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Daily Writing Journal: Guilt-Free Planning Tool - get stuff done! Well sort of! How I'm using it.

I'm always on the lookout for a good planning tool to help me do stuff. Like I have plenty of things outstanding and I'm not even going to bother going into detail. However I was try and maintain a bare minimum. NOTE I ONLY PLAN WHEN I NEED TO. I need to say this because the world seems obsessed with planning.
So techniques I've found useful have been to
  • state the goals
  • do the steps backwards. Yes backwards from finish to start rather from start to finish. I used this  method for getting a job, for example this was the last two outlines I had. I learnt this from a free-life coaching website which I can't remember. It was when everything on the internet was free, so I'm talking about a good ten years ago. 

Steps to job-hunting

  • First day
  • sign contract
  • references and  qualifications taken up
  • resignation (always a scary one)
  • conditional job offer
  • interview 
  • send out applications 
  • daily job hunting - I'd also name the sites here.
I'd also add other steps in between - it can get messy as I plan on paper.

For publishing 

  • Upload on Amazon
  • write book details 
  • Create ebook - layout
  • get keywords & blurb
  • copyedit/proofs
  • cover etc
  • final grammar check - grammarly & pro writer
  • editing process
  • final draft
Things don't necessarily go in the order by it's a rough plan with steps. I've also used it to get a raise at work. Yes. The caveat was no raise, then the job hunting kicked off. So I've been using this on and off for two years. 

However it's really just rough but I discovered an article written by Caroline Lodge (she is a writer and runs a book blog called  Bookward ) in the April Writers' Forum issue 210. I spend my beer money on buying magazines. Anyway Caroline write about a similar method and for details you'd have to look at her site or buy the  magazine. 

No-Guilt Planning

Caroline outlined four stages - which we all kind of know if we plan.
What you want to achieve?  When? Where you are now? It was the last one that got me....I was okay I'm on to something now.

Then she suggested planning backwards and writing down the main actions, - as you see I already use this.  She then sequenced these steps into six month stages but what I didn't did which I thought was brilliant was to outline steps. Okay most of actions were also steps but sometimes it helps to break down tasks into further steps. Then finally it was the reviewing and revising stage. Plans aren't static and need to be flexible. I thought that was brilliant so if you are interested in further details the April issue of the magazine is also available electronically. 

Anyway, I decided to test it with smaller things I wanted to acheive. Not this is inportant step I learn from my other planning book, you know the Procrastination book I credit with getting myself out of a career slum. Oh, yes, people. I, at times, I'm flapping and treading water, so once in a while I see a book and helps pull me of whatever funk I'm in. This book suggested always trying out new planning tools on smaller goals. 

So I have three smaller goals - to complete three books. So this is nothing fancy, but these are library books that I want to return read. Yes, return and not particularly review.

My Rough Plans

This is my first plan based on completing the Manga drawing book. I wrote about wanting to complete this book about a week ago. I reckon if I do a minimum of two drawings a day I could finish by May or before.

This one is based on two books I've borrowed from the library. I've blotted out some information but you can see. Children of Blood and Bones is due back on 10th April so I need to finish it before then. The book has 85 chapters - don't ask me why but if I wanted to finish it, I'd have to do an average of 6 chapters a day. So far, I've completed 18 since I started this plan.

The other book is the classic mystery - the Maltese Falcon, I also want to complete this by 10th of April and return it. When I stated this plan, I'd already completed six chapters, grabbing time here and there. I hope to complete a chapter a day - great book but you know how it is if you aren't overly interested in a book. I'm reading it because it came highly recommended.

I have a plan because they are not my preferred reading material, however once I've completed these books, I shall roll out Caroline Lodge's planning tool to other areas -maybe even writing...

What makes the plans flexible?

I tend to know where I am, and also can review what I need to know. Plans can also change but like with the books, I can read them on my commute to work or during my lunch break - if not too busy. I can grab a spare 5 minutes here and there. I may not finish it but at least I can track my progress and adjust.  With the drawing book, I'm just having fun so there are no right drawing so again it's about flexing to suit me.

Should I do a review? Maybe when I'm done...


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