One Goal; Two Lessons

road-sign-798176_640I recently met one goal and learned two lessons.

One of my goals for 2015 was to update my Curriculum Vitae – or CV – an expanded resume of my published work and professional experiences and accomplishments.

In January, I started listing every single book, short story, essay, editorial, article and review I’ve ever published. It’s an impressive list, running to fifteen pages of fine print. Then I started in on all the courses I’ve taught over a long career as a freelancer, teaching in a myriad of venues to students of all ages and circumstances. Organization eluded me, and I abandoned the task – until last week. Just as we turned the corner into the fourth quarter, I needed an abbreviated CV for a submission: five pages to summarize my professional life.

It’s now done.

Facing a deadline pushed me to finish my CV

Facing a deadline pushed me to finish my CV

There are at least two lessons here: One is the importance of setting goals for the year and periodically reviewing them. A recent joke on Facebook reminded of what can happen if we set goals and ignore them. It read, My goal this year is to lose ten pounds; only fifteen to go. While it’s helpful to set goals by the Month, Week, Day, a quarterly check-in is also a good idea.

The other lesson is about the CV itself. The friend who strongly urged me to write one in January pointed out that even though the task was large and included a lot of digging into files and reviewing work diaries, it would be well worth it. With a complete CV, she explained, one can always pick and choose what to include in the shorter versions that are often requested with applications for residencies, speaking engagements, teaching gigs and contests.

Thanks to the work I did in January, I was able to pull out the writing credits most appropriate to this application. But, because I never finished the teaching portion of the CV in January, I had to do some digging for course titles and dates in short order to meet a deadline. Under pressure, I figured out a good organizational model.

It now remains for me complete the comprehensive list of courses I’ve taught, which involves going back to the beginning of time through file boxes in the attic. Due to other deadlines, I won’t get to this until December, but I’ve already inked it into my planner, so I’ll get it done, even if it’s the last goal I meet this year.

photo: M. Shafer

photo: M. Shafer

Deborah Lee Luskin blogs here, at Living In Place and at The Middle Ages, and can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

20 thoughts on “One Goal; Two Lessons

  1. I must say, it was truly inspiring. Never before had a experienced the ecstasy that occurs when you are inspired by somebody’s literary works. I found it inspiring because I was in a mess and just sorting and listing things and deeds helped me get out of the mess. I look forward to reading more of your works.

    • I’m glad you found this post helpful and hope you read this blog regularly, to glean insights from my colleagues as well. We’re a group of professional writers blogging about the business and craft of writing. All best.

  2. That is definitely an impressive list and I am so happy you finished your CV! I agree with you – reviewing goals weekly, monthly, quarterly is equally important and something I need to work on as well. Thank you for sharing!

  3. That quarterly check-in is very important.

    For myself, I often feel as if “I’m not getting anything done.” Yet, when looked over in an objective way during a sort-of ‘quarterly review’ I find I’ve focused and done more than was even outlined for me to do. Very reassuring.

    And if I’m below task, it forces me to re-focus and re-sharpen specific ways to accomplish those project goals.

    I love how you incorporate ‘career’ objectives into your more established career track. So much is written about just starting out which I find a bit lopsided in the whole scheme of things.

    Keep digging through those files…heh,heh! 😀

    • Its funny I ran across this post. With the year months away from ending, I have been giving much thought to my goals for 2016. I always make yearly goals, but small goals by month and/or quarter would be beneficial in helping one attain the bigger goal. Thanks.
      thelonelyauthorblog

      • It’s so easy to plan a perfect future, and so much harder to stay focused on the messy present. Thanks for your comment; I’m glad you found this post, too.

  4. Hi, that joke about the weight goal is priceless! Loved it. Also liked the tip about reviewing goals quarterly. It also occurred to me that when there is a big task ahead, tackle it small chunks at a time, so that if the time comes when it is vital it be done, not so stressful and less to do. But can I face the de-cluttering job of my “ivory tower” (as my husband calls my

  5. Sorry, not sure what it is I am pressing which makes my comment go off before I have finished. Complete story below:
    Hi, that joke about the weight goal is priceless! Loved it. Also liked the tip about reviewing goals quarterly. It also occurred to me that when there is a big task ahead, I should tackle it in small chunks at a time, so that if it becomes vital it be done at short notice, it will not be so stressful and less to do. But can I face the de-cluttering job of my “ivory tower” (as my husband calls my study)? Wait up, I hear my friend procrastination calling – gotta go!

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