by Tim Brown

1 May 2013

Before the sun came up on Saturday, I was at my table with a mug of coffee, notebooks open, and laptop at arm’s length. Earlier in the week, my pocket guide was published. My talk was evolving steadily. I was mostly caught up on day-to-day work. So, it was time to figure out what to work on next. I wrote down every exciting project that was on my mind, and soon had a list of a dozen or so potential goals.

“Now what?” I thought.

Said good morning to Eileen and the girls. Drove my truck to the dealership to have it serviced. In the waiting area at the car dealership, I grouped my goals by their underlying purpose and labeled the groups: concepts, practice, tools, teaching. Seemed like a nice mix of stuff. Two of my 13 goals were not in groups, so I stopped paying attention to them. If they’re important, they’ll come up again.

Looked at my calendar — three commitments in the next few months. Those will require preparation and interrupt my work and home routines, so I should plan on getting less done overall. On a piece of paper, I listed May, June, and July, with some space in between. Jotted down my commitments in their approximate time slots. Added tasks related to those commitments. Finished the complimentary dealership coffee (hurk).

Next to my timeline of months and tasks, I listed some of the goals. Seeing them next to the timeline helps me figure out whether its realistic to get them done in that span of time, given my other commitments. I chose to pursue only five goals, representing three of my four purposeful groups. Can’t do everything.

Drove back home. Listened to Back to Work while I did some yard work. Spent the day with my family.

Up early again on Sunday with that familiar what-should-I-work-on feeling, except now I have answers. I’ve already thought about what’s exciting, whether different projects have a purpose, and what my available time looks like. I stick to the goals I chose yesterday. If I see something on Twitter that I want to read or research, or someone emails me with a new opportunity, I measure the value of that new thing against the value of sticking to my goals; If now’s not the time for the new thing, I think about it the next time I’m setting goals.

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