Okay, so we’re a few days in, but at this point I’ve gone through my planning steps and I have my goals and projects for the quarter. Funny, I used to hate this exercise at the day job, because we had the high-level goals that belonged to my boss’ boss and really didn’t relate to me or what I was doing at all. But, of course, we had to put those down and they counted.
Reason #5,217 why I don’t miss the corporate world.
But, being my own boss now, the goals are much more focused on what I need to accomplish so I have to pay much more attention. It’s also a matter of realizing what I can and cannot do in any given day, and setting realistic expectations. (Y’know, those things they talk about in a day job but don’t actually have?) I need to know how many words I can draft on a given day and how long that will take me. I need to take into account the fact that we’re caring for my father-in-law and he has a schedule of classes at the local community collage that he attends. Or that, after next week, he’ll be at home until classes start up again in the fall. Am I going to take all of the Fourth off, or try to get some work done in the morning? Do I work a schedule of five on, two off, or do I try to get some writing done every day? How long are revisions going to take now that I can push straight something. When am I confident enough to book cover art? Am I on target to make that release date I want? Which, by the way, will be later than what I thought back at the end of April because I hadn’t sat down and worked out the schedule.
So I’ve done my goal setting a little differently this quarter, having taken Sarra Cannon’s HB90 Goal Setting Bootcamp class. She has a somewhat different approach than what I had to endure at work, focusing on making certain that not only do you set your goals and schedule in such a way that the work gets done, but also in such a way that you’re able to also enjoy the life you want to live. Since she only runs her class once a quarter, I recommend her blog and the videos she makes. I watched those videos for about nine months before I decided to take the class.
A week and a half in is a little early to decide if all this is working, but the results have been positive so far. I get up in the morning know what’s on the plate for that day and what markers I need to hit each week. I’ve got my overall goals, then my projects, and the tasks for each of those projects. The tasks go onto different color stickies and onto my Kanban Board, which helps me focus on just what I need to be doing at any given point in time. Sunday afternoon, I sit down and go over everything, determining what stickies get moved from the “Anticipation” column to “On Deck.” Done items move to the far right. Those are already starting to add up.
The board itself is custom, but simple. A foam-core trim-fold presentation board which I then put a permanent border on top and bottom. Then I added three sheets of paper from Paper Source, one I already had, and two I bought. Those are just pinned there, and can be changed out when I wish. I am going to change the postcard sheet on the left because it’s textured and doesn’t hold sticky particularly well. The cards you see for the first three months are milestones, with the ones for the next three months things I’d like to see in the future.
I know there are going to be some adjustments along the way, but so far, I’m hopeful. In my corporate job, there’d been a point where I’d used a system similar to this for the contracts I had to enter, utilizing Microsoft’s One Note. Each contract got a separate entry, and moved through the categories I had set up. Item arrived, it was set up and put in Category 1. When I started processing, that entry would move to Category 2, then Category 3, etc. as it progressed through the process. Given that I was frequently interrupted, this system gave me an idea at all times of where I was, what I was working on, what was waiting and where every item was in the process. I didn’t read it in a book, but came upon it in a, “Hey, would it work if I did…”
That’s why I’m hopeful for this quarter, that things will well and truly be accomplished. Because every task and milestone up on that board? Is something that’s meaningful to me — and I love that feeling.
Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash