Dreaming vs Planning vs Monitoring
One of the things I did with my time away from the day job was sit down and catalog all the ideas I’ve had for projects swimming through the fishbowl of my brain. I put them down in Excel and counted them up.
There are twenty-eight of them. Mostly novellas or full-blown multi-novel series.
And here I’ve historically decried my lack of ambition.
That’s a fair criticism, however, if all I’ve done is think about them. Not a single one has more than a few thousand words devoted to it; and those words are just starting character sketches, plot outlines, errant scenes that wouldn’t leave me alone until they got on the page.
That’s why I wrote them all down, and why I chose Excel. In theory, if I pay attention and apply intention, I could finish one a year and be through with my output before I turn 75.
Historically speaking, that’s a pretty big “If.”
Now this isn’t a resolution. But it makes these dreams look a lot more solid, and at least somewhat more real, more important. It provides a framework against which I can theoretically prioritize and plan, set goals and deadlines.
Again, this isn’t a resolution.
In many ways, to be honest, it’s another form of procrastination. I get that. Making lists and making plans is just sooo seductive. It feels like making progress! And when you’re done planning, you’re done for the day! The work is planned for tomorrow. And if something knocks tomorrow off the plate, well, you did build some wiggle room into the plan …
Planning is a part of work, but it’s not the real work. You need an architect to build a house, yes; but you need a bricklayer more.
Which leads me to the second form of planning. Oh yes, mid-post turnaround, ha HA!
Planning how to spend your time is all well and good, but it’s not as good as tracking and monitoring what really happens. I learned that in Weight Watchers. You can plan good meals all week long, but if you actually eat pizza every night and call it a salad, well, your plan’s a bit crap.
So I set up a second Excel sheet, not to plan my days, but to track my time. I’m a big fan of the visualizations at Podio.com of The Daily Routines of Famous Creative People, and initially I’ll follow their buckets for the most part – I am including a section for “hearth work” based on my earlier post on improving our living conditions.
I do have a few pieces in my daily or weekly routines I’m unsure how best to categorize:
- Reading seems to fall under Leisure for the Podio purposes, so I’ll reluctantly adopt that.
- My public speaking and Toastmasters work will be either Creative Work (writing, delivering, critiquing speeches), Administrative (in my official capacity) or Other (attending conferences, etc.)
- The commute is currently part of Dayjobbery, and I don’t see that changing. Given that I often listen to podcasts or audiobooks, I could count it as Leisure, but honestly there’s nothing leisurely about the two hours a day in traffic, and I would use the time differently if I were working remotely or at a closer location.
I’m going to keep this tracking private, at least initially, but I do plan to share trends as I see them.
SPOILER: I hope to see Creative or Hearth Work increase 6 days a week. I also plan on it.
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