Happy Friday Y’all!
Do you have a project you have long abandoned? Let’s make a pact- I’ll keep blogging and you keep working on your dreams. Deal?
How hard can it be? I have a million things I can talk about. I am always rambling about something. Ask any of my friends. The truth is, if there was an award for going off topic, I would own it. So here I find myself. Only one month into my journey with you all and I have 20 topic ideas and I can’t seem to make them come together. I can’t seem to finish a single one of those posts. No big surprise there (remember the Off-Topic Trophy?).
So I thought I would take today to chat with you in more of a candid way. I also found a few tricks that helped me. I want you to join me in the finish-what-you-start marathon. I know you have that project sitting in the back of your mind. Dust off that old enthusiasm and drive and let’s get down to business.
First, I want you to know that I have loved every moment so far.
You guys have been amazing! I am so happy to have started this journey with you folks. Of course, I dreamt of a viral start, who doesn’t? But as I sit and look back on this last month and how it has gone, I really am so happy that it is coming together like it is. You know the best part?! In getting to know YOU, I have found that YOU are in the right place. WE are in the right place. I really think of you as friends, and it is so fun to know that you share the same interests that I do. So, THANK YOU.
But there was a learning curve….
Let me tell you. There has been some struggles. Mostly, that would be…..um…. my own lack of focus. Yea, that’s it. Can any of you out there relate? I sit down with a list of tasks to get done, and somehow I end up watching Netflix. I jump on Pinterest to polish up my profile or track my repins and I end up searching for a new dinner recipe. Please don’t tell me I’m the only one!!!
So what is a girl to do?
I LOVE organization. Now, don’t run just yet… I love organized things, I don’t necessarily love organizing them. Do you feel me? I have also been know to spend a ton of time creating a pretty system for any given thing and then never use it. I can’t tell you how many gorgeous Bill Binders I have put together, just to abandon them after the first month and go back to my old system of spiral notebooks and math scribbled in the margin. What does that tell me? I need a system that works, not a system that’s pretty.
Really the key to finishing what you start is this- know yourself!
I wish that there was a tonic that we could all take a sip of and *boom* all projects would be complete. (The closest thing I could find was Green Tea.) The truth is that for each of us, the tonic will be a little bit different. We each have our own recipe. You need to think about why you abandoned your project. Was it really not important to you? Was it a lack of discipline? A lack of time? If you can figure this out, you can finish what you start. EVERY TIME.
When we know what went wrong, then we can fix it.
My favorite new tips and system.
1. I imagine that many of you have already figured out this little wonder… My favorite new little trick is voice-to-text. I use this for writing most of my posts. I mean, I type pretty fast (70 WPM), but I can still talk even faster than that. I’m no Gilmore, but most of us can talk faster than we type. It also allows me to sound like me. I am not tempted to add in a bunch of superfluous words (see what I did there?). Imagine that, when I talk, I sound just like me.
2. One Note is also amazing! It is just about the best notebook app out there! I use this for everything from blog post ideas to grocery lists to keeping medical information on my pets. I like the app because you can access it on your laptop or phone or tablet so it is never out of reach! One Note supports my new fav- voice-to-text. It also allows you to add pictures into notes, use checklist boxes and categorize notes under sub topics (which works well with my next tip).
3. Like I said…effective, not pretty. This is where a Brain Dump comes in. You might be familiar with this from your childhood days planning English papers. Write down absolutely everything that is in your brain. Dump it all out! The important part here is to get all of those “place holders” out of your head and somewhere you can’t loose them, on paper. Now you can prioritize and organize into topics and subtopics. You can break them up into must-get-done and would-be-great-to-get-done. If it works for you, create those lists in OneNote and then they are easy to access and edit whenever needed. Now you are not using up all that brain power trying to remember everything!
4. Create a time frame. If I am allowed to just “free range” work on a project, we never really know when it will get done. That is especially true right now. I am a stay at home doggy-mom for the moment and before I know it, my day is gone. I have spent 2 hours meandering around then internet and have not made any progress. I have tried to set alarms for this but it never really worked for me before, until now. Did you know you can set silent alarms on your FitBit?! (I got mine for free from a rewards app! I will do a post on those soon.) In the FitBit app you can add unlimited silent alarms. I love this because I set alarms for the same blocks of time each day.
- 7:30- Make sure I’m outside with the puppy engaging with her and letting her play
- 8:00- It is time to come inside and start picking up and cleaning the house
- 10:00- It is time to log on and work on the blog
- 12:00- No matter where I am at on the blog front, it is time to log off. Disengage.
- 3:00- Jump online and work on answering emails
- 4:30- A reminder to finish anything I wanted to get done before hubby gets home. (I am trying very hard to make sure that when we are home together, we are HOME TOGETHER. This time is important for my mental health and our marriage.)
As you can see, I work better with some structure. I really thrive when I have someone behind me saying- “Go left. Go right. Keep moving.” I really have to knuckle down to make myself stay on track without someone coaching me. That might be different for you.
I have a friend that is very much the opposite. She can start off a project without so much as a finish line idea and can somehow get there. No map. No plan. That works for her. I would some how end up in Tasmania (how did I even get to an island?!) and have not completed anything. Now I am totally burnt out, in a totally wrong place, and totally not close to finishing anything!
Which leads me to my last tip.
5. Practice self care. No matter how your mind works, it deserves a break. For me, I need time away from the rules and schedule. I like to take the weekend to totally veg out with the hubby (totally a homebody) and not have any “to-do’s”. For you, you might enjoy scheduling a spa day or a lunch with friends. Regardless of how you do it, make sure that you do something that makes you happy and feeds your soul. For this step, the suggested magic tonic would be wine.