The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades

Photo credit: Pensiero via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: Pensiero via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Yesterday I dusted off my crystal ball and saw some amazing things.

Lists are king. At least in my world they are. They are how I get things done, keep track of all the minor details and have all the ingredients I need to fix a wonderful meal without having to go back to the store because I forgot something. To say that I am a list junkie is a bit of an understatement, but they do keep me focused. They are also a bit of a ritual.

I don’t make New Year resolutions per se. Instead I make out a list of all the things I want to accomplish in the coming year and I don’t stop there. That list then gets prioritized and broken down into Little Goals and Big Goals. Little Goals are things I can get done in a couple of days to a couple of weeks. Big Goals are those things that take much longer, months, years even. Big Goals are treated much differently than Little Goals.

First, I only take on one Big Goal at a time. This is the thing that I will spend 80% of my time working on. Everything else gets the remaining 20%. You see the key to my lists is that I want to get things D-O-N-E, done. In the past, I have tried working on multiple Big Goals and nothing seems to ever get done. There is a reason for that. It has to do with time and the perception of success.

Consider the table below. Say I have 160 hours to work on my goals in a month. So, working on five goals that each take a month to complete if I work on them evenly, I will be 20% done with each goal at the end of the first month. At the end of five months all five goals are 100% complete. In theory.

table-1

But I will guarantee you, I know how my little pea brain works and by the end of Month #2, I will have given up on a couple of them. Working this way, I will be lucky to have two of the goals 100% complete by Month #5.

Now consider this table.

table-2

Same five goals that each take a month to complete. But here I only work on one goal in the first month. At the end of the month I have one goal D-O-N-E, done. Success! Then the same thing happens in Month #2, D-O-N-E, done. Success! Using this approach I am a goal obliterating superstar! At the end of Month #5 you had better believe that all five goals will be 100% complete. (Since I am a now a goal obliterating superstar I may have even added a goal or two.)

They say success breeds success and I am here to tell you that is absolutely correct. So, what happens when the one Big Goal that I am working on is going to take five months? Easy Pease. I just break that down into what I want to accomplish in each of the five months.

And then I take it one step further. Those monthly goals are broken down by week and day. Just like with Nano. How do you write 50,000 words in one month? You schedule to write 1,667 words every day. In theory.

I know that I am not a machine and there is no way I am going to be able to keep up with that schedule. Life gets in the way and your best friend who you haven’t seen in ages comes to spend the weekend. Do you think I am going to tell her “No”, “Don’t come I have to write 1,667 words”? Absolutely not. She is going to come and we will be up past our normal bedtimes doing girl stuff and I won’t write a word.

To make sure that life can happen and I still reach my goals, I schedule buffers, and catch-up days. For Nano I scheduled 2,500 words per day for 20 days. Still very do-able, and it gave me 10 days for life and to catch-up on those days that I couldn’t come up with even 500 words.

Yesterday’s gaze into the crystal ball reached well into 2019. Three whole years! Amazing! To get there I must take care of what is on the list for today. What happens in the future depends on what I do today.

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

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