Analyzing 2015 to make 2016 Super Kick Ass

I am just like everyone else on the face of the planet. A new year is on the horizon and I have been spending time figuring out what 2016 will look like for me. Perhaps you are reading this blog post because you are like me and currently in the same process. As I make plans for 2016 I get stuck so I need to look back at 2015 to see what worked and what sucked.

I find the process to be a bit cathartic as well as exciting mixed with a small dose of stress and anxiety.

There is so much I want to do and after many years I realized that not having a plan means that nothing will get done. I also know from many years of living that I cannot script out my future because so much can happen that I am not able to foresee.

With that being said it is helpful and wise to check out your year you just lived, analyze the events, and modify and make new plans to avoid what did not work as well as use what did work.

Here we go.

  1. Notebook Planning and Use

Back on 1/2/15 I posted a blog post(Using Evernote Moleskine Planner To Prepare and Plan in 2015) where I shared how I planned to use my “new” Moleksine Planner to organize my life. I plan on doing the same except this year buying a new Moleksine that starts January 2016 and ends December 2016(of course it is Star Wars themed). I bought one last year that was started in August like school, but now realize that even though that makes sense I am wanting a new start with a new year. As I go back and watch my 2015 goals for the year I realize that despite not meeting some of the ideas I was pretty successful in the end.


Key Things to Keep in 2016

  1. Moleskine Weekly Calendar Notebook mixed with Google Calendar
  2. Create a new year goal sheet using Moleskine Template site. Actually, this year I will be drawing my own template and adding to my Bullet Journal
  3. Use another notebook to record ideas, daily insights, book notes, blog ideas, etc(see #2)

2. Morphing the Logbook Experiment to Bullet Journal

Last year I also tried to keep a logbook where I documented things each day. It started off good, but it fizzled out because it was simply too much with my weekly planner notebook and other notebooks where I scribbled down ideas. Now, looking back at things the notebook was super powerful and I wish I did not give up on it because so many little life events were captured that would have been lost forever.

This year I am not buying the 12 month variant color system(but I LOVE them and the look and wish they worked for me). Instead I will be using a new modified system where I am building up my own Bullet Journal system. This is something I have wanted to do for years and this year I am making it happen. I have already started merging ideas from last year to make positive gains in 2016. Check out my video here on part 1 of my preparation(part 2 coming soon). Even more exciting is that my 9 year old daughter is making one and we had a great evening making and preparing our notebooks. This year will be epic!

Key Things to Keep in 2016

  1. Daily log of events but more structured and organized so it is a benefit and not one more item on the to do list.
  2. Make it fun, don’t make it feel like work which I made it last year
  3. Recording small moments in life
  4. Last year I started out documenting each month with recaps of my monthly goals. I won’t be doing this on my blog, but this will happen naturally with my Bullet Journal so I am excited to see how this develops and impacts my life.

3. Newsletter

I sent out an email to all my newsletter subscribers. Well, I actually sent out the rough draft with a 1000 typos, but the damage had already been done. In this newsletter I talk about changing things. I lost the love of the newsletter. It turned into work and I simply stopped doing it. I felt bad because I have worked hard to make it something of use and inspiring. I realized I had no direction or purpose. This year I have changed it up, new name, new design, and new purpose.

You can see all past newsletters here with more information about the newly revamped e-mails from me newsletter starting up next week. This will be so good I promise. Go ahead and subscribe so you don’t miss out on what is to come!

Key Things to Keep in 2016

  1. The newsletter but giving it a purpose.
  2. The newsletter will merge with my podcast system streamlining them into one cohesive piece of work. They will both serve the same goal together.
  3. Weekly – Biweekly system and not a sporadic system due to making it feel like work.

4. Coffee For The Brain Blog: Year in Numbers

Last year I shared this blog post about what I learned from 234 blog posts and all the data. These blog posts are so important looking back to see how I have grown.

I really made a goal last year and once again this year to work and think about what I shared. I used to share almost daily on everything under the sun. I put this pressure on myself that I had to publish daily or nobody would read. I finally stopped that mindset and focused on quality content. I did not post as much in 2015, but the numbers speak for themselves. When you focus on quality over quantity, things happen. I have had more things happen this year that I am forever grateful for in my life. I thank every single person who spends any moment of their life reading or viewing my work and even more gratitude to those who leave comments, share, and connect with the content.

My goal for 2016 is to create even better content(I have a plan) and to help more people lead better lives and become better educators.

In 2014 I had over 21,000 views on my site according to the WordPress end of the year report(different reports give different type of numbers but I will use this for consistency).

In 2015 the views jumped quite a bit to over 34,000 views, but as opposed to 234 blog posts in 2014 I only had 154 so this tells me that focusing on content really works.

The top referring sites in 2015 were:


The top referring sites in 2014 were:


Nothing too crazy here except that things have changed in my PLN. Where Twitter was on top in 2014 it really dropped down in 2015. Livebinders and LinkedIn completely dropped. Linkis is there but I hate it and don’t understand how to avoid that monster. It is really interesting to see legoengineering make it since I have not done a lot of LEGO EV3 on my blog this year(however, the data tells me to do so in many avenues). Last, Google Plus has always been good to me. I love the networks developed on this platform and still feel it is one of the most underused and underestimated social media tools for people to use.

In 2014 I connected with 114 countries for my readership.

In 2015 I connected with 142 countries and that goes to Microsoft Expert Educator group as this is one of the best things that has happened to me for my career and overall well being.

Finally, here are the top posts and page visits from 2015 compared to 2014. What does it mean? Well, when I look at the blog posts in the top 30 for 2015 I see something very powerful. People want help. They want specifics. They are coming to the website to learn HOW to do something. In years past I wrote many pieces about WHAT I was thinking or WHY things are working/not working. People don’t want that. Read the titles, read the posts and you will see that almost every single one of them people are reading to learn, to catch a glimpse into what is going on in Coffee For The Brain World, and how to do something.

2015 Top Posts 2014 Top Posts
9 Ways Microsoft Surface Can Transform Your Classroom by Recording Your Teaching The World is a Makerspace, Not a Classroom
Learn How To Make A LEGO Picture Frame Help Purge the Education Landscape of Terrible Games!
Don’t Build a Makerspace Until You Create a Culture of Learning #edplay Panel Chat: 3 barriers to graduating tinkerer scientists in US schools #stuvoice #stem
When Both Parents Are Teachers: An Apology To Our Kids Are we even listening anymore?
Microsoft Surface 3 Episode 9: OneNote Clipper 3 Key Components to a Powerhouse Staff and School
Microsoft Surface Pro 3: Episode 4: Using Office Mix 024: Living on Edge of Chaos – Book Discussion: David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell with Lisa Van Gemert
What To Do When It’s Your Turn by Seth Godin Increasing Teacher Voice: Challenge and Nominate a Teacher
Educators – Please Stop and Think About This for a Minute Love of Learning Cannot Be Taught….Can It?
Robodogs Robotic Camp Day 1 Useless Homework Only Results In Frustration
Amazon Echo: Could It Transform Teaching? Selling Autographed The Fault In Our Stars for Good Cause
Using Evernote Moleskine Planner To Prepare and Plan in 2015 Avoid the Game of Education and LEARN!
Game Based Learning: Is It Effective Classroom Instruction? “And I Won’t Back Down”
10 Ideas I Learned from Satya Nadella Fireside Chat 020: Living On The Edge of Chaos: Season 2 Episode 2 – Mini Thought on Courage
Developing a Logbook, Recording Ideas, and Sticking to the Plan! Teacher Tinker Time Reflection: Teamwork and Collaboration
Microsoft Surface Pro 3: Episode 3 – Using the Pen and Education Connections The Intricate Balance of Instructional Coach
What are you going to do with that old tire? #tirechallenge #YEOT – Soldering Project 1: Adjustable Power Supply
Robodogs Robotic Camp Day 3: Bowling Coffeechug Offers First After School Hack Class: Greeting Cards
Child’s Play: A STEM Language Arts PBL Unit #edplay GHO Panel Chat: Group Work Shownotes, links, and feedback
Young Engineers of Today Spring Lab 5: PVC Trebuchet Part 2 Brainwriting Activity, not Brainstorming
Robodogs Robotics Camp Day 5: Team Challenge Drop a Turkey in November: Coffeechug Fitness Challenge
“Is it really the goal of schools to create college and career ready students?” 027: Allison Edwards – Author of Why Smart Kids Worry
Robodogs Robotics Camp Day 2 Book Review: Deeper Learning by Monica Martinez
Robodogs Robotics Camp: A Week In Review Snapping Jaws Jack O Lantern Using Arduino and Sparkfun
Why I Believe Every Educator Should Graduate With a PLN #YEOT Open Lab 1: Solder Skill and Solder Project
My #InboxZero System and How It Might Work For You! Shrink the attention span to boom the voice
Creative Schools: A Review and Rant
Robodogs Robotic Camp Day 4
Flipped PD: Using Google Classroom to Make It Happen!
Scratch for Arduino: LED “Sprites” in Action
2015 Top Pages 2014 Top Pages
Home page / Archives 1 BrushArtBot
Young Engineers of Today 3 Projects
LEGO EV3 Tutorials 4 3D Printed Ornament Challenge
Robodogs Summer Camp 5 Who is Coffeechug?

Key Things to Keep in 2016

  1. More focus on content and not so much on quantity.
  2. Provide more work on HOW and less on rants
  3. Share more of what I am learning and trying to figure out myself
  4. Makerspace, STEM, and Engineering are what I am starting to be branded with

5. YouTube

YouTube was a huge goal of mine in 2015. I often felt like I spent more time developing this channel than anything else. It is still a bit of a hot mess and I need to really look at my channel and figure out what exactly it is that I want to do with it, but for now it is a collection of everything that I need. Looking at the data you can see that my laser focus worked much like my blog. I focused on content once again and tried to share videos that would be of service. It is no surprise that all of them except two are HOW TO videos which is the biggest niche on YouTube unless you are a celebrity or musician. This is where I feel my focus will be for 2016. I have a new concept coming out soon covering all things Windows 10 to see how that goes, but seeing the growth tells me I am in the right direction with my goals and what I love to do.

Just a sidenote, the first video cost me big time. I lost all the data as well as I was taken down and still have lost most of my YouTube options. I was at a Taylor Swift concert this summer and posted a short video segment of a song and next thing I know I was being served for copyright and stripped of my rights. I am still serving the penalties of this action and will not have full YouTube use until the end of January. It was a honest mistake that I learned from as I don’t want to cause any harm. I have shared concert footage of other artists and never had a problem, but Taylor Swift had issue. You live and learn and despite this setback through my own mistakes I still made huge strides by tripling my views in one year compared to 2014, doubling the number of new subscribers, doubling the time people spent watching videos and increasing 7x’s the amount of minutes on my site. Things are still small in terms of numbers, but I have plans to create better content so the channel will grow more in 2016.

2014 2015
Bald Eagle Screech Unidentified video(Taylor Swift Concert Footage that was removed and lost lots of options)
Opening Ollie from Sphero Bald Eagle Screech
Gaga Pit Rules for BMS Dog Pound Using Moleskin Evernote Weekly Planner to Prepare for 2015
LEGO EV3 Bluetooth Project – Windy City Using Moleskine 2015 “Color A Month” Daily Planner as a Logbook
Using Wunderlist to Organize Weekly Productivity Using Wunderlist to Organize Weekly Productivity
National Honor Society Speech: So What? LEGO EV3: Move Steering Tutorial
Bald Eagle Photography Fireside Chat with Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, at #MSFTEduE2
Coffee For The Brain Book Review: Meanwhile by Jason Shiga Bare Conductive Boombox DIY
Teachers Save Lives: Mrs. Clarke Scratch 4 Arduino: 3 LED Lights
LEGO EV3: Move Steering Tutorial LEGO EV3 Tutorial 3: Move Tank, Large Motor, Medium Motor
Total Minutes 32,827 220,001
Total Views 29,380 92,544
Average View 1:07 2:22
Subscribers: 40 99

What does this all mean for 2016? I am currently developing my planner template goal sheet, mapping out my year and getting ready to publicly launch some new ideas I have been working on. Stay tuned to the new year where I will share all my goals for 2016 and I how I plan to get there.

Let me know your thoughts about any of this if indeed you have any.

Overall, it has been a good year. I have not even began to dabble in all avenues of my life shared above in the 2015 goal template I filled out. That will come with my next post where I shared my 2016 goals.

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