Friday, January 28, 2011

Goals—Biters or Boosters?

Joan circa 1985

Last month, while scanning the family album for this blog, I came across a photo of myself circa 1985 and wondered. What had I dreamt of, what were my goals?

All during my working life, my goals were set by my boss—complete this report now. My personal life was pretty much take what comes.

Now I’ve left the workforce—the best bad thing that ever happened to me—and become an aspiring author, student of the piano, and occasional artist.

I set goals for my writing after I drafted my first novel, but life bit hard with two family deaths in two consecutive summers. My muse went dormant during those years. Last summer I set a goal to write 1,000 words a day—and gave myself a dose of carpal tunnel syndrome. Boy, that bites!

The bad luck rule-of-three should now be done with me.

I’ve bravely set new goals for 2011—goals that won’t bite. I’ve deliberately included free time. When my butt is not in the chair and my fingers are not on any keys other than my piano. I’ve scheduled two down-days per week for fun stuff with my dear husband and my good friends, and a full month after I’ve drafted my third novel. Why? If I know an off-day is near, I’ll be more focused during my on-days. Hopefully, this will save my sanity and my wrists.

I’ve also allotted time for a special project. I’ll re-purpose the sewing-room into an office, starting with a thorough clear-out and ending with re-decorating. I view the process as a re-commitment to my writing. Stay tuned for before and after photos.

Instead of goals that wear me down and bite my butt, I’ve created goals to boost my creativity and still let me enjoy my beautiful life.

Do your goals bite or boost?


storm grant said...

An "off day" is not the same as a "day off". LoL. You are allowed both, actually.

Great post.
~ g.

Mona Risk said...

Joan, what a great idea to give yourself off days in your tight schedule. I never did that but often took off evening to go out with my DH or socialize. It's the one thing that stops me from getting burned.

Dawn Marie Hamilton said...

Good for you, Joan. It's important to set time for yourself, family, and friends. I pretty much do my writing thing Monday-Friday 9-5. Evenings and weekends are for other things. :)

Jill James said...

My husband has 3 days off a week which was really eating into my writing time, until I realized I need that time off to spend with him and rejuvenate.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I don't usually set goals, I just do whatever happens to get in my way during the day. My priorities changed when I lost several people close to me and now I look at life a whole lot differently. The dust can wait another day, but accepting a request from my hubby to go to Home Depot can't. I write every moment that I can get done because that is what I love doing most - sewing quilts is my next priority. It keeps me busy and very, very content.

Joan Leacott said...

Gina, sometimes days off go way off the rails and you wonder why you bothered. BTW, why aren't you using the cover of your fabulous new book?

Joan Leacott said...

Hi Mona, a scheduled day off seems more official and less stressful. The impromptu day off somehow comes with guilt. Go figure.

Joan Leacott said...

Hi Dawn, So you really work at your writing. ;) I usually take off Tuesday and Saturday. Not sure why, it just happened that way. Thanks for dropping by.

Joan Leacott said...

Jill, My husband and I are trapped in, er, share the house as we both retired early. If I went with him everywhere, I'd get no work done at all. Glad you stopped by.

Joan Leacott said...

Paisley, yep, dust can always wait. Quilting is much more fun. Thanks for leaving a note.

Joanne said...

So true. We need the time off to recharge and boost our creativity. It's easy to say, and much harder to do when you're a workaholic like me.