Sunday, January 8, 2012

Two Out of Four Ain't Bad

Today's blog is about goal-setting, specifically expectations versus achievements. I set some pretty high goals for myself as part of my New Year's resolutions. I expected this first week to be as much about learning how to meet those goals as actually hitting them, and I was right. In that same vein, the coming week will be about learning how to recover from missed goals.

Goal #1 is 400k by year's end, broken down into 10k a week (which leaves me every 4th or 5th week off, ie. plenty of room for screw-ups.) And this week was a screw-up. Between my addiction to the Wii game Fortune Street, my organizational efforts in other areas, and a dollop of laziness, I have only manage about 3,800 words this week. So that's one out of four missed so far.

In order to counteract the seductive pull of Fortune Street, and deftly sidestep my natural inertial laziness--or lazinertia--I am adopting the following new rule/guideline: My weekly minimum is 8k, broken into 1,150 per day. Both metrics leave a little breathing room. This is required to be met pre-Internet anything, video game, reading, or anything else I like. The goal is still 2k daily, 10k weekly; the minimum should at least keep me from falling behind.

Goal #2 is to self-epub (and what an awkward term that is) 40 titles this year, which breaks down into 1 a week (again leaving every 4th or 5th week off for a margin of safety.) I have a few JPEGs and a vague idea how to arrange them to make a cover for the title I intend to publish later today. I am not nearly confident enough in my work habits to take this for granted as likely to happen, however. So that's two out of four missed so far.

Seeing a pattern here?

My countermeasure for this is simple: when I finish my wordcount for the day, I will work on my ESP (a way cool acronym for E-Self-Pubbing.) Leisure time comes after my wordcount is done and after I have a title pubbed for the week. Gosh darnit and doggone dagnabit. To heck.

Goal #3 is to lose forty pounds this year, to the tune of one pound a week (same margin of error.) I am happy to announce that I have dropped from 235 to 233. I am keeping meticulous records of my weight, eating habits, and exercise habits; this will keep me on track. So one out of four made, and comfortably at that.

Go me.

Goal #4 is to be 40% nicer. Which I totally have, in so far as this one is even measurable. I have noticed a distinctly pleasant uptick in my daily interactions as a result, and thus my general level of happiness. So two out of four made, for a batting average of .500. Not that bad, actually.

The two I missed are fixable, with some tighter discipline on my part. The two I made are arguably more important, health and happiness trump productivity any day. And may actually improve my productivity long-term.

I will do a more condensed version of this weekly weigh-in next week, and every week after until I make my goals, the year is over, or I die. Hopefully the first rather than the last.

Weekly Media breakdown - Tried to watch "Bag of Bones"--made for TV movie based on the Stephen King book. Only made it about 15 minutes in. No dice. That's all I watched this week. I haven't read anything, either (been busy not writing.) My son likes G1 Transformers better than Voltron and Xena, but he likes Planet hulk even better still. And... erm... that's it. Short segment this week, huh?

Other stuff--I've been using the heck out of the Olympus VN8100PC I got for Xmas. Plan on putting up an in depth review later in the week, but tl;dr is: this is the best cheap-voice-recorder-for-writers currently available.

Writing on a voice recorder is a very different experience from typing. More difficult, definitely, because of the lack of visual input and editing capabilities. Even so, I am finding it quite usable for a zero-draft level of writing. It's probably not much of a time-saver just yet, but I think with practice it will be.

As I get more competent with the process/workflow I will do a blog on how to get the most from spare time and a voice recorder (for writers.) Nitty gritty sirt if stuff.

For now, though, I will say that he key is practice, and lots of it. You can't expect a new productivity tool to change your life immediately. Sometimes they do, but often it's the work put in now that pays off down the line. Like an investment in yourself.

I learned this from Fortune Street.

And that's all I got for this week. Next week will be quarterly report number three (slightly overdue.) See you then.

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