How many of us have read or heard that we should set goals? *raising my hand right along with you*
I’m here today to prove that long-term goals may be helpful, but they won’t get done without a detailed plan.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a lot going on in my life. My husband enjoys a home-cooked meal once in a while. I’m trying to raise two young children, one of which personifies the word “energy”. I strive to spend time in the Bible once a day (preferably for more than two minutes). I’m back in a workout routine with five one-hour fitness classes per week. I try to keep my house from looking like a sty. Oh, and let’s not forget that I like to actually do my hair and put on make-up once in a while.
Um, did I mention I’m also trying to write a book and keep up with social media?
I hit a wall earlier this year with my writing. I’ve usually been a self-motivated person who can set a self-imposed deadline and stick to it to finish a manuscript. This time? Not so much.
This time, I made all sorts of long-term goals. “I’ll finish the first draft by the start of the summer.” “I’ll get it polished before the ACFW conference.”
But did those things happen? Um, no. Granted, I had some unusual circumstances like my sister’s heart transplant that took first priority. But even after that crisis was over, I still didn’t move.
I was floundering from day to day, trying to do lots of things, but not really doing any of them. Tired of walking aimlessly, I returned to an old standby of mine: The to-do list.
My to-do list doesn’t just encompass writing. It includes everything I need to get done—housework, errands, phone calls to make, and word count goals. Here’s a sample day:
Zumba class @ 9am
Clean downstairs bath
Line up babysitter for Saturday
Did you notice how those 1,000 words were neatly tucked in there? This sample is exactly what it looked like scribbled out on my calendar. Those 1,000 words were just as much a part of my to-do list as the laundry and fitness class.
By outlining everything, I have the ability to see my day at a glance and pace myself so most or all of these things are done before my husband comes home from work. Then my evening is freed up for family time. Obviously certain days have a mind of their own and don’t go as planned. In that case, the lowest priority items get bumped to another day.
The key is to take a long-term goal (i.e., writing a novel) and chunk it into smaller segments. Then put it on your daily to-do list and get ‘er done!
Are you a list maker? What goals do you need to chunk into smaller segments? Any tips for the rest of us to "get 'er done"? :)
*Target photo by Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
**Checklist photo by digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net