Floundering sucks. Floundering is that feeling where you're flailing about on the floor like a toddler throwing a tantrum. We don't want that. We want that image of the nice office and the sleek, comfortable office chair, with the sweet tech set-up. We want the weekends (or weekdays if we should choose) to spend with family and friends on the beach (and we can because we have our own private plane).
Or maybe it's just having your own image of perfect, the time you want, the vacation you want, the house you want, the cars you want...Basically, it's having what you want.
Without a strategy, we'll spend years flailing about, trying desperately to get successful, but ultimately failing because we don't have a plan.
I know what that's like. In fact, many people are still struggling because they don't understand how important having a plan is. It zeroes the focus, breaks your limited and important time into tasks, and gives you an itinerary of sorts based on where you want to be.
Let's visualize for a moment where you want to be in six months. Seriously, picture what the ideal life looks like six months from this moment. Forward thinking that places you in a positive atmosphere lets the burdens of now fade away while you bask in the glow of what you want.
Now, I want you to think about what actions you took to get to the place you want to be. What important or seemingly non-important steps did you take?
Now think of the opposite for a moment. In your future, what does failure look like? Let your mind probe this thought from every angle. Pain is a motivator. Use it.
What things did you fail to do this time? Or alternatively, what things did you do that maybe weren't the best idea?
This is where you strategy should begin.
Take the vision of what you want and the vision of what you don't want. Separate them into two distinct paths and then mark the steps you have to take to get to one and the other.
Those steps will become your plan.
For example, my ideal situation 6 months from now, I don't have to work a full-time job. I can just write and do art projects. I have a trusted brand that people know and like. I have connections within the reading community online and we help each other with out pursuits such as getting reviews, guest posting, and being beta readers for each other.
To get there, I had to make connections. How will I do that? Actually reaching out to people at first. There are authors out there who need help. Groups on Good Reads who are literally asking for reviews, Authors on Twitter who aren't sure if their book ideas are good enough and want beta readers, or friends on Facebook who just need encouragement.
The opposite of success is that I still have no connections with people, I don't get to do what I love full-time, and nobody knows who I am. I'm still floundering to find success.
What did I do to get there? I continued in obscurity by not putting myself out there. I was too scared to fail that I didn't try to succeed. I kept doing the things that I convinced myself were productivity, but ultimately weren't, because I didn't have a plan or timeline of how all the promotion and connection worked together to make me successful.
If you've heard of Time Matrix, you know that the idea is to separate tasks into four categories:
1. Urgent and Important
2. Urgent, but not Important
3. Important, but not Urgent
4. Unimportant and not Urgent.
By categorizing our tasks into these areas, week by week, we can siphon out the stuff that ultimately wastes our time and just focus on the most important, more urgent tasks. Invariably, we'll be doing exactly what needs to be done to make us successful.
Let's categorize a few things.
Outreach is Important and Urgent, especially personalized outreach. So my first category items will include speaking to other authors about their needs and fulfilling them.
An example of Urgent, but not Important might be returning phone calls or responding to emails. I know that sounds callous to call them unimportant, but I put them in this category because while we're being helpful in a timely manner, usually these aren't the things that will help us the most.
Automated outreach (such as Pinterest Pins or YouTube Videos that are constantly working for you) are Important, but not Urgent (because they're not time-sensitive).
Checking out Facebook to see how many posts our cat video got is Unimportant and not Urgent. We generally do the things in this fourth category when we're procrastinating. Eventually, you'll notice that you can cut out most of the things in this category almost entirely.
Don't wait to make your plan. Don't postpone your success. Work on it right now. Make a plan, strategize your steps to get the ultimate efficiency.
If you're absolutely serious about success, you'll do what's necessary to get there.
Pick something to do right out of the gate that's going to guarantee a win for you. That positive feeling will motivate you to keep going.
I hope this article helps in some small way.