No Monthly Goals

by Mike Sententia on August 24, 2012

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Today, I was thinking about my goals for September. What projects I want to focus on, and how far I expect they’ll get. It was going to be today’s post.

But I realized: I have no idea. And more importantly: I don’t care. Because it doesn’t matter what I expect to do, I’ll never follow that plan.

I used to make monthly plans. I’d write down my main goals. Then, each week, I’d write the tasks for each day, and tick them off as I worked. At the end of the month, I’d review the daily tasks, add them up to the actual monthly work, and record everything in another text file.

And I found the pattern: I’d ignore the monthly goals after about a week, and my best work was on questions I hadn’t yet asked when I planned the month. And I realized, it was absurd to think that, on August 31, I’d know what would be the most important topic come September 27. Better to leave that decision at least until September 26.

So, what do I do? I record my work. Every day, what I did. Every month, the major tasks, so I can find the right day’s notes later. And a running list of questions, which I may eventually group into curiosities / useful questions / very useful. All of those records help me. But planning? I’d rather trust my future self to pick the most important work when he’s about to do it, than try to pick it in advance for him.

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