Now I am still working out all the kinks and ideas, trying to streamline it all down into a very easy workable system, but what I have already has made a huge improvement for me.
It all starts out with a notebook, a pen, and some time to think. This portion of the project took me almost a whole day. I sat down on a chilly day with a cup of coffee and my notebook and began to write down everything that was on my brain or that came up in thought. Here is an example:
- Process 24 cans each black, red, navy beans
- Finish garden fence
- Research cognitive science
- Make list of needs for Hawaii trip
- Research all 7 crusades
- Find floor plan for future bookstore
When all was said and done I had around 150 items on my list. Does this sound daunting and overwhelming to you? I can not tell you the freedom I felt when I was done with this initial project. I was exhausted, but I felt so good. My brain works nonstop. It comes up with ideas and thoughts faster than I can blink. All those thoughts and ideas were being stored somewhere in my head. What a jumbled mess it would be sometimes!!! But even more frustrating was that I was getting to the point of not getting anything done. There was so much that I was thinking about needing to do that my body just kind of shut down and refused to work. Getting all that 'stuff' out of my head and on a piece of paper was therapy to me. Now I keep and ongoing list. I have smaller notepads all over the house and in the car. Any time I think of something I need to do, want to do, research, read, buy etc. It goes on the notepad. At the end of the day, or every other day, I copy all my little notes onto my master list. My thoughts have been collected.
Next I break them down into two categories: Actionable and Not Actionable. Everything on my master list is broken down into something that needs to be taken care of within a reasonable amount of time or something that needs to be incubated for a small amount of time or is a 'someday/maybe' item. Then the actionable items are given a number 1,2, or 3. This gives the item an importance factor.
Once the priorities have been set, I move the actionable items to a Next Action list! Yea! I love this part! This is where things really start to get done. All my number one items get on the Next Action list first. I list the item and then I think about it for a while. What needs to be done for this item to be accomplished? One thing that Mr. Allen talks about is how people defeat themselves when they think about 'doing' a project. You don't do or complete a project. You do and complete a group of actions that brings your project to its desired result. When you try to do a project, but don't know what action steps to take. Your project will stagnate. So that is the purpose of the Next Action list. After I have thought about each item on my actionable list I begin to give each item a list of action steps. Some have one. Take out the trash is a one action chore. Just take it out! But others are not so easy. Here is an example:
- Make list of Hawaii needs!
- Go through each person's closet to see what is needed for summer clothes
- Brainstorm with hubby what activities we will be doing while there.
- Make a list of needs for those activities ( Water Shoes would be a good example of a need here)
- Make a price list of needs
- Save money for needs
- Purchase items as money comes in for those needs
I now have a list of actions needed to be completed for us to be ready to go on our Hawaii trip. I don't have to think about this, just do it!
Some projects/items are large scale. For those items I have another section in my notebook for Large Projects.Here I have a list to help me keep focused on the task at hand and how to work through actions to complete the project. If I need to collect information to help with the project all that information goes here.
I also have a section for mind mapping as I love to brainstorm this way. It connects everything for me but still gives me the freedom to be random in my thinking. I love rabbit trails when I am thinking!
So this is what I have been working on lately and I have been loving it! My husband too. My pile of projects and ideas that I start and don't finish, or that take me forever to finish drive him crazy! This is helping me to eliminate that from my life. What a great way to prepare for spring. My newest Large Project that is being planned right now is the 2015 Garden and landscaping.
Oh how I love to plan!!!!