Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Go with Your Energy- An Argument Against Weekly Planning

I think I am starting to become identified as being anti-planning and anti-goal setting. That is just not true. I believe goal setting and planning are essential aspects to being productive. The problem is, they are not the only tools that scholars need to consider in order to increase their productivity. As I have frequently written about, goals have little value unless you build in writing processes, procedures and rituals that lead to daily, or near daily work. Without having a clear set of processes that operationalize goals, weekly, monthly and long- term goals become the fodder for self-reproach and shame.

Another concept to consider when exploring the type of goals you set is the notion of going with your energy. Must I stop something I am excited about because I have other writing goals that I set at some point in the past? Hmmm....

Each year, my department's annual activity planning process calls us to consider what we will write and publish the following year. And each year, I basically ignore this section of our annual reports. I know that I will write each and every day. History has shown me that I can trust myself and go with my energy,; I will write and publish a good deal. If I allow myself the freedom to go with my energy, and stay in process, I will be far more productive than if I force myself to work on that which seemed more interesting the previous year.

Instead of being tied to rigid outcome goals, I go where my energy is, writing articles and books that have currency to me now. When I focus on things that matter to me, I am able to get into the zone and really be super productive, without a great deal of emotional strain. When I fight myself and try to push into a space that I am less than thrilled with, I am less productive.

Of course, this does not mean that I just willy-nilly start things and let them go. Writing takes hard work, and is not always a delight. There are times when finishing out a piece is a royal pain. When a revise and resubmit comes back, I attend to it right away, and try to get it out within two weeks (my rule). Still, I know that the degree to which I write each day, keep my head free of clutter, and use my tools and processes, I will get things done, and feel good about it!

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