Wednesday, 31 March 2010
Bottom-up Approach to Goal Setting
Most methods of goal setting revolve around top-down approach. They require one to set goals for 5 years, 3 years, 1 year, then break them down into months and weeks.
These always end up frustrating me, because what do you do when not everything is in your control, and your goals have to change depending on how things go? This is especially true for writers, or anyone in creative pursuits. Top-down approaches I think are more suitable for businesses, but for individuals (even if we are one woman/man business), going with the flow is as essential as having a goal.
For example, ideally speaking, in 5 years time I would like to have at least a few books published, and more on a contract.
I can make goals based on this. I can decide how long do I have to write each book etc. But what good is that when I don't know when my first book is going to sell? And once I did get the agent, I have no control over publisher's schedule or no idea of how much rewrite or edits an agent or an editor might require.
So while I keep the big picture in mind of what I wish to do with my life, and where I wish I would be a few years from now, finally - after a lot of trying - I have given up making concrete long-term plans.
Bottom-up approach is what I prefer. I know exactly what I need to do today, and this week, and even next week to move forward. As I take those steps, I know further ahead of what I need to accomplish, and on the way, whatever new things I learn or any deviations my goals or my life might take, I can instantly assimilate them into my goals using bottom-up approach, rather than have to rethink the whole thing if I were using top-down approach.
I have compulsive obsession with making lists (making them, not necessarily following them), so setting goals is right up my street. And as the oxymoron organised-messy fits me like a glove, I am striving to have little less messy and little more organised.
And carrying on with that line of thinking, I have ordered a new filofax. I know sounds very old-fashioned. I was considering buying a palm-pilot, but then figured I will have the same hassle I do now - I will end up writing everything all over the place, and will have to combine it (which is the part I never bother with), and simple palm pilots are not easy to get with all the smartphones or whatnots, and of course if it broke or whatever, then back to square one it is.
A friend of mine (whose birthday I forgot because it was written in an email) mentioned that she uses filofax for these things. And a light-bulb went off. It's perfect for me - especially with my stationary obsession - another new thing to write stuff in :-). I actually do have a cheap filofax-like thing from Next I bought years ago, but it's not a "proper" one, and it's got all marks all over it, so I decided to treat myself and start with a new, clean one.
Next step is to FINALLY buy a shredder so I can start getting rid of tons of paper I have accumulated, including old first drafts which need rewrite, and hence don't need to be kept. I see spring cleaning in my future - though with my way - it might last the whole year. :-P
How about you? Are you organised? With just your work/writing or with your whole life? How do you keep it all together?