Monday, 2 January 2017

Live in Balance: Setting Up

I don't know if the New Year started at a high or a low, or both. There were few fireworks around on New Year's Eve (thank goodness) but still enough to agitate the neighbourhood's dogs into a barking frenzy. We gave our own dogs something to keep them calm, but they were not happy for the duration of that noisy display. Although, I have to say we got to bed earlier than most years. 💜👍
I started a new journal as I would normally do at the beginning of a new year. Usually, I decide on a theme for my journal, a colour or subject, to decorate it with or use as the primary scheme for any visual entries. This year I decided to forego that and stick to my goal to Live in Balance for my journal too. So whatever colour, or subject, or nothing, pops into my head for that entry, I will just go with that. It is a journal after all, and not a scrapbook.
As I sit here, waiting for the first load of laundry to finish washing, I had a look at the spreadsheet I drew up with all my goals set up. To measure is to know - a saying that has prevailed in my professional life and has proven to be a good motto to work (and live) by. Goals can only be achieved if you track your progress towards attaining them. I find this kind of thing motivating although it might be largely contributed to the engineer in me. 😉
Linzé Brandon, Live in Balance, word count target 2017, Open Office Calc graph
Graph Example
Each goal has a graph setup to be a visual map of my progress. Despite my love for math, constructing graphs has never been my strong point, so they might transform into various versions of themselves before I find a style that I can work with. So far, the simplest types were my first choice, and they might still end up being the best.
Of course, doing art and practicing Tai Chi can be difficult to measure the outcome. Here I decided to stick with the hours spent since in both these cases it is the process that is the goal instead of the outcome. I am aiming to become better at it after all. Neither art nor Tai Chi has a destination where you can say 'I have arrived' or 'I have achieved my goal'. The aim is to develop my skills, and time spent can be the only measure of progress. Without working at it, there cannot be any getting better at it, can there?
While this is the official first post of my year to Live in Balance, it is too early to show any progress of any sorts, so I decided to tell you a bit more about my project plan.
Linzé Brandon, Live in Balance, project plan for 2017, writing projects, writing, editing, publishing

As a project manager (my day job) planning forms a significant part of my daily activities. But then so is progress reporting and following up to ensure that the tasks are being executed as planned. So why not use those skills to plan my writing projects for the year?
While I use OpenOffice, Excel has the same template available to help you plan any project. While these are predefined spreadsheets, versions of both the software companies are simple and easy to use. My biggest problem usually is that the plan sits on my computer and unless I open it on a daily basis, I forget what the daily targets are, or forget to update progress.
Since the plan spans the entire year, printing the whole thing is not practical - I simply don't have space in my home office to put it up against a wall or something. So I opted for Plan B - print some weeks of the Gantt chart. This way it fits on an A4 page which I can put on a small magnetic board that I have on my desk right next to my computer. If it's in my face all the time, there is little chance of me forgetting about it!
In case you are wondering? I print my work project plans too. The only difference is that I have enough space in my office to stick them on the walls. The interesting part is that the other members of my team, like to have a look-see now and then to see where we stand overall. It helps them too.
By this time next week my Live in Balance goals will have some progress that I can share with you.
👉 Please share your goals and progress in return. This is the first time I am doing this in such a structured way, and I could definitely benefit from your comments. 💟
Have a great week!
Linzé 💜