I am usually an adjustable person when it comes to change but the new WordPress compose window is such a nightmare, I’m actually going to keep this somewhat short literally just so I don’t have to deal with it for more than I have to.
I’ve said before that Setting smaller, specific goals with wiggle room is the secret to good writing resolutions. I’ve also always believed that the best goals are the ones that address a problem you are having otherwise what’s the point of changing what’s working? To that end, here are the problems I’m currently having and how I play to deal with them specifically in the year ahead.
- Not taking care of myself (specifically not getting any SLEEP which was a huge problem this year). The double whammy of insomnia and the baby getting up in the night whenever she is sick, teething, having a growth spurt or any combination of the above (so… basically all the time) combined with the need to stay up late because night is my only work time has meant I’m AVERAGING three hours of sleep a night. It’s… not great. (The only reason I’m surviving is because I nap with the baby in the morning and that buys me another hour of sleep or so. And baby snuggles which are A+. It’s the last good thing in this world!)
- Too much work, not enough time. To some extent, everyone has this problem but, for me, it’s specifically an issue of having a company and career I need to keep afloat on a fraction of the time I used to have and what time I have is scattered and unpredictable. I’ve gotten a lot better but I still struggle with how prioritize what to work on next, how to balance the big projects with the day to day stuff that has to get done and balancing what I want to work on vs what I have to get done.
Common problems, yes, and in a lot of ways kind of vague. But I’ve got a plan to narrow them down and make them more specific so they’re actually doable in the new year. This is…
Data my way to self care. When I started keeping track of my writing goals, simply being accountable to the spreadsheet made me more likely to write more and I’m hoping the exact same thing will work when it comes to sleep and being more active (which will hopefully help with the insomnia). To that end, I’ve gotten a tracker for activity and sleep because once I know exactly what I’m getting now, I can set weekly goals and work to increase it bit by bit. While I’m skeptical about how well those things work, it should at least give me some data to work with and, once I’ve got data and spreadsheets, I’m unstoppable! 😉
Organization and Prioritizing. I won’t bore you by drilling this one down exactly (or maybe I will… but in a future post) but my plan for getting more work done with less time AND more of the right work is a combination of Kanban boards, SWOOPS and Sector Focus. We’ve already talked about Kanban boards and I talked about my SWOOPS method here but I still owe you a post about Sector Focus which is a very effective method I came up with that helps me balance the little fiddly day to day things needed to keep things running with the big projects so less things fall through the cracks.
Limiting my focus. I’ve done a massive reorganization of everything on my radar, both things I have to do and things I want to do, so I can make better choices about what to work on next. This year, I’m limiting myself to no more than 6 things in progress at once: three main goals (ie things I have to do) and three stretch goals (from the list of things I want to do). The idea is that I’ll slowly whittle down that list of things I have to do until the things I want to do can be main goals instead of stretch goals.
…and letting things go. I’ve realized a lot of why I struggled in the past was because there is SO MUCH I both want and have to do with my limited time that I was afraid of taking any of it off my list lest I forgot it but it really worked like a kind of mental clutter that distracted me from the tasks at hand. This year is about remembering to let some of that stuff go and realizing that I realistically can’t do it all right now… or in some cases maybe ever. I’m hoping just knowing that everything is still on a list, even if it isn’t the list of things I’m currently focusing on, will be enough to stop me from overloading my plate.
Ride it out. While I’d love to lay down a list of projects to get done this year, that would just set me up for disappointment so, instead, I’m going to just focus on making the most of the time I have and working productively and whatever I get done, I get done! All too soon, the baby will be a kid who sleeps through the night, the kids will both be in school and everything will be different anyway so, for now, I just need to stay the course, hold on and deal with what I’ve got going on right now.
Focusing on output rather than looking at the numbers. One goal I’m NOT going to set this year, though, is a word count goal. While I’ll still be tracking my writing, of course, and hopefully start keeping even more stats (someday I will be able to track my writing time!), I’m not setting a word count goal.
Why? Because it has served its purpose. I originally started setting a yearly goal because I wanted to increase how much I wrote and how often and it’s done that. The last few years, I ended up changing my goals over and over anyway as I passed my original goal so this year I’ll just write what I write and see how that number ends up.
So that’s the plan for 2019! I hope to still do quarterly writing updates here on the blog, though they’ll be in a slightly different form, but otherwise I’ll be keeping my head down and focusing on fixing my problems, being productive with what time I’ve got and, most of all, loving those little kiddos in the new year.
How about you?