What do I mean by radical change, and how does it happen? I am sharing 10 systems for enacting radical change for your writing, your career, and academic culture as a whole.
Womxn prioritizing their chosen career activities, their own needs and their own writing practices over the demands of others is radical. I’ve talked about the radical change and what it can mean for us as individuals and as a community on the last few episodes of the podcast. On this episode I’m sharing the 10 systems you need in place to help you accomplish those changes.
#1: Mission Method
To enact change, you need to be able to set intentions, and use tools and strategies to follow through on them. The first system you need helps you get clear on your mission in order to set those intentions.
Think purposefully about what you want out of your writing and your career. Draft an academic mission statement that will guide you in keeping the things that are most important at the center of your career. This statement will change over time as you grow as a scholar, but it’s the first building block to making any needed change in your career.
“The academic mission statement is something that you write and then you continually revise and touch back on… it’s not a static thing.”
#2: Activities Alignment
Once you have your mission statement in place, you need to have a system for analyzing your activities to make sure they are aligned. This is a system that helps you filter new opportunities and set up boundaries to make sure you are staying on mission.
#3: Freeing Time
This is how I refer to time management systems. I look at them in terms of freeing time to use on the most important aspects of your career. In our Navigate program, we use tools like the Ideal Week exercise to help you envision where you can save time and what needs more of your attention. We also make sure you are using systems and repeatable processes to streamline tasks that are taking up more than their fair share of your time.
As scholars and thinkers, we need spaciousness in our days and our minds in order to create. Time systems are incredibly important to creating change in your career and preventing burnout.
#4: Soaring Systems
Soaring systems are my framework for writing systems. When you’re soaring during your writing, you are gliding along, supported, upheld, propelled. It feels energized and positive. When you’re slogging during your writing, you are dragging, struggling and feel stuck in the mud.
I use a combination of soaring sessions, achieved through natural times of energy and focus or co-writing, along with writing springs and retreats to create a comprehensive and vital writing system.
Whichever way you set your writing systems up, be sure you are using techniques that are:
- Consistent: they happen at some kind of regular interval.
- Sustainable: they are able to be dialed up and dialed down to support the changing demands of your year.
- Relational: foster a positive relationship between you and your writing rather than dread.
#5: The Right Goals Method
This is what I call my goal setting system. In order to set meaningful, achievable goals, I urge you to practice regular self reflection so you know what works well for you. We are all different, and the way we set and accomplish goals should reflect that!
The things I teach about goal setting involve recognizing the need for different types of goals, setting goals of the correct size and timeline for you, and tracking.
#6: Mindset Mastery
This might be #6 on this list, but systems for mindset management are incredibly important. Everything else flows from this point. When we talk about mindset in Navigate, we take on the opinions of others that are stuck in your head, Imposter Syndrome, negative feelings about writing, and how thoughts influence behavior. However you choose to handle this system, be sure you don’t skip it!
#7: Project Prediction Plan
This is my system for project management. As an academic, you are a de facto project manager, there is no getting around it. We balance multitudes of projects of all different types, from writing to teaching to service to research to admin. Being able to predict what needed tasks are on the horizon and how fast projects move to completion is a vital tool you need in your tool belt. Make sure you have systems in place to manage all of your projects.
#8: Pipeline Propel
I also recommend a specific pipeline management system to help you manage your writing projects. This system helps you decide what projects to work on when, diagnose clogs in the pipeline, get rid of projects that are no longer serving you, and publish your best work.
#9: One Year Goal-Setting
We can only realistically map out about 3 months ahead with a deep level of detail and accuracy. But having a system for mapping your writing projects and goals for the year is a good idea to keep you on track and aligned to your mission statement.
#10: Five Year Goal-Setting
Using a 5 year goal-setting system helps you create a strategic plan. Choosing a place you want to be in 5 years and then working backwards to see what you’ll need to have in place to get there helps you make steady progress. You’ll want to come back to these plans with your yearly goal-setting system and adjust accordingly.
“We are embracing the idea that we are taking care of ourselves first and our careers first, and that by doing that we will have a better and a greater impact on the world.”
These are the 10 systems you need in order to enact and maintain the kind of radical change I’ve been talking about on the podcast! They also happen to be the 10 modules we teach in my Navigate: Your Writing Roadmap course that is open for enrollment TODAY (if you are reading in real time)!
You can take these systems and run with them! Learn about them, set them up in a way that works for you. If that sounds completely overwhelming, or you’re looking for a leg up in getting them implemented, we’d love to have you join us in Navigate!
Pulled in a thousand directions and can’t seem to carve out time to write? Download my 10 Ways to Make Time to Write cheat sheet for ideas to implement today!
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Follow me on Clubhouse: @cathymazak