Yesterday’s post looked at what productivity is, and tried to keep the definition simple. This next post takes it one step further, exploring why we want to be productive.
Why be Productive?
Steven Pressfield’s book, The War of Art is an excellent reference for writers and artists, and includes many lessons in how to be successful. The book highlights the truth that successful people in the world don’t wait for “events” or something to happen to achieve a result. Instead, they take consistent action and put in hours of daily effort. They are productive, and use productivity methods to enhance their organisation and work towards big goals.
So what are your big goals? Your mission?
Mission, Visions, Slogans and Manifestos
As I spent several years pondering the differences between mission and vision statements (and my employers’ HR departments seemed as confused as I was) there might be some out there who also have an interest in understanding the differences. If so, here are some optional reading resources:
Optional Reading Assignment 3 : Missions, Visions and the Rest
- The Eight Word Mission Statement – great way to stick a high end goal into a motto or logline
- The Writer’s Mission Statement 2.0 – Susan Kaye Quinn
- Create a Writer’s Mission Statement – Darla McDavid
- Writer’s Mission Statement – Max Reif gives an example in poem form.
- Mantras Versus Missions – Guy Kawasaki explains the difference and a hamburger example of mission-itis.
- The Difference between Slogans and Mission Statements – ehow article.
- Why Everyone Should Write a Manifesto – Lifehack post, linking back to many fine manifesto examples at Lifehacker.
Still confused? Some Quick Explanations
A Mission is defined as ‘Purpose, reason for being’. Defined more simply “Who we are and what we do“.
Manifestos are defined as – ‘A public declaration of policy and aims’ although many examples nowadays are more typographic sentence patterns.
Let me go over that one more time –
Vision = the future. You have to be productive to acquire these.
Mission = the present. What you are now, how you do things, and why. These are used to help you accomplish the vision.
So, your vision statement is the high end goal – what do you want to have accomplished in the future. These are your high-end goals or target accomplishments.
As a writer, mine would be to be a successful published author by [insert year range].
Generally, many of us set new goals at the New Year, and have something in mind for long-term and short-term – the big 5-10 year plans.
When we go through the education system those long-term goals are pretty set-in-stone: graduate, get such and such a qualification. When we go to work, we often find our employers have long-term goals and plans which we must work towards. But when we get into our personal lives, and that of work-at-home careers, setting long-term strategic goals takes more work than simply dreaming about something.
Writers and artists wanting a career need to think like a business, we all know that.
So, if you haven’t already, start with the big goals and questions – where do you see yourself in five years time? One?
Let the mission begin…
Your mission statement is something about you as a person and organisation – this could include other life areas, but would definitely (in this writerly example) include the statement that you are a writer, what you write (your products and services – genres etc), and who your customers (or target readers) are. This statement could be accomplished in a motto, slogan, or manifesto.
A manifesto is perhaps the latest craze in accommodating your mission, but can also, depending on design, incorporate some motivational reminders of what a professional you works and looks like.
There are many great examples of writer’s manifestos out there to borrow, ranging from poster-size typography sheets, to PDF downloads. [KM Weiland’s Wordplay Manifesto to the right is a great typography example. Jeff Goin’s The Writer’s Manifesto is a popular PDF example].
Finally, before moving on with the working stuff (of goals) another analogy –
Vision = the Destination
Mission = the Vehicle
Strategy = the Road Map
Assignment 1 – Visions and Missions
If you haven’t got a vision of your future, or any kind of mission/manifesto or reckoning of the tools you have at your disposal, go ahead and create some. In this case, size doesn’t matter. But you’ll need to be passionate about it, or you just won’t maintain motivation. (More on passion in tomorrow’s post).
Optionally – create a personal vision board, perhaps even digitally. In a previous #52Tech post I profiled several project vision or mood board apps available.
Tomorrow we’re briefly going to look at the application of passion.