Last year I decided to create a 52-week blog, meaning simply that I would blog three times per week for 52 weeks. It was a personal challenge. After 12 episodes of the experiment, I realize that I had changed as a person and the challenge was no longer relevant to me.
So I had to stop, rethink, and take another direction. Sound familiar? However, the 12-week period of producing all that content was extremely useful.
This post is about what I learned.
Below is a graphic of the tool I used to plan my writing schedule and content. Yes, it's that high-tech new scheduling app you've heard about.
Nope. It's a calendar!
Sometimes we fail to accomplish our goals and tasks because we make them way too complicated. The graphic below is how I hashed out my assignments. I kept it simple and I suggest you do the same for your own tasks.
Here are my main takeaways.
The Power of a Visual Aid
In order for me to have created 12 separate blog posts (of 500-1000 words each) in four weeks, I needed a visual aid. I have to be able to SEE it.
I'm not sure how that works for you, but for accomplishing any task, I suggest you also stick something right where you can see it every day, several times per day. Even if you're not working on the project at the moment, the visual will stimulate your creativity and desire.
The visual above sat on my writing desk and I stared at it every day. It was both a reminder of the commitment I made to myself and also a cheerleader, as I wrote and published each piece. I had the joy of checking them off as I completed each one.
Yes, I am a shameless check box-er. Those of you who make lists and mark them off as complete when you've completed the task know what I'm talking about.
So, be sure to get a strong visual aid and post it near your work space. Make it challenging, but also make it feel good. It should make you want to start tapping that keyboard or getting on with whatever goal you set for yourself.
Simplicity is Key
Consider also the simplicity of the tool. We often fail to accomplish things through overthinking or over-complication. Perfectionism is just another form of procrastination so stop calling yourself a perfectionist. It's a bad prophesy.
I used a simple calendar printed from Microsoft Outlook. You can do the same from your software or from Google. Print it out, record your goals and post it where you can see it. Keep it simple.
Here's what you don't see on the grid: All of the moments of quiet time in prayer and meditation; times spent in strategy and planning, working out, running a business and a charity, connecting with friends and family, writing a novel and mentoring folks; being a husband, father and grand-dad—plus a million other responsibilities.
As I stared at those 31 pages on the calendar, one thing jumped at me. It's the most profound thing I've learned so far. It's this: My calendar reflects my life. I chose it. I am the composer and the artist.
I chose the writing challenge, like I choose everything else in my life; my spiritual growth, my health, my friends, my goals and outcomes.
All of those choices are mine. I take full responsibility for them. I feel blessed to be able to choose. Because in the end, I'm choosing me. I'm choosing to be the unique creature God made me to be. I don't have to hide behind a bushel or run away. I can be myself.
I've been fortunate to be a mentor to many. I've seen people abdicate responsibility by blaming life, other people, world affairs or circumstances for their shortcomings. This is silly. The one thing that recording my daily activities demonstrates is that I'm fully in charge of me.
I can challenge myself, or I can take it easy. I can go the extra mile or not go at all. It's entirely my decision.
One final thing. I had a Big Picture goal of writing 20,000 words of my new novel, The Disciple, last month and to read one book, per week. Well ... I wrote 1500 words of the novel and read 25% of one book, the entire month!
So, I have some catching up to do. Why? Because I fell behind. I had some choices to make, and I made them.
What are you choosing to do with your life? How will you spend your next 30 days? Have you thought about it?
Remember—whatever ultimately happens—you chose it. Let me encourage you to make sure your choices reflect the very best of you.
I would love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading my post. I'm an attorney and Christian minister. I'm also a #keynote #speaker and an author. I write about business, life and faith, focusing on how to know God's vision for your life so that you may fulfill your purpose. You may connect further with me here or by clicking below!
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