Posted in "Daily" pages

To Do, To Don’t, To Done

September 6, 2013 - 8:48 am

Wow, summer really just whizzed by. Wasn’t it May yesterday? No wait- that was just last blog post. 

It was a good summer. An amazing summer. I spent a lot of time with my son just exercising our creativity in various ways. We traveled, we made stuff, we talked. I taught classes, and became much more confident in my ability to create and execute a class outline. My students made some amazing things. 

On the other hand, the public face of Hack Your Clothes languished, to the point that it has become a mill stone. It’s time for me to shift focus back to it. To that end I’m planning to start a weekly rhythm of adding content to the site. One of my goals for today is to determine what a good rhythm will be, and lay out that plan. I want to work on the lexicon, start reviewing tutorials, and document some of my patterns.

I also started a machine knitting book that I’m kind of excited about finishing and getting out into the world. So I will work on that as well. It’s based in part on the tutorials I’ve taught on using the machines, but also goes into more depth on the mechanicals to help someone new to knitting machines who wants to rehab an old machine. Basically it will be the guide I wish I had when I was starting.

I’ve also spent a lot of rumination time on process and planning and how that works in my life. I found some new tools, and sort of bounced back and forth between logging my accomplishments in DayOne and building and living by a todo list in ActionMethod. I noticed that when I was logging accomplishments I felt better and was more creative, but not surprisingly things got dropped. When I was using a todo list I was better at tracking and finishing the things I wrote down, but my creativity level diminished. I pretty clearly need both, but they are somewhat mutually exclusive. Dilemma.

The todo list becomes stultifying when cruft builds up in it that is nebulous and large, such as a task I just deleted from ActionMethod: “Revise Machine Knitting Book.” huh? one todo list item? fer srsly? What was I thinking? I have about 45 pages and on the order of 150 graphics already laid in, and I’m on the second of 10 or so chapters. It’s a major project, not a todo list item. The “scan and archive paperwork” item is still on the list, though, and the pile is still on my desk waiting patiently for me to apply a roundtuit. I need a todo list to keep me honest about those things.

The journal log is uplifting. I can read about all the things I accomplished in a day, and writing about what I’m doing when it’s fresh and I’m in the middle of it is clarifying and accelerates my creative process. I want to keep that going. But I seem to have an either/or mode; I can’t do both in the same day. I don’t think I can shift modes even on alternate days.

So here’s my plan. I’m going to shift around how I manage my time on a monthly basis, by alternating weeks between to do and to done. And I’m going to use two to do list tools to discourage cruft accumulating. Here’s what I’m thinking:

Week 1: The first week of the month starting with a Sunday. Creative/journal tracking week using DayOne. Begin the week by reviewing previous Journal week’s activities. Think about three creative goals for the week, and write about them. 

Week 2: To Do List driven using Any.DO. Begin the week by reviewing last month’s old entries and deleting most of them. Review ActionMethod for any actions that should be carried forward to this week’s list. Review next two weeks’ schedule and add actions as necessary. Anything more than a week away goes on the calendar or on the *ActionMethod* “someday” list. Be realistic about what is being planned, and get it done. Do these things this week, no excuses. 

Week 3: Creative/journal tracking week using DayOne. Begin the week by reviewing previous Journal week’s activities. Think about three creative goals for the week, and write about them. 

Week 4: To Do List driven using ActionMethod. Begin the week by reviewing last month’s old entries and deleting most of them. Review Any.DO for any actions that should be carried forward to this week’s list. Review next two weeks’ schedule and add actions as necessary. Anything more than a week away goes on the calendar or on the *Any.DO* “someday” list. Be realistic about what is being planned, and get it done. Do these things this week, no excuses. 

Bonus Days: Most months will have some time at the month’s transition. Spend the month coming up with a big project to focus on intensively in this time. Do it.

This will be crosscut by my weekly objectives. *every* week will see predictable content updates. I am ruminating on exactly what things to lay out on exactly which days, but I want a weekly rhythm of output. This monthly creative/productive rhythm is a bigger cycle.

I’m also going to review my daily rhythm. I need to re-commit to the morning routine; having Zachary in the house of course affected how my mornings ran. I also want to schedule more physical activity into my days; I slide into afternoon doldrums without it. And I’d like to get back to cooking meals for dinner most days rather than eating out or grazing. It’s a habit we’ve fallen out of, and I want it back.

This may be an overly ambitious set of changes, and certainly it will have to flex and bend around travel and events. But I think the rhythm is good. I have always responded well to having a rhythm in my doings. This feels right. 🙂

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