The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. In case you couldn’t tell from the previous two posts, I am feeling a little frustrated about what I didn’t accomplish last year. If I don’t manage to cross off some of my goals for the house this year, I think I will start to feel a little insane–order in my environment means order in my mind for me.
Fortunately, I have all of you being super supportive and offering lots of great suggestions about how I can do a better job of accomplishing my plans. Thank you all so, so much for all of the encouragement and advice you’ve offered this week. It really means a lot to me to go back to all of your comments and to know you’re all out there reading along and cheering me on.
To avoid repeating the insanity of last year, I’ve decided that I need to do more than just post about my goals. Like many of you advised, I need to have a bit of a plan for how I’m actually going to do some of them. And notice I said some of them. I am trying to be realistic and give myself a bit of a break. I don’t have to do everything. But I need to do something to feel better about my house and myself.
A few months ago I found Ruth’s 10 Tips for Getting More Done Every Single Day. I really liked her advice for setting priorities, using a timer and regrouping. But it was her tip about setting weekly goals in specific categories that really resonated with me. This great idea originally came from Ashley Ann at Under the Sycamore.
I’m going to try to focus on one project (my “category”) each month (although some may take longer at my pace). Within the month, I will break down the project into smaller steps (as many of you suggested), write down the steps, prioritize and organize what I have to do and put time frames around each stage. Last week Jen at I Heart Organizing posted a really helpful breakdown for how she sets goals for projects that I’m looking forward to trying. I’m hoping that itemizing each step will help me get started and avoid dragging projects out for so long.
I’m also going to look at one project at a time. For example, I will focus just on painting the main floor and not worry about the laundry room right now.
I love to-do lists, but I’ve been loathe to do a master list of everything I want to do at the farm. It’s just too overwhelming for me to see that big of a “big picture.” However, I think the opposite is happening when it comes to the individual projects. By not writing things down, I’m overwhelmed by the whole project and can’t motivate myself to get started. I’m hoping that a list of every single little step will help me realize that the only way to eat the elephant is one bite at a time.
First a saying about insanity and now one about elephants. Look at me just rolling in the wisdom today.
The other thing I’m going to try to do, I think, is share more of the in progress here on the blog. Honestly, this is something I’ve been hesitant to do because projects seem to take me so freakin’ long. If I’d posted about the mudroom when I first started working on it, you would have had the same number of posts but spread here and there over the year. It’s a more accurate portrayal of my life, but I worry that waiting a full year for the before and after is bit frustrating for you as readers. I’d love your feedback on this.
Plus, I’m not sure how interesting the process is for you. I mentioned the words “solar panels” at the beginning of this week. However, I don’t have much to say about this project yet. I mean, I can tell you about our first application, how the government put the program on hold and as a result our application was dead, how the program restarted and we resubmitted our application… and then resubmitted it three more times for clerical technicalities. We’ve been working at this for more than six months now with not much to show. I promise I’ll share all of the details, but right now I don’t feel like there’s enough for a post.
I also hesitate about sharing some of my goals at all. I mean, I don’t have a great track record with accomplishing them in a timely manner… or at all. How interesting is it to read about someone’s plans that never come true? It’s for this reason that I was really hesitant about posting the picture of my dream vegetable garden in my 2014 goals post. That garden is something that I really, really, really want. I don’t know how to explain it, but putting the picture out there… and knowing that the way I work I might not get the garden in this year… or next, if I’m being realistic… makes the dream almost seem less attainable, rather than more.
I don’t want to sound like a complete downer here. In many ways, Matt and I are already living our dream. We’ve found the perfect farm. We love being here. We find it rewarding to work on the house and the property to make them what we want. We’re prepared to take it slowly and do projects as we’re able. I just feel like I need a bit extra motivation to go with my abilities.
So here’s my plan for how I’m going to tackle Home Goals 2014:
- Focus on one project at a time. When it comes to the bigger projects, this is something we’re already pretty good at, I think.
- Break down projects into their individual steps. Each small to-do counts.
- Share the steps here on the blog. A good way to hold myself accountable.
- Put timelines around each of the steps. Try to be realistic about these… as Matt will tell you I’m often overly optimistic about what I can accomplish.
- Share more of the in-progress as we move through the steps. And celebrate the small accomplishments as we go.
- Enjoy the results of our labours. This one’s an easy one.
I am also going to try to give myself a break and be flexible. Maybe an opportunity comes along that moves another project up the list. I’m sure there will still be weekends where I start off with a big to-do list and very little gets crossed off by the end. I’m going to try to be okay with that. I just want to feel a bit more progress than I felt last year.
How do you prioritize your projects? Do you have any tips to share on how to stay motivated? Are you up for more “in-progress” posts?