Recently, Rachel and I were discussing motivation and productivity following my post on Sew in love regarding having a focus for my needlework, i.e., if there wasn't a tangible, and preferably pressing, reason for doing it, I probably don't do it! She has a list of things she wants to achieve by her 30th birthday. She has a couple of years to fit those goals in and it's a good milestone to look towards, isn't it?
I'm too close to 40 to make that too realistic a deadline for many of the things I'm interested in accomplishing. 17-ish months is an OK timescale for many of them, but I guess I don't measure my life in decades enough to make that motivating enough for me, so what I've done is to create two lists - one of general goals, which will change as my interest in various things waxes and wanes in the months and years ahead, and a list of stuff to do during this year. You can see the list by clicking on the relevant name link just under my header photo.
I've only had those lists up there for a couple of days (although most of the general one was on Sew in Love for a while), but I'm really finding that 2010 list helpful. I've been rather drained over the past few days, but having the list there to spur me on has helped me to, not just read a library novel (I read 'Rebecca' for the first time), but also work towards some of my reading goals. I'm a few chapters further down the path with other books than I might otherwise have been! Rachel told me her 'Before 30' list helped her to get on with things as she couldn't leave them all 'til the last minute, and I can quite see why this has made a difference to her. Having a set of goals decided and published, so to speak, really helps to provide the focus needed to get back into action.
I update my lists very regularly by adding new things to the general one and removing stuff I'm no longer bothered about (which happens a fair bit!!), and by putting in progress 'report's on the 2010 one. I find having something to update there good fun and quite motivating in itself. I always loved the 'colour off a block when you've done this far' type of progress chart. I suppose this is my version of that.
So, if you're finding that you're getting stuck in a rut and getting nowhere fast, try a similar list. Not only can it help when you're feeling paralysed with too much to get done (writing it all down into a list of tasks that can be accomplished within a reasonable time frame helps to relieve panic enormously), but it also can help you find a focus when you've little more than yourself to answer to. I always find a deadline to be a terrific motivator and exams are great for making me study. Having my own deadlines to work to will be harder to keep up to, but you never know, it could work....!
Finishing up some older projects
5 weeks ago