Fighting My Procrastination Superpowers w/ HB90
There are countless planning and goal-setting systems out there, and each one can appeal to at least one person. I recently learned about kanban boards, quarterly planning, goals versus tasks, and the HB90 system. I encourage everyone to look into HB90, but, in the end, find the right system for you. Here is a quick update on how the first month of this new technique has gone for me:
First off, I learned about the HB90* system, created by Sarra Cannon (blog—Heart Breathings), through a Facebook writing group. I was hesitant to sign up, not because I didn’t agree with the system, but because I didn’t believe in myself. I can get very excited about the “shiny, new thing” of organization, writing, working out, dieting, etc. However, I don’t have the staying power; I’m a personal saboteur and master procrastinator who can easily justify why I do or don’t perform a task and kick myself for it later. I didn’t want to invest if I was going to give up on it two days in.
Eventually, with the encouragement of my husband, I decided to do it. I watched the videos, printed out the planner, and set up my kanban board in the last week of June. Rod was usually playing video games right next to me, so he heard and helped a lot. I won’t go into too much detail (it’s a comprehensive, yet effective, system), but here is a basic rundown: Set 3-4 measurable goals that you then create projects for. Within those projects are tasks to complete each one. Tackle these tasks—as simple as “Write 100 words” to broad like “Write Chapter 3”—by placing them on a kanban board (see here for an easy breakdown on kanban). HB90 utilizes a specific type of planner to lay out all of these steps to achieve goals within a 90-day, or quarterly, chunk of the year. By creating these smaller tasks, and only addressing the ones that are important within the current quarter, I can better manage my time. BUT, the more important thing is that I don’t feel overwhelmed from the start. And the system itself can be fluid throughout the quarter, which I will discuss later. I’ve recommended HB90 to pretty much everyone I know, whether they are a writer, photographer, artist, or someone trying to organize their life. It’s a great planning technique to help anyone achieve their goals.
I’m in week four of the third quarter, and, technically, I’m on track to complete at least one of my three goals: to write or edit 90% of my working days. I say technically because while I have written/edited almost every working day, it hasn’t been for very long. The most time I clocked in a day was about three hours of writing. Now, that’s not the best when I’m making writing and self-publishing my full-time career. I know that I need to improve, and I will. What I will give myself a pat on the back for, though, is that at least I did something. Many of those one and two-hour days were still used to do a fair amount of editing or writing that will have a very positive effect on the overall story and series I’m creating.
In regards to HB90’s fluidity, I had to do a little bit of an overhaul for my tasks and kanban board. I found that while a task said “Finish Chapter 3,” I spent all of my writing time on one specific scene within that chapter. I would beat myself up because the scene became longer than I anticipated, so I couldn’t move onto the next scene to finish the overall chapter. My husband soon encouraged me to reevaluate my tasks, so I wasn’t beating myself up for not finishing a task before the end of the week. If I made my tasks more manageable, then I would get more satisfaction, and be encouraged to continue, when I saw my “done” tasks piling up. That piece of advice, which I know Sarra has given as well, was just what I needed. It suddenly freed up my internal monologue to say “Yay, you’re almost done with this scene,” instead of “You’re not even halfway done with this chapter.” People who know me may disagree, but as positive as I am on the outside, I am incredibly negative on the inside. Especially toward myself. Changing this small piece of the process has been a great decision so far.
Even though the quarter is nowhere near over, I can tell that this system has already helped me by leaps and bounds. And I anticipate it will only continue to improve my creative output so I can truly build my business to a success. It’s a constant learning process, and I have to stay on top of myself every day just to write my tasks in the planner and take time for reflection. But it’s working, and I look forward to the end of this quarter and the start of many more to come.
How have you worked to fight your inner dialogue that encourages procrastination and self-sabotage? Have you found a planning or goal-setting system that helps you stay consistent and productive? Let me know in the comments and be sure to sign up for my newsletter to hear about my soon-to-be released debut The Cavern.
*Click here for the original Q3 HB90 Bootcamp page. Definitely check back for, and I'll likely post, when Sarra announces her next bootcamp.