Book Recommendation: The 12-Week Year

Hello fuzzbutts!

I wanted to drop another book on you all! I’ll summarize the gist of it and you can decide if it’s worth looking into for more details! I think it’s actually very useful and I’ve been trying to incorporate it into my life.

So it’s the start of the year (or end of another) and you come up with big goals for the year. Tons of things you want to improve or get done. You then live your life and realize it’s late October and you’ve done next to nothing. Suddenly there’s no time to get it all finished and you feel guilty for not taking steps toward your dreams. You push it off for next year and fall into the same trap.

The problem with goals for the year is that you have a whole year to do them. You lose a sense of urgency when it comes to working on them and so it falls to the wayside as you try to keep up with life.  You beat yourself up over it and regret the entire year because of how little you accomplished of the things that truly matter to you.

The idea of the 12-week year is to set your goals for every 3 months. I’ve discussed ideas like this before but this book really boils it down. By setting yourself up for 3 months, you can still set substantial goals for yourself. It’s also short-term enough that it’ll stay in your mind that you need to work on it (Write them on a white board to help!).

I just barely covered the main point of the book and book contains a lot of details and ways to think about this. So go read The 12 Week Year !

Good luck fuzzbutts!

Another note on SMART Goals!

Hello Fuzzbutts!

So it occurred to me as I’ve been trying to draw more often that I missed one aspect of smart goals. Tracking! If my goal can be achieved by drawing 4 hours a week, then I absolutely need to track how much actual time I’m spending! It’s easy to think you’re spending all that time on your goals but you might actually fall short without realizing it. By having a way to track your progress, you’ll have the motivation and awareness to increase your efforts and stay on target!

I’m trying for 4 hours a week to reach my six month goal but imagine how I would feel after 3 months and realize I only spent between 1-2 hours a week on my goal? Adjusting to 6 hours or so after 3 months would make it super hard to maintain the habit until the deadline! By watching myself and checking in on a regular basis, I can stay on task!

For tracking, I keep a whiteboard handy on my wall. I write my goal large enough that I can read it from across the room with how many hours I’ve worked on my goal. I have it right by my computer desk so I can see it as a reminder. It definitely helps me and keeps me from screwing around too much on my PC! Anything can be used as long as it works for you and you USE it. A notepad, post-it notes, etc. Just start tracking and I hope you succeed!

PS: I love hearing from you regarding your goals and what you’re doing to boost your productivity. Feel free to click on the Contact Wuffles link to the left and send me a message! Thanks!

So What Is Your Goal? Why?

What a great week! Now that you have some energy from the last post, what are you going to do with it? Let’s have a chat about goals, fuzzbutts!

Goals are important. They give you something to work toward. Without goals, it’s easy to just exist which, more often than not, will then lead into depression as you unwittingly stunt your personal growth. It’s not just the having of goals that will provide a sense of fulfillment, but you need to work toward them. So we have to be productive!

So how do we set goals? Most will refer to SMART goals. Specific, as in there is a specific think you want to accomplish. Measurable so there is some actual way to prove you accomplished your goal. Actionable, meaning there are very specific things you can do to get you to your goal. Reasonable goals mean you can actually get it done. Time-specific, meaning you need to set a deadline for yourself to get this goal done which puts a little pressure.

An example of building a smart goal:

I want to get better at drawing. That is the specific goal I want. How do I determine if I’m better at drawing? It’s a skill that is constantly developed so it’s not like there’s some sort of ending to it. To make this goal measurable, I’ll rely on the opinions of others and decide that I’ll be better at drawing once I post an art piece that gets 30 favorites on FA (which gives an idea of how good I am at drawing). Once I hit 30 favorites, I’ll consider the goal accomplished. Is it actionable? Of course! I need to post something on FA that will get 30 faves. Is it reasonable? I’ve gotten 20 faves on a piece before so 30 does seem reasonable. Do I have a deadline for this? I’ll give myself 6 months from now. Now let’s put it together:

I will become better at drawing by posting more art and get 30 favorites on a piece within the next six months.

That’s a solid goal. What happens after that goal is accomplished? I make another one if I want. Maybe go for 40 favorites or work on increasing my drawing speed or draw a certain number of backgrounds.

I want to add that not every goal has to be a SMART goal (but it helps). Sometimes you just want those 30 faves but don’t want to set a deadline. The deadline helps add pressure  to keep you going but if you’re not concerned about how long it takes (so long as you’re putting in the work), then alright.

Have your goal now? Do you know why you have this goal?

Goals are easy to set but it’s hard to stick with them sometimes. What’s most important is knowing why you want this goal. Do your reasons for this goal outweigh the reasons why you haven’t been working on this goal? Saying “I want to get good at drawing or making fursuits just to make money” is a sure way to exhaust yourself when you know you dislike sewing, working with hot glue, or sitting for long periods of time. You may stick with it for a while but burn-out is looming around the corner. To help avoid burning out, make sure your life is balanced and enjoyable (Work Hard, Play Hard philosophy). Your reason for your goal must be your own. Trying to change something about yourself purely for the sake of others will not lead to meaningful, lasting change.

How many goals do you have?

“Hey Wuffles! I already have a ton of goals I’m working on!” you say. “That’s nice but not very useful.” I say as I pat you on the head. Yes you can easily set too many goals. Goals require attention and work and if you have too many at once, it’ll take way too long before you check even the easiest goal off your list. Narrow down what’s on your list and prioritize. You should have maybe 2 big goals you’re working on. Goals are supposed to be reasonable, not simple. Why 2 and not just 1? Because sometimes we enter a waiting period. Making a fursuit was your goal but you ran out of a certain color of faux fur and realized you had to order more which won’t arrive for a few days. Well now you have your second goal to work on while you wait (Read that book that’s been collecting dust on my shelf for the past 2 years or spend that time exercising).

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Assuming you have a SMART goal, you determined your goal is actionable. I’ll keep with my goal of trying to reach 30 faves. So what is the action? I need to post something that gets 30 faves on FA. So how does that work? I need to post better quality art and more of it until I come up with a successful piece. Well how can I do that? I need to spend more time drawing each week, include backgrounds to make the scene alive, and add more variety to what I draw like different characters, angles, poses, etc. I can probably stop there but let’s keep cutting up this elephant into smaller bites: Spend more time drawing how? Dedicate at least 4 hours a week to just drawing. How are you going to include backgrounds? Practice drawing scenery and landscapes so I learn more about perspective and how to place things. How are you going to add variety? Draw character gift art for friends, artists I like, or just fan art of shows, etc. Google up photos that have different perspectives and poses and do my best to imitate it until perspectives feel natural. That is my new plan. Also, maybe 30 faves requires me to draw more than 4 hours a week but the point is to have a plan. You are free to adjust your goals and plans

My goal is to get better at drawing. I could accomplish the measurable part of my goal by just trying to be better at marketing myself as an artist or begging for faves  (which could also technically be broken down into many, smaller tasks) until I had my 30 but my specific goal is to get better at drawing.

I’d love to hear your goal!

Come up with a goal after reading this post? I want to hear about it, fuzzbutt! Click the Contact Wuffles link to the left and tell me about it! I’ll do my best to respond!