Too Many Goals, a Cautionary Tale

As an ambitious person, I tend to go overboard when it comes to setting goals. A good goal should force you to stretch yourself to reach, but still be doable. They require real effort. This is a good thing. Reaching for a goal means that even when I don’t complete it in its entirety, I still work harder and get more done than if I hadn’t set the goal at all.

The problem I keep running into is setting too many goals at one time. When this happens, I spend each day scrambling to try to reach the most important ones and lamenting the ones I didn’t have time to work on. It’s a nasty cycle. Without fail, I’ll say stupid things to myself like “I can catch up on that tomorrow or over the weekend” fully knowing that the time fairy isn’t going to grant me more hours, even if I promise to slip her into one of my stories. Sometimes it’s not time that causes the problem, but energy. It doesn’t matter how much free time you have if you’re too tired to think or work.

I started July like I start every month, by looking over what I really wanted to make progress on and then setting goals that would help me do so. Turns out there were plenty of things I wanted to be more consistent doing that included house and yard work, personal health goals, and of course, authoring pursuits.

When I counted the things on my list today, I found sixteen different tasks that I needed to accomplish if I wanted to reach all those goals today. Some only take a few minutes, but most take anywhere from twenty minutes to two hours each. It doesn’t take a genius to do the math there. Even on a great day, there’s no way I’d have the time. Especially since I’ve also got the kiddos at home and need to give them attention as well, not to mention keep everyone fed.

Yep, just thinking about it is stressing me out a little.

Will I learn my lesson when I set goals for August? I surely hope so. The good thing is that every time I work through one of these challenges, I do learn a few things. This time I learned that tracking that many goals becomes stressful and tedious. It’s best to limit goals to the things that are truly important and then do the best you can with the rest.

My question to you is, are you a goal setter? If so, what does your goal setting practice look like?


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One Hundred Hours to Success

If you are like the millions like me right now, you’re stuck at home far more than you’ve ever been before. Many of us are finding we have leagues more time on our hands than we know what to do with. It’s an uncomfortable position to be in. Those who find you have less time on your hands than before probably have children, like me.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of perks to having kids. Having free time isn’t one of them.

Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash

Many of you might be trying your hand at new skills. If you haven’t gotten a good handle on cooking essentially all your meals and are still trying to live on ramen, try adding a spoonful of peanut butter to it for some instant Thai food! If you’re feeling fancy, add a boiled egg. If you don’t know how to boil an egg allow me to introduce you to my my good friend Google and her twin sister YouTube. If you came to this blog for cooking advice, do I dare ask what you searched to get here?

There is this an grow belief that anyone can do anything if they put their mind to it. I like this belief. It helps people feel brave enough to try things at least once. However, there is a far cry between learning something, and mastering it. I’ve heard quoted that it takes 10,000 hours of work to achieve mastery of any given discipline.

That sounds about right when it comes to a handful of fields, like coed underwater basket weaving in shark infested waters, or perhaps getting orchids to rebloom. But I digress. If you do the math – and why would you, that’s what I’m here for – that’s over twenty-seven years of spending on hour a day learning a skill.

Now that you are all sufficiently daunted by that number, allow me to propose a different formula.

100 hours of work to reach a goal.

Photo by Rachael Crowe on Unsplash

That’s three months working an hour each day, twenty weeks if you work only weekdays, and a year if you work only weekends. Either way, you have to choose how to spend your time and what works for your schedule

The whole idea here is that if you aren’t willing to spend at least 100 hours toward a goal, then you probably won’t be willing to spend five hours, or even one.

Want to write a book? Plan on spending around 100 hours to create the first draft. If you get it done faster, great. For reference, it takes me about 80 hours to write the first draft of a 100,000 word book. Are all those words good, nope. I’m still in the part of my career where I still find myself rewriting way more than I expect.

Want to lose weight? I’ll bet you if you you commit to spending 100 hours spread between planning meals, exercising, and researching the best way for you to work with your body’s needs, that you’ll probably do great.

Want to run a marathon? Spending 100 hours building up strength and endurance will see you all the way to the end.

The list goes on and on and it can be applied to literally anything.

What will you spend 100 hours on?


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Time Management for People with Better Things to Do

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Time. It’s one of those fluid things everything thinks they can control. Funny thing is, no matter what you do, it keeps sliding by. This morning, I’ve had to sneak down to my evil lair two different times to finish different tasks due today. Normally, my Friday mornings tend to be chaotic as I work to get kiddos out the door on a different schedule. Getting any writing work done is usually not on the table until well after 9:30.

Today ended up being different. I know I’m going to be super busy the rest of the day and therefore needed to get my two small deadlines finished and scheduled before heading out on errands. Yay?

Should I have done those two deadlines yesterday when things weren’t as chaotic and not wait until the last minute? Yeah… but I didn’t. If this whole authoring business was easy or predictable, everyone would do it. Now if the voice of reason would please shush? Thank you.

Instead of enjoying my bonus sleeping time that I normally sneak in on Friday, I got my whiny behind up and marched it down to my office to finish task #1 – a scheduled post on the Strong Moms Facebook group. Every Friday I leave a mom friendly tip helping and encouraging women to go reach their goals and life a fulfilling life. It doesn’t take long, but it does take time.

After my first two headed out to school and my oldest was well on his way to being ready, I ran down stairs again to write this lovely post for my regularly scheduled Friday blog. Yeah, not sure if this one is paying off, but it’s something that’s important to me. Not every post can be wonderful or insightful – but every once in a while, I surprise myself.

My other big writing goal for the day is to knock out more words on my NaNoWriMo project and continue pushing forward on that goal. I’d like to do 2000 so I can stay ahead, just in case there are days later in the month, like Thanksgiving, where it will be that much harder to sneak away and write. Knowing my schedule, I’ll be happy with 500, as long as something gets on the page.

The bottom line is, everyone has different time constraints and scheduling needs. If you’ve got a goal and keep putting it off because you can’t find the time, I urge you to reconsider what that actually means. There are weird pockets of time sitting around waiting for you to grab them. Some of them might be funny looking, some might be inconvenient, but they are there.

Now, go do the thing – and then tell me all about it!


Thank you dear reader for stopping by! If you’d like to be notified of future posts here at JodiLMilner.com, be sure to ‘subscribe’ using the handy links. Or, even better, sign up to be part of my mailing list.

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