It’s obvious by my last blog post that I’ve had some trouble being productive. My lack of productivity really stems from the fact that I’m a bit out of sorts (a nice way of saying disorganized). This realization is particularly disheartening for me because I LOVE organizing things. My label maker and I are like this:
And the idea of going to The Container Store gets me hot and bothered (and I swear I hear heavenly trumpets and cherub chatter when I walk into one). Sadly though, this unnatural desire to organize and label my life, has not translated to the projects and tasks portion of my life. Sometimes I stare at the list on my white board until I’m blue in the face, unable to decide what I need to work on, and more often than not, I’m distracted by chores and other “house stuff” that needs my attention. I then turn to Pinterest for consolation and there goes my afternoon.
So my dear friend Kerrie, who is the director of the Northern Colorado Writers (it helps by the way, to have friends in the writing community to keep you going–glom onto those people) gave me the idea of sorting these tasks/projects into different jars. She too, is going to try this tactic. The idea is to write down what needs to be done on separate pieces of paper and devote time each day to “Jar Tasks.” Whether it’s 30 minutes or two hours, pick something from a jar and do what it says! If you have a couple of hours, pick one thing from each jar—it’s up to you.
My 4 jars: Illustrating, Writing, Home and Fun/Reward. Here’s a little sampling of my tasks . . .
Now, I quickly learned that there are rules to this game. Yes, I know, no one likes rules, but if you want this to work, you have to play by the rules. The beautiful thing is you can make up your own, but might I make a few suggestions:
1.) Take care of projects that have a deadline first. These are things that have to be done a.s.a.p. As part of the Creative Team for the NCW Writers Conference in April, I have several things that need to be done, so I have to make sure I devote time each day or each week to those projects. Other things include working out, practicing guitar, and meditating. Be sure to schedule those things before anything else.
2.) Don’t put things in the jars that you’re not prepared to work on that day, week, or month. If you need to purchase items for a certain task, make sure you have those things ready to go should you pull that card out of the jar. If you don’t think you’ll be able to do that task the second you pull it from the jar, don’t add it. Stick to the things you are prepared to work on.
3.) You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit. Most parents are familiar with this saying . . . and it goes for adults too! If you get “clean toilets” then by George, you’re cleaning toilets. You can bitch and moan, but limit it to a minute and just get ‘er done.
4.) If it’s a reoccurring task, throw it back in the jar. No need to write ten of “write a blog post.” Merely toss it back in when the need for another blog post arises.
See? That’s not too bad, right? I do find it rather sad that I seem to have more items in my ‘Home” jar than the others, but I have a feeling that a trip to The Container Store will make it all better. Kerrie and I vowed to keep this up until the end of January, so wish me luck. I’d also love to hear some of your ideas and if you’d tried a similar method. Did it work? Or did you find it mildly satisfying to smash the jars against the wall?