Tuesday, January 24, 2012

bit by bit by bit


I recently attended a workshop at the public library on the topic of creating new habits, achieving goals and generally getting things done. It was not nearly as annoying as I feared. The presenter was very relatable as a fellow ADDer who understands the difficulty of managing daily tasks and balancing big projects with day-to-day chores.


I am cautiously optimistic that her guidance will help me dominate my days instead of letting them slink past while I wonder where the time went. The first piece of advice I'm enacting is to think small. I always felt comforted by the 3-5 to-do lists I'd make in a day. The truth is, the lists never got done. Only a team of superpeople could conquer my ambitious lists in a single day and a mere mortal like me just felt defeated by the optimism of the morning compared to the reality of the evening.

My to-do list is now never longer than two items.

item 1- personal goal
item 2- professional goal

Once I complete the goal, I get a new one. I hope to complete around five goals a day but it may take a week just for one. If I know I'm supposed to be chipping away at one goal, I am less likely to get derailed and start something new. Once I start... I must finish! Once I finish... I get to do something else! What a novel idea to finish what I start.

This plan flies in the face of the "shoot for the moon, if you fall short... you land on a star." philosophy. Aside from that quote being cosmically whack, always making unrealistic goals and falling below your expectations of yourself DOES NOT FEEL GOOD. Sometimes, if the goal is the moon, I can become utterly daunted by the task ahead and not even put on my space suit! Sometimes even, "Do your best!" is intimidating.

Instead of thinking big, I am going to think small. Instead of doing my best or shooting for the stars, I will "Do something" and then, high on achievement, I will do another something. Maybe I'll have a snack, pat myself on the back and DO ANOTHER SOMETHING! Woooeee what a day!

I look forward to flopping into bed at the end of the day, reflecting on the goals I completed instead of resigning to the end of a day where I disappointed myself.

- the above picture of my vanity is evidence that thinking small is helpful for me. I normally would have promised myself that I would clean the whole bedroom. That task involves laundry, bunny fur removal, litterbox changing, dusting and de-cluttering and is generally considered a complete drag. I broke that monster into little bits and started with my vanity. The vanity is usually covered with bunched up stockings, assorted belts and a massive knot of necklace chains. Look at it now! It finally deserves to be called a vanity instead of, say, a feminine crapstack. It so appealingly orderly that it makes me want to clean the litterbox so that the place can smell as good as it looks!

6 comments:

littlechrissy said...

Yes! This is an excellent plan!
I started Spring cleaning in September last year but was so overwhelmed I gave up very quickly. So now I am just doing a bit at a time - a jewellery box here, a cupboard there. At this rate I may have my Spring cleaning done in time for NEXT spring. Hooray!
PS Feminine crapstack - poetic!

Molly said...

This is a great idea; I too make massive lists, then go an play Picross on my DS instead of doing anything about any of it. I don't have any diagnosable "excuse"* however, I'm just lazy. But this could be a start to getting more done. Certainly breaking down the tidying up into little bits is a place I will begin!

*excuse sounds like such a perjorative word to use, I don't mean it in a negative way. Maybe "reason" is a better way of putting it.

hellojenuine said...

lots of small things make big things! i love the idea of balancing professional/personal.

something i do (which is by no means a brand new way of looking at things) is break goals down into small segments; for example, at my day job, i send out an email about the cinema programme every week. & every week i write 'write email. proof email. send email' on my list. it means i feel already accomplished when i'm only a third of a way through the task at hand when i score off 'write email'. i just felt like sharing as it makes this task, even though i do it every week, much less daunting.

okay, i'll be quiet now!

Meagan said...

What excellent advice! The high of achieving something is totally addicting, so once you finish a small task I can definitely see it catching on.

Also, this whole paragraph is my favorite:
"This plan flies in the face of the "shoot for the moon, if you fall short... you land on a star." philosophy. Aside from that quote being cosmically whack, always making unrealistic goals and falling below your expectations of yourself DOES NOT FEEL GOOD. Sometimes, if the goal is the moon, I can become utterly daunted by the task ahead and not even put on my space suit! Sometimes even, "Do your best!" is intimidating."

I just read it aloud to Jason and he nodded his approval. :)

Good luck on the new plan! I think I will steal this strategy from you and give it a try.

Jason Hawkins said...

"Aside from that quote being cosmically whack…"

You/That are my favorite :)

Kagan said...

I'm frequently guilty of not putting on my space suit. In fact I've been known to sit and just stare at it uncertain of how I'm going to get from Here to There to put it on. Let's not even get started on the Lists.

Anyway, thank you for sharing such a simple yet useful piece of advice. I think I'll go make use of it this very afternoon. Update us on how it's been going for you!