It’s almost the fourth quarter of 2023. Not one to be rushed at the last minute, I start reflecting on the current year, and planning for the next, long before midnight on New Year’s Eve. Maybe I’m thrilled that I’ve survived another summer in the desert Southwest, so I celebrate by looking ahead. Of course, this happens only after I’ve studied the last nine months.
After years of being disappointed because I over plan what I think (believe) I can accomplish, I finally have a different idea on how to approach planning for 2024. My paper calendar is filled with projected lengths of time I think I need to complete my tasks. Year after year, I look back and discover how overly optimistic I am. I schedule days of writing and editing, mark dates when certain projects “will” be published, and go through my 15-year to-do list as if I had 60-hour days and uninterrupted artistic flow.
In the past nine months, I haven’t come close to accomplishing what I set out to do. I have managed to keep up with minimal admin tasks and make tiny progress on a couple of writing projects. I had planned to publish eight titles, but so far have only completed two.
Looking forward to the remaining three months of 2023, I have four titles to publish. Funny how only two were notes in the margins of my plans for this year. In order to meet my expectations that these projects “can” be finished, I need to reflect on the past. What helped me complete projects? What got in the way? How can I shift my mindset and priorities to give these projects the best chance at completion?
Four titles in three months. A new approach for creative work (and life “balance”) in 2024. Moving forward with wisdom from reflecting on the past. When do you make plans and goals for the next calendar year? Have you always used the same system?