November is nanowrimo – National Novel Writing Month. While the goal is to produce a novel of 50,000 words by the end of the month, I’m likely to be far short of that.
However, I’m also not writing a novel. I’m taking the time to focus on writing a guide, if you will, to teach non-project managers how to do project management without getting into the overkill practices that are commonly associated with project management disciplines.
It’s based on the SMART management system I developed about a decade ago, and that I’ve been using for years to help guide projects through to completion. And in the process of doing this, I’ve realized that while a goal of 50,000 words is a great target to set, a goal of producing a focused result is better. Whether it be 100,000 words, or 1,000 words, the point is: can I be focused enough to provide the minimum of what is needed to get the point across?
I may not get it done by the end of November. But the concept of nanowrimo is all about the focus. Dedicating your time each day to a focused task, and achieving that result by a deadline. And in the end, that’s really the essence of project management: setting a deadline, and working hard to meet the result. The idea of a “focus mode” has been around for a while, and even tech companies are capitalizing on the effectiveness of it; with companies like Apple encouraging “full screen apps” and the single-window model of the iPad, which encourages uni-tasking above multi-tasking.
How are you using the month of November? Are you writing a novel, a training manual, a story, or a guidebook? When November is over, will you turn off focus mode and go back to chaos mode? Or are you willing to turn December into another focused month with a specific goal to meet by the 31st?
Before the new year, and the abundance of abandoned new years’ resolutions, why not make a decision now–today–to turn each month into a focused month. Start with November. If you aren’t writing a novel, make November a month to plan out the next 12. Each month, pick something you really want, or need, to accomplish in your life, and set a focus for the entire month. Make December a family-focused month. Make January a decluttering month. Make February a rebudgeting month. Whatever your life needs are, make it a focus for one month each year. And every once in a while, don’t forget to set aside time to reevaluate the things that matter, so that each month becomes a focus on things you really need to concentrate on.
Good luck, and let me know how you make out in the comments!