I know goals and I know goal setting and I know how I’m supposed to make them SMART* (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) and I’m supposed to have checkpoints and so on and so on.
I completely understand all of that, and the reasoning behind the structure. The problem is, of course, putting it into action.
I’ve broken down my goals into small steps, and laid those out on my calendar, milestones to meet on a long journey toward whichever goal I’ve got on my radar at the moment. But I still haven’t really gotten far with a lot of them. Instead I spend a lot of time reacting to stuff that jumps out at me from my To Do list, or via phone call or email. It’s not an effective way to work and it can be rather demoralizing.
I get big projects done, but usually by concentrating my efforts for a few days here and there. Even my NaNoWriMo novel involved me writing 30,000 words in two days – I impressed myself, sure, but it is not a sustainable way to work. And I sure as hell can’t exercise that way, and it will never work for my business.
So we come to the question I’ve been driving myself nuts with for years. How do I actually apply myself to those small goal steps?
I’d like to say the answer came to me in a vision, or that I had a great revelation after reading a work of genius but it wasn’t that exciting.
Instead, I was putting some dates in my calendar for AAMP and pulling back from the deadlines to see when I’d have to do promotion for those events. As I entered the promotion schedule into my google calendar, the program was setting each work topic as an event, usually an hour long one. I was shortening those promomotion schedule ‘events’ to 15 minutes when it hit me: I was actually going to need an hour to do the promo work – why not leave things as they were? Even if I had to move the timing around on the actual day (or even the actual week), at least I had allotted time to do the work.
And then I was hit again (I should learn to duck ). I had allotted time to (say it with me) DO THE WORK!
You see where this is going, right?
All this time I’ve been breaking things into steps (even teeny tiny ones so wee that they can’t even be described as baby steps), and I’ve been attaching them to dates as deadlines but I haven’t been allotting time to actually (say it again!) DO THE WORK.**
This has, of course, been complicated by the fact that I haven’t had a lot of work time in the past few years. The time I did have I often frittered away in trying to choose what was most important to do at that moment.*** So scheduling time to do specific goal work hasn’t been the only factor in not getting to some of my goals, but it’s been a big one.
So can you guess what I’ve been spending this last week of Planuary doing?
*Apparently the new acronym of choice is HARD (snicker) but that book won’t get here until next week, so let’s run with this, it’s just the opener anyway.
**I’m sure I’ve read somewhere or at least been told about this, but it never got translated into something to do until now. If I go back in my archives and discover that I’ve discovered this before and didn’t act on it, I’ll be really annoyed. Best not to go delving into my archives, I guess.
***I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve gotten to the end of an unproductive work session only to realize that if it is all equally important it doesn’t matter where I start. Glerg.