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productivity writing

Little Stones for 2019

Little Stones for 2019:

I live in New England. We have tiny stone walls criss crossing the fields and forests. There are thousands of miles of two foot tall Hobbit walls just outside my door that attest to our history as really poor farm land. When I first moved here it really struck me that every single wall was made in a time before the Bobcat excavator. Stone by stone each farmer marked the boundary of their aspirations. That seemed like a nice analogy for making and achieving goals so I revisit this idea often.

I start by marking out a rough limit for my goals, realizing that this isn’t the real work. The real work is going to be moving stones. One small stone at time.

If you noticed my site’s title, you know I appreciate how Macdrifter built this post on small stones. If you haven’t heard of him, he’s worth your time.

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Getting Serious About Lists & Goals

Designer and developer Dave Gamache, recently known for releasing the Skeleton website framework, wrote about setting goals for personal growth.

I love to do stuff. So much stuff in fact, I often find myself overwhelmed by my own unorganized ambition, but luckily, I found my fix. I wrote a while back about my brain drain technique, which is fantastic for relieving stress and nailing short term tasks, but I was still trying to figure out how to manage longer term goals. While it might not be the perfect fix for everything, I’ve settled on 3-month goals.

Dave goes on to describe how he outlines several objectives in five categories, or approximately 15 objectives every three months. My five categories will look different than Dave’s, which during one 6-month period were:

  • Personal Growth
  • Career Growth
  • Financial
  • Travel
  • Fitness

When you set your goals, include methods for measuring your progress and don’t set goals that are impossible to reach. Set dates and milestones ahead of time to mark your progress.

“Without committing to a date, it’s not often you’ll realize your goals.”

Use your tool of choice to record your goals and objectives. Organize a project with contexts in OmniFocus. Grab your iPhone (or your pen and a notebook) and write a few words to jog your memory later. Draw a picture. Whatever tool works best for you is the one you should use.

Dave listed a few firestarters for people having trouble starting categories or goals. He suggests committing an hour or so to consider and answer three simple questions. Remember how easy it is to lie to yourself, so be honest.

  • What are three things I want to do?
  • What are three things I want to be?
  • What are three things I want to have?

I’m looking forward to getting started. How about you?