Over on Actualise the Impossible, blogger Sam Davies is writing about lifestyle design, self-improvement and confidence. Packed full of ideas for overcoming fears and laiden with interesting anecdotes from his own experiences, it's well worth a look. Check it out.
One particular post that struck a chord with me was this one from June, “The Finish Line Vs Personal Best”, where he compares two methods of attaining goals.
“Personal Best” involves working on a project until it's done, no matter how long it takes. If you want to see your screenplay made into a film, for example, it could take years. After a month you might have gotten feedback on a draft, rewritten it and sought feedback a second time. If you're lucky you'll have found a film-maker who's expressed an interest, but to get potential contributors to read a finished script you could be waiting 6 months or more to get any interest at all.
This kind of project is a great structure if you know exactly where you want to end up.
“Finish Line” involves setting an arbitrary deadline for your project. For instance, let's again use screenwriting as an example. Earlier this year I wanted to find out as much as I could about this area of the TV and Film industries. I also wanted to develop some of my own screenplay ideas. As I had more than one written project on the go, and I was looking for information about the profession, AND I didn't exactly know where it was going to lead to, I set a deadline a month away. I could then investigate as much as possible, without being so sucked in that I neglected other written projects like this blog.
If you're a regular reader you'll have noticed I section off a lot of my challenges by months. A month working on erotica. A month using Twitter hashtags.
I've automatically worked to a deadline to investigate a subject without getting too sucked in. Having said that, perhaps sometimes a task CAN be finished if enough time is spent on it. Maybe I could have got those erotica stories and poems published by now if I'd have cracked on to the bitter end. Perhaps that should be an upcoming Personal Best project.
From now on, any projects I do on this blog will be either Personal Best projects or Finishing Line projects. I've got a few ideas in the pipeline for both types. Stay tuned for more...
P.s. the picture, in case you were asleep last summer, is of four-time paralympic-gold-winning wheelchair racer David Weir, who passed all the finishing lines before his competitors at the 2012 London Paralympics.