If you read my first post, you know I’ve signed up for “marketing and career bootcamp” with Ariel Hyatt of CyberPR. Here’s how week 1 of “goal setting” went down:
The first week of the Challenge required a LOT of thought - finding time to sit down and brainstorm what I want to get out of this year, in order to kick things off. I’ve got a LOT of things I want to do, and I’m tired of having the same things on my to-do list year after year. SO this year I went bananas with my game plan, which is the secret weapon to actually getting things done.
The Challenge came through at just the right time for me. 2011 was a big, fat, long year for me. It was a successful one and a hard one, full of big changes both musically and personally. When December 31st came around, for the first time ever, I was ready to see it go and ring in a fresh start.
I had already compiled a list of resolutions and and created a game plan on how to achieve them, but this Challenge has taken that a step further. It has forced me to put my ambitions under the microscope and be realistic about how to make them happen. Set dates. Be concise. Make a monthly plan, then a daily plan. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to realizing your goals! Doing the work NOW will save headaches for me later.
Feeling like there were a million things buzzing around my head, I decided to write EVERYTHING down that was on my mind. Dates to remember, gigs I had booked, obligations and tasks I had to complete, New Years resolutions, timelines, suggested start dates for all of the above. I added a game plan to every single goal. Here’s what 7 pages of New Year’s resolutions (and a game plan) look like:
I was so excited, super-charged to make the most out of the year, and the more I wrote the more I wanted to write.
One of my important goals is to practice “living in the moment” but what does that really mean? How do I do that actively, every day? I thought quite hard about it and came up with this:
- Stop saying “someday” and replace it with a real date
- Recognize that life is made up of present moments. (That’s really all there is!)
- Realize that wishing things for the future takes me out of the present moment and deprives me of experiencing those things as they would naturally be
Example - This way when I am in my 30’s, I don’t want to say “Hmm, I thought by now I’d be ______, _______ or have _______”. Instead, when I turn 30, everything will be an interesting revelation - instead of an altered version of the future I had wished for.
- Don’t wait for the future when things are “settled” to do things I’ve always wanted
Example - I’m dying to go to New York. I want to spend some time in Paris on my own. I want to learn Italian, etc. Living in the moment means NOT waiting for the future. I am not waiting until I have extra money to burn, or free time to go do these things. (Realistically - when is there ever money or time to “spare”? Those things don’t really exist.) I will have to make time for Paris. Book off a weekend in August for New York CIty. Start NOW and begin cultivating rich life experiences. Life’s too short to wait!)
Okay, so pretty flighty stuff maybe, and not ALL of it was really music-related, but I think in the end it comes down to my idea of success, and above all, happiness.
Armed with the following tools, I created categories and grouped goals together according to the book, to help keep things organized:
So far, so good. But I knew if I stopped there, all I’d have was a pile of papers staring me in the face (or worse, tucked away in a drawer). Even though I was excited about figuring this much out, I started to feel a little stressed about all these looming tasks and deadlines, so I decided to take it a step further.
Since I am such a visual person, I needed to look at my whole year and see what it looked like BEFORE adding in my new goals. I plugged in every appointment and gig I had booked so far so I could see where the “empty” weeks were to start addressing goals and used a colour-coding system to make it make sense. Here’s what the next 6 months look like for me:
Blue is for gigs, weddings are in pink, red & hot pick stickies are “important tasks”, orange blocks represents festivals and conferences, etc etc. Some tasks are on written on sticky notes so I can move them around within that month.
This way I could visually see where my time and energy was going, and when I was free. If i want to take on new tasks at this point I have to ask myself: “Realistically, how many projects you can squeeze into a month?” Being realistic will directly affect my success rate. I figured about 2 major projects per month on top of whatever was marked in the boxes would keep me busy, but not too stressed. Looking at the month of January, I can now see that it’d be totally impossible to “start going to the gym three times a week, tidy up your computer filing system, write 5 new songs and write a speech for your sister’s wedding” on top of what was already there.
Hopefully, I’m saving myself the disappointment of “failing” at goals by prioritizing them and by starting them at the right time.
It was also eye opening to see where I wasn’t busy. A lot of the info that was swimming around in my head made me feel like I’d lost control of my time. Writing it down made me see that, though the next 6 months are a bit bananas, the last 6 months of the year have lots of breathing room:
Here is where I will book time off for my less “time sensitive” goals. If I don’t save it for myself, it will fill up quickly with every day appointments and due-dates. So that’s it, that’s my schedule for the WHOLE year!
In order to stay energized about goals, the book suggests we “pretty them up” and display them somewhere prominent to remind us daily of the “bigger picture”.
So again, I armed myself with scissors, pretty paper, glitter and glue and did just that. I removed all the clutter from my cork board except for one key piece of advice:
Which I altered to make sure I knew what I had to do first every day:
Next I picked some of my goals (no room for all of them) and made them into glittery messes :)
I have to admit, I hate the idea of just picking a number of Twitter followers or Facebook “likes” because it seems arbitrary. But I’ve realized the point is that in order to achieve more traffic on these sites, it means I really have to pay attention to my Facebook Page, Twitter accounts, websites, etc and use them wisely. I won’t let the number really be the end goal, but rather I’d like to use that number as a way of measuring my progress with these tools. Might as well, since I’ve gone to the trouble of creating them and since I use them daily anyway!
Displaying my goals RIGHT above my computer (where I spent 80% of my day) will really help me stay focused on these goals and make sure I keep them a priority:
I also added daily “to-do’s” underneath each goal (Ariel’s suggestion) to remind me to take baby steps every single day. I’m sure that’s the only way I’m going to see progress, and helps it seem less daunting.
All in all this was a tonne of work. But doing that work now will save me a lot of time and energy every day from now on, because I know now what I have to do and what steps I need to take!
Can’t wait to see what happens in week 2!
Thanks for reading!