"Nope," Kathy says. "That's no life at all."
In this busy, busy day-to-day world, I have been experimenting and learning about REALISTIC goal setting.
Sure, I can edit and pace five (5) chapters per day, but, really, if that pace causes physical effects, burn out, and exhaustion, is that any way to write?
I used to work. A LOT. Days, nights, weekends, holidays. During one holiday season, I worked 90 hours the week of Thanksgiving. I had no life. I was so exhausted that, although I tend to be positive and enthusiastic, I no longer enjoyed the life I was living. Er, not living my life, since all I did was work.
This past week was one doing and stepping back to observe as I have been doing. Now I know what I am capable of during a week, and I know what I am able to realistically produce in a day.
So, instead of barreling through, racing, and charging to the finish line, I need to spread out my goal to a more realistic time schedule.
So, instead of 5 chapters edited and paced per day, a more realistic goal would be three (3) chapters, with breaks every hour and a half or so, even if only a bathroom and stretch break. With this realistic schedule, I would have time to do other things, other than writing activities, and still accomplish grounded-in-reality writing goals.
Another thing I discovered, that even though you set unrealistic or over-reaching goals, not reaching them can be discouraging and affect short-term goals going forward.
For instance, edit/pace 5 chapters one day, but then be too exhausted to even finish two the next day. Or, set a goal of four, then due to the difficulty of the chapters or distractions, only do one or two...there's no way to play catch up if you over-schedule up front.
Realistically, by setting more reasonable, reachable goals, I will get more done in the long run, because I won't be overwhelmed, exhausted, or self-sabotaging by not being able to catch up.
So, Schedule 5 days of reasonable tasks, then build in two days for roll-over work from the previous 5 days. Realistic. Doable. Feasible. Did I mention doable?
For the next 7 days:
- Edit & Pace 3 Chapters Per day (5 days)
- Roll-Over Editing/Pacing days (2 days)
- Work on/Enjoy Non-Writing Activities (7 days)
All writing, everyday--morning, evening, and night--makes Kathy a dull girl and much less productive; therefore, it's time to set my topsy-turvy writing world right side up.