Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Harvest Time

By Martha Reed

I love Fall because it’s time for the harvest. It’s a great time of year to take stock of what got accomplished over the last year, what did or didn’t happen, and then set up a plan for the coming year to either move myself in the right direction or to take a look at what didn’t get accomplished and figure out a new approach to get it done.

Fall helps me reset my priorities. For instance, I’m only half way through my manuscript, so I’m moving it to the top of the priority list for 2009, letting nothing else get in the way of accomplishing that task. Of course, unforeseen things will happen, but I’ve learned that if I keep a constant steady pressure on the top item, moving it back up to the top whenever it gets bumped off, by the end of the year it’s been accomplished.

I had three priorities for 2008: 1) organize a family reunion; 2) master the officer requirements for the local Sisters in Crime chapter and 3) help orchestrate the sale of a house. I took a look at each item last Fall, gave each item a sufficient amount of thought and planning and applied the pressure. A year later, all three items are done.

The ‘lose twenty pounds’ issue does keep falling off the list but I am still working on it. Dieting didn’t work completely but ‘eating with nutrition in mind’ has helped a bit plus I’ve added yoga and chiropractic maintenance to the mix. We’ll see if that helps; it certainly can’t hurt and I will keep the steady pressure on and craft a different combination until I find the one that works.

Last Fall I also decided to prioritize finding a new position at my day job. Truth be told I needed to earn more money – I need to start funding a Roth IRA and my health insurance premium doubled – and I couldn’t accomplish either of those at my current level. Using the same step-by-step process, I identified a new target job, formulated an approach, took extra training, volunteered for standing committees, even wrote business articles for the quarterly newsletter – anything to help raise my corporate profile. The good news is HR called me a week ago and made an offer and I start my new position on Monday.

In writing about this topic I’m not trying to show what I’ve accomplished; I’m trying to show how accomplishments can be acquired. Some folks I know blithely go through life waiting for their next lucky break. Luck is all well and good but I save it for the lottery and the casinos. I’ve learned that focused direct intent and lots of hard work will get you where you want to go plus the end results are more consistent. Maybe this is because I’m a bull-headed Taurus but all I know is, it works!

I invite you to try this approach for 2009. Make a list and identify two or three items you want to harvest next year. Post the list in a prominent place like over your coffeemaker. Each day, reconsider your items and think of what you can do that day to move them forward. If that item just won’t happen, it won’t happen, so move to the next item on your list and keep the pressure on. A year from now, take stock of your results. I think you’ll be amazed at what you can do when you put your mind to it.


Tory said...

Congratulations, Martha, that's great!

My life, unfortunately, is characterized by a button I once had which said, "Most of life is spent in Plan B." Not that I don't have plans I try to accomplish, mind you, I just have to be flexible about what the universe whats for me vs. what I think I want for myself.

However, I usually find that what I end up with is so much better than what I thought I wanted, I don't regret it!

Martha Reed said...

I'm with you there, Tory. I had to learn to go with the flow, or Plan B, too. I've had some big lessons in not holding onto things that didn't work; something better was usually waiting in line right behind.

Annette said...

Congratulations on the new position, Martha!

I'm big with to-do lists. Each Monday I create a new one. First I add critical items from the previous week that didn't get accomplished. Then I space out what I need to get done over the course of the week. The Pennwriters 2009 Conference and my wip are my two top priorities at the moment. And little by little, both of those are getting done.

Joyce said...

I hope you love your new job, Martha!

I'm not big with lists, but I do like setting goals--otherwise I'd never get anything done!

My biggest goal at the moment is to get the first draft of the WIP done by the end of the year. Since I'm not even 1/3 of the way through it, that's going to be tough. If I get close, I'll be happy.

Martha Reed said...

I'm glad to see so many of us have WIPs - :)

Kathryn Lilley said...

Really good advice, Martha! Having an attainable list to chip away at is a great way to prioritize. Like writing a little bit every day, at the same time, no matter what. Odds are that at the end of a year you'll have a book!

Gina said...

I, too, make lists, but then I lose the lists . . .