“Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.’ Japanese proverb
I don’t know about you but just 8 days into the new year and I already feel the pressure of my daily-growing to-do list. I have so many plans, ideas and hatchling thoughts flying around that I’m feeling really positive about 2020, but I know that if I don’t stop and consider what’s really important this year then it’ll be the end of Jan and I’ll be knee-deep in ‘stuff’ and ‘being busy’. So in a bid to discipline myself I’m about to take some time (tomorrow, it’s in the diary!) to set some goals and some deadlines too. This is really all about motivation, what’s going to get me out of bed in the morning, with purpose and fire up my creative mojo.
I’ve created a worksheet which includes an action-planning template that I’m sharing here – this is particularly for those of you love structure and who want to be really clear on your next steps. It will take you around 25 minutes to complete and should serve as your conscience and guide to keep you on track moving forward. Of course you can spend more time really finessing and planning your year – I’ve blocked out a couple of hours to do this.
I’m planning to set myself key goals and priorities for the next 3, 6 and 12 months, with detail about how I’ll accomplish the goal, what resources and support I might need, considering things that might get in the way and how I’ll know when you’ve achieved your goal. You can use the planning template to help you along the way. Download the free creativity planner here Now Go Create Action planning template2020
- Write down your overall goal
Your goal needs to be motivating to you. Not something you have to do but something that you want to do. So consider:
- What’s a goal worth pursuing?
- What purpose does it serve?
- Does it give you freedom from anything?
- Does it offer mastery? What will you be able to do if it comes off that you can’t do now?
- What are you prepared to commit to, even if things get challenging?
Write your goal in positive language towards what you want to achieve, rather than away from what you don’t want. So for example: ‘I will collaborate with client x to try something new creatively’ rather than ‘I want to avoid doing the same old boring work on client x’
2. Audit what’s working
According to researchers with self-awareness you have a 50-50 chance of demonstrating self-management; you only have a 4% chance without it. Deliberately reviewing and checking in on your personal progress and your work.
Exercise: Stop, start, continue
We all have a limited range of time, energy and resources. You might have come across the stop, start, continue model which is a simple framework to manage change, which I think is useful in a range of situations and here in your personal development. In relation to your creative progress ask yourself these three simple questions – that can then lead to further questions.
- What should I start doing?
- What are some things I should stop doing?
- What should I continue doing?
Once you’ve set your goal and figured out what to focus on then…
3. …Make it SMART
Perhaps you use SMART goals already in relation to your project planning at work. The same rule applies for your personal goals – they must be:
Specific – the goal must be well defined and clear.
Measurable – how will you know you’ve attained the goal? Be precise about the measures.
Attainable – the goal needs to be realistic yet challenging enough to motivate you.
Relevant – how does the goal fit in with your long-term wider personal and professional development goals? How is it going to improve your outlook?
Time Bound – set a deadline. Break big tasks down into manageable bite-size chunks and have an end point. Prioritise the tasks. Celebrate your milestones and check in regularly against the timeframe.
I have separate coloured diary strands for each project I’m working on so I can see at a glance what I need to do to stay on track. I also like putting tasks on post-its so I can move them around physically on the wall, it means I can bump things into the next week or re-prioritise.
- What resources do you need to help you meet your goal?
For example, if a lack of time is a stumbling block (when isn’t it?) you could buy an egg timer.
“Set yourself just 20 minutes a day of time to begin working on your objectives, that would equal 100 minutes in a working week, or nearly 7 hours a month”
Is there someone who can help you? Would you benefit from a mentor or coach? Could you set up a reciprocal arrangement with a colleague or find someone outside of work who could support you?
There’s an interesting website called Stickk – a so called ‘commitment’ platform which helps people to reach their goals. On the site, you can commit your money to a goal you set and if you fail, they will give that money to a cause you DON’T support – psychologists call this loss aversion and it’s supposed to help! If that sounds motivating to you check it out at www.stickk.com
If you’re a visual person you might be interested in doing this process alongside a vision board. There’s a blog on this here.
Next on the blog, what barriers might stop you reaching your goals and how to overcome them. Happy 2020! How about joining one of our open creativity workshops this year or join our FREE webinar on January 20th at 10am. Register here….