Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Breaking It Down/September Goals

"My goals for September are..."
-Jenny, Deb, D.B.

Deb likes goals, and every month she sends out an e-mail with her goals and asks everyone what theirs are. Some months, I make a list and send it back to her. However, by and large, I don't find monthly goals all that helpful. I say "I'll do X" and then when the last week of the month comes, I do it.

Then, recently, I tried weekly goals. It worked. I got three of four of my goals done, spread over two weeks. While looking at goals in respect to a month works fine for others, I work much better looking at a week. Having seven days to do something creates a lot more immediacy than having 28, 30, or 31 days. Another advantage is that I don't have to think about the whole picture of what I want to accomplish, I just have to focus on doing one or two things at a time.

Another way of dividing goals is something I learned from the knife job (i.e. sales) where we'd have to come up with three sets of goals: must do, should do, could do. First one was the bare minimum, the third was really going for it, and the middle was somewhere in between. The advantage of this is that, even if you don't accomplish everything you could, you're still hitting some goal. Maybe you're not a superstar, but you've accomplished something. On the flip side, if you hit your must do, or should do, goal and feel like it was easy or find yourself with extra time, you've got that loftier goal to aim for.

So, here's what I'm thinking: Instead of just listing my goals for the month, I'm going to get a little more particular about it. I'm going to break things down, make it into chunks. Also, I like the idea of having certain overall themes that I'm aiming for, like "publication." With all this in mind, here are my September goals.

Themes: Work on publication, be more social, and develop an online presence for my jewelry.

Specific goals for the month:
Must Do - Research and submit to a minimum of five publications. Create an etsy.com shop for my jewelry. Do critiques for the writers group and submit.
Could Do - Submit to ten publications. Create business cards for etsy shop, and look into other ways of promoting my jewelry, like getting a project published in a magazine.

Specific goals for this week:
Create etsy.com shop. Look over my writings to see what might be ready to go out into the world. Go to bartender John's Labor Day party.

Next week:
Go to rogue writers meeting on Monday. Have all critiques for group finished. Research possible publication venues. Do edits on works I want to send out.

Yes, I know it seems pretty anal to break everything down that far. Still, it makes me more productive. And yes, I know it's not technically September yet, but I'm doing what Jenny does and I'm counting months by writers group meetings. I do have a system.

Alright, after all this about my goals and how I'm going to tackle them, what about you? Do you set regular goals? What kind of system do you have? How meticulous are you about mapping out those goals, and do you break them down into ambition levels?


D.B. deClerq said...

I like your method. It's like outlining. Which I love. I may try that for September.

Ali said...

Yeah it is, a bit like that. Let me know how you break it down, if you try it.