Minimal-list approach and time management challenge…


Saturday was a good day.  Not only was it the cusp of ‘hunt-camp week’–which translates to freedom to eat pop-corn for dinner (or to skip it all together if I am in the middle of something), stay up late reading, watch movies that I want to watch–basically, I get to do whatever I want-uninterrupted and questioned.  It also means that my list of things that I have been putting off or setting aside for later is dusted off and examined.

Usually it consists of projects, ideas and techniques I have wanted to try.  This is all fine and good but, when it gets down to the nitty gritty, a list is a list is a list and I felt overwhelmed by the sheer length of my list!  In a cross-eyed moment of frustration I posted a tweet that brought a great response from artist Kesha Bruce (if you aren’t familiar with her work click on her name and check out her amazing website-you won’t be disappointed.)  Anyway, she said this to me-“Set a timer for 2 minutes. List all the things you *could* do. When the timer goes off pick the one you hate the least”.  This advice may seem obvious to some but let me tell you-my list was so huge that I couldn’t see past the sheer volume of things I had accumulated.  Thank you Kesha for salvaging my day-AND my list.

Setting a timer and taking a deep breath to dive into my list (a.k.a. my creative conscience) helped me to slow down long enough to realize something was very wrong-my list was way too long.  A little more thought led to the conclusion that  I am putting off or setting aside way too many of my ideas and desires. This led to my first  profound question–“For  WHAT?”    I really and truly could not think of anything so important, in recent memory, to account for the number of creative things I simply haven’t accomplished. Profound question number two–What’s up with that?

I took a good hard look at all of these things I *could* do and starting crossing off the things I no longer wanted to do-and then I got brutal.  It was time to let go of ideas that I was attached to, that I thought were good.  They were becoming baggage slowing my progress-ideas that cluttered my thoughts and added ‘shoulds’ to my already burdensome list.  After whittling my list down to a few choice options I was able to get to work and get something done!  It felt great but, this didn’t help address the issue of why I had such a long list to begin with!!

What can I do to avoid this issue in the future?  How did I get so derailed or so distracted and what exactly was I waiting for to get started in the first place?

Are these issues you struggle with?

What are your suggestions for not putting off those great ideas to the point that they become burdens?  I would love to hear your time management tricks and tweaks! Please leave a comment or email me at susanmulder(at)rocketmail(dot)com.  I will post a list (I am a list junkie in case you didn’t notice) of some of the best tricks and hopefully adopt a few for myself!

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