Sunday, December 26, 2010

Setting Goals

last four painted scarf warps.....

I always work best when I have deadline pressure bearing down on me. Doesn't matter if the deadline comes from outside or from within - no deadline, no pressure to get anything accomplished. :}

So I learned a long time ago that I am a person who needs to set goals with a time frame. Not much point for me in saying I want to do such and such if I don't also set a date for completion.

Not that I always meet the arbitrary date but without it I rather suspect I'd get a whole lot less accomplished.

One of my favourite quotes is from, I believe, Alice in Wonderland "If you don't know where you're going, any road will do."

Or another one, source escapes me "If you don't know where you're going, how will you know when you get there?"
And so I have long term goals, mid-range goals, and short term goals. Generally I have a list each day of what I want to accomplish before the day is done. I have lists for the things I want to accomplish this week. And then there are the long range goals, generally associated with events for which I must be prepared - teaching workshops, selling at craft fairs and so on.

Really BIG projects (writing a book, for instance) are sometimes difficult to get started on. Why? Well, partly because I spend quite a long time staring at the elephant wondering which bit I should chew first. Partly, I think, because it takes me a while to work through the sequence of tasks that need to be done in order to eat that elephant.

I'm not a person who thinks quickly. Mostly I tend to let big projects simmer for quite a long while until I get a really clear picture of all of the steps required to get me to completion.

In the meantime I make lists of smaller jobs that I know I can accomplish. I even use the Big Job to spur me on to getting to some of the smaller jobs I may have been procrastinating about completing! :O (Oh the psychological tricks we play on ourselves!!!!)

I leave for John C. Campbell Folk School on Jan. 7. Before I leave I want to:

Weave the scarf warp currently on the loom plus the 4 that are left.
Dress the AVL with a prototype warp of 2/20 merc. cotton
Finish transcribing WeaveCast 55
Dye Day (tomorrow) - 10 pounds of silk gimp

I also have to pack my bags and prepare the yarn I'll be weaving at JCC.

Last but not least - I hope to write the introduction for the Big Project.
We'll see how I do.

Currently reading Spider Bones by Kathy Reichs


Peg Cherre said...

Being rather OCD myself, I also have lists -- daily, and weekly, usually. My more long-term goals are usually in my head vs. in writing. As I consider actual steps to achieve them, those steps get transferred to my to do lists.

I do the same in my paycheck job. And when my Board says they'd like something accomplished, I ALWAYS ask them for a time frame. If they don't give me one, I do it myself, being really clear that without deadlines, things will ALWAYS keep getting pushed down on the priority list. After all, who ever has enough time to accomplish everything they might like to?

I've been told many times over the years that I'm too obsessive, too concerned with outcomes, etc. Perhaps. But without goals, I could spend a lot of time sitting on my couch reading, or much worse, watching real crap on TV. My goals give me drive, motivation, a sense of accomplishment & self-worth. In fact, if it's been a really bad day, at the end of the day I've been known to write small things that I did on the list, just so I can cross them off and feel like I've done SOMETHING.

Here's another quote for you, I believe from Howard Zinn, "If you don't set unreachable goals, you will never attain them."

Wishing you a wonderful 2011!

Laura said...

Thanks Peg - I knew I couldn't be the only one! :D Ditto on the end of the day recap - always stay focussed on what we *do*, not what we *didn't*. :D


Marie said...

Another great post! Thanks!!
I too need lists and when there are no lists I always end up spending way to much time on something that should have been quick. Although I think every once in a while a day without anything on the list can be just as productive, either you accomplish things you never thought of or the next day is much more motivating because the day before was so unproductive.