Belinda Lindhardt

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Goals set and Ready to Go ! 2009 - Part2

Following on from my post yesterday Goals set and Ready to Go ! 2009 Part one - Here is Part 2 and how I came to my magnificent plan for 2009. As I mentioned yesterday rather than go into my specific goals I am going to keep this a bit broad and explain my process with the hope that it helps others.

As I wrote yesterday, one of my main problems in working out my goals and vision was that I didn’t know where I want to go, I was just coping and I had nothing to strive for and whenever I tried to think about it I would just come up with a blanks and it all seemed very hard.

I knew I had to dedicate some time so I locked myself up in a room (had a babysitter to watch the kids), got out a big A3 sketch pad and in the middle I wrote the question “Where do I want to go? what do I want to do ?”. I then wrote small notes or words around the question whatever came to my head.
For example: the words security, independence, selling art, money, direction and future amoung others popped up.
Following that I then started to question and add to what the word meant or other things connected with that. ie. Art = future for me and my children, enjoyment, a direction.
Following that my process was eg. Art: Who buys my art ? Or who is likely to buy my art? What have I sold to date? What are comments about it? What art do I enjoy doing most? Etc.

Then I turned the page and went through this process for my design business. ( I realized I have two separate thought processes for both my design and my art even though they do merge quite often to similar themes they are different). So again questions like where do I want to go? what markets should I target? what has been working for me so far? What has brought in the most income over the past year? What doesn’t bring me income?

On this step it didn’t matter that this page doesn’t make sense, I know that it will later. When this started pulling up a blank again, I put it aside for a few days and came back to it. I think this was important, it allowed me to have some distance and think more about what was going on. If anything came up I had forgotten I added it, then after a few days I re- read it and repeated the process with few more questions, added a few more notes. Then I let it sit for a few more days again.

After this it all needed to be analysed. I had loads of notes on bits of paper everywhere. I basically tried look at common themes or statements I had written, I did have the same issues that I just kept coming back to and realized these must be the important ones. I then looked at the things that could be classified as “goals” or things I wanted to do and wrote some notes on what action I could take to get to that goal. Some goals would require some steps before I could move to the next, (thanks to Joan for teaching me that one) what would they be ?

After lots of messy scribbles and writing I then decided it needed to be cut down and consolidated and record all really important stuff. So I then started a word document and titled it

I found it easier to start with the result I wanted, and then I would work back to how to get there.

I started it with a motto for the year “Working Smarter Not HARDER”

( one of the things I realized in my brainstorming session, as I mentioned in yesterdays post, I cant work harder at this point it has to be smarter which means basically not spending time on things that don’t bring me to my end goal. My time is limited I need to spend it more wisely)

"I am supporting myself and my family."

(This is vision is something I kept coming back to. It’s something that is very important to me in this time in my life, it is something I realized that also gives me many other things such as security, accomplishment, a reason for doing what I am doing, it gives value to what I am doing and why I am doing.)

My next step was to work out ACTUAL things I would like to have accomplished by the end of 2009.
This step really helped me sort my head out.
Some examples I came up with were:

  • have at least 3 sketchbooks completed (something I realized I really need to stick to over the year)
  • increased my illustration portfolio,
  • increased my mailing list (technically I know I should have a number or percentage here but seeing as I don’t have many atm the only way is up )

In setting these goals I was very careful to make sure that I haven’t set the bar too high but is also a challenge to work to over the year. I also included some personal ones as well connected with the kids as these are just as if not more important.
It’s also important to note here that there were some goals I came up with which didn’t really align with my vision, they would just take time away from what I really wanted to do so I scrapped them. Everything came back to my vision and the steps I need to get there.

After doing all that I came up with ACTIONS that I can do throughout 2009 which if I keep at it throughout the year will help me achieve the goals.

  • Complete 1 cp drawing a month
  • Complete 1 canvas a fortnight
  • Participate in the VSD
  • Ensure I have at lease 1 extra fun activity with the boys a week (something I haven’t been able to do)
Again I had to remember to no set anything that I wont be able to meet, I don’t want to set myself up to fail. But I do have to be disciplined to meet these goals, and I do have to have a deal with myself that I am committed to achieve them.

KEEPING MOTIVATED and Being Accountable
So after all these goals are defined I need to keep motivated to be able to actually do them. The biggest thing for me is that I forget, so I printed out my VISION out including my ACTIONS as well as some little affirmations or sayings that I need to be reminded of, laminated it and have stuck it next to my computer monitor so I will look at it a few times everyday.

Part of my stresses last year was not just art and work but also things like keeping up with the housework, preparing dinners and family stuff. During this whole process I realized I have not been allocating enough time to these things. Somehow I was assuming that they will get done but as there is only me to do them and my task list is long I continually put these tasks off, they become a mammoth overwhelming time consuming task which only adds to the problem.

A saying that I heard last year at the business mums conference was to “DO A LITTLE BIT OFTEN” so as part of managing my time better I am going to adopt this system.
For example: boring stuff like dishes, rather than putting off emptying the dishwasher I will make sure I do it first thing. This will save me time later on rather than the dishes of the day accumulating. For art I will set aside a timeframe for artwork so I am only spending 30mins or 1 hour and then move onto other jobs. I will also do things like allocate tasks which take less brain power for the night rather than the morning, and save my morning head for things which take a lot of my concentration.
For example: I need to sort out all my bookmarks./ favorites. This I can do at night when I am tired, it doesn’t take much brainpower. Better to do it at night than in the morning when my brain is on full steam.

I will also be concentrating on investing my time on activities that will help make me money and bring me towards my goal (for my design business). Rather than cost me time. It’s not all about the money, there are things I need to do which I enjoy which is catching up with friends or helping someone out, but at the same time I need to watch that this isn’t constantly absorbing my time as I don’t have the luxury of being able to invest too much time in other things.

I realized that I also have a few tasks which are one-off tasks which need to be done and allocated but once they are done I can move on. So as well as all of the above I also setup a page which is titled

In this list are 6 tasks which I need to get done by the end of January.
For Example:
  • Update to my blog. Before I do that I need to do some research on other blogs. So my task is: I must research at least 10 blogs, noting the designs, sidebars, tags, what I like and don’t like about them.
  • Another one is to setup and install my new computer system which is hopefully coming mid January.

The Montly Task Page is printed and placed on the other side of my monitor. I think this list will work basically based on guilt and help me with avoiding all the stresses I wrote about above. I tend to feel guilty if I am wasting time. Or if I am wasting time its because I don’t have anything allocated to do (or I am procrastinating on it). This list is there starring at me its prevents me wasting my time (I hope).

At the bottom of this page I have the result of these tasks. Or reward if you like. The reward is after I do my research I will be able to make conscious decisions and implements my findings into my own blog template in February.

After this step was completed I then got out my organizing system that I talked about in yesterday's post and allocated blocks of time and reminders to my days and weeks. It’s all very well to have these goals in place but they need to fit into my day. I need to be held accountable to them. Tasks and reminders have been placed on days when I am likely have time to get them done. So they will be. This is also very important step as without specifying when you are going to do it all and MAKING the time for it wont get done.
Oh and in case your wondering .. yes I also allocated some “mum time” in there 1 morning a week. For an hour, just to have time for a coffee at the coffee shop or have some peace time to myself when the boys are at kindy !! It’s the one time in the whole week its just for me to sit.

So after all of this if I still have your attention the final thing I have done is to have some Directions also printed out.

Basically my DIRECTIONS are ideas, notes, broad statements or just important points I need to remember that came out of my brainstorming which helps align my activities. I categorized them into Art Direction, Design Direction, Personal Direction and listed about 5 points for each.
For Example.
Art Direction:

  • work more in a series
  • exlplore some limited palette pieces
  • continue to explore more time saving and messy techniques. You get the idea…
Personal Direction:
  • Encourage the boys to help out more around the house with tidying up, becoming more independent .

During the process some long term goals came up for things I would like out of my life. i.e. For the next few months, years etc. These are specific i.e. I want to have this done or that sorted by X Month. (You thought I was going to share those didn’t you !! I have to keep some things secret! So nope your not finding out :P) These are printed and will be filed along with my accomplishments for 2008. Something I don’t need to see everyday but its there to refer to.

In conclusions my process was as follows:
  1. Brainstorming
  2. Analyzing the Brainstorming
  3. Defining My Vision and Putting It up to keep Motivated
  4. Defining Goals - What I want to accomplish in 2009 with Actions I can do regularly
  5. Creating a Month task page with results / actions
  6. Allocate your Tasks to your Daily Planning Schedule
  7. Creating a Directions page to with specific notes on directions
  8. Long Term Goals

So there you have it! I am not sure whether you made it through all of that post Congratulations if you did. One of the reasons why do my blog is that I want my help others through my journey. If your struggling with your goal setting I hope there might be something here that helps you. Let me know if it does I would love to know.


Ann said...

I found this very interesting Belinda! Particularly the idea of delegating tasks into smaller, more doable portions in order to reach those long term goals. (I already do this with housework but not so consciously with my art or life goals) I may borrow some of your planning ideas here. Thanks for posting all of this :)

Belinda Lindhardt said...

Oh Great Ann, i am glad it makes sense to someone other than myself :) then it was all worth it :)

Valerie Jones said...

Great post, Belinda! I like the part that you began with the end in mind. That's something I need to try.

Rose Welty said...

Belinda, sounds like you are working hard to get the most out of yourself. I'm hoping it will be a great year for you.

Jo Castillo said...

This is a great post. I like your motto. It is such a good idea. I waste so much time. Thanks, and good luck with your year. You have a good plan!

Belinda Lindhardt said...

Thanks everyone :)

Anonymous said...

Its good to read your goals - very very helpful. I have been collecting art books, pencils, paints for ages and have not achieved a thing. Thank you for inspiring me!

SaveTime said...

Thank you for sharing your goals & process Belinda. I love the simplicity of your system - simple and powerful.

I'd wish you luck achieving it all, but it doesn't sound like you need it :)