Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Good Ideas for 2007

Sooo . . . .what do I want for the coming year? I don't even want to call them "resolutions" yet, until I've had a chance to mull it over . . .

  • Develop routine. The best things I accomplished in 2006 came out of working with a steady routine. Conversely, all the stress that came to was always a direct result of trying to work outside of established routine -- last-minute dashes to take care of things that could have been scheduled. The only way I can coax greater intensity and productivity out of my life is to work with greater regularity and planning.
  • Make exercise a part of the explict routine. I enjoy exercise. I get a lot out of it. I would do it more if I just committed time to it, in the same way I committed to writing. Despite the variation in my working schedule, I need to find a way to schedule work-out time. I'm pretty sure it needs to be an everyday thing, too, because I've never been able to get any momentum on a discipline that wasn't an everyday thing.
  • Complete daily faithfulness to the billing records. Another routine that made a huge difference to our business is when we started billing weekly. This past year we expanded that to billing weekly and meeting weekly to schedule work and talk over issues. I know that the discipline would work even better if I just wrote my billing records daily and didn't try to jam it in.
  • Work within the schedule. I've had a lot of work-related stress by trying to work outside of the schedule -- "oh, I didn't get much accomplished this afternoon, but I'll make up for it tonight," or some other variation of the perpetual lie. I would do a lot better if I could stay focused on work during working hours, and let it go after that. It would also remove the stress of "creative billing," making my all-night work binges look more like regular, focused work.
  • Schedule regular SKS planning time. Making plans for the group is something that has been ad hoc and frantic, usually because I'm doing it at the last moment and haven't scheduled time to do it right.
  • Back up data. I hope it's not some kind of prescience, but lately I've been feeling anxiety about whether my data is backed up. My life is on my hard drive, and I'm not doing enough to protect it, especially off-site backups.
  • Make the SKS blog happen. I did not start off with a particular direction in mind for the blog, but over time I came to realize what I really wanted to do was establish a spiritual blog on the SKS website and manage it with a stable of other SKS alumni and luminaries. Now that I have a year of consistent writing under my belt, I know it can be done; I just need to go do it.
  • Schedule time for financial stuff. I neglect financial items, letting them go for too long, because nobody besides myself (and possibly my wife) will ever ask me about them. I need to establish a routine that keeps it from being a problem.
  • Work less. I will not have time for all these things unless I actively, consciously commit to working less. The time has to come from somewhere.
  • Read and write more. I was enjoying myself a lot more in the latter part of last year, when I started reading a lot more again. I can thank Audible and my blogging routine for that. I'd like to keep that up.
  • Be present with my kids. I feel guilty for not having some burning priority that needs listing that relates to my family. Seems like there ought to be something I'm doing. But I think that's mostly because I'm already doing most everything as well as it needs to be done. I spend time with my two sons every day. We play together, read, and share meals every day. The only thing that could be a lot better is to shut off my brain while I'm with them and really pay attention.

So, what's the theme in all of this? Routine, routine, routine. Build an explicit routine that embraces all the things that are important, and stick to it.



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