Saturday, June 20, 2015

Goal-setting: July

I have a complicated relationship with the ubiquitous self- and work-management tool of goal-setting.

On the one hand, I know *how* to do it - I've been indoctrinated in the whole S.M.A.R.T methodology, and I even know how to do a passable Gantt chart (unhelpful as I personally find them, lots of employers seem to have mad love for them).

Beyond buzzword bingo, though, I do appreciate the practical value of setting goals and making plans, both as a way of providing motivation and clarity about what it is you are trying to achieve in any given area, and to give a solid basis for assessing your progress. This is perhaps truest in employment scenarios, but it has value (if a more subtle one) in personal / life situations too.

There is a downside, though. It may just be that my goal-setting outside of work has always tended to the over-ambitious, but I have ended up, many a time, resentful and deliberately obstructionist of my own stated goals, especially when I have set so many, or such ridiculously unachievable ones, that they are functionally impossible. If I try to plan all the things, it doesn't work out for me - I need unassigned, unplanned time and space as well, or all the goodwill in the word will die a-borning on the shoal of my basic laziness. I am not lazy *all* the time, mind, but I do have an indolent streak a mile wide in my make-up, and it's quite useless to pretend I can thrash this out of myself.

Nonetheless, as I am about to exit the structure-giving framework of salaried employment in favour of the self-directed world of freelance work, I have accepted that part of this is going to necessitate both personal and professional goal-setting, or there is a real risk I will squander my time entirely.

I've decided that the best compromise between over- and under-planning is going to to set  broad-brush monthly goals, ONLY TWO EACH in the 5 areas that I need to pay the most attention to. The goals need to be relatively modest and achievable or else I will get quickly frustrated with them and abandon the project altogether.  They need to build in the fact that there are a plethora of things I have to do every day / week / month that are not optional, that take time, and that aren't so much goals as necessities of life (to wit: parenting, house management, and all they involve!) and that there are plenty of social / community / family things that aren't goals as such but are stuff that happens and takes time.

I'll try this for a few months, and if it's proving too restrictive (or not structured enough), I'll re-evaluate the approach. One thing I can say for sure - there are going to be exactly zero Gantt charts in my personal planning environs :-D

So, to get started: here are July's goals.


- Have a memorable family holiday in Marysville and family fun at ComiCon.
- Get to Gold Class movie (using vouchers received for Christmas) with my partner.


- Write 5,000 more words on my novel.
- Write, and deliver, 2x review pieces.


- Perform at least 2 days of paid freelance work, and book at least 5 more for August.
- Develop and publish a simple website listing my services.


- Host a dinner party for friends.
- Contact the local community centre (crisis relief) to offer volunteering support commencing August.


- Consolidate my superannuation into one fund.
- Clean out my bedroom cupboard.

I'll have a look in the first week of August and see how I went against these goals. Inevitably, some will be missed, that's life. If I hit 6 or 7 out of 10, though, I'll call that a win on balance.

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