Now, on to Flexi-Goals!
This past year, I noticed my goals structure wasn’t working as well for me as it once had.
A lot had changed in my life, I’d finally rejoined the world of the employed (hallelujah!), my new job was much more time and energy consuming than previous ones, WG’s mama was brought to the US to do hospice and passed away late this summer, I was trying to balance how to manage two series/pen names while still having a lot to learn about self-publishing and what I wanted out of it…oh, and KU annihilated me.
It seemed, with all this going on, with books doing well (or not) at different times, and with the industry literally changing over night, I had to be able to change quickly too.
Since my writing time (and sadly energy) is limited, I had to come up with a way to create, manage, and use goals that would constantly move my writing career forward instead of being a stumbling block or a creator-of-frustration.
I’m going to go thru my steps to Flexi-Goals here. Please take whatever works for you…and share how you use it! We can always get better, right?
What’s the Point?
The point is simple: often we write all our goals at the beginning of the year and end up with too many (or not enough) or goals that are not longer viable, or, as Sam Bennett calls them, Shadow Goals that are no longer your dream/desire/plan.
The point is to always have a plan and for the plan always offer the best action next.
So, where to start?
STEP 1: Get it all out.
I’m a huge believer in power listing. Get it all out. List everything that is on your brain and things you didn’t know were there. Sort the lists into whatever categories make sense to you and how you do things. (I have writing, writing business, to do/general tasks, life stuff, health & happiness, and fun.)
STEP 2: Decide what you Focus Goal is for the year (or your time period)
This year my focal goal is a earnings goal. Which sounds sad, but… DON’T WORRY! I’m not becoming a heartless corporate writer 😉
Passion is part of the plan!
STEP 3: Create Sub-Headings
Under my Focal Goal, are my Headings. Everything I can/should do to meet my focal goal.
These include: Writing, Parnterships, Events, etc.
Don’t feel limited! And don’t feel like you can’t add to this as the year goes on.
Everything that isn’t a general task is on the list. Those are just on a task list, with deadlines where applicable.
STEP 4: Blow up each heading.
I’m going to use a Generic Writing sample as my example…and since a picture is worth a thousand words, let’s just look here:
You can see that everything after the headings is vertical. Decisions are horizontal (the headings) and typically the order is vertical. But, maybe not for you. Maybe your project order is more flexible – SWEET!
And, since someone asked for a thought process flowchart…here ya go:
STEP 5: Go! Go! Go!
WHY & HOW TO USE THIS
The point of Flexi-Goals is to be able to shift and adjust quickly, to not feel tied to goals that are no longer valid, and to have all your options laid out. Add to your list when something comes to mind. Nothing is off the plate — it’s just happening right now or not happening right now.
No dream is too big, no goal is too small.
Also, I wanted something that didn’t suck the joy out of writing. Yes, this is a business, but sometimes, just going down the list to the next thing isn’t only wrong economically, but creatively. You’ll notice the second question (after deadlines, because you need to honor your partnerships and readers) is about being passionate about a project. Don’t discount that.
What this isn’t is a way to set everything in stone, to feel locked in, to create a burden of work.
We are first accountable to our partners (based on not messing up their time or income) and our readers. After that, everything is up for grabs. If you’re burning out doing the next thing on your list over and over again, maybe it’s time to mix it up. Grab one of those short story ideas or play with your marketing, maybe rebuild your website. Get creative and get the juices flowing again because a burnt out writer often becomes a boring writer…or a non-writer. And I don’t want that for any of you.
WORD OF WARNING
Ok, so the decision flowchart is mostly just in good fun. You’ll be able to make the decision yourself typically, but in case you want something solid to hold up your flexible, it’s there to start with.
Also, your thought process isn’t just about books. Notice the chart starts off with deadlines, incomes, and passion. Any one of those could be an event, a conference, a marketing project, etc. Make sure you’re looking at all your Flexi-Goals when making decisions.
I’ve also committed to having 3 active Flexi-Goals at a time. That doesn’t mean I’m working all three right now. It just means I’m lined up to work on three. Maybe every Monday morning you do marketing–well, you should always have a marketing goal to get ensure you’re heading in the right direction every Monday.
This is about Freedom & Success.
Yes, both at the same time.
Because a joyless life, no matter how successful, is still a joyless life.