Posted by: Cathy | April 3, 2013

When is it too soon to review?

On Monday, I talked about how to do a quarterly review. Some people also like to do a monthly review, and it can help to have a weekly list of steps you plan to take on your goals. Taking small, regular steps is the best way to get a big project done.

Sometimes, though, doing a review isn’t helpful. Looking at and tweaking your plan could be procrastination in disguise.

Coach Blog 040313 For instance, I have been working on a novel and don’t have an editor/publisher so I have no hard deadlines. To motivate myself, I will pick an arbitrary deadline, but then it gets pushed back as I fall behind. Whenever it gets pushed back, I have a habit of printing out some blank calendar sheets and figuring out a new writing schedule with a daily/weekly word count goal, which I write on the calendar to track my progress. But then, if I have a busy week and fall very short of my goal, I want to redo my schedule so that I don’t see the old word count goals and feel undue pressure and stress for “being behind” when there really is no negative consequence with no editor breathing down my neck. Thus, all my scheduling and rescheduling can add up to a huge waste of time I could be spending writing! It would make more sense to forget about deadlines altogether and simply make a note on the first day of the month what my page/word count is and compare that on the last day of the month to see how much progress I’ve made, and simply have a goal to sit down and write for at least 15 minutes each day. Then I can put a nice checkmark on my calendar sheet on the days I do 15 minutes, and maybe a star for days I make it to an hour.

Now, this all depends on the project. If you’re doing a big business event on short notice, it could benefit you to review your progress at the end of each day to be sure nothing is falling through the cracks. If you have five days to meet a deadline, each day is 20% to your goal, and checking in every 20-25% is very reasonable. Thus, if you have five months to meet a goal, there’s not much point to check in more than once per month, with perhaps weekly reviews during the final month if you’re nervous.

When you set your goals and deadlines, figure out when you’ll do a review (at 20/40/60/80/100% or 25/50/75/100%, etc.) and put those on your calendar. If you find yourself wanting to review more often, tell yourself that your time might be better spent actually working on your goal instead!

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