See, I have this terrible habit of setting goals without ever formulating a proper, detailed plan to reach them. I assume that once I’ve made a goal, even written it down on pretty paper (like you do), that it will somehow magically happen by sheer will. This has often led to major procrastination and last-minute rushing at best, and the intended goal completely deflating and never being realized at worst.
So clearly, I’m no expert on the subject of Getting Shit Done. And I’m not about to tell you How to Get Shit Done when I’ve got plenty of my own shit that needs Getting Done. (Next week’s blog post: “Knowing when you’ve abused the use of capitalization and/or are a bloggy asshat.”) But I am slowly understanding where the holes in my plans (or non-plans, as it were) lie, and it’s worth sharing this recent insight.
The biggest issue for me is a lack of a timeline with smaller, more specific goals to help make the ultimate goal a feasible reality. It’s one thing to create a nice little list of the things you know you need to do. It’s another thing entirely to put those events on a calendar and stick to them. It seems so simple, this idea of taking it step by step. Yet many of us–myself clearly included–are too eager to get to the real deal. We’re so blinded by the shininess of the prospect of glory that we forget that it takes more than a singular thought to suddenly get into grad school, or write a solid first draft, or run the marathon… without collapsing in a sweaty pile of despair.
If the first issue is solved by creating these more manageable goals, it in turn helps fix the second issue, which is not working toward the goal every single day. Imagine the benefits of working just a little bit– whether it’s a mile or page a day– rather than in one big chunk the night before the due date. Of not having to stop and think, “Now what comes next?” Because you already know. Because you haven’t had time to forget where you left off. And, you have your nifty little timeline of events.
These are not exactly ground-breaking revelations here. Many people before me have figured this process out, and with great success to back up its effectiveness. So why can’t I make life a little easier? Why can’t I break it up into cute, bite-sized chunks rather than just winging it and hoping for the best possible outcome?
Admitting your faults is the first step to success. Implementing ways to fix those faults is the necessary step to keep on that track. I’m going to give it a serious go in the coming weeks. If it means going to bed with a sticky note taped to my face, so be it.
What are your plan-making/time management issues? Or, better yet, what are your best practices for avoiding general wastefulness?