I have a mission. It’s to make a living writing. Sure, I want to get published with a major house with a nice publicity budget, a super editor, and a superb cover with a hot guy on it. And I want a three- or four-book deal that leads to more deals.
But that’s all bonus stuff.
Bottom line, I want to make as much (or more) as I could if I went back to my old full-time job. I want the work I do every day to contribute to my household’s bottom line. I want to get paid to do what I love.
That’s my mission.
Great, but if the things I do each day don’t support making that happen, it’s not a mission, it’s a pipe dream.
I’ve been tracking my daily activities on a calendar for over a year now, and it’s illuminating. Even on days when I’m in front of the computer for over eight hours, I might be lucky to get in three or four hours of activity that directly supports my mission. By that I mean writing, editing, brainstorming, or research.
If an activity doesn't fall into one of those four categories, it’s extraneous. Things like reading/responding to email. Keeping up with Twitter and Facebook. Work for my volunteer roles within my writing chapters. Blogging.
All may be useful or necessary. Building a network of writing friends, getting my name out there, developing a reputation. It’s hard to put a value on those tasks. But they cut into my mission-supporting work and I’m trying to be more efficient in how I approach them.
Of course, then my values come into play. I strive to put my health and my family first. That means working out and eating right. That meant quitting my stressful job with long hours so I could be more available for my boys. It means taking a break from my writing and non-writing tasks to spend time with my family when they're around.
Gurus like Stephen R. Covey and Brian Tracy have written books chock full of excellent advice on how to balance your goals, write a mission statement for who and what you want to be, better manage your time, and stay motivated.
If you're interested, maybe check one out.
What got me thinking about my mission was a brief presentation from the Deputy Chief of Police for Patrol. When he evaluates whether the department is doing its job well, and tries to determine what they should be focusing on, he asks one question: Does it support the mission?
What’s Patrol’s mission? To prevent crime.
That’s it. Simple, obvious, and to the point.
What’s your mission?
Do the things you focus your time and energy on support your mission?
If you're looking for my Citizens Police Academy post, check back on Sunday. 🙂