Set an Intention for Freelance Goals
I first discovered yoga while studying journalism at Columbia College Chicago. After buying a cerulean yoga mat at Target, I, a stressed out sort-of senior who balanced late nights at my college newspaper with demanding coursework, took advantage of the free evening courses held in a basement of the Plymouth Court dorm hall.
I remember slightly straining my neck to see what pose I was supposed to do. Downward facing dog? Baby cobra? Tree pose? Our instructor may as well have spoken another language to me. But I gave it a college try, and after the first couple classes, I loved it and wanted to explore more. I found that after a long day, I got a second wind following my yoga class. My mind was clear. My shoulders didn’t feel as weighed down. I felt… lighter.
Now, as a somewhat recent college graduate, I still practice yoga. Only these days I practice in the morning before starting the workday. I’ve talked about my appreciation for yoga before, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized why. The exercise helps me to be more intentional throughout my days, weeks, and months.
How so? By forcing me to slow down and observe my thoughts, my desires, and my goals. This ritual has now spilled over into my freelancing. Truthfully, I’ve always been into planners and organizers. But staying organized and accomplishing goals is even more important to me now that I’m a freelancer.
So now, as I’m getting ready for the workday, I ask myself: what’s the agenda for today? What do we need to do? I typically write out a checklist of three to five significant tasks I need to complete each day and check them off as I do them. If I’m feeling overwhelmed, I order tasks based on which ones are the most important.
This small step ensures that each day is spent wisely. But if I don’t check off every task, it’s okay. I just move the leftovers to the next day.
So, for freelancers who are feeling overwhelmed after the holiday season, try setting an intention for your time. I don’t mean just setting goals. I mean thinking about your intention and working toward fulfilling that intention. Your goals are the things you work to accomplish; your intention is the higher purpose behind why you do what you do.
What is it that you want to accomplish as a writer? Do you want to win awards? Do you want to publish books that captivate your audience? Are you aiming to inform the public about an overlooked issue? Do you want to highlight the work of women, people of color, or LGBT individuals? Find and set your intention for your writing and work from there.
Once you know what your intention is, think about the incremental steps you’ll need to take to get there. Divide those steps up by months, weeks, and days to make them more digestible.
It’s a new year. You’ve got roughly 11 ½ months to go after your dreams this year. Be brave. Set your intention. Work with purpose.
What impact do you want your writing to have in 2018 (and beyond)? Tell me in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Yes, I’ll actually get your email).