Goal Setting: Volume

This is what I used for my most recent productivity cycle. You figure out how much you want to do, then divide it by the number of days you want to do it in. The result is how much you have to do, on average, each day to meet your goals. I arrived at my weekly goal by dividing my financial needs by nine weeks…resulting in the benchmarks I used for my accountability posts these past two months.

That part isn’t exactly rocket science, but there are some fine points a lot of people miss.

Set small short-term goals. It’s natural to dream big, but many of us set our goals when we’re in a gung-ho state of mind. We decide to get it all done, plus fix that riser on the stairs, this week. Reality intrudes and we fall short, discouraged. It makes it hard to want to set goals the next time around.

Set big long-term goals. So many of us get caught in the short-term goal trap that we forget what we’re capable with small contributions over the long haul. Tom Callos taught me this by asking me to run 1,000 miles and do over 50,000 pushups in one year. That’s just three miles of running each week, and 75 pushups per day. The point here isn’t that I’m a badass…it’s that you can do incredible things if you give yourself time and make yourself keep at it even after the new wears off.

Set benchmarks. Business managers know about this, and so should you if you want to manage your own writing business. Don’t say “I want to write a 365 page book this year, at one page a day.” Unless your Mr. Spock, or maybe Data, this will inevitably lead to you taking January through September off and scrambling during the fall. Instead, say “I will write 30 pages per month for one year.” This keeps you on track for success from day one…and gives you something to gauge your progress against in real time.

Remain flexible. Alert readers might have spotted some of this during my last productivity binge. My surgery took more out of me than I expected, and for longer than I’d planned for. I didn’t abandon my goals…I just shifted some numbers around and worked harder when I felt better. You can always change your plan to suit reality, and a changed plan is always better than no plan.

You can set volume goals according to work completed, money made or both. When setting money-based goals, choose between money earned and income paid to your accounts. These are sadly very different numbers. In my current cycle, I’m going to do both work and money: money for immediate income, and work for speculative projects.

Thanks for listening.

Advertisements

Veggies Go Crunch!

My recent article in Black Belt was about how certain skills learned in martial arts have non-combat applications that can save your life. Teenage TaeKwonDo black belt Kaynan Goldberg has taken it one step further.

It’s not uncommon for martial arts schools to require their black belt candidates to complete a project, much like the Boy Scouts require for an Eagle badge. Miss Goldberg’s project is a blog and video project about nutrition and healthy eating.

Visit Kaynan’s website “Veggies Go Crunch” to see an inspiring example of youth leadership and the possibilities of the new media. The great thing about our new pulp era is that for every self-indulgent blog like mine, there’s somebody else out there doing something important.

Congratulations, Kaynan, on a job well done.

A First for February First

Check out this month’s issue of Black Belt Magazine for an article by little ol’ me. It’s a piece on non-combat benefits of self-defense training.

Basically, we martial artists spend hours learning to defend ourselves against a human attacker despite the fact that assault and homicide are incredibly rare in the developed world.

Fortunately, martial arts training gives us tools to fight the real killers. Falling skills and situational awareness help us avoid accidents. Staying in shape and stress reduction reduce our chances of contracting heart disease and some kinds of cancer.

That’s the synopsis. Go find an issue if it sounds interesting. This is my first appearance in an internationally distributed glossy magazine, so yay!