The 90 Day Review: How 1 Day Every 3 Months Can Transform Your Productivity

Blogging, Productivity

The 90 Day Review: How 1 Day Every 3 Months Can Transform Your Productivity

Blogging, Productivity

Does this sound familiar? I've been blogging a few times a week for months but my pageviews haven't grown and my income isn't increasing. Nothing has changed after all this time. What's wrong?

You're not alone. One of my strengths has always been nose to the grindstone, checking off to do's and that felt like the right way to make progress – except I was wrong.

Sometimes, I'd look up from months of work and wonder what I'd been doing the whole time because I hadn't made any real progress. Or at least progress in the direction that I wanted to go.

I'd been so focused on getting a blog post published, updating social media, tweaking things on the site or working on client projects that I didn't take a step back to see how it all fit into the big picture.

What's a 90 day review?

We spend most of our time doing small tasks without taking the time to see how all these tasks work together and move us closer to our goals. And if it moves us closer to our goals.

When we look at our online activities – big picture style – what's working? Where are we wasting time? What needs to change to get us closer to our goals?

For the last 18 months, I've been doing a review every 90 days for my blog and biz to make sure things are moving in the right direction and if they're not, this review has given me the opportunity to pivot without getting too far along and totally off track.

This quick seasonal review, and the awareness it creates, has been a huge part of making last year my best year yet and my hope is that by outlining my process here you can grab some tidbits to help your own planning process.

HOW TO GETTING STARTED WITH A 90 DAY REVIEW

Before you can jump into a 90 day review, you've got to know what you're reviewing, what you're measuring against – where you want to go. That means you need to have a goal. This is step 1.

Are you planning to write a book, do you want to book your first paying client, sell an ebook or land a speaking gig, whatever your goal, you need to define it before anything else.

That way, all the little to-do's, the monotonous daily tasks, have a purpose. They are all moving you towards your goal.

Writing a blog post isn't the final goal itself, it's why you're writing the post that makes the process of constantly writing, editing, sourcing images and publishing worth it. If there isn't a bigger why involved, it's hard to keep at it.

Creating this type of goal for your blog and biz might be a very new process for you, but it's worth the focus it takes to make it happen.

Once you've got your goal firmly in hand, it's time for step 2: blocking off time in your schedule to do your review.

I do this on a Friday, every 3 months, book the whole day off to be CEO of my business and do the exercise I detail below. If your site is a side hustle and you can't call in sick book a day off, then a lazy weekend afternoon is all you'll need.

The reason it's important to book a chunk of time, rather than try to squeeze this planning into your otherwise busy day is that it's harder to switch to big picture thinking than it sounds. Switching between CEO and front line worker isn't like flipping a switch in our brains. It takes a whole different mind set and it often works best when you do one or the other, not try to rapidly switch back and forth.

The 90 day process

1. MEASURE THE PROGRESS OF YOUR BIG GOAL

All big goals are made up of many smaller goals. You're not just looking for progress towards the big goal but also how those little goals are fairing too.

For example, if you are a running coach and have been blogging for awhile, maybe your big goal is transitioning into having a business where you coach online as your primary income.

With that goal, you're going to be looking at many smaller goals, building awareness and traffic, working with some lower price/free clients to build testimonials and gain confidence/refine your process, update your website to showcase your services, etc. There's lots of moving parts and each area will need attention in a 90 day period to help you make the big picture progress you're after.

2. PLAN THE NEXT 90 DAYS IN RELATION TO YOUR BIG GOAL

Once you check out your last 90 days of progress, it's time to make changes.

What's not working? What needs to change? Do you need to add new smaller goals to the mix or stop doing certain tasks that are no longer serving you?

What do you want to accomplish in the next 90 days to move you closer to your goal? Is there anything you should stop doing to free up time for new tasks?

3. REVIEW SITE STATS, TRAFFIC AND SOCIAL MEDIA

It's so easy to get trapped in the numbers. Hitting refresh multiple times a day when you publish a post or seeing how many people unsubscribed when you send out your newsletter.

Numbers themselves don't matter nearly as much as trends over time. That's why a stat analysis is best done periodically with a big picture view.

Resources for reviewing your website stats:

4. EMAIL SUBSCRIBER & MARKETING REVIEW

Have you checked the health of your email system lately?

Here's some questions to ask to get you started:

  • How's the list doing? Is it growing at the rate you'd like?
  • What was your site's conversion rate over the last 90 days (people who signed up divided by unique visitors)? Is that better or worse than the 90 days before?
  • Does your optin incentive need a refresh?
  • Can you change up your optin forms, add ones in new locations or change the copy to increase your conversion rate?
  • What traffic sources have the highest conversion rate to your email list? How can you increase those high converting sources?
  • Can you plan any special events to increase sign ups. (Things like webinars, challenges or other special promotions are great to pump up your list.)

5. OUTREACH & NETWORKING

Take a look at where you've gained awareness off your blog in the last 90 days. These are things like:

Evaluate your efforts in the last 90 days and make plans to continue what's working or kick things up a notch if you're not seeing the boost in traffic or email sign ups that you'd like.

6. FINANCES

How you evaluate your finances will depend on how and if your site makes money but either way, there's usually some money involved somewhere.

Things to review:

  • How much money is each income stream making?
  • How much of your time does each income stream require? Does your time commitment line up with the income?
  • Is it time to add another income stream to the mix?
  • What are your expenses? Can you cancel any subscriptions you don't use or find a lower cost/free options?
  • Do you have any large investments you need to plan for in the next 90 days and beyond?

Doing my first 90 day review, I discovered that the majority of my time was being spent on a service that made the least amount of money in my business. Most time, least money, likely not a keeper!

When I saw this huge gap between time and income, I discontinued the service and focused that found time in areas that made more sense.

7. PLAN YOUR EDITORIAL CALENDAR

I don't know about you, but nothing gives me hard core writer's block like trying to think of a topic and write a post on a very tight deadline.

Great ideas need time to roll around in your brain and forcing them out under pressure is not a recipe for happy blogging.

Over the course of the previous 90 days, I save all the questions, comments, emails and social media mentions I receive in a single Evernote file. This gives me a great idea of what you're struggling with and is always the first place I look when creating my editorial calendar for the next 90 days.

I also have an Evernote tag reserved for my 90 day review, so when I come across interesting articles or ideas for posts in my daily travels, I simply use my Evernote Web Clipper to save the article and tag for this review period.

During my 90 Day Review, I check out all the posts I've tagged throughout the previous 90 days and write down any post ideas I'd like to write about from there, then delete the posts to clear things up for the next 3 months.

From reader questions and my article tagging, I often have enough ideas for 12 posts, which is all I need every 3 months. The next step is to decide on the flow of the articles and assign posts to certain dates in my calendar.

8. ADJUST YOUR WEEKLY SCHEDULE

Your weekly to-do's are where your big goal meets the everyday. It's where your big goal gets done.

What actions did you identify in #2, #4 and #5 above that need to be added to your calendar on a regular basis?

Do you need to schedule a weekly block to work on guest posting activities or knock out that email marketing plan?

Identifying your goals is only the first step to making them happen. You need to add their implementation into the fabric of your day.

And just as you add tasks to your week to get different results, this planning time will also allow you to remove tasks that aren't serving you. We all have a finite amount of time each week and we can't constantly add without removing something.

Do you need to be on every social network? If your stat review is showing you that 2 networks send you 90% of your social traffic, why not just focus on those 2 for the next 90 days and ignore the rest?

Review your schedule to find places to trim tasks for every new task you add.

9. CLEAN OUT LIFE'S INBOXES

This is my absolute favorite part of the 90 day review.

We all have various “inboxes” in our life. We have our actual email inbox but also paper files that need sorting, the downloads folder on our computer, an Evernote inbox, our RSS reader and the list goes on.

Whatever area accumulates information that is waiting for your attention – is an inbox. As part of my weekly schedule, I like to attend to these inboxes so they don't get out of control but once every 90 days it's a great time to reduce the inputs and organize.

  • What email newsletter have you not read in 3 months? Unsubscribe. (Unroll.me is a great tool to handle mass unsubscribing with ease.)
  • What blogs haven't you read in 3 months that are still hanging out in your reader? Unsubscribe.
  • What paper do you still receive that can be transferred to digital format?
  • What tools can you use to manage your computer filing better? (Try Hazel to organize files on a Mac.)

Cleaning out your inboxes is about setting yourself up to have an easier next 90 days with less information trying to grab your attention, giving you the space and freedom to do more of what matters and more of what moves you towards your goals.

At first, unsubscribing is a bit scary, there may be some massive FOMO that tries to stop you but remember, if you really miss something, you can always resubscribe!

Next steps

It's time to plan your 90 day review day.

How about this weekend or next? Grab a glass of wine, pull up a comfy chair and take a big picture view of where you want to go with your platform – and make a plan to get yourself there.

Now it's your turn

Do you currently review your online progress? What's your favorite takeaway from the 90 Day Review?

Does this sound familiar? I've been blogging a few times a week for months but my pageviews haven't grown and my income isn't increasing. Nothing has changed after all this time. What's wrong?

You're not alone. One of my strengths has always been nose to the grindstone, checking off to do's and that felt like the right way to make progress – except I was wrong.

Sometimes, I'd look up from months of work and wonder what I'd been doing the whole time because I hadn't made any real progress. Or at least progress in the direction that I wanted to go.

I'd been so focused on getting a blog post published, updating social media, tweaking things on the site or working on client projects that I didn't take a step back to see how it all fit into the big picture.

What's a 90 day review?

We spend most of our time doing small tasks without taking the time to see how all these tasks work together and move us closer to our goals. And if it moves us closer to our goals.

When we look at our online activities – big picture style – what's working? Where are we wasting time? What needs to change to get us closer to our goals?

For the last 18 months, I've been doing a review every 90 days for my blog and biz to make sure things are moving in the right direction and if they're not, this review has given me the opportunity to pivot without getting too far along and totally off track.

This quick seasonal review, and the awareness it creates, has been a huge part of making last year my best year yet and my hope is that by outlining my process here you can grab some tidbits to help your own planning process.

HOW TO GETTING STARTED WITH A 90 DAY REVIEW

Before you can jump into a 90 day review, you've got to know what you're reviewing, what you're measuring against – where you want to go. That means you need to have a goal. This is step 1.

Are you planning to write a book, do you want to book your first paying client, sell an ebook or land a speaking gig, whatever your goal, you need to define it before anything else.

That way, all the little to-do's, the monotonous daily tasks, have a purpose. They are all moving you towards your goal.

Writing a blog post isn't the final goal itself, it's why you're writing the post that makes the process of constantly writing, editing, sourcing images and publishing worth it. If there isn't a bigger why involved, it's hard to keep at it.

Creating this type of goal for your blog and biz might be a very new process for you, but it's worth the focus it takes to make it happen.

Once you've got your goal firmly in hand, it's time for step 2: blocking off time in your schedule to do your review.

I do this on a Friday, every 3 months, book the whole day off to be CEO of my business and do the exercise I detail below. If your site is a side hustle and you can't call in sick book a day off, then a lazy weekend afternoon is all you'll need.

The reason it's important to book a chunk of time, rather than try to squeeze this planning into your otherwise busy day is that it's harder to switch to big picture thinking than it sounds. Switching between CEO and front line worker isn't like flipping a switch in our brains. It takes a whole different mind set and it often works best when you do one or the other, not try to rapidly switch back and forth.

The 90 day process

1. MEASURE THE PROGRESS OF YOUR BIG GOAL

All big goals are made up of many smaller goals. You're not just looking for progress towards the big goal but also how those little goals are fairing too.

For example, if you are a running coach and have been blogging for awhile, maybe your big goal is transitioning into having a business where you coach online as your primary income.

With that goal, you're going to be looking at many smaller goals, building awareness and traffic, working with some lower price/free clients to build testimonials and gain confidence/refine your process, update your website to showcase your services, etc. There's lots of moving parts and each area will need attention in a 90 day period to help you make the big picture progress you're after.

2. PLAN THE NEXT 90 DAYS IN RELATION TO YOUR BIG GOAL

Once you check out your last 90 days of progress, it's time to make changes.

What's not working? What needs to change? Do you need to add new smaller goals to the mix or stop doing certain tasks that are no longer serving you?

What do you want to accomplish in the next 90 days to move you closer to your goal? Is there anything you should stop doing to free up time for new tasks?

3. REVIEW SITE STATS, TRAFFIC AND SOCIAL MEDIA

It's so easy to get trapped in the numbers. Hitting refresh multiple times a day when you publish a post or seeing how many people unsubscribed when you send out your newsletter.

Numbers themselves don't matter nearly as much as trends over time. That's why a stat analysis is best done periodically with a big picture view.

Resources for reviewing your website stats:

4. EMAIL SUBSCRIBER & MARKETING REVIEW

Have you checked the health of your email system lately?

Here's some questions to ask to get you started:

  • How's the list doing? Is it growing at the rate you'd like?
  • What was your site's conversion rate over the last 90 days (people who signed up divided by unique visitors)? Is that better or worse than the 90 days before?
  • Does your optin incentive need a refresh?
  • Can you change up your optin forms, add ones in new locations or change the copy to increase your conversion rate?
  • What traffic sources have the highest conversion rate to your email list? How can you increase those high converting sources?
  • Can you plan any special events to increase sign ups. (Things like webinars, challenges or other special promotions are great to pump up your list.)

5. OUTREACH & NETWORKING

Take a look at where you've gained awareness off your blog in the last 90 days. These are things like:

Evaluate your efforts in the last 90 days and make plans to continue what's working or kick things up a notch if you're not seeing the boost in traffic or email sign ups that you'd like.

6. FINANCES

How you evaluate your finances will depend on how and if your site makes money but either way, there's usually some money involved somewhere.

Things to review:

  • How much money is each income stream making?
  • How much of your time does each income stream require? Does your time commitment line up with the income?
  • Is it time to add another income stream to the mix?
  • What are your expenses? Can you cancel any subscriptions you don't use or find a lower cost/free options?
  • Do you have any large investments you need to plan for in the next 90 days and beyond?

Doing my first 90 day review, I discovered that the majority of my time was being spent on a service that made the least amount of money in my business. Most time, least money, likely not a keeper!

When I saw this huge gap between time and income, I discontinued the service and focused that found time in areas that made more sense.

7. PLAN YOUR EDITORIAL CALENDAR

I don't know about you, but nothing gives me hard core writer's block like trying to think of a topic and write a post on a very tight deadline.

Great ideas need time to roll around in your brain and forcing them out under pressure is not a recipe for happy blogging.

Over the course of the previous 90 days, I save all the questions, comments, emails and social media mentions I receive in a single Evernote file. This gives me a great idea of what you're struggling with and is always the first place I look when creating my editorial calendar for the next 90 days.

I also have an Evernote tag reserved for my 90 day review, so when I come across interesting articles or ideas for posts in my daily travels, I simply use my Evernote Web Clipper to save the article and tag for this review period.

During my 90 Day Review, I check out all the posts I've tagged throughout the previous 90 days and write down any post ideas I'd like to write about from there, then delete the posts to clear things up for the next 3 months.

From reader questions and my article tagging, I often have enough ideas for 12 posts, which is all I need every 3 months. The next step is to decide on the flow of the articles and assign posts to certain dates in my calendar.

8. ADJUST YOUR WEEKLY SCHEDULE

Your weekly to-do's are where your big goal meets the everyday. It's where your big goal gets done.

What actions did you identify in #2, #4 and #5 above that need to be added to your calendar on a regular basis?

Do you need to schedule a weekly block to work on guest posting activities or knock out that email marketing plan?

Identifying your goals is only the first step to making them happen. You need to add their implementation into the fabric of your day.

And just as you add tasks to your week to get different results, this planning time will also allow you to remove tasks that aren't serving you. We all have a finite amount of time each week and we can't constantly add without removing something.

Do you need to be on every social network? If your stat review is showing you that 2 networks send you 90% of your social traffic, why not just focus on those 2 for the next 90 days and ignore the rest?

Review your schedule to find places to trim tasks for every new task you add.

9. CLEAN OUT LIFE'S INBOXES

This is my absolute favorite part of the 90 day review.

We all have various “inboxes” in our life. We have our actual email inbox but also paper files that need sorting, the downloads folder on our computer, an Evernote inbox, our RSS reader and the list goes on.

Whatever area accumulates information that is waiting for your attention – is an inbox. As part of my weekly schedule, I like to attend to these inboxes so they don't get out of control but once every 90 days it's a great time to reduce the inputs and organize.

  • What email newsletter have you not read in 3 months? Unsubscribe. (Unroll.me is a great tool to handle mass unsubscribing with ease.)
  • What blogs haven't you read in 3 months that are still hanging out in your reader? Unsubscribe.
  • What paper do you still receive that can be transferred to digital format?
  • What tools can you use to manage your computer filing better? (Try Hazel to organize files on a Mac.)

Cleaning out your inboxes is about setting yourself up to have an easier next 90 days with less information trying to grab your attention, giving you the space and freedom to do more of what matters and more of what moves you towards your goals.

At first, unsubscribing is a bit scary, there may be some massive FOMO that tries to stop you but remember, if you really miss something, you can always resubscribe!

Next steps

It's time to plan your 90 day review day.

How about this weekend or next? Grab a glass of wine, pull up a comfy chair and take a big picture view of where you want to go with your platform – and make a plan to get yourself there.

Now it's your turn

Do you currently review your online progress? What's your favorite takeaway from the 90 Day Review?

Share this blog post

Rita Barry

Rita Barry is a marketing measurement and paid traffic specialist who helps online entrepreneurs understand how their marketing is driving sales so they can sell more. You can learn more about her here.

Rita Barry

Rita Barry is a marketing measurement and paid traffic specialist who helps online entrepreneurs understand how their marketing is driving sales so they can sell more. You can learn more about her here.