He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. —Psalm 113:9

August 3, 2009

Goals: I got 'em

Before the rest of this year gets away from me, I'm taking August by the horns and setting some measurable goals for myself.

Goals can be tricky. I have to be careful not to go overboard with them, lest I become hopeless and give up on all of them, like New Year's Resolutions. So I've decided to go easy on myself by dividing my life into three areas -- personal, business, and writing -- and tackle one weekly goal for each.

My personal goal for this week is pretty simple: get back into the habit of getting dressed for work. Mur Lafferty has helped to kickstart something of a revolution, inspiring freelancers and other work-at-home types to stop lazing about in our PJs all day and put on actual pants. I've been resistant--isn't getting to work in your PJs supposed to be one of the great benefits of working at home, after all? But the fact is that getting dressed makes me feel more professional, which in turn makes me more productive. So I'm hopping on the pants-wagon and am going to aim to be fully dressed by 10AM every day. So far so good - I was dressed by 9 this morning, and I already feel more accomplished.

My business goal is a learning goal: to educate myself about wireframes and how they can help me as a web designer. My cursory research hasn't convinced me that they're anything to get excited about, but when a client recently asked if I can do them, I said that I could learn, and so that's what I'm going to do.

My writing goal is a little harder to pin down. I have so many that it's hard to pick one to focus on. I need to get back into the habit of writing fiction daily. I have two novel ideas that want outlining, and I have a first draft manuscript that needs editing. All of that is aside from continuing to edit and post This Old Haunt, which is also crying out for some kind of marketing effort (and which, incidentally, has a new episode as of this morning). I also have a novellette-length short story that I wrote earlier this year that needs some severe editing so I can send it out for consideration. That's a lot to think about all at once.

Being forced to pick one, I think I'll go with the first draft novel edits. My goal for this week is to get that to the beta readers, and while I await their feedback, to tackle the plot problems I already know about by applying Holly Lisle's Index Card Plotting Method that was mentioned here last week.

Now that those are set, I'll be checking in with progress reports throughout the week. If I don't fully accomplish a goal this week, it will carry over to next, and so on until I can mark it accomplished and move on to a new goal. For today, number one is already accomplished. Time to get busy on the other two.

What about you guys? Got any weekly goals you'd like to track with me? Tell me about it, or link to your own blog post about same, in the comments.


H said...

Still in pyjammas and it's 1pm (started being productive 3-4 hours ago)! I guess I'll get dressed now...

Glad to see you're doing well with planning. I have in front of me a list of things to get done for a zencart website I'm working on, a blog plan I want to start (pending domain transfer), another small site for another company (pro bono... owner is friend's father), and a writing project that I don't want to lose momentum on. Feeling very overwhelmed today. Must make decision on what to work on first. I guess I'll do the zencart thing since it's for work and therefore "billable time". Should exercise today...

Needing lots of help with time management skills! Any suggestions are more than welcome! (tools, sites, books, etc)

H said...

Oh, that last post is from ME btw -->Helen

J. M. Bauhaus said...

If I could stay in my PJs and still be as productive as when I put on real pants, I totally would.

Time management is always a struggle for me. Right now I'm having some success by dividing my calendar up in blocks for personal time, writing time and client time (I'm just using Windows Calendar, with the Task List over on the side), and during a designated block I just go through and do the corresponding tasks. Any system more complicated than that, my brain starts to rebel after a couple of days. This one's been working pretty well for me for a while, though.

What's a zencart?

H said...

I'm going to look into that Calendar thing.

Zen Cart is a e-commerce system, basically a content management system with a shopping cart. It uses php/sql and there are a lot of user-designed modules you can add to it. It's also a pain in the ass but the alternatives (even paid ones) just don't fit what I need as well as this one.

Here's the site, though there's still a laundry list of things that need fixing.

Stevie said...

I feel more productive when I'm dressed for work. I've actually taken it a step further lately and I get my makeup on too so I'm ready for the webcam, just in case. ;)

One of the best tools I've found for time management is Online Stopwatch.com. I use it when I realize I'm procrastinating on something. I will commit to 15 minutes work on the offending task. I usually find I'm into it by the end of the time and will finish. Its my own little Jedi mind trick.

I blogged about goal setting a while back. We all do need a compass to lead the way guiding our actions and goals can certainly be that compass for many.

I'm often guilty of spending more time planning out and rearranging my goals then taking the necessary action in small, unglamorous steps to achieve them. But I'm planning on putting an end to that!

Janine said...

You can speed up your editing with the AutoCrit Editing Wizard. It may help you meet your weekly goal :-)

carla|green and chic said...

My goal is to take better care of myself during the day. There are too many times where I skip meals (especially breakfast) and I'm no good by 11:30AM. Having a routine of getting up, working out, shower EAT, then get to work is my goal for this week.

dannielo said...

If you'd like a tool for setting your goals, you can use this web application:


You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use

checklists, schedules and a calendar.
A Vision Wall (inspiring images attached to yor goals) is available too.
Works also on mobile.

J. M. Bauhaus said...

@Stevie - Great blog post. The last paragraph really spoke to me -- I have a really hard time living in the present and not getting stuck on the things I have yet to accomplish. And thanks for the Online Stopwatch link. I'll definitely try it out.

@Janine - Thanks, I'll look into that.

@carla - I started on a fitness goal last week. I kind of got roped into that one by my sister, but the getting dressed thing is an extension of that. As long as I'm changing out of stinky workout clothes anyway, I might as well change into real clothes instead of PJs.

@dannielo - Thanks for the link!

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