Loralyn Mears, PhD
Monday Motivation: Why Milestones Matter
This article was originally published on December 2, 2019 at https://gritdaily.com/monday-motivation-milestones-matter/
Monday Motivation here we come! We see you – coffee cup in hand, trudging through the dark cursing your commute. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back! If you’re more of a podcast person versus someone who reads, listen at our Monday Matters content on Spotify. Check out our Grit Daily podcast channel.
This column is for those of you who slog through your Monday mornings. If you lament the end of the weekend and dread returning to the office, you may need our Monday Motivation quick tips. Studies show that your morning mood affects your productivity all day. And nobody wants to go through their day like an unmotivated, unproductive sourpuss, right?
Grit Daily offers an avenue to connect with others like you. We’re here to help get your work week off to a good start. Pump your fists – it’s time for Monday Motivation!
100 articles ago …
As I’m sitting here, typing away, chai latte in hand, part of me is thinking that 100 articles are a lot of work. And a ton of words. Okay, maybe not a veritable ton but that equates to at least 100,000 words and more likely closer to 125,000 or so.
Another part of me is thinking that it can’t be 100 articles already; how did the year fly by? That latter statement speaks to how much I enjoy meeting new people, sharing their stories and writing about things that interest me. And, more importantly, interest those who read my columns.
Looking back, I think about the first couple of run-ins with WordPress, our content management system. Yes, they were “run-ins” as I felt bruised and battered after wrestling with the platform. I recall that feeling of desperation and exasperation as I uploaded my first few columns (FYI, that feeling came back with the newest version of WordPress but I worked through it).
A “readability score,” what is that for? Then there was the requirement for AP-style with that pesky Oxford comma. Not to mention the feedback that our founder and editor, Jordan French, had for me. Let’s just say that he offered more than a few comments about how to improve my writing and boost SEO.
Haha! Cheers, Jordan and thank you for every single comment!
But, here I am. This is the 100th article that I’ve written for Grit Daily. If you believe in fate and not coincidence, it’s rather meaningful that it occurred on a Monday Motivation column. That said, I haven’t added up how many articles, blogs, white papers, newsletters and other content that I’ve ghost-written for my clients this year. Combined, the word count alone would be staggering. It’s a good thing that I’m rarely at a loss for words … 😉
Why milestones matter
It would be fairly easy to slough off the 100th article milestone, just as I have with regards to the writing that I do for my clients. I don’t track how many articles or words that I write for them – only earnings. And maybe this is the opportunity for me to rethink what I’m tracking for my clients in my freelancing work.
“Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.” ~Napoleon Hill
Through the experience, I’ve become a better writer. People have taken the time to impart their wisdom, experience, and opinion on my work to improve it. I write about a wide variety of topics. Some topics include Monday Motivation, startup technology, women in tech, angel and venture capital investing, entrepreneurs, coaching, market fraud, market research, media planning, companion diagnostics, clinical trials, cancer, agile product development, blockchain, cryptocurrency, real estate, and even a wine-food-movie Wine Down and Chill weekly column. Whew! Each effort requires that I write in a different style, using a tone and voice that best represents that brand, CEO or marketing platform, so I get a lot of disparate feedback but it is additive and pushes me in the right direction.
On some days, it’s a bit like channel surfing, exhilarating at first then it becomes fatiguing. On other days, it feels like whack-a-mole from the very. First. Word. How it feels depends on how much sleep I had the night before and how much chocolate I have squirreled away in my secret-stash drawer!
Tips to use milestones as check-in points
Our society is driven by metrics, increasingly so as we’ve entered the era of analytics. Everyone is tasked with doing more with less. Project management, particularly agile efforts, is designed to boost our productivity and efficiency, to streamline our efforts and keep us on the path of forward progress. In a nutshell, milestones are progress metrics.
It’s Monday motivation so, for me, that marks another week of deliverables where I have a combination of content that aligns with a regular cadence plus content that is unexpectedly added to my week and some that is planned for via discussions with my clients. Each milestone marks an opportunity for a check-in.
Those milestones can be a series of blogs contracted by a client and defined as a project or a one-off, try-before-you-buy deliverable of a column so that my client and I can assess how well we work together. With the completion of each milestone, it’s a prompt to examine what happened. Was the experience worth repeating (from my perspective and theirs)? Were they any opportunities for improvement? Did I enjoy the work and if not, why not? Each question and answer informs my next steps, and that’s why milestones matter today for Monday motivation and every day.
#1 – think of milestones as baby steps on your life’s journey
Depending on your penchant for detail and planning, you can assess the next steps for your life and your work with each milestone that you complete. Or, you can be more traditional and use major milestones like birthdays, end-of-quarters, first and last day at a job, completion of a project, etc. Or you can use whichever metrics you choose to spur a few moments of quiet, thoughtful reflection. Was it what you expected it would be? Why or why not? If not, what are you doing to do differently going forward?
#2 – milestones are like a never-ending bag of popcorn
Each one is slightly different than the other but they are all the same in that they are the milestones that make up your life. You can choose to gobble them down without pausing to even think about what you’re doing or you can choose to be methodical and pause after each bite or each handful. Do you want more, less or something different? The important thing to note is that there can be and always will be more. It’s a matter of you getting out there, harvesting the dried corn, recognizing the potential or each kernel, adding some heat through effort and seasoning it with your experience to make something out it.
#3 – take the time to celebrate the milestones
No matter how big or small, acknowledge the milestone. SMILE at the idea of seeing it through. Take pride in what you’ve done and pause for a moment to fuel yourself with that feeling of satisfaction so that you can harness it to push you forward through the next one. And the next one. And the next 100 …
You’ve simply got to keep going. Life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon with a series of hurdles, defeats, milestones, and victories along the way. Monday motivation sends cheers to everyone who has had the tenacity to do something 100 times (or more) and take the time to learn and improve with every single effort. Get out there, go find some dried corn and pop it into something magical that adds value to your life!