How often do you track your personal and professional goals and judge how you use your time toward those goals? I know every so often I come back to my focus and see how it comes together and try to understand if I’m concentrating on the right activities for what I want to accomplish.

That’s always the ticket with me: is this going to fulfill my goals and is it worth my time? Time is incredibly precious and sometimes it seems completely based on perception. Is it my perception that time is dropping from an eyedropper to mimic the slowness of certain activities? Is it my perception that it magically speeds faster than light when I’m having fun? How am I supposed to judge similar activities as the same time – or not – if my brain is screaming that one went too fast and the other too slow?

Then there’s the other part about whether or not activities are productive. One goal is to be published. That cannot be achieved without doing specific work to help it along: writing, editing, revising, researching markets, submitting to markets, and responding to feedback when received.

There are other things that I track as far as goals are concerned. Sometimes it takes convincing to decide something isn’t worth the effort. Often when the time comes to let go of an activity, there are issues like commitments to other people and also overall enjoyment to consider. But if you never evaluate what you’re doing and how it reflects the goals you have, how do you know you’re doing what you ought to be doing?

A line on Big Bang Theory talked about how one of the characters, Sheldon Cooper, spent over 3000 hours on an online multi-player role playing game. I’m sure his character would have loved every minute of that and thought of it as quite an achievement. I know other people who use games to ‘kill’ time, and I wonder if that’s ever the best use of time. You have nothing at the end except a higher score or a different color badge. What do you gain? If it’s relaxation, then all may be well and good. If at the end you’re tense because some troll ate your carrot field and you have to start over, perhaps there’s another hobby that will suit you better. I stopped playing several games when I realized they weren’t giving me anything. Now I stick with Sudoku and a version of Mah Jong for solitaire play. I don’t spend much time on it, but it’s fairly low key.

So it’s time to re-evaluate. I’ve been listing activities and things that I have been doing to meet them or things I could be doing to reach it in different ways. Sometimes one gets crossed off or my focus changes to incorporate a new perspective. One day it’ll all be worth it, and I count myself successful as I reach those goals, or sometimes even just making significant progress toward a goal.

How do you count success and keep yourself focused?

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