Monday morning I pulled out my notepad, as I do on most Mondays. I jotted a list of things I wanted to accomplish that week. Suddenly it hit me. If I do the same thing week after week, all I will have accomplished is my to-do list. I wonder if there is something bigger I am meant to accomplish.
I began consider my bigger goals, the ones that push out in the future. One of these is being a fiction writer. In that moment I knew that if I continued doing the same things I am doing now, I’ll be in roughly the same place this time next year.
That isn’t to say I haven’t accomplished some of my objectives in writing. I think my writing craft has improved in the last year. I was able to finish a novel in time to pitch it at a large writer’s conference in August. Though that is a milestone, believe me, the prize has not yet been won. (Or choose whichever cliché you like!)
How can I become more effective in the things that are important to me globally, rather than one week at a time? An idea came to me and I am eager to try it. I’ll still write the to-do list for the day and week, but add another layer: I’ll step back and think further out. What are some objectives I can accomplish this week that will push me further toward the global goals I have?
I thought of two types of tasks: one is something that can remove an obstacle or a problem that has been tripping me up. The second is developing a skill that can increase my effectiveness. For example in the first category, I chose improving my concentration (removing the obstacle of distractions). I have too much going on, as many people do. One thing I am trying is grouping similar tasks together and setting a timer, refusing to answer emails or phone during that time. So far it has worked!
An objective fitting into the second category, developing a skill, is to get a book from the library that has a compelling plot, reading that book, and analyzing the plot from a writer’s perspective. This way of reading a book can help me toward my objective of becoming a novelist.
Challenge: Try it yourself, think of an obstacle you can remove and a skill you can develop. Though it will likely take time to build new patterns, this week, plan how you can do one step in either category (or both), and watch what happens!