Now that you’ve written down your long range goals and filled out those little 3″x5″ cards with your current time expenditures, you’re ready to start on your work plan. You did do those things, didn’t you? Never mind, you can put them back on your to-do list, but don’t wait another week, O.K.?
Let’s talk about tactics and strategies. A strategy is the overall long range planning you do for your career. Tactics are how you get from point ‘a’ to point ‘z’ and all the place in between. A simplification, for sure, but it will serve our purpose here.
Here’s my favorite tactic. (maybe my only one…I have to check.) Never underestimate what can be done in a short amount of time, not to mention how much time can be wasted in short chunks. Have a project that’s so big it seems way too daunting to get started on? (Example: Thursday- write novel) Set your timer for one hour and say, “I’m going write as much as I can in this hour while I drink my coffee before work.” I’ve been working on a children’s wordless picture book for over a year, and in the early conceptualizing/storyboard phase, I just felt overwhelmed. I kept putting it off and putting it off because I just didn’t know where to start. Finally I tried the kitchen timer trick, and before I knew it, I was sailing along. Here’s the secret of inspiration: it doesn’t find you out of the blue, suddenly revealing itself in a blaze of golden light. It comes from showing up at your easel or computer or notebook every day and sitting down and just getting to it. Sorry, no magic incantations need apply. And the wasting time thing? The internet is a huge time waster. Unfortunately, it’s also an amazing tool and resource. Until recently, I kept my compulsion to waste time on the internet in check by not having the internet invade my home, and only went online at the library. Now, having caved to the inevitable, I’m attempting to keep it in check by using my loyal kitchen timer to remind me NOT to watch panda videos for hours or neurotically check to see if anyone sent me an email.
OK, here’s another tactic (see, I did have another one!):
Use a calendar to set up a daily/weekly work plan.
More on that later.
My kitchen timer is beeping and telling me it’s time to log off.