Three Things, 2017

Last time I said I would be doing the three things approach to planning goals for 2017 rather than my previous over-elaborate planning structures.

Three Things At Different Scales

The point of this approach is to set long term goals and then to set shorter term goals which support those longer term goals while also getting the near tern stuff done that always needs to be done. I heard about it from Scott Hanselman when I heard him speak earlier this year, but it’s derived from David Allen’s ideas in Getting Things Done and Stephen Covey’s “seven habits”.

So, you set annual goals, then monthly goals, then weekly goals, then daily goals – you don’t have to work on a longer term goal in each shorter segment, but at the end of each day, week, or month you review what you have done both against the goals you set at the beginning of the period and against the goals you have chosen for the longer term. These goals come in sets of three because three is an easy number to keep track of, but I think of it as three plus or minus one (especially for the shorter term goals), so two to four goals for each period.

I like this system because it’s small enough to be manageable but it stacks many small things into bigger things – the essence of divide and conquer approaches to problem solving. It also has the feeling of an agile process, which I have found to be an effective approach to project management at the day job.

Three Things In My Practice

This is how I am going to use Three Things:

  • I will set annual goals (see below)
  • I will do monthly check-in posts where I will set monthly goals and check back against the previous month
  • I will set weekly and daily goals privately, although I might well talk about how those smaller scale goal structures have worked in monthly posts

Three Things for 2017

Things I want to do in 2017:

  1. finish Shapes of Chance
  2. talk to some agents, aiming to obtain representation
  3. investigate publishing A New Dawn

The first goal should be no surprise since I spent most of 2015 working on that. The second was also a 2015 goal that fell by the wayside. The third is a bit out of left field, but I’ve been really enjoying running A New Dawn and I’d like to share it more widely.

Three Things for December

December 2016 is half gone, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have some goals for the remainder of the month.

  1. gift shopping – between Christmas and birthdays, I need to arrange some gifts. Obviously I have some things already sorted out, but need to finish this all off.
  2. finish a short story – that is, finish editing one I already have a draft of.
  3. read a drawer manuscript – leaving Paragons until the new year, but I have two other unread manuscripts to read.

Check back here at the beginning of January for the first official monthly check-in.

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