Zen organization isn’t about being neat and orderly – it’s about being focused and mindful of how you use your time. Are you using your time to do good work? If not, maybe you need a big project to work on. Get through the daily tasks so you can get to the good stuff!
Feel like your big project list is lacking? Add a dose of curiosity and see what stirs your soul.
Take a week and look under every rock of thought you find interesting. Spend quiet time with yourself. Plan it in! What do you like to do? What brings you joy? What makes you laugh? What do you want to know more about?
Go to the library and browse with no intent. What books catch your eye? New topic? New author? Choose one and dig in. Go out for a walk in a new area. Go to a museum. Talk to strangers. If you are open to new ideas, they will come to you.
Still blocked? Try this exercise. Write down a descriptive word for each letter of the alphabet that describes you.
Take “S”. You might be:
Now look at your list, A to Z. What bugs you on this list? Maybe you don’t like that you are shy. Or maybe you’re not a singer but you want to be. I’ve heard so many people say, “I can’t write”, or “I can’t paint”, or “I could never be on stage.” But they haven’t tried. If something on the list bugs you, take it off and come up with a new word. If you don’t want to be something, then stop being it and try something new.
Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way also has great exercises to help you figure out who you were before life got in the way and you got all serious. What did you want to be when you were in kindergarten? Did you think you were an artist then? Remember that feeling? Why don’t you paint something now? Get a book on how to draw. Take a class and be okay with the fact that what you create may not be perfect, but it will be something that is part of you. If something brings you joy, do it.
So now you have an idea for something you want to tackle. Break it down into baby steps to get it into your planner.
Here are a couple of big projects and ideas for smaller steps to add to your planner.
- Write a book
- Block out time to think through ideas
- Re-read old favorite books – what do you love about them?
- Rough out an outline
- Plan time for research if needed
- Write a rough draft of the first page. Don’t edit – just write
- Re-read your first page, and write a second page. It doesn’t have to be in sequence. Refer to your outline and write what feels fun to write
- Observe yourself writing. Where do you feel most creative? What time of day? Do more of that.
- Keep writing until you’re done. Set a deadline for yourself if it helps and add that to your planner
- When you’re finished writing your draft, read it and start editing
- When you’re done editing, ask someone else to edit. Be clear with them about what you want them to look for – typos? Storyline? Consistent characters? Make only the edits you like
- Publish through Amazon or Smashwords. I’ll write more in another post about our new world of no “gatekeepers”.
- Be a better friend
- Initiate a plan with someone you have lost touch with
- Write notes
- Keep track of important friend dates in your planner
- Remind yourself to send thank you notes
- Save money
- Audit your current cash situation
- Keep track in your planner for a month. Where are you spending $ now?
- Look at your list. It’s easier to spend less than it is to make more. What small cuts can you make?
- Set a goal for each week. How much can you realistically save?
- Track the money you don’t spend. Total that by week and at the end of the month
- Need to make more money? Can you start a side, freelance business? There are no gatekeepers for on-line writing/publishing, music, helping out. What unique talents do you have that people would be willing to pay you for? (FYI: This is a whole new project!)
When you feel your energy lift thinking about something you want to do, get it into your planner and get to work on it. The trick is making a personal project a priority. You have daily tasks. You have demands on your life. And you have your life work. If you can grab an engaging idea by the tail, hold on. The fun is just beginning.