Setting Goals and Getting Things Done

Many writers that I know set annual goals. I tried it and I have to say that my results are unimpressive. A year is just too long for me to wander around aimlessly.

Last year I gave monthly goals a shot. They worked for a while. I don’t think that I need to go into a great deal of detail about the last several years. We’ve all been through it. And I’ve been luckier than many people.

Let’s just say that by May I was ignoring my monthly goals. In addition to monthly goals, I keep a bulleted journal with a plan for each week. There were so many things that I failed to get done each week.

Part of the problem is that I write down every single thing that I think of. After all, I don’t want to forget to work on this or that or this other thing.

But when you write things down and don’t accomplish them? Pfft. You quit paying attention. Or at least I do.

This year I’m doing things a bit differently. First things first, I still keep my calendar. I’m visual and I need to be able to turn my head and see the colored tapes. Pink tapes are things to do with the class I’m teaching. Yellow is SCBWI. Blue are my deadlines for WOW! Women on Writing. I have an orange color for other deadlines and I can use grey for meetings.

My bulleted journal is no longer organized by the types of things I need to get done each week. It used to be divided up into topics like Query Class and Abdo Book. There were things that had to be done by specific dates and I had to scan the entire page to make sure I was getting them all done.

This year I am organizing each week by days. These are the things I have to get done Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, etc. I also list a handful of weekly goals, but this new format means that I can’t list nearly as much. And, in reality, I think that was one of my problems.

Because I listed everything I didn’t want to forget, no human being could hope to get it all done. What am I do with those things I don’t want to forget? They go on a master list that I’ve saved on my computer.

Fingers crossed but I feel much better about this new setup. It feels positive and hopeful and not “well, how else am I going to do it?”

What type of system do you use?