So… here’s the thing.
If you’ve been reading here for a while you will know that my 101 Things in 1001 Days project is a big part of my life and this blog. I created my list in the spirit of enhancing my life, so I was careful to never add tasks that made my project feel like a chore.
The truth is, in 2013 I made very little progress because everything in my life felt like chore. That wasn’t really the fault of my list, it was just the product of a really tough year spent keeping my head above water.
I’ve been working on this current list for 2 years now and at the start of 2014 I only had 50 completed items to show for it. I’ve realised 2 things:
- I need to seriously haul ass to meet my 28 September deadline; and
- I may need to lower my standards and expectations to make it across the finish line.
Here’s where I stand right now:
Completed: 53 / In Progress: 19 / Not started: 29
I have 179 days 5 hours and 58 minutes left. The remaining 49 items need to be completed at an average rate of one every 3 days.
I totally intend to finish this thing because I still really, really care about my original goals. My list is still full of the stuff that will enrich my life and make me happier, and I’ve worked too hard on it to quit now. So I have a solution: three new strategies to put a big dent in my to-do list, and start reining the beast back in.
Image: free printable from iheartnaptime.net
1. Finished is better than perfect
Now that time is my master, my challenge to myself is to stop overachieving and just get on with it. Perhaps this will mean that some of the art I make won’t be worth framing. Maybe I won’t be valedictorian of my yoga class. All that matters at this point is getting it done, and then moving on to the next task.
2. Do three things well, not ten things badly
I’ve been multi-tasking since the beginning of this project, and if anything I’ll be dialling that up a notch or two. However, there is a trick to maintaining balance and I am conscious of not biting off too much at once. One thing I’ve done to maximise my time is listen to unabridged audiobooks of classic novels while I drive and work on my art projects, and then whenever my hands aren’t busy I just pick up my book again. It doesn’t feel like cheating, and it saves me a lot of time.
3. Break it down
I’m a really visual person, and for somebody like me the best reward for hard work is to SHOW me my progress as it grows. There are a bunch of tasks on my list that are made up of many smaller parts, and I found it frustrating that finishing one component didn’t really translate to a result on my chart.
So I’ve made myself a brand new chart with all of the remaining tasks broken down into their parts. Every drawing of a hand, figure, tree or still life has its own square, so whenever I work on my art there’s incentive to finish it and cross it off! It means I can cross off stuff more frequently and keep up the momentum.
My new list lives on the inside of my pantry door, which means I will look at it at least once per day. The really hard, time-consuming or expensive tasks are red, the easy-peasy ones are blue, and the yellow ones fall somewhere in between and probably require some planning.
I guess you could say that my new approach is to actually stop thinking of this as a 1001-day project, and instead worry about the remaining 180 days. There is nothing stopping me from punching this thing right in the face as long as I just keep going.
So please, wish me luck… be my cheerleader if I get whiny. And if you see me mindlessly dicking around on social media remind me that I could be working on one of those little squares instead. I promise to do the same for you someday if you need to tackle a goal of your own.
179 sleeps… here we go!