Goals, Schmoals

I went into my office (If it’s laundry day, the commute is hell) to check on my goals. They’re written on a big old calendar which sits open on my desk. Evidently I’ve drifted so far away from my goals that I can’t remember them without reading my list. But anyway, I inadvertently dumped a glass of red wine across them. So the ink ran and the red covered the letters and now I can’t see them.

Accident? Or my subconscious rebelling? Bad subconscious. Down, girl.

Hey, life is complicated. If you read this blog regularly, you know my life just got a teense more busy, with my Mom’s hospitalization. I’m not a maniac; I would defer my goals for a few months, but the only thing that bothers me is that next year I’ll be wanting to make new goals and there will be the old ones all over again. And I’ll feel kind of like a failure, or at the least, hugely unmotivated.

So I want them done. Completed. I want new goals. I want to see progress, but I have so little time. Which is why I felt so excited when I discovered a solution, something smart and helpful, from a great book called The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss.

You might be thinking, 4 hours? What a huckster this guy must be! But I loved what he had to say, based on long-time science and his own curious, energetic brain. For example, he reminds us of the Pareto Principle, wherein 80% of our results arise from 20% of our efforts. In his example, he decided to get rid of all his customers except the 20% who generated the most sales for the least effort, and he ended up working less and making more.

Now, as a writer, I’m not sure how I’ll use that information, but I might stop wasting so much time on the Internet where it’s not productive, and assess what, for example, drives more readership to this blog. (I once got 355 hits in one day from commenting energetically all over the Huffington Post.)

Another example: if I look for a way to limit tasks to those that will generate the most outcome, having a GREAT logline for my next novel would be one way, because it would force me to focus. My draft will be tighter, and I can avoid wasting time and creativity on dead ends or misdirected characters.

In my next post, we’ll talk about another proven scientific principle for increasing your outcomes via reduced effort.

(Update on Mom: she is now at a rehab hospital near my home and I can see her daily. She was sad last night but it’s our way to lose our strength in the evening and regain it in the morning, so she knew not to let it overcome her. Still, she was dealing with the frustration of having been SO CAREFUL and still falling and breaking her leg. What a setback at 85! More later.)

Kindle readers can email me at Lmspreen@yahoo.com.


  1. says

    Hi Lynne. I’m a new blogger (1st post 12/29/10) and a woman of a certain age. I found your blog recently and have been stopping by occasionally. This post spoke to me for a number of reasons and I thank you for making me stop and think about using my time wisely. I agree with your comment about linking our comments to a specific topic/blog link. That way we have a better chance to attract someone to our blog who will stay instead of bounce. I’ve been using that as my key marketing tactic lately. Please stop by and say hi. http://www.justonedonna.com/2011/03/stupid-stuff.html

  2. says

    Boy,Lynne, have you ever hit the nail on the head! I’d love to figure out a way to do more with less distraction,effort,frustration,etc. You’ve got me intrigued about Huffington Post,too.
    BTW, some days are just better than others so be kind to yourself. I agree with Debbie and Teddy Roosevelt: “Do what you can with what you have where you are.”
    So glad to get your update on Mom. You tell her to keep up the good fight. Falls happen no matter how careful we are. Please give her a big hug and tell her to take one day at a time. I will look forward to your ongoing updates.

  3. says

    Wow, Lynne,

    I feel the same way. And I find that I’m on the internet a lot and doing nothing. I love the Huffington thing. Never thought I could get hits just by commenting on Huff post. Doing that tomorrow. Thanks for the revelation and the reminder that I need to kick myself in the butt.

    • says

      Hey, Marina and everybody,
      When you comment on HuffPo be sure to include your link at the bottom of your comment.
      And second, since the trend is changing (and people are starting to notice when a comment is really just a way of publicizing your blog, which we would never of course do!), make your link to a PARTICULAR post. So instead of:
      http://www.AnyShinyThing.com, A Forum for Smart Women of a Certain Age

      you would do this:

      That way, you’re offering something of interest or value rather than indulging in shameless advertising. 😉

  4. says

    Thanks for the update on your mom. Healing, especially in older people, takes a long time and that can cause frustration. I’m glad she has you to lean on! And don’t beat yourself up about those unattained goals — sometimes life’s details get in the way, and we just have to put the long-range on the back burner while we address the immediate. They’ll still be there (though maybe when you next meet them, they won’t be as important — and who’s to say that’s not a good thing?!)

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