Starting Over

BooksI used to loved to have books read to me when I was a little girl. I never grew tired of Dr. Seuss or Where the Wild Things Are or any of a dozen of my favorite books. I’m sure many people have the same sort of memories.

I also remember not liking anything to interrupt having a book read to me. Sometimes the phone would ring or my dad needed help finding something or my sister would otherwise distract my mother while she was reading to me. My mom would go take care of the matter at hand and return to finish the book. Only problem was, I didn’t like having my special reading time interrupted. As my mom would start to pick up where she left off reading, I would turn back to the beginning of the book and demand that she start over again. It just wasn’t the same to start and stop over and over again. Those little books were meant to be enjoyed in one sitting.

When I was a bit older my mom and I would read longer books together. I learned to look forward to the next daily installment of Annie curled up with Mom on her water bed.

Now here’s the truth: Life is full of distractions. As a mother of a six-month old, I know this all too well. As I write this post I’m sitting in the dark nursing the baby to sleep and “typing” with my index finger on my Droid. I’ll publish the post in the morning. My life is in chunks now instead of a continuous stream. When my son was born my mother told me, “You’ll never eat a hot meal again.” I’m OK with that.

The purpose of this blog is to make positive changes one habit at a time. This latest challenge: Write 1,000 words/day for 21 days is a big one for me. I believe that writing is a key to unlocking many of my dreams. That shelf of books I want to write will not happen without a lot of 1,000-word days. It’s not just about writing books for the sake of writing books. Writing serves many purposes for me:

  • Journaling is a tremendous emotional release
  • Gratitude lists keep me positive
  • Blogging gives me a chance to help others
  • Writing articles and books can do all of the above
  • Thoughtful emails and notes (even text messages and status updates) keep me connected to people I care about
  • Writing can even sometimes bring me money (especially if it’s an invoice or a proposal)

There are tons of reasons to write.

Fifteen days ago I set a goal to write 1,000 words a day. I’m here to tell you that I may have come close to that two or three times so far. I have to say that the mere fact of having the goal has encouraged me to write more (my Facebook friends can attest to an increase in my updates and replies). However, it’s not enough: not considering how central writing is to meeting so many of my other goals.

I am officially declaring a fresh start to the 1,000 words/day challenge. If you’ve already been able to stick to it, great! Leave a comment and tell us how you’ve done it so far. If not, join me for a fresh start, starting right now.

Twenty-one days of 1,000 words/day starts now.

Although I did enjoy reading a little bit of Annie every day with my Mom, I don’t think we ever finished the book. I know that life has to be taken in small pieces most of the time. Writing 1,000 words/day (minimum) is going to mean typing in the dark or with a baby tugging at my hands as I peck at the keyboard. It’s worth it. 1,000 words/day is the small bite. It’s also sitting down and reading the little book  from start to finish because that’s how it’s meant to be done.

positive thinking

List it, Date It, Prioritize it, Time it, Do It, Check It

A To Do list isn’t much help if it’s only a list of things to do that never get done. I actually have a To Do book where I keep a perpetual To Do list. Most of the time I just keep adding to the list, and checking things off as I do them. Sometimes I write the same thing down again (sometimes several times) so I don’t have to flip back as many pages in my book. I might even star something that seems really important. If it’s vitally important, I star it and write a note that says “#1 Priority.” Today I did something a little different.

If stuff on your To Do list never seems to make it to your Did It Now list, then try doing this:

List It: Make a list of everything you need to do. Deadlines don’t matter. If it’s in your head, get it out of there and on paper.

Date It: Give each task a deadline. Does it need to be done today, or next week, or next month?

Prioritize It: For all the things that need to be done TODAY, prioritize each item in order of importance to YOU. Continue numbering with items that can wait a little bit.

Time It: Sometimes the reason I put things off is because I think it’s going to take longer than it actually does. Estimate how much time you think it will realistically take for you to complete, and assign a time value to each item. Then actually time yourself for a reality check. Does it actually take an hour to unload the dishwasher? Nope! It takes 3 minutes!

Do It: Start with #1 on your list and work your way down. Do it now!

Check It: Once complete, check it off your list, and add it to your Did It Now list at the end of the day.

By the end of today, I’ve checked off 6 of the 16 things on my list (#1, 2, 3, 5 [which I delegated], 10, plus one that I forgot to number, but it was starred). Number 1 & 3 have been on my list for weeks. Feels great to have them done!

Of course I did do more things than the 6 things I checked off my To Do list. I will capture those on my Did It Now list, because I’m happy about getting those things done too.

Tomorrow I’ll add more things to the list, reprioritize, and start all over again.

Do it now!


Did It Now List

Sometimes I get to the end of the day and wonder what it is that I got done. My To Do list seems to go on forever. As I try to get one thing done, five more things might get added to the list.

What I like about the Do it Now challenge is that I’m doing some of the smaller things quicker and the bigger ones seem to get done too.

I’ve always kept a To Do list, but the last few days I’ve also been keeping a “Did It Now” list. At the end of the day I write down what I accomplished. It feels good to get to the end of the day and see in black and white what I’ve done.

Here’s a few of the things I’ve done so far, big and small:

  • Customer website updates
  • Pulled a snail off of a window
  • Called 2 potential customers
  • Took out garbage
  • Dishes
  • Took a leisurely drive down Routes 5 & 20
  • Rented movies
  • Killed flies
  • Created a lightbox for a customer
  • Learned more about WordPress
  • Designed a customer website
  • Went to church

Now it’s your turn. What will be on your “I Did It Now” list at the end of the day today?