Part 1 of this series can be found here: Part 1: Goals
You’ve set goals; great! Now what do you do about them?
That’s the subject of today’s post.
What is a task?
In my system, a task is a day’s worth of work toward a goal. Goals generally have anywhere from one to a half-dozen tasks associated with them. If I complete one of these tasks, I feel satisfied with my day’s work toward that goal. If I complete a task in each of my goal categories, I can safely go down to the bar and put one back knowing that the day was a success.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say your goal is to write a book. This can be broken down into a variety of sub-goals: you’ll need to write a manuscript, have it edited, send it to publishers, solicit feedback, find someone to do cover art, etc. Some tasks, then, may look like:
- Write 500 words
- Send your manuscript to a trusted friend for feedback
- Contact a cover artist
- Revise a chapter
Here’s an example from my own notebook:
Why Are Tasks Important?
Tasks are important because we’re not really equipped to hold the full scope of any large project in our heads at one time.
Writing a book is a big project, and when we try and grasp the entire thing at once it seems overwhelming. We get crushed by the weight of it; it’s too much for us and (more often than not) we revert to nice, safe inaction. Then when a year goes by and we haven’t written anything, the self-flagellation begins. “I’m not really a writer, I’m not passionate enough, I can never do this, I might as well just go back to school for marketing and spend the rest of my life writing ad copy for herbal cleanses and weight-loss pills.”
We don’t want to go down this road. Better to write the book.
That’s why we need tasks. Not only do they break down large projects into manageable pieces, but they also provide positive feedback on a time scale that our emotional intelligence can understand. When I open my notebook and I see that I’ve written my 500 words for the day, I feel good. Have I finished my manuscript? No, of course not. That’ll be another two months. But for now, I can knock off for the night and feel satisfied with my work.
Tying It All Together
We have goals, and we know what we need to do every day to move toward them. Now we just need to tie it all together–which is the subject of next week’s post, “The Calendar.”