I’m a planner. So I woke up this morning before my alarm went off. I was thinking. I have a dilemma.
We’re having this baby in February. I work from home. Which is great in itself. In fact I feel very blessed to be in a position to work from home. My problem is that my work revolves around deadlines. Every company I work for has different goals and products that they want to get out and I manage my time based on what is due when.
I’m trying to get prepared – work-wise – for this baby. The advice I received from Heidi Swapp a few months ago, from one designer to another, was to make sure I paused once the baby was born to enjoy him. Even though I am my own boss, she said she wished she had taken more time away from work to enjoy those first few weeks especially.
Because we are doing the year long workshop at Big Picture Scrapbooking, it involves developing a great deal of content each month. And to make sure that the site is ready each month, I have to have content finished at least three months in advance all year. For example – January is due in two weeks, February is due by the end of October, etc.
Needless to say, I woke up feeling just a little overwhelmed. No wait…I had a much more realistic look at it than just overwhelmed – I really wonder if I can do it. This is a classic case of knowing that if I prepare myself in advance then I will be much, much happier later – but how do I get myself prepared? How do I tackle this set of tasks that seems a mile long over the next six months?
Here’s what I came up with while I was thinking it through in the morning’s early hours. I’ve decided that it’s a good set of 8 steps for anyone trying to tackle something big.
1. Make a Calendar List of Everything and When It’s Due. I have to get my due dates on paper so I know where I’m headed. I’m going to create a master calendar today and put everything on there until the end of January – no due dates in February to worry about except the most important one!
2. Break It Down. Once I know my due dates, I will break down each one into smaller tasks. Those will go on my calendar as well so I know week by week what has to get accomplished in order to chip away at the large deadlines. This also helps me organize the different companies I work for – I do best when I work on one project (such as the next $1 stamp set for Michaels), finish it then move onto the next task. I have to have a certain amount of time dedicated to each task to do that.
3. Gather Supplies. This applies to BPS – I will need to have project supplies on hand to accomplish each task so I don’t waste time waiting for things to come in the mail or heading to the scrapbook store every other day.
4. Get to Work. I know that I can organize till I’m blue in the face but it still won’t get the job done. I have to stay focused and get to work. If I put something off it will only make things harder to make up the next week.
5. Give Yourself Rewards. To keep myself from getting crabby, I will give myself rewards. If I accomplish one set of tasks then I get to go read a book or take the weekend off or spend the day with my sister…whatever comes up that I want to do that week. Something to work for instead of just the never-ending task list.
6. Adapt. Does anything ever go the exact way we think it will? Of course not. In that case, I am promising myself right now that I will choose flexibility instead of freaking out when bumps in the road come and I have to adjust my calendar to adapt to them.
7. Don’t Forget to Love the Moment. I think I’ve gotten better at this over the years. Even when I’m working hard I can still love what I’m doing and pause for moments here and there to chat with Jason or play Rock Band with him or call a friend. My experience will be more enriching if I embrace moments intermingled with the tasks.
8. Just Do Your Best. Discouragement paralyzes creativity so I have to remain positive about how I am doing. This is a mental control thing – I’ll pause, take a deep breath, and try to let go of those feelings of frustration and negativity, and focus on what I’m doing well.
Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity. -Charles Mingus
Does anyone else have a plan to get something done?