Goal setting is such a tricksy thing. Writing down all the things I want to get done is easy. Trying to fit them into an actual plan that bears some relation to my real life, with my real commitments… well, that gets a bit more complicated. I fondly imagine it would be totally manageable if my real commitments were a bit more manageable themselves – if they could be conveniently boxed into neat chunks of time, leaving other chunks of time free. But since the commitments in question come in the form of live human beings, aged almost 2 and not quite 6… well.
I’ve got goals for everything. For work of all kinds (designing, teaching, writing). For personal challenges. For getting my life generally a bit more sorted. I wrote down my big goals and priorities. I made a list of top projects. And then came the tricky part.
I wrote down all the things I need to fit into an ordinary week. From the things that have to and will happen almost without any option (grocery shopping) to the things that make those things easier (meal planning) to the things that I really need to work on making time for (German practice, exercise, special projects).
I wrote down all the things that I need or want to work on regularly, but not every week. We’ll call this a monthly list. One big new item on this list is sewing: I have a brand-new overlocker, and an almost untouched Bernette, and I’m terrified of them both. I aim to fix this. (Everyone in my family sews, except me. This cannot stand.) One weekend a month, I’ll try to tackle a sewing project. Wish me luck.
Then I drew up a little grid for my week: columns for morning, Max’s midday nap, afternoon and evening, for Monday to Sunday. I thought I’d be able to slot things in around my few fixed appointments (Monday evening German class, Tuesday afternoon swimming, etc). But I just sat and stared at the page. It’s all so… woolly. Armin’s completely erratic shift schedule doesn’t help either. There are actually very few times when I can be sure of what’s happening.
Well, never mind. My schedule remains woolly, but I’m allocating a particular task or project to each day. So whenever I do get to sit down, at least I’ll know what I’m supposed to be working on. It’s all reminding me a bit of what a friend and tutor said of the importance of study schedules, back at university: “They are absolutely vital. You have to know EXACTLY what it is you’re not doing.”