Phew, end of a long day here. The big ‘paint everything white’ project is going very good. I totally underestimated the amount of work it would be. But with some help from My Love I am making good progress nevertheless.
While I was staring at my paint brush going back and forth I had a lot of time to think and ponder.
I was thinking why this vacation was different from my Summer Holiday when I had big plans too and in the end did very little of them. I was wondering why this ‘Get Things Done!’ challenge had resulted in so many big and small projects getting finished. I couldn’t help but question
Why I was getting things done now?
Why did I manage to do so much, if I couldn’t before? Where did the time and energy come from? What was so different that I could deal with my procrastinating ways in a productive manner for a change.
In the end I concluded that it all has to do with management. Three different kinds of management.
First there is time management.
If you want to get things done, you need to manage your time. Time is a rare commodity, we all wish we had more of it. So in order to get the things done we want or need to get done, we have to manage our time carefully. That means PRIORITIZE. If there are things you want to get of your to do list, you have to put them on the top of that list first. We all have only so much time to spare, so if you put that little project after a lot of chores, duties, obligations and other things it might never get done. This week all of our diners were easy and fast, the floors did not get vacuumed, the laundry is piling up and yesterday I did not write a post. I had to let something go in order to finish this big project. I’ll catch up with everything that got put on the back burner later.
Even though we never seem to have enough time I also found out time is ELASTIC. When you start looking for it, there are a hundred and one little pockets of time to be found that can be put to good use. No matter how busy I am there always seems to be time to start my day with the Sudoku in the news paper, I rarely miss an episode of any of my favorite TV shows and I have just discovered Wordfeud on my IPhone (talk about a new major distraction). So apparently there was time, time to be wasted, time to be put to good use. One project got finished by using the commercial breaks while watching TV, another by using the first 30 minutes after I got home from work straight away before I plunked myself down on the sofa. I did that for four days straight and another project was finished.
Second there is mind management
These last four weeks my hands have been busy. And my head too. I have had many internal dialogues between my ‘take it easy and don’t break things’ side and my ‘get on with it and finish something’ side. I guess I don’t have to tell you which side won this time around. I have learned that if you want to get things done you have to stop your own mind from playing tricks with you.
It will tell you that:
You will need to know what your are going to do and how before you can start~ NOT TRUE
That things might, can, will, go wrong for sure ~ NOT TRUE (and even if they do, so what!?)
That you need a long stretch of time to get serious with a project ~ NOT TRUE
That is has to be perfect, or it will be worthless ~ NOT TRUE
It will go better, easier, quicker if you do it tomorrow ~NOT TRUE
In order to Get Things Done! I had to tell myself to shut up already more than once. My mind can be a very busy place and it usually isn’t exactly helpful. Not listening to my internal doubter and worrier but instead letting my hands do the thinking was definitely key in finishing a lot of projects that had been living on my to-do list for far to long.
Third there is project management
If you want to Get Things Done! while the rest of your life is asking for you too, you have to use your project management skills and think ahead. I made a project and post list for the entire month at day 2 of this challenge. A lot of it got changed and switched and added and deleted as I went along. But having that plan, that list made me aware what I was going to do and when, so I could plan ahead. And even more important it told me when I was falling behind and I needed to move it along or come up with an alternative.
I have a grown up job during the week, so I knew that I could do only little things on weekdays, especially since I needed the evenings to write my daily post. So I tried to work ahead on projects in the weekend. In order to be able to work ahead in the weekend I tried to do the prep work beforehand. So I used lunch breaks to get supplies, I used five minutes here and there to gather the project together and figure out the what, how and in what order, I freed up weekend time by doing the laundry and groceries and that kind of stuff during the week. I did everything I could do, so that come the weekend I could dive straight in and do several projects at the same time. Hopefully finishing them, or getting them to the point where I could finish them in spare minutes during the week.
And part of project management is also human resource management. My human resource is of course My Love. For several projects I needed an extra pair of hands, or sometimes even some skills I do not have. So if there was a project coming up that required My Love’s help I made sure he knew I needed him and I tried to make sure that the project was ready for his part when he had time to do it.
It would be nice if we all had oodles of time, an endless supply of creative juice and courage and projects that managed themselves. In reality however our creative adventures have to compete with the rest of our life.
I have loved being so active this past month. I couldn’t be more happy about finishing so many long overdue projects and looking around me in my house and seeing the changes I was able to accomplish is the best.
But it didn’t come easy, it didn’t just happen. I had to work on it and on myself in order to be able to do it. But I did, and I learned a lot along the way.
I am writing a series of 31 days to Get it Done! You can find all the posts in this series here.
On the first day I explained in detail what this series is about and what I am going to do, find that post and all the posts since then in order here.
PS: Remember: Saturday is your chance to link up the projects YOU finished and Got Done!
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