I’ve talked at length about my love of Whitney English and her Day Designer. She ran a series on planning on both Periscope and Facebook Live that I enjoyed over a series of nap times. I highly recommend it if you’re someone who is either a) already super into planners and schedules and systems, and that kind of thing or b) someone who maybe wishes they were, but needs more information.
Regardless of where you fall on that continuum, Whitney said two things that I couldn’t get over. Like, already changing my life, couldn’t get over.
If it takes more than 20 minutes, it’s not a to-do, it’s a project. Holy moly, people. As a lifelong list maker, this one is a game changer. And perhaps the answer to why a lot of my to-do’s remained undone at the ends of my days. Twenty minutes is a reasonable amount of time for me to dedicate to almost anything on a given day. Your number of minutes might be different. But figure out what seems like a good amount of time to cross something off your list, and call anything that takes less time a to-do. If it will take longer than that time, it’s a project, and you’ve gotta break that **** down.
I needed to order dinner for a group of 25 for an upcoming evening, and I knew exactly where it would come from and the specific foods I wanted. I put the call in and it was done in 20 minutes. To-do. And I know that my on-going kitchen/pantry/dining room reorganizing is a project. It’s a huge task, and would never make an appearance on a daily to do list. But. There are some in-between sized tasks that masqueraded as to-do’s, but were actually projects once I snapped awake and listened to Whitney. So when I write “swap out Gooplet’s closet” on my to-do list, I’m setting myself up to fail. I don’t have the uninterrupted time it takes to get that done. I need to break it down. Sort T-Shirts, sort pants, get out long sleeved outfits, store summer outfits, size up in PJs, etc. Those I can do here and there, and with enough smaller chunks of time, the project will be done.
Schedule 30 minutes into each day to work on a project you’ve been avoiding. Which for me, right now, is the ongoing struggle to get things that don’t belong in certain rooms out of said rooms. It’s daunting. It involves a million more trips up and down stairs than I care to take. It’s completely overwhelming. This little sparkly piece of advice kicked my butt into gear, and also made me think of Elise. Just start. Also Mary Poppins. “Well begun is half done.”
Now, each day, I set my phone timer for 30 minutes and walk around the house, moving crap from one room to another. That’s so much less daunting than thinking, I really should work on that giant project I don’t want to spend hours working on. About half the time, that 30 minutes ends and I am over it. I move on with my life. And the other half of the time, I keep going, not too much longer, but long enough to make a bit more headway. And after only 7 days of chipping away, I’m so much farther along than I imagined I’d be at this point.
Got any other tips on making projects happen, dear readers? You could give me my next life-changer!