I mentioned previously that I hadn't applied what I had learned in terms of goal setting and execution when I set my 2021 goals. I thought I would share what I do when I am working the way I want to.
5 not 7
When I set goals for the week I think in terms of 5 not 7.
Life deals us curve balls. I can pretend that it doesn't matter and I will achieve everything regardless of them or I can be realistic and take them into account. If I set goals thinking I will do 5 things, that gives me room to deal with the unexpected. If I do 5 I am on track. If I manage to do 7, I am ahead of the game.
Shuffle is my friend.
If something happens and my plans change I might be unable to do what I planned when I intended to do it. When this happens I go through my list for the day/week/month and see what there is I can do. Whatever I do it's something and I have a sense of achievement rather than feeling my day was wasted. I tend to use being on hold or waiting for someone to do what I can too. It makes me feel better than stressing out over how long its taking. It also puts the control back with me to some level.
If something isn't working rather than just stay stuck I do something else. That way I get my sense of achievement again.
Have fun goals
I try to have a goal to watch every episode of something, get to a level on a game, watch a silly video, try something new, only communicate in gifs or emojis in a DM for a day etc anything that I can think of as fun. It helps to do fun stuff that can be easily accessed. If I get in the habit of looking for it, it's easier to find when I need it. I can't rely on other people to cheer me up on a bad day.
If I do the things I have set out to do or it gets to a certain point in the day I allow myself a treat. Maybe some part of one of my fun goals or calling a friend or chocolate or a bit of random googling or music or anything that motivates me to do the bits I find hard.
Break it down
If my goal is huge it works better to list it as a few goals that make up the whole. When writing it can be word count or time or a story or a poem etc. I am currently editing and it feels like a lot. So I have promised myself I will work till a certain time on it and then do something else. If I want to continue that's ok but I set a minimum target and don't edit every day. I need to write alongside a bit to keep myself wanting to edit. If I only edit I find it hard to want to write because guess what? More writing means more editing. If I see it as separate it makes things easier for me.
If either I'm flying and I have accomplished everything I planned or I am so far behind it will be impossible to achieve them in the time frame I have set myself it's time for a review. It's good practice to keep track of goals anyway. That way I can maybe adjust and still get there before it's too late or find additional goals so I keep motivated. Time off is great if it's long enough to be beneficial and short enough to still feel connected to whatever I am trying to achieve when I return. Stepping away from a project too often or for too long makes it unlikely it will be completed especially if I am only accountable to myself.
The new thing I have learned
Some people like to work through a to do list from top to bottom, I am not one of those people. I write a big list for the year, then a list for the month, then the week, then the day. I don't manage all of the day things in a day, that's rare. Sometimes I circle the main ones so they stand out.
When I need to add something I add it to my day goals and that's where it goes wrong. It sits there till its done which is a reminder that I haven't achieved it but that's demoralising and doesn't prioritise my goals. I need to add it to my big list.
I look at my goals every day and particularly on Sunday nights (my week is Monday to Sunday) and the last day of the month/year. I need to prioritise my smaller goals the way I did for my 2022 goals. Also it has to be the minimum I can manage if my week has all the curve balls and detours it can sometimes have. Otherwise I am setting myself up for potential failure before I start.
I am a Work in Progress. As we go through life we learn about ourselves and what works and what doesn't. We sometimes need to fall down a few times before we realise that there may be a reason we can address that connects those experiences. Then we have to work out if we can fix it and how to do that if we can. It can be a slow process. Sometimes writing or talking about it makes something click, like it did for me writing this post. Several things are now clearer to me because I wrote this. Maybe something has clicked for you reading it.