I came to a realization over the course of the week that my goals, while seemingly good, just were not working the way I want them to. The reasons: time and a long list of commitments.
Life requires flexibility, both in thought and in planning. While I thought I had built sufficient flex into things, as I looked over the coming time drains (college and work) I began to hear a little voice in the back of my mind saying: “You really think you can do all this? How?”
Well, I love a challenge, so I began to explore exactly how I’d pull it off. This led me to implement a time management system I’ve been working on for the last several years. See, I love to read, study, and test time management ideas. Like writing advice, some concepts of handling time and schedule have merit. Others less so. The key is to unearth the parts that will work for our needs and leave the rest in the dust.
All of this led me to two things: a need to adjust goals and a desire to share what I’ve found useful in the arena of time management.
First, my newly adjusted ROW goals.
1) Read through, analyze, and recompile all “Ben” material and be ready to start draft #4 by August 17th. Word Count: 3948. Once again, these are notes, and word count was not my goal. This tells me I have the wrong goal. On the upside, I am making progress and several epiphanies during the week have this story coming back to life. Characters are taking shape. Plot issues are smoothing out.
I’ve tossed out about 22k of previous notes and trimmed as much as 80% from some of the former drafts. Why? Ever clean out your garage, basement, closet–you know, that spare area we all have for things we think will be useful, but it really just sits there forgotten and collecting dust? Not to mention keeping a useful room from being used to its fullest. Yeah, it has been like that and I’m happily cleaning out all the things that just don’t fit anymore. In fact, I’m finding that the more I clean out, the more good and cool ideas rush in to fill the void and breathe new life into the story I wanted to tell from the beginning. I’m not only excited about “Ben” once more, but I’m seeing tremendous possibilities where before I’d only seen soul-draining clutter.
I’ve been primarily working on the project for 1-3 hours every morning and will set my new objective based on this. New Goal: Spend a minimum of 10 hours each week continuing to refine “Ben,” until it is ready to draft.
2) Spend 15-30 minutes a day, up to 3 hours a week, writing or editing blog posts. Ship (publish) when ready. This did seem like a perfectly reasonable goal at first. However, time has not been my friend here. My heart is focused on “Ben” and with all the other things I have going, even 15-30 minutes a day is hard to find–blogging is simply not a time priority. So, I’m changing this goal to one that I know I can keep.
New Goal: Post one short article on time management, productivity or other useful subject once per week. The first is written, will be polished later today, and posted tomorrow morning. This is the “second” of the two realizations I had during the week: By sharing what I already know and do, I cut down on the time needed to accomplish the task.
3) The fall semester of college began yesterday. This semester I have 13 credit hours: Financial Accounting, Management, Marketing, and Business Communications. Currently, I have a 4.0 GPA and want to keep it that way. Returning Goal: Complete all college assignments on time and with my best work.
I do have a few smaller objectives, but I’m not going to list them as official ROW goals at this point because they are “do as I have time” items.
The first time management post will be up tomorrow morning. I’ll be focusing on what I’ve found useful. What I actually use and do. And why. My hope is that by sharing I’ll not only be able to help others find tools to manage time and life, but maybe pick up a few tips and tricks from your experiences as well.
And now, time is up for this task–I want to get out and visit some of you more than I want to prattle on. *smile*
Be sure to get out and support your fellow ROWers–it may be the best visit many of us get all week.