I love my lists. Every time I feel a little unfocused or I just want to clean out my brain from the things I have to remember, I sit down with a piece of paper and pen and I start unloading all of my burdens on the page. I list every single little thing on that page until I have covered everything that I am stressing about and everything that I thought I might forget. My last page was 11 x 14″ and I filled both the front and back with purple gel penned notes to myself. And when Saturday rolled around, I got to work chipping away at that list of things until I no longer felt overwhelmed, but instead felt empowered to get even more done.
That is the power of a list — it transforms a cluttered mind into an organized (or unorganized) list and it translates thinking into doing.
A list is a starting place for magic. It can start as a brainstorming and end with a project that you never thought possible. The lists described below are not your normal Honey Do Lists, they are so much more than that. They are a way to voice what you want in life and put it down on the page. These lists are a way to organize your dreams into steps and plans so that the life you want is no longer a daydream, but instead a practical assessment of steps needed to embrace your everyday magic.
- Write quickly while you are dumping. The goal is to empty your mind of the clutter. The items on your list can be the things that you have to accomplish, but also list all of the things that you dream about doing someday. Is your dream to ride in a helicopter? Go for a walk on the beach? Finally write in your journal everyday? Write down these tasks to transform them from being dreams to tangible goals in your life.
- Don’t be afraid to write on different parts of the page. I write the “Have-to’s” at the top of the page and the “Want-to’s” at the bottom of the page so that I have an organized list of priorities, but also leave room for fun things like painting my nails or giving myself a facial.
- Breakdown tasks into 10 minute increments. If you think that cleaning the floors will take 30 minutes, then breakdown the task into “find the mop and bucket and prep the cleaning solution,” “clean living room,” and “clean bedroom” so that no task takes more than 10 minutes. You will feel so much more accomplished when you return to your list and can check off three items instead of one!
- Give yourself a break if it doesn’t happen the way you planned. For example, I worked all day Saturday on updating my blog software and still only finished half the project. The important thing to remember is that I put in the work and I can be proud of what I accomplished. There’s always next weekend for finishing the project. I got something done and that is all that mattered. 50% finished is better than never starting at all.
- Leave room for the artistry of life. I put doodles, quotes, and tons of washi tape in my planner to keep my lists beautiful, inspired, and motivating. There is nothing worse than seeing a long list of to-do’s in black pen with nothing colorful or creative. If you take a ten minute break during the day, add some color and your mind will thank you for the beauty that you infuse into the mundane tasks. Washi tape is also a great way to whittle down the overwhelming blank spaces on the page. Fill in some squares with washi tape to remove any intimidating white space from the page.
- Remember to look at past lists. I keep most of my lists in my planner. When I look back on what I’ve accomplished this year, I see that I got my blog running, emailed industry contacts about getting my fiction published, played in the pit orchestra for a production of Guys and Dolls, and took Mr. Darcy from a hyperactive puppy to an advanced training graduate! I never finish 100% of what I plan for the week, but I have gone leaps and bounds beyond what I thought was possible because I chipped away at each list until I made progress.
My Challenge for You:
Think through all of the things you wish you could get done this week, this weekend, or even this month. Give yourself the freedom to dream. Do you want to sing karaoke? Write it down on the list. Want to repaint all of your bedroom furniture? Write it down. Wish you had time to roller skate in the park? Write it down.
List your thoughts with rapid-fire committment. Apply the rules above so that you write on different parts of the page, breakdown tasks into 10 minute increments, and add some decorative elements (washi tape borders is a favorite design choice of mine).
Commit to spending 1 hour on your list this weekend. You’ll be amazed at the clarity you’ll gain about your life from taking the time to work toward your goals. You’ll build enthusiasm to keep going, pride for the work you’ve accomplished, and you’ll hold in your hands the very magic that you’ve dreamed of.
Ready to try your own list? Leave a comment below to share your dream/goal/wish with us and you could win a copy of the Field Guide to Everyday Magic!
The Field Guide to Everyday Magic is the perfect place to start your lists. It includes heartfelt questions and prompts to help you find your everyday magic and to capture your favorite moments on the page. Use it as a way to capture some “me time,” reflect on your dreams, and find a comforting bit of magic to hold near your heart for the day.
A special thank you to Stampington & Company for providing the prize for this giveaway.
*Contest open to U.S. residents and International residents. International prize winners are eligible to receive a free digital copy of Bella Grace instead of the Field Guide to Everyday Magic. Contest ends 9/30/17 and winner will be randomly selected from the comments below and contacted via email.