November 15, 2007
premeditation and productivity
This week I set aside time to think, organize and plan. As 2008 fast approaches it has become apparent that I can no longer put off preparing myself for all the things I wish to do and accomplish next year.
At first I was overwhelmed. I wrote down my goals and ideas, but I still could not wrap my head around how I would achieve them. They seemed huge and impossible. Perhaps that is why I had felt so much inertia around starting to get ready for next year.
I did a little reading online, and became a latecomer to the most popular productivity site on the web, 43 folders. Merlin Mann wrote an incredible pair of posts on Building a Smarter To-Do List that I found inspiring and helpful. In the time I set aside, I began to break down my goals into smaller steps which are simple and doable. Every day I can do something that gets me a little bit closer to my ideal. My to-do list is very long right now, but instead of being overwhelmed I feel like I know what I need to do and how I will get it done. This exercise has raised my confidence considerably.
When I visited Susie Love to watch PRC on Monday she generously lent me Dr. Stephen Covey’s classic 7 Habits of Highly Effective People on old-school cassettes. I have never listened to motivational tapes before but Susie’s endorsement is very convincing. Since I met her at the Fashion and Design Festival in August she has inspired my admiration. Even within a few months her progress as an entrepreneur has been considerable. Every time she gets a new account or fresh press, I cheer. She is a firecracker.
I have been listening to the tapes while I cook and clean, and while I practice sketching. Dr. Covey is friendly and deliberate. The information he offers is common sense and he repeats himself often. Yet instead of feeling patronized I appreciate the simplicity and the reinforcement.
Within 2 days of listening to the tapes I already found one situation with a client where I was able to apply Dr. Covey’s lessons with positive effect. I was able to change a project from something daunting into something manageable. The client’s spirits were visibly raised over the course of the meeting, and of course I felt a lot better too.
I am not the only fashion blogger/entrepreneur who takes an interest in productivity. Elaine Perlov at i am a fashion designer. gee has a whole series of posts dedicated to her taskmaster, which happens to be an adorable egg-timer. I will have to add “buy adorable egg-timer” to my to do list.
While I was poking around Elaine’s blog I also noticed that she is working on some custom favicons, and I was inspired to do the same. I used my initials, which I sometimes sign small sketches with.
What do you think?
The other things I have been pondering this week have more to do with people and relationships, things that are not so easily itemized as a to do list. The spirit of self-improvement I have been feeling lately is compelling me to reflect on how I can communicate better. I want to figure out how to be more empathetic and helpful. I feel like I have a long way to go. I hope by practicing a sense of awareness, someday I will develop these sensitive and important skills.