I’ve been a Franklin Planner disciple for almost 10 years now. Setting goals and using daily task lists to chart my progress toward them is as much a part of my life as eating or sleeping. The thing is, I’ve only used this tool in my “professional life.” I truly believe that until just now, I’ve been merely paying lip service to one of my deepest desires – writing. Sure, I add “write” to my daily task list but more often than not there is an arrow deferring it on to the next day rather than a check mark saying I’ve done it. Since no one goes hungry or gets left at the airport if I don’t do it, I wasn’t truly making it a priority. Well that all changes today. Since joining the Forward Motion Writers Community I’ve found out there is forum there where you can publicly declare your goal and then track it. Very cool. Scary, but cool. This means of course, that I’ll have to actually think of writing as real instead of just that thing that happens when I get an idea that coincides with some free time. I’m hoping that once I get rolling with my goal, which is 500 words per day, I’ll somehow get over that lost feeling of ‘write? Write what?’ Which is what I’m feeling right now.
I suppose I can liken this to the feeling I had three years ago when I first started in real estate. I got my desk, and orientation around the office, even some mentoring classes. I had stuff to read and forms to fill out and tasks to accomplish. But once those were all done (and efficiently checked off of my Prioritized Daily Task List) I sat there looking around at all the other busy agents. Busy doing what? I wondered. Well, they were calling people, having conversations, writing letters. The really busy ones were doing all that AND writing contracts and listing houses and negotiating deals. The better they did those things, the more closings they had – hence more money! Trouble is, for me anyway, they were doing it on their own, there was no manager, or supervisor assigning tasks. Stated or unstated, these people had goals and they were working toward them – on their own! What a concept!
It was and still is hard for me, coming from the daily busy-work corporate world into the fend for yourself world of commission sales. I was so used to sitting at a desk answering phones, transcribing other peoples’ bad handwriting, dutifully attending meetings, all for someone else. It was totally unfulfilling, but it brought in a regular paycheck. I still long for the sense of accomplishment I’d get after turning in a particularly well worded report. The trouble was no one read the report for the sheer joy of reading. No one thought ‘oh who wrote this, it’s so insightful and entertaining!’ And, whats worse, it ended up filed away right next to the crapily written ones. But, I still got paid… the same as the people who couldn’t string together two words, no more, no less. In hindsight, it’s hard to remember what kind of daily or monthy goals I would have had in that environment, or when I’d have time to accomplish them if I did!
I do pretty well at real estate. I established some goals and I work toward them, guided of course by my trusty Franklin. I get paid according to how hard or how little I work, which is exactly what I wanted. But in all honesty, my motive in changing careers mid-life was two-fold. One, it broke that safe dependance on a routine paycheck, and two, it gave me the free time I needed to pursue what I really want to do – write. At this point, business tends to roll in without grueling effort on my part, and I’m about as busy as I want to be. Now, I can give my writing goals the respect they deserve.