Reviewing your progress
One thing that goes hand in hand with planning your goals and how you will spend your time is reviewing. How do you know if you’re still on track if you don’t review where you’re at? Part of reviewing comes naturally. When you look at what you have to do for the next week, you have to look at what you expected to achieve the previous week and whether you made it or not. Similarly, when you come to a new month you will need to examine whether you met your goals for the previous month and how that affects your future plans (to pick a realistic (I nearly wrote pessimistic, but it’s bound to happen at some point, and that’s okay!) example, at some point you may miss targets and have to catch up the next month).
Such adjustments are a natural consequence of discovering how much you can do each month, and maybe trying to improve on that as well. But it could pay to take a closer look, and examine why exactly things went awry, or why they went particularly well. As an example, I’ve just been planning my March tasks. I’m a little behind, which is disappointing considering how conservative I’d been with my goals, but I definitely feel like I can improve. The general feeling I’ve had is one of a lack of focus, and there will be small things I can do about it. I set out my tasks under several headings – write novel, write blog entries, write short story, yadda yadda, and so on. So, I’m on the train home, I take out the laptop, I look at my task list. I tended to pick the tasks I felt like doing at the time, regardless of what heading they were under.
As well as showing a distinct lack of priority for my most valued tasks, this leads to a bit of um-ing and ah-ing before I actually get started. But perhaps the worst effect is a lack of focus over the week. There’s is more of an effort made in getting into it (whatever ‘it’ I have chosen) each time. All of these things waste time, and likely produce poorer results. Time, as I may have mentioned, is precious for me, and I simply cannot afford to waste it on procrastination and a woolly-headed approach.
So, Each week, I pick one of my headed projects, and will concentrate on those tasks for the whole week. This should ensure I can get straight on with it, and that I am more likely to be in the right ‘headspace’. Simple? Yes. Am I stupid for not realising this sooner? Probably. Should I be embarrassed at my idiot mistake? I refuse! That won’t do anyone any good! No one should be afraid of admitting to even the slightest of mistakes and learning from them.
And with that in mind, I’d like to open up the floor to anyone else who has learnt something from having a plan and looking at how they have worked towards it. From reviewing, in other words.