Welcome to 2017! I have a few friends doing these “Life Report” style blogs, where they have catchy titles, list their goals, and use the interwebz to keep them accountable. I would like to do that, and I have access to interwebz, and people! I don’t have a catchy title, so since I’ve been playing D&D lately I figured why not do this like I’m gaining XP and leveling up? That also fits with the book I’m reading, again, called the Nerdist Way! More on that later.
First things first, just the way I’m doing my goals is going to change. I’ve always been taught to use the SMART system. Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Realistic. Time Based. So, for example, every year I set an income goal for my Beachbody Business. “I will increase my income by $1,000 a week by March 1st by following the daily task lists from Team Beachbody!” Again, and example. Or “I will weigh 200 pounds by my birthday by doing P90X five times a week.” To be fair, this system works well for MANY successful people. But, I’ve come to the realization that it doesn’t work well for me and I’ve been spending literal years trying to make it work, and constantly ending each year in failure. I spend a bit working on the method, but then get so focused on the result that I quit, or stop doing the method, or procrastinate, or whatever. So, since I haven’t been hitting my goals anyway, why have them!? That’s right, I’m not setting ANY goals like this for 2017. Instead, my goals will be to stick to the systems I put in place to live a better life. I mean, it’s really stupid to say “I’m going to weigh X pounds by X date.” No matter what you do, you can only lose so much weight. Even with the recommended 2 pounds a week, everyone is different. So instead my goal will be to focus on eating healthy and sticking to a workout plan. If I focus on THAT, then I’ll be happy. So, what am I focusing on this year? Mainly, just being healthy and happy. But, I do need to focus a bit 🙂
This is probably the easiest to affect and shows the most progress bang for the buck. As much as I want to set a few goals (i.e. for our JoCo Cruise, our pub’s 3-year anniversary, my birthday, etc) I’m going to work on a few different things.
1) Working out. This one is a no-brainer. I’m signing up for Beachbody’s On Demand All Access. For $99 a YEAR I’ll get access to every. single. Beachbody workout. Also, EVERY new workout they release in 2017. That takes care of that! I have a calendar up in my workout room that I’m checking off all of my workouts. So far this year I’ve hit every workout, which is awesome. And I’ve started to see the weight come off (not that I’m focusing on that!). 10/10
2) Eating better. This includes drinking better. I won’t lie, it’s HARD owning a bar and not being fat from beer. We get some GOOD FUCKING BEER in here, and some stuff I may never see again. But, around December I realized I was just drinking beers because they were “rare” or “hyped up” and not because I really wanted to drink one. So for 2017 I’m going to work on setting a standard for beer. First, Guinness doesn’t count. I mean, it does but I’m gonna have a Guinness a day. For health! So that’s my standard. If we have an event (like this weekend’s Highland Games) I’m limiting myself to two all day. Keep in mind, parents, my normal weekend is 16 hour days :p 7/10
Another issue is just boredom. I drink 142 ounces of water a day. That get’s old quick. So it’s easy to turn around, pour a half pint, and change it up. Instead, I’m keeping some tea at work and using that whenever I get bored. Which brings me to the other liquid I’m cutting back on, coffee! When you get to point 3) Sleep! you’ll understand. But most days I drink 3 cups and most weekends I have an entire pot to myself. I realized a bit ago this is probably not helping my waistline, and it really isn’t helping my sleep patterns. Believe it or not, coffee was actually making me more tired! So, during the week I’m having just one cup AFTER I drink tea, and on the weekends sticking to two cups. 7/10
3) Sleep! Gotta get more of it, which is REALLY hard. Right now we generally close and open the pub every day. So on Thursday night we don’t get home until around 4am and are back at work at 4pm Friday. Friday night we get out of here and home around 5am, but we have to be back Saturday at 1pm to open. So getting 8 hours on most of those days are impossible. On the days we can get sleep I’m using the Sleep function of my iPhone to help. I can set when we go to bed and just tell it to let me get how many hours of sleep. For now I’m setting my minimum to seven. This is what works well and, most days, gives us time to wakeup, workout, play with the dogs, and drive in to work.
Holy shitsnacks, this category. Owning a business has killed me mentally and emotionally. I used to be the kind of person that could drive down I-4 at 80mph and have his engine blow, pull over, and just shrug it off as “some shit happened, time to figure out what’s next”. But now, everything is a major disaster. We didn’t have tap handles for our event today. FUCK THEM FUCK HIM FUCK IT FUCK THE WORLD FUCK ALL THE THINGS! -Internal Monologue. Up until I owned this business I always had downtime. Even working at the space center with odd schedules and long weeks, there was always the “Come home, turn off phone, go to bed.” But when you own your own business you can’t do that. There are always people that want something, and you can only tell the Tax Auditor to wait for so long before you get official looking letters in the mail calling you to tax court in Tampa on one of those days off you never have (that last part hasn’t happened, yet. We’ll see what happens with D.C. get’s my latest letter). So when I do get a rare moment to just sit and do nothing EVERYTHING goes into relax mode. Then something else breaks. And that’s just work.
Our home is a disaster of stuff we just don’t have time to clean or put away. Andrea and I used to host some epic holiday parties. Now, we’re just embarrassed to have anyone want to come to our place. When we brought some friends over a few weeks ago I was literally wracked with anxiety the entire time. With four animals it makes it incredibly stressful. What used to be a nice house with an office, costuming room, dining room, living room, and workout room is just one big building under a roof with stuff everything. Just when I think I’ve cleaned off the couch I sit on a dog bone, or step in cat vomit, or find out the dogs got really excited and I get to spend my night steam cleaning. So… yeah. So much stress. How do we fix this, 2017-land?!
1) Journaling. I got a sweet leather bound journal and a new fountain pen for Christmas. My goal is to journal every day, and the days I can’t write I have Day One to use. So far I’ve been really consistent in my goal and written at least something every day. My intent is to keep things positive, because I don’t want to open it one day and just see a book of negativity. They already have those. So I write about things that have gone well, things I’ve done, and more just experiences. 10/10
2) Meditation. Remember that part about not having any time to just relax? I’m making time. 10 minutes a day. I’ve been using an app called Headspace. So far I’ve done 2 of 14 days… so yeah. 1/10 there. Still trying to find that time.
3) KonMari. One of our friends got us a book called Spark Joy for Christmas. I’ve never seen Andrea take to something like she’s taken to KonMari (except probably wine and Fallout NYE). Basically, it’s a method of de-cluttering where you go through every possession and ask yourself if it sparks joy in you. If it does, there’s a way to organize it and store it. If not, you give it away. We’ve only done our clothes so far and we’ve donated almost fourteen 33 gallon bags. I finally also got rid of the 10 year old dresser and nightstand set and bought some new stuff from Ikea. That alone has really helped. And it’s so nice to be able to see all of my clothes, and actually love them! There’s no shirt I own now that isn’t visible at a glance and that I’d say “meh, I dunno” when I get dressed. I really can’t wait to apply this to the rest of our house and make it a home again. 9/10
4) Waking up and Sleeping right. There’s definitely beginning to be a correlation between sleep and health. Has anyone studied that? This week is the first time I’ve moved all of my electronics, minus my kindle, off of my nightstand. I used to have my Kindle, phone, apple watch, Nintendo DS, and anything else that I needed to charge. This led to A) going to bed by setting all of my alarms and such B) Waking up and checking everything first thing. I used to wake up, snooze the alarm several times (now I have to get out of bed to turn it off), then check my email and any notifications I had. Well, earlier this week I happened to get a message notification from an employee that really upset me. It was the first thing on my lock screen and it literally set a negative tone for my day. So now my goal is to wakeup, actually open my eyes, get out of bed, stretch, and make my phone one of the last parts of my wake-up regimen. I’ve only been doing this a few days, but so far 10/10
5) Lastly, Andrea and I will be working the first part of this year to find an actual Manager for our pub. We don’t need a full time GM like most places, but we need someone we can count on to run the place how we want it run so we can take time off and not feel guilty about doing it. I have a job description drafted and, once Andrea signs off on it, we’ll start looking. But ideally we’ll be able to take some weekends off to actually go do things, not wait a week or two to see the next Star Wars, stuff like that. This is still very preliminary but we do have some people in mind, so I’m just gonna say 5/10 at this point.
So overall I feel like these changes will help me get back to the fun, carefree dude I used to be. For this first bit I’m going to say 8/10
2016 wasn’t easy in many respects, but small businesses seemed to really get hit hard. We saw three bars in this area close, and though we made more money than 2015 we also got hit with a lot of expenses. The person we were pegging to have more of a leadership role was offered an amazing job and she couldn’t pass that up. We’ve had a slew of turn-over mostly due to needing people quickly and hiring college kids. We’re also realizing that this building wasn’t well maintained in the year between the previous business and us, so several major things have broken down or needed updating. Most of these things are fairly out of our control, but I am going to work to help mitigate and make owning a business as least stressful as possible.
1) Hire quality people. This one is hard. It’s hard to tell how a person will work based on a resume’ and even a few shifts. Right now we’re four people short which is it’s own stressor, but we are striving to find people that will enjoy working and really know their craft. Hopefully, this works out in the long run. So as far as staffing goes I’m going to say 5/10.
2) Stick to no more than six major tasks a day. This comes from a life management system I read about called the Sacred 6. The principle is based on the normal person only being able to do 6 major things in a work day, and that each thing should take about an hour (ideally, 50min with a 10min break). If something takes longer, it needs to be broken into a more manageable task.
3) Start saying no. This is one thing I have trouble with. I always told myself that when I had a business I wouldn’t be “The man”. I’d have this fun, laid back place where everyone did a good job because they wanted to. You need 8 weeks off to go find yourself in the mountains? Yeah we can cover. Your second cousin twice removed is having a baby and you haven’t talked to them in a decade but really want to go see them? Yeah we don’t need you to work our biggest event of the year. HA! HA HA! *slowly devolves into The Joker*. Also, in an effort to be a desirable business we rarely told our reps no. You show up at 3pm pounding on the door to sell me stuff? Sure! You want to do a 28 tap takeover? Yeah! Let me go add two more beer lines from anywhere! Well, we spent 2016 taking a lot of stress onto ourselves. We did 58 events in 52 weeks. Math that shit.
So 2017 is the year of “No”. I may not be as popular, and I still vow to do my absolute best to accommodate, but we can’t survive, grow our business, and stay healthy or sane if we’re constantly trying to please everyone. This may mean we have to fire good people that just can’t work as many hours. This may mean we miss out on that rare keg because we aren’t going to put their crappy brands on for months to get it. This may also mean when you come in you won’t see us, because we’re spending the weekend in St. Augustine, or actually going to a ren faire. But, this also means when you do see us we’ll be more happy and relaxed, we’ll be able to focus on breweries and beers and events that are meaningful, and our staff will be sharper and better. I would say so far this year I’m failing at this, but this is going to be something we constantly improve on. For now 2/10
The last goal I have, and I don’t really know where it falls, is to buy less. I’m buying myself less. For a long time, if I saw something I wanted I’d generally buy it. Cool geeky shirts, games, gadgets, etc. That leads to it’s own stress. First is obviously financial. I don’t make a lot here (I make less owning a bar than I did as an Engineer fresh out of college). Next is gifts. I’m always being told I’m hard to shop for. I think I’m easy because I like cool shit. But I generally have all the cool shit I want. And finally, just the stress of “stuff”. So, what I’m doing this year is utilizing my Amazon Wish List. Everything I can think of that I want, I add. Like that cool Millennium Falcon multi-tool from Think Geek, or a Star Wars belt I saw on Amazon. The only things I’ve compromised on this year is a new-er fountain pen (getting a thin nib vs the medium I got for Christmas) and a new deck of Magic cards to play with my staff. Outside of that, everything is on the list. So hey, 9/10 there!
So that’s my self betterment level up pathfinder reset thingy for 2017. I hope to update every month, and if not every quarter. Maybe when I do my 2017, Fin blog I’ll be a much happier, healthier, wealthier kilt wearing dude!