Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Time Management Tuesday: New Year's Resolutions Are A Waste Of Time

Managing time when your situation is constantly changing is all about planning. Traditional New Year's resolutions set the resolvers up for failure because there is no plan. There is nothing to guide people making resolutions as to what they actually need to do. Often times the so-called resolution, itself, is incredibly vague.

Consider "I'm going to write more!" as a resolution. Well, write more than what? How much is more? Just what is a person supposed to do with a resolution like that?

Don't waste your time making New Year's resolutions. Instead, use your time more efficiently by creating goals and objectives for this next unit of time that we call a year.

First off, let's be clear on what goals and objectives are. Many people (in the past, my computer guy was among them) believe the terms are interchangeable. They are not. A goal is what you want to achieve. An objective is a step you must take, a task you must complete, to achieve the goal. For any one goal, there can be  multiple objectives. With a goal and objectives you have a plan. Time management requires a plan.

Now, if you did some recapitulation regarding last year's work you can use what you learned to more carefully craft your objectives  for next year.

My goals and objectives for this year:

Goal 1. Publish the Saving the Planet e-book at the end of January.

  1. Final copy editing of text
  2. Assign ISBNs
  3. Amazon/B&N product description
  4. Work with Computer Guy regarding the uploading of final copy to Amazon and B&N
  5. Deal with any problems that turn up when uploading of final copy 
  6. Make sure website update is completed and posted
  7. Upload book trailer to YouTube
  8. Check press releases
  9. Contact first bloggers I'll be working with  and work with them regarding material they need from me
  10. Do a number of Original Content and Facebook posts building up to publication
Goal 2. Publicize Saving the Planet throughout the year
I have a multitude of objectives for this and will be doing a blog post on the subject later.

Goal 3. Maintain Time Management Tuesday Project (Last year's project went so well that it led to a workshop that I'll be leading at a writers' conference this spring.) 
  1. Continue Tuesday posts at least twice a month during this second year
  2. Read The Power of Habit
  3. Plan NESCBWI time management workshop for May
  4. Look for opportunities to write on the subject

Goal 4. Submission Binge (Last year's submission binge resulted in a short story acceptance and 2 excellent rejections, so I want to do another)  

  1. Plan a month or two period to do revisions and submit, probably September and October
  2. Look for markets in the months leading up to that point
  3. By July have one or two old stories selected and be working on them to make use of "archived" material.

Goal 5. Write and submit an essay on blogging (Idea came about as a result of the NESCBWI Blog Tour I did earlier this year) 


  1. Seek out possible markets to determine whether or not this is a worthwhile project
  2. Write essay

Goal 6. Work on an outline for "mummy book" during May Days (I wasn't prepared for May Days last year. I hope to be this year.)

  1. Finish reading Wired for Story because I think we organic writers often don't know what our story is prior to writing, which makes plotting difficult.
  2. At least skim The Plot Whisperer for same reason
  3. Go over old research for this project and continue with more.
Goal  7. Continue with community building   
  1. Next week--The Next Big Thing post here at OC
  2. Next Big Thing round-up post later in the month
  3. Support Cybils with a round up post of my reading of nominees; also post to Goodreads
  4. Continue with Connecticut Children's Lit Calendar and try to make a real calendar template accessible in the sidebar so the calendar can always be found and isn't buried in each month's posts.
  5. Continue looking for ways to publicize Connecticut Children's Lit Calendar
  6. Look for short,  local writers' workshops/retreats/events to attend
  7. Continue with the weekend roundup of blog and Internet  reading to help build community with other bloggers
  8. Consider the possibility of creating some kind of networking group for published writers, either on-line or some kind of local gathering. (This is a very low level objective because I suspect I won't find much support for it)
Goal 8. Publish a free Hannah and Brandon e-short story to support the Hannah and Brandon e-books published by G. P. Putnam's Sons.   
  1. Determine just how much publishing a free anything will cost me
  2. Reread the Hannah and Brandon books
  3. Check journal and files for story ideas
  4. Read other short stories for younger children
  5. Write the short story
  6. Decide how we will handle the cover
  7. Work with Computer Guy on the technical publishing work
Goal 9. Plan publication of My Life Among the Aliens and Club Earth e-books for winter, 2014 (I want to publish them together hoping to cut down on the time spent planning the marketing, which was very time consuming this year for Saving the Planet & Stuff)
  1. Wait for the return of rights for Club Earth (I already have the rights to My Life Among the Aliens, and the request for Club Earth has already been submitted.)
  2. Wait to see how Saving the Planet & Stuff sells before deciding whether to go with professional covers or look for a cheaper type
  3. Look into companies that prepare texts for e-book publication
  4. Discuss with Computer Guy whether I should go with a company for these books or have him prepare them as he prepared Saving the Planet
  5. Wait to see how Saving the Planet sells before deciding how to market these books--whether to buy advertising right away or start with promotion through blogs and websites
  6. Plan at least one book trailer 
It appears that I'm planning to do a great many things this year. There are well over 42 objectives, counting the Saving the Planet marketing I didn't bore you with. In reality, though, I'm only talking 9 goals, with each goal essentially being a specific project, over the course of the entire year. If an unexpected opportunity should drop in my lap, I can simply cut out a goal or two. Goals Four and Five could easily be put aside for another year. I can also limit some of my objectives, if I have to. For Goal Three, I really don't need that third objective, for instance.

Oh, by the way, goals should be specific. You need to know exactly what it is you're working to achieve. Objectives should be measurable, at least in the sense that you can tell when you've completed them. Even with Goal 9 where I have to wait around for a while to see how Saving the Planet sells before deciding how to proceed with the next e-books, there will come a point where I know, yes, I can make back the investment for a professional cover or, no, I can't.

Goals and objectives are incredibly valuable because they tell you what you're going to do. In addition, I like them because even if you don't achieve a goal, the work you've done on the objectives for that goal enhance you professionally and can help you in some way you haven't foreseen.

Try getting that out of a New Year's resolution.

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