October 19, 2011

Imposed Structure

So, back in January, suffering from a fit of motivation overload, I picked an actual number for my books goal this year: 30.

A few weeks ago I realized there were only 12 weeks left in the year and I still had 10 books to go.

I did what any goal-oriented lawyer would do -- I figured out how to technically comply with the rules in a way that made the most sense.

First, I went through my pile of books to be read soon and pulled the smaller books to the top. Just like that, all of the big books were pushed to 2012.

Then, I went on Amazon and ordered a bunch of smaller, shorter books that had been on my wish list for a while but I hadn't had the momentum to order.

Finally, I mentioned to Arvay I was looking for books and she promptly sent me a nice bite-sized gem that I'm looking forward to starting tonight.

I get a weird sense of accomplishment out of moving things around to reach arbitrary goals. In some sense, I know that reaching an arbitrary goal is, well, arbitrary.

And, I know that I don't have time to follow my normal patterns and just go through my books-to-be-read pile in order *and* meet my 30 books goal.

I even know that the movement is likely to be zero sum -- next year, I will likely read a lower number of books as a direct result of pushing the big books forward.

Even so, I'm getting a kick out of the idea that I'll be reading a few extra minutes each day and a bunch of stuff that I otherwise wouldn't have gotten to this year (if at all).

I think, often, that's the real value of goals. They help you change. Even if the change is quite small and may not matter at all in the long term. It's very good to remind ourselves that not only are we free to do things differently, we can and will.


Cathy said...

I'm a terrible book reader (attention span? what's that???) but I did just read a memoir I enjoyed, and it went really quickly. Alex Call's 867-5309/Jenny, the Song that Saved Me. It's good if you like rock history. It's also good from an IP perspective if you want to see how a songwriter ACTUALLY makes money (or not...)

bt said...

Oooh, thanks Cathy. I've been looking forward to the randomness that my small book approach has brought. This is a great addition to that.

Cathy said...

Oh good! I'd be interested to know how you like it.