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Shipping goals and schedules

I see this picture a hundred times a day. Its the wallpaper on my laptop and the lock screen image on my phone. I have a print of this pasted at my work place. Because I want to be a real artist. I want to ship. And nothing coaxes you into getting things done better than not-so-subtle direct messages, like this picture does to me.

Before you ship, you need to know what you want to ship. Only then can you actually work towards shipping it.

Most people (me included) decide on their goals for shipping ( I need to write a book this year, I need to get a promotion this year, etc), but fail to realise them. This is because deciding on a goal is just the beginning. It takes a plan, and a lot of discipline and dedication in sticking to that plan, to get there.

A few months ago, I decided to revisit what I used to do a few years ago while preparing for entrance exams. I started making weekly schedules on what I need to do when in order to move closer to my goals. But, like most corporate managers, I realised too late that this level of micro-management is counter-productive and at times an outright hindrance.

While it is necessary to agree on a plan to move forward, and to plan on a weekly basis (that's the cycle of time most of us live in), I realised I had to reduce the micro-management.

A couple of weeks ago, I changed the way I planned. I started setting micro goals that need to be achieved in the next seven days rather than pre-determining a schedule. It is best to let the brain kick into action when its in the mood. It seems to be working better, but it is too early to say conclusively. But I'm optimistic.

Companies should take the same approach in my opinion. Managers meeting employees once a week to set the agenda for the work that needs to be done in the next week and to review the work done in the previous week is better than fixing mandatory work hours.

Thanks to Prakhar for the picture.

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