Monthly Archives: June 2012

The Brilliant Idea Waiting Room

About a month ago I had a brilliant idea. Rent a room, set it up for a craft day, and see if people would come, and possibly even pay for the space and supplies.

Being me, this pretty quickly turned into a full fledged Project.  Which needed a domain name, and a logo, and should there be pricing level, or should I do this multiple times over the summer, and, and, and…. Ooh – maybe this should be a business!

Because that’s how my head works.

Luckily, there were a few other projects that had to be dealt with first, so other than the basics – call about table rentals, book the room, get a domain name – the idea had to sit for a few weeks.

Thank goodness.

 

The culprit

In that time, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how overbooked I always seem to be.  And the truth of the matter is, I do it to myself.

All that stuff on my list?

I put it there. Either through having an idea, and deciding it has to be done just so, or by volunteering to help out for someone else’s project that I’m sure needs me, or by not saying no when things come up.

There are no invisible gnomes adding tasks to my already off-the-margins lists.

If I’m tired, or burnt out, there’s no one to get frustrated with but me.

The solution, for now

I’m pretty good at waiting at least a week or two, if not a full thirty days between seeing something that I think I have to buy, a new course to take, whatever and actually making that purchase.

Usually by the end of the waiting period, I realize that I don’t really need whatever it is, or at least not right now. The urgency to buy has passed.

I’m going to start doing that with projects and new ideas.

Something that seems brilliant, can’t wait a second, must start getting things set up and writing sales copy this moment?

Yeah, that’s going to have to wait a month. Because right now, I’m booked. And even though I know that, it’s too easy to get carried away on a wave of excitement for a new idea. Before I know it I’ve made commitments, and later I’m even more exhausted.

What this means for the play day

I’m still doing it. But I’m not thinking of it as a full fledged Project. Just a craft party, that I’m throwing open to the world. (If by any odd chance you’ll be in Las Vegas, New Mexico, let me know.)

Otherwise… I’m just going to have fun and let it go.

Future brilliant ideas? I’m going to make a special folder, just for them. They can wait for a month, then I’ll look again and see if they’re still quite so brilliant, once the brand new shiny idea glamour has worn off.

And maybe those magic list gnomes will stop adding new things.

Topsy-Turvy Timing

You know those kits for growing tomato plants upside down? (or if you’re crafty, making them out of a 2 liter bottle?)

That’s what my todo lists are starting to look like.

Pomodoros work well, most of the time. But, right now my lists are….just a little overwhelming.

Make that a lot overwhelming. To the point that looking at my list actually makes me catch my breath. And not in a good way.

So instead of working for 25 minutes, then taking a five minute break, I’m turning things upside down.

20 minutes of playing. Or writing. Or just something fun. And then 10 minutes of super-focused work.  And then back to the glitter pens!

 

But!!!?!

It’s funny how much resistance I’m running into while doing this.

 (In the spirit of Havi’s fuzzy monsters, I’ve starting having long talks with my resistance points. Which has the odd effect of making all my internal conversations sound like group discussions…. But so far, no one’s complaining. Or at least, no one’s telling me they think I’m off my rocker, and I’ll take that.)

Resistance says: “You’ll never get it all done! Where are your priorities? You have so many things to do!! You can’t play first, then work!”

To which the monsters I’ve already wooed to my team reply: “Yes, we can. Remember, we’ve already determined that more play is important to doing our best work.

“We can get this done. We’re working on building more realistic lists. Estimating the actual time things take, remembering ALL the parts to each task, so that a supposedly ten minute task doesn’t surprise us and turn into a hour and a half ordeal that blows the rest of the list away.

“Anyway… let’s just try it for a week.”

 

 For Science!

And that’s been the best technique ever for letting myself experiment with this.

First, making sure that I’m REALLY CONFIDENT about what tasks are non-negotiable for today.  This also means being sure I’m current on my almanac, calendar and tickler files.

 Keeping the almanac and the tickler and calendar current, doing my morning and evening writing… sometimes it feels like a hassle. Like just more stuff to do. Constricting, confining, no fun, don’t wanna, not gonna.

 

But knowing that everything is current, I’m on top of it, and all is well? Totally worth it. And when I time how long it actually takes to do all of it, I’m embarrassed to say it’s usually about 10 minutes a day. Funny little stuck point. Aren’t you so cute!

Second, knowing that this is just an experiment is fabulous. That I’m just playing with this idea, and that after a week we can analyze, see how the week felt. Maybe every day do a mini-review: how did the day feel? Did I get enough things done? Did I feel rushed or relaxed? I can do anything at all for just a week. Which makes this easy.

And those upside-down tomato planters? I’ve heard they have lovely flowers.

 

 

 

 

Wanted: Balance between Playtime and Adult Stuff

Here’s the deal.
I really just want to go play. All the time. It would be the best thing ever to spend my day reading a book, writing a little, going outside to garden and hulahoop, coming back in for a nap, then some drawing time.

Spending time on making the house the sort of nurturing sanctuary I operate best in. Clean and bright and organized. And taking the time to do it gently, thoughtfully.

Which would be wonderful! But….

There are so many other things to do! And work takes up a huge chunk of time.

I end up feeling like I need to squeeze this massive todo list into just a sliver of the clock: vet appointments and find a new doctor and return shoes and prep for a new housesitter and grocery shop and run and run and run.

And I do it. I can run through a thirty-item to do list pretty darn fast. I can parse and figure out what has to happen, and do my very best to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.

But I end up falling through the cracks. After a few weeks that list looks harder, longer, less likely.  I start resisting doing anything, even when I break things down into teeny tiny pieces.

Worst of all, I resent it. I resent all the obligations and responsibility and people that put things on my list (yes, I’m the only one that actually put them there…. But it feels like it should be SOMEONE’s fault).

I stop doing things. I’m drained, exhausted. And then different things fall through the cracks.

Somewhere there has to be a balance. A way to have a life of play and fun and sparkles, and still have clean clothes in the morning. A way to stop going in circles.

So what’s the answer?

Honestly, I have no idea. But I have a lead.

Identifying my core needs, and making sure they’re met is a big piece of the puzzle. Because if those aren’t taken care of, I don’t feel like I can relax.

Those core needs are a range of things. Making sure I spend a little time on finances once a week, so I know bills are all current, and money is in the bank. Keeping my work and personal inboxes as close to zero as possible. Doing a weekly project review to make sure I’m not forgetting steps, and to remind myself I’m making progress.

But there are other core needs. Getting naps in, whenever possible. Feeling like I’m in control of my schedule. Getting enough water. Writing every day. Creating or just playing with colored markers. Practicing the piano.

Knowing that I need to have those needs met doesn’t solve everything.

I still have to figure out how to balance them, how to make sure things happen without it turning into another overwhelming task list, or constricting schedule. But starting to think of situations in terms of “what do I need here?” is a good start.

And a good start is a whole lot better than continuing to go in circles.

Trust and Boundaries, part 2

I am a worrier by nature. A planner.

I am not a let it go, it’ll all work out person.

I live with a tight ball of stress in my tummy.

However.

I’m working on changing all that.

This last weekend was the big yearly fundraiser for our animal welfare nonprofit. Well, except that we’re in a small town, it’s a small group, and its only the second year we’ve tried it.

This year, about two weeks out, I decided enough was enough. I’d planned and worried and listed and done about everything I could think of. And that I needed to figure out what the basics were that had to be done, and then let it go.

The event happened. We didn’t get the turn out that we hoped for, but we didn’t lose money, made a little money, and made some great connections.

And just as importantly, at least for my own mental well-being, I didn’t turn into a complete nervous wreck, or a snapping turtle, or any of the previous patterns.

I even took a break between setup and the actual start, told other folks to just do whatever made sense, and took a nap.

This is HUGE.

Yes, this all worked out because there was a team of people working together… but usually I don’t just let go. Trust that other people are on it, whatever the “it” may be.

Trust that I’ve done enough.

Trust that I can stop and relax, and just see what happens.

We talk about a lot of things here…

Being gentle with ourselves, and the importance of small adjustments towards alignment.

Experiments in happiness and what does adventure mean, anyway?

What can happen when you say "Yes" and what might be waiting outside your front door.

And of course, why pretending to be a pterodactyl is good business.

 

Sound like your kind of place?

Go ahead and subscribe - I'll make sure you get the updates in your inbox, and you'll find out how to sign up for the free Start Your Day with Purpose program.