Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Friday, June 18, 2010

Planning, and getting, weekly goals

I am a firm believer in the power of setting goals. Setting a goal really provides that motivation to reach for something bigger or accomplish something. But it's not just the creation of goals that needs to happen. What is important is figuring out a way to meet those goals.

That is where a "to do" list comes in handy. Some people use alternative methods for reaching their goals, such as dream boards, flash cards, charts, etc. But, for me, I have found that a "to do" list works best in accomplishing my goals. I use them to go through the steps of writing, revising and editing my work, and they really help to have a sort of "blueprint" to guide me from beginning to end.

But it's not just an ordinary "to do" list which I use. Rather, I rely on a weekly "to do" list. I give myself a set of tasks to do each day of the week. This helps me move a little closer to accomplishing my goals. This also helps immensely in making sense of all the many projects and assignments I will occasionally have to juggle. By putting something like "work on X book for one hour" on Monday and "Interview source for X article" on Tuesday, I will be able to work through the steps of the many projects currently on my plate.

The weekly "to do" lists aren't usually put in force when I'm working on a book, or even two different books, because I don't need them. I already know I should spend one hour working on this book each day, or one hour for one book, another hour for another book. (Sadly, an hour each day is all I can accomplish for book work at this time. But, it's better than nothing.)

This week, however, I found the need to set goals for the week. I am in the process of working on a variety of things, and so I felt that using a weekly "to do" list would be helpful. Initially, I had 9 items on my list:

1. Send Liz extra material for Spook City. (Scheduled for publication in October)
2. Write short story for anthology.
3. Write poetry for contest.
4. Write new poems for new Topiary Dreams.
5. Revise other poems for new Topiary Dreams.
6. Work on Revisions book.
7. Update Web site.
8. Book reviews.
9. Check in with agent.

Seems simple enough. So on Monday, I set to work, grabbing time to tackle my list here and there. I got items crossed off my list and started feeling confident about achieving ALL of those original 9 goals. I updated the Web site (which took 2 days!). Wrote the poems. Got work done on the Revisions book and revised poems for the new version of Topiary Dreams (set to be published in October.)

But then...other things came up. I got busy reading and editing material for the DPPi Journal (and actually ended up in a tiff with one of the editors on the editorial advisory board -- and for the record, I was NOT trying to discriminate against a WHEELCHAIR USER!). A contract for my children's book, The Yellow Rose, was offered to me and it was a matter of sending emails back and forth about the book and the contract (and it's all settled as of today -- YAY!). And I got into a conversation with an editor about her editing Topiary Dreams before it comes out (she agreed to edit the manuscript and I asked her because she has experience editing this kind of poetry).

Still, despite these other things popping up, I stuck to my list of 9 goals. Aside from accomplishing the other tasks, I managed to cross 6 goals off the list of the original 9. Two of those goals -- the book reviews and the Revisions book -- are ongoing, so I couldn't really cross them off. And I had to bump the second goal to next week. But I'm still happy I managed to accomplish so much of what I planned to do this week. Six out of nine isn't so bad.

There's always the weekend. And next week, too. The important thing is that, with the goals I set and the others that came up, I was able to manage them both.

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  • At 2:47 PM , Anonymous Millie said...

    Hey! 6 out of 9 is good. It drives me crazy when I make a to do list and one or more things is ongoing, it's like dang it! I want to cross those things off too already! lol

  • At 8:00 AM , Blogger Dawn Wilson said...

    Thanks. :) And, yeah, drives me crazy, too. But I suppose I'll have to get used to it. There's always going to be ongoing book reviews on there, as well as a book project. Those items are uncrossable! LOL


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