I’m on my second year of having a real job. It’s still a new experience, working on one project (though I still find a little time for the stuff on the side). Part of the corporate structure, that annual review and plan, has helped me discover a great aspect of a real job: taking the time to make sure I get better at one thing each year.
The one thing I choose is not a direct skill, like “learn Spanish.” I suppose it could be, depending upon your job. For me, I’ve chosen skills that will help with my current work, but also serve me well in whatever is next.
2011: Year of Management
Last year I focused on becoming a better people manager. My team is entirely freelance and virtual, which is admittedly a challenge. It also didn’t exist until December, 2010. So I also had to learn to find good candidates and hire the best ones.
By the end of the year, we had six team members working 20 hours per week. We moved communication to a web-based platform called Podio and started to feel like a real team.
It’s a work in progress and I’m still learning, even though I’ve moved on to another “one thing” this year. Among the things I’ve taken away is the power of systemizing my approach to tasks so that I can scale myself via others. And I also found a great outlet for my obsession with what other people think. I can listen to what the team needs and make adjustments to help them do their work better.
2012: Year of Metrics
What is measured improves, goes the saying. This year the one thing I’ve chosen to focus on is everything. I’m trying to quantify everything that is important. Then I can measure the change and make the changes to hopefully make the numbers go up, down, or whatever direction means success.
Since we’re a content site, I’m obviously focused on traffic numbers, like most websites. But there’s also volume of new content, the cost of each piece of content, the output by employee, content decay, user engagement outside of the site (ie, social networks), registrations, logins, interaction with important users and many others.
With each of these One Things, my aim is to improve in an area of my job, but do so in a methodical way. I want the skill to be generic enough that it will help me in my future professional life and even in my personal life. The focus on only one thing and the intentional approach means I have an excuse to work on the skill every week, often every day.
What One Thing do you want to improve upon?