Saturday, April 23, 2016

#WriteTip: On Meeting Goals

So it turns out I'm a bit of a procrastinator. This really shouldn't have been a surprise to me because I've always worked well with deadlines - not getting done ahead of deadline, but rushing around and finishing a task at the second that deadline bell rings.

That working well under pressure thing isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it does lead to more stress...and it can take away from the fun parts of my job as a writer. It's hard to enjoy a Facebook party or a conference or an afternoon curled up with a favorite author's new book if I know I've got three days to write 20,000 words.

I've been on a bit of an organizational tear for the past few months. I bought a new planner, I've re-organized my office, I've set up my days according to a plan...and yet there were still times when I didn't meet my goals. At the beginning of this year, I decided to try something in addition to the daily goals and monthly goals: I set progress reminders that ping my phone and email. These reminders, I've found are the key to staying on-task.

Here's how I'm not setting up my planner and organizing my organization:

First, I look at the big picture. I can write a book in 6 weeks, depending on length. So if a book is due
May 13, for example, I know I need to start writing by March 31. That means writing, not research or plotting...the actual writing starts March 31. So I mark both of those days in my calendar like this:

Once I've looked at the big picture, I break down the weeks and days...this is where reminders come in. When I ordered my new planner I intentionally chose one with a vertical layout - my days have big Morning, Afternoon and Evening sections...that doesn't mean I only write in the afternoon or that all evenings are family time. Instead I usually washi over the dividers and set up my days according to Family, School/Errands and Writing. The top (morning) section includes grocery lists or bank runs or stuff at bebe's school. The middle (afternoon) has my daily writing goal, and the bottom (evening) holds movie night stuff or bebe's swimming and choir schedules.

After I've broken out the big goals and the daily goals, I set a couple of reminders. When I'm drafting,
I'll set 2 additional reminders in my online calendar. They are literally 'check progress' goals - I look at my deadline, I look at where I'm at in the book and I figure out what needs to happen each day and week between the reminder and the deadline so that I'm not hopped up on caffeine and not sleeping during the week leading up to deadline. I sometimes write the reminders in my physical calendar, too, but usually I keep the reminders only in my online calendar because my paper calendar gets full just with deadlines and family stuff and school things.

I'll also set reminders about new project research, when I want to get sample chapters of uncontracted work to my agent and things like that.

So far, I'm loving not only my new planner, but the setting reminders addition to my planning - I'm staying on task, I'm more relaxed, and I don't feel guilty for taking a little extra time here and here for myself and my family.

Are you on an organizing kick? What do you do to make sure you meet those deadlines? 

Kristina Knight's new release, Protecting the Quarterback, is available for pre-order now, and
will release May 1, 2016.

This is more than just a her
Sports broadcaster Brooks Smith has always been more involved with the game than the players. But after she shares the spotlight at an awards ceremony with tabloid sensation Jonas Nash, one night of letting her guard down around the infamous quarterback spirals into many heated days and nights together when she gets assigned to the story of the year….

The hottest player in professional football is hiding a secret that could end his career for good. Now Brooks is caught on the sidelines between the job she loves and the man she is falling in love with.

Amazon    B&N    iBooks    KOBO    Harlequin

You can find out more the book and Kristina on her website, and feel free to stalk follow her on FacebookTwitter or Instagram


Liz Flaherty said...

Great post, Kristi!

Kristina Knight said...

thanks, Liz!