Contain Yourself, Part 2: Finding the Fountain

When I left off on Part 1 of this post, I had run through two different attempts at scheduling myself into productivity, and was listing out the qualities I needed to incorporate into a better structure for my days.  The biggest things were flexibility and focus, and finding a balance between the two.  So here’s what happened next…

I went back to my categories – art, music, fiction, blogging, jewelry-making, personal development – and drew out, on the whiteboard that hangs beside my desk, a scorecard with spaces for each category.  At the top, I wrote the week’s dates, going from Monday to Sunday.  My theory was this: each morning, as I was enjoying my coffee and breakfast, I would write out a little to-do list for the day, incorporating both mundane tasks like laundry or dishes, and specific tasks that fit into my categories.  So a day’s list might include vacuuming, taking out the trash, writing a blog post or two, working on my jewelry, and tuning my harp and running scales for a little while.  When I finished a task related to one of the categories, I would make a mark on the “scorecard”.  That way, I could choose whatever I felt like doing on a given day, but would also have the accountability and reminder to balance my activities.

So how did it work?  Better.  Definitely better, and not “less worse”.  At the time that I wrote the first part of this post, I’d really thought I’d found my fountain – a container that would allow my creativity and energy to flow into a beautiful shape, while keeping it from being wasted making a mud puddle around me.  But I still had a tendency to forget to make marks on the scorecard, and it still always looked oddly off-balance at the end of the week.  At this point, I was out of ideas, so I let it sit for a bit, still making my daily lists but not bothering to cross-reference with my scoreboard.  My personal productivity was better than before, but still not *good*.

Then I read this article on ZenHabits.  Since I was already using a week as my “larger” unit of time to keep me accountable to larger goals, it seemed like it might be a good fit.  So last night, I went ahead and wrote out a list of goals for this week.  They involve blogging, jewelry-making, personal development work, and some fiction writing.  I like having a list of more specific “meta-tasks” instead of just a nebulous list of categories, and so far I’m doing well.  Of course it’s always Monday, so that’s subject to change.  But I’ll be back next week to report on how it goes!

I may have found my perfect fountain.  What does your fountain look like?  Or what other metaphors do you use to talk about structure and purpose?

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~ by jadelynkaia on 05.16.2011.

One Response to “Contain Yourself, Part 2: Finding the Fountain”

  1. […] may recall, in the second part of my Contain Yourself post, I talked about experimenting with a new system this past week. Having finished the first week […]

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