But I spent that day writing new posts and completing a couple of “almost done” posts, so that the next day, I scored two points.
April 22nd was the first day from there that I missed a point: I had two consecutive posts scheduled at that point, but I only had one additional post scheduled beyond that, not two or more.
I had the same thing happen on April 27th and 28th: the next two days’ posts were written and scheduled, but there weren’t quite enough posts complete and scheduled beyond those two days to earn the second point.
So that means I finished the month with a total of 55 points. That works out to be about a 92% success rate, better than what I hoped for.
It was a challenge to get that high a success rate, but I think it was worth it: it proved not only that it was a goal I can achieve, but it also proved that by staying ahead of the game, there’s a lot less pressure on a day-to-day basis to keep writing.
So that’s how I did with my experiment. And yes, I’ll probably keep the scorecard thing going for another month or two; now that I’ve proven I can achieve the goal, I want to keep it up!