Thursday, September 05, 2013

Playing catch up vs. making progress

Many feelancers and Gainfully Employed have to do lists a mile long.  Checking items off can be very satisfying.  But how much of what we do in a given day, week or even month is playing catch up, and how much is making actual progress toward our goals?  Do you even have goals?

Catch up tasks are often very specific, and thus may be easier to accomplish, from emails we need to respond to to learning lines for today's on-camera auditions or gathering wardrobe for tomorrow's fitting.  I like to get these out of the way and out of my mind so I can delve into bigger projects.

I had an article due this week on an assigned topic.  I'm not a procrastinator, so I'd been working on it off and on.  This morning I put on the finishing touches, and sent it to the editor.  But does the article qualify as making progress toward my main goals, such as getting more on-camera acting work?  Not unless someone who reads it sees my website in the "about the author" section and decides to hire me, which is unlikely given the audience for this particular publication.  But I said I'd write it, so I did. 

Suggestion: every time you say yes to a task, ask yourself if it's just for fun, to help someone else out, or if it pertains to your core business goals.  Often we respond to emotion instead of logic, and commit to things we don't really need or want to do.  For example, I agreed to judge another writing contest because I know the coordinator and she asked me.  I'll probably enjoy critiquing the entries, but my time could be put to better use.

Career goals are often more amorphous, and need to be broken down into concrete, discrete steps.  To some, that task itself is overwhelming.  There are so many possibilities.  Where do I start?  Start at the beginning.  As Nora Roberts (the multiple NYT bestselling author) says, "You can't edit a blank page."  What are three things you can do today that will bring you closer to achieving your goals?  

No comments: