Home > Ideas > Deadlines, Targets …. Goals!

Deadlines, Targets …. Goals!

Don’t we often get weighed down by them?

–          A looming Deadline – it can be such a frightening prospect,

–          Imposing Targets – People suffer agonies worrying how they can be achieved and

–          Uncertain Results – you get stressed out because it could go either way in spite of best efforts.

I embarked on a journey on December 8th – to write 100 articles in 100 days. It was a “Huge Ask” for someone who had not written one article in the previous 100 days. Yes, I had 30 articles posted at another blog. The idea of 100 in 100 came from the objective that was set when my first weblog was launched – I boldly stated an intention “to share at least 100 anecdotes in one year”. This time the hill was much steeper – was I being unreasonable with myself? There was only one way to find out; by doing it!

In my first experiment the project started well and I wrote around 15 articles in the first 3 months, but it rapidly ran out of steam and now, 3 years later, there are just 30 articles posted there.

What were the reasons?

–          Lack of focus

–          Lack of a plan

–          Not being consistent

–          Seeing it as a job / burden

–          Not enough topics to work on

–          Other important issues

–          No encouragement to go on

The idea to start a blog that was focused on my work took shape during a discussion with my friend Shantanu Sengupta. He said it’s a great way to showcase my work and to share my knowledge and experience with others – Social Media had matured sufficiently and there were enough people to be the potential audience.

Our discussion threw up the following suggestions:

–          Be consistent (Write at least one article a day – Wow! That was a huge challenge)

–          Keep looking around for ideas / topics to write on

–          Have variety to break monotony – Something I have achieved in content, not in the method

–           Broadcast it actively using the power of Social Media – Get readers and retain them

–          Use the blog to start a dialogue

–          Keep the article as short as possible – people don’t have time to spend on big articles

–          Focus on a few things and be good at it

In the early days it was easy because there was so much to write about – it was an open arena; but soon I started running out of ideas – I wondered whether this was another doomed blog.

But this time, instead of giving up I surmounted the roadblock by doing a few things.

–          Every interaction was used as a potential source of Subject Matter

–          I ran all the incidents from my professional life through my head

–          Questions raised by the people I trained and coached gave me inputs

–          Things I read on the Internet gave me ideas

–          Even comments made by my readers have been used as themes

I made a note of every piece of information that would be useful – sometimes a few bits gathered from different places were patched together to write an article.

Occasionally I had more than one article ready for publication, but kept them aside for subsequent days. When you are on a good spell a lot can be done and that helps to compensate for the lean period.

I did go through dips in commitment and motivation – especially on the days when I was tired or something else had caused a disappointment, then it was hard to push oneself to write But I have always enjoyed writing and I believed that keeping this blog going would help me in many ways.

At the end of 100 days I could not achieve 100% due to 2 events that overlapped – my wife and I made a trip to Aurangabad to attend my son’s Graduation ceremony and my laptop got damaged on the very first day of the journey. Since the program was arranged at the last moment there was a lot of travelling to do and we hardly spent more than a few hours at any one location. Hence there was no time to sit down and write and I did not have any extra material to post. There entire tour lasted 5 days and I could write on any of those days – my laptop got fixed only 4 days after I got back, but the blog was kept going by using other machines.

The backlog has not been covered yet. This is the 95th article out of the planned 100.

But now it’s time to recalibrate and set a new target for the next performance period. It will obviously factor in events that are beyond my control so as to ensure achievement of the next target.

I believe that stress, nightmares and uncertainty can be avoided through proper planning, careful preparation. You also need to review constantly and know where you stand – add to that a generous dose of commitment, interest and vision of the benefits that will accrue to you when you score that ………………….. G-O-A-L!!
 Note: Had missed this important bit while publishing the article.

Another technique I adopted quite successfully in this project was “A day at a time” – I just focused on the one article that had to be published on that day. The other 40 or 50 articles remaining could wait. I did not permit the thought of having to write them confuse the issue – the idea was to avoid worrying about what was not important at that moment. So on the 51st day I worked towards writing and publishing the 51st article; 52 would become a concern only the next day.

Thus there was complete attention on the job at hand and the project moved forward on firm footing.

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