Working with a bunch of entrepreneurs on a daily basis has given me a somewhat more goal-oriented outlook on my personal projects. As a creative person, this is an area where I have forever struggled. I work on a lot of projects, but I have never—with the exception of most of Mike and the Ninja—approached any of them with true focus or a firm plan of action, something beyond vague objectives like “draw something once a week” or “write something sometimes.” Occasionally, I might give myself a slightly more specific deadline, such as a holiday or comic con. But there is rarely a plan. I work when I have time, and frequently decide to play video games, instead.
However, I have determined that this, like most problems in life, can be solved with a spreadsheet.
I listed all of my upcoming/ongoing projects in the first column, and then subsequent columns have been categorized by time as 1-month, 3-month, 6-month, 1-year, and so on. Then, I placed project milestones and goals into these columns based on when I want to have them done. As milestones and goals are completed, I can highlight them green or move them off the chart as the next milestone moves into its slot.
So, now I’m officially goal-oriented. It feels pretty good, but the next challenge will be sticking with it and seeing actual production as a result. In my day-to-day activities, I am bad about setting up new time-management and habit-forming systems, following them religiously for a couple of weeks, then forgetting about them entirely in an instant when some crisis or life detour interjects. However, this system focuses solely on creative projects and is set up on more of a long-term basis, which could either be good because I won’t feel guilty for not accomplishing something for a day or two, or bad because it allows for more slacking. But I’m excited to try it out, and time will tell whether or not it works.