Nothing But the Ruth
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Nothing But The Ruth!

Motivator: ‘By Next Week I Will …’

By Ruth Carter

I am the queen of lists. At the end of every month, I write a list of goals for the following month. I have a running to-do list for every day. When I get to the office in the morning, the first thing I do is grab a Post-it note and write what I want to accomplish before I go home. Client work, of course, takes top priority, which means the other tasks in my professional life sometimes roll to the next day, or the next week, or the next month.

You get the idea.

Online Forums as Motivators

Last year, I was invited to join an online mastermind group called Shankminds Breakthrough, run by best-selling author Peter Shankman. Currently about 130 entrepreneurs in various countries and industries use this online forum to share ideas, ask for help, celebrate victories and hold each other accountable. We also have two live video meetings each week called “Office Hours,” where we can discuss and brainstorm around one another’s problems in real time. It’s been a valuable community for me as an entrepreneur.

Peter recently added a sub-forum to Shankminds Breakthrough that I love, called “By Next Week I Will.” Within 24 hours of one of our twice-weekly Office Hours meetings, we’re expected to post what we will accomplish by the next Office Hours. At that Office Hours, we have to report to the group what we did and how it went.

I’ve been using “By Next Week I Will” to tackle the things on my professional to-do list that keep slipping through the cracks — like updating my website, sending a newsletter to my mailing list, and applying to speak at various conferences. It’s given me the motivation I didn’t have on my own. I hope to use the forum to help me keep working on my website and make time to work on my business, including strategizing for some bigger projects like my next book and a few client-focused products.

“By Next Week I Will” is an idea any team can implement, or you can use it with a colleague or friend — as long as you check in every week and challenge each other when you don’t follow through on your commitments. It’s an easy, effective and valuable way to hold yourself accountable with the benefit of outside support and helpful input.

What will you do by next week?

Image ©ImageZoo.

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Ruth Carter Ruth Carter

Ruth Carter — lawyer, writer and professional speaker — is Of Counsel with Venjuris, focusing on intellectual property, business, internet and flash mob law. Named an ABA Journal Legal Rebel, Ruth is the author of “The Legal Side of Blogging for Lawyers,” as well as “Flash Mob Law: The Legal Side of Planning and Participating in Pillow Fights, No Pants Rides, and Other Shenanigans.” Ruth blogs at and

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