In the year 2013, I began each month by reading an article that appeared in the Harvard Business Review called, The Magic of Doing One Thing at a Time. The premise of the article is pretty clearly stated in the title. If we focus on one thing before moving on to the next, we can be more productive than when we constantly multitask. At times I enjoy the frenetic pace that trying to do everything at once creates. It also feel like I’m getting a lot done. Carrying on like this is exhausting though. I’ve struggled with burnout, and I have had this nagging hunch that I could be accomplishing more with the number of hours I put into my work. Also, I don’t believe it’s possible to work much harder than I have been. Thus, when I feel like I have things that aren’t getting accomplished, I’m forced to consider doing things differently.
The concept of focused energy certainly applies to minutes and hours, but I’m also quite convinced it applies to years as well. To that end, I’ve made my 2014 goal list significantly shorter than last year’s. Rather than focusing on 85 little projects, Stereoreel, Vaulted Skies, jazz band recordings, other projects, new websites, iPhone app ideas, ShopSheetMusic, all 7 highly effective habits, I’ve tried to pick just a couple of the most important things and follow them through to completion.
Certainly I have many smaller to-do items that I’m planning on accomplishing, but here are the larger things I will remain focused on until they’re done. My resolutions fall into two categories. First, I have specific goals- things that need accomplished. Second, I have disciplines and habits that I’d like to continue to make sure that I am the man I need to be.
Launch Vaulted Skies
This is the solo piano project that I’ve been talking about for a couple of years now. I’ll be recording versions of hymns and modern worship songs. This is the year to launch. You can get notifications about our progress by liking facebook.com/vaultedskies
Get control of my finances
It’s my goal to track and control my spending. I’d like to make decisions out front, rather than always being reactionary. If you have advice about the best software to do this, let me know.
Pretty easy to do on the surface, but complicated by the fact that three people in my family need braces, and one is a pretty involved case. I’ve been setting aside money in our HSA for awhile now. Getting close on this one.
Jazz piano recordings to calebneijazz.com
One of the resolutions that I did actually complete was the launch of calebneijazz.com. And it has been getting me some gigs! Search for “Loudoun County cocktail pianist” or “Loudoun County wedding music” and you’ll see that I do pretty well. I have some trio recordings up there, but would like to add some solo piano recordings since that’s the majority of the work I do.
Do my daily reading to complete the Bible in a year
Sign up for one of Bible Gateway’s reading plans and read through the Bible in a year. I need to make sure I prioritize the reading of that email.
Practice simple obedience to God
I will do my best to live out what I read. (See above.)
Transcribe jazz, practice sight-reading, work on ear-training. Keep on keeping on!
Run three times a week.
Optional (These would be nice, but aren’t imperative):
I really do need to do this, but in the interest of The Magic of Doing One Thing at a Time, I’ve forced myself to make some priorities. Last year I did a monastic retreat in February. Maybe this year I’ll do a monastic-cabin-guitar-songwriting getaway.
Solo songwriting CD
If I write those songs, I’d like to record them. Something simple and beautiful. Piano/vocal.
There you have it, my 2014 goals. By God’s strength and grace I will pursue them. What are your 2014 goals?