I've noticed that to-do lists tend to be both a blessing and a bane to my existence. I'm constantly making them, and without them I would probably be too scatterbrained to remember all the crap I'm supposed to get done (not a good thing for a freelancer); but at the same time, I find them paralyzing and stifling. Not to mention all the things that I WANT to do but don't actually ever make it onto the to-do list because I can't quite justify spending the time on them, somehow. It's this latter idea that I'm having a real problem with lately.
That is, I'm tired of shoving aside all the things I want to do, all the long-term projects that I really think would be good for me, simply because, immediately after I think I might like to do it, then I think, Oh, I can't do THAT. So I made myself a Can't-Do List. It's a list of all the things I want to do but haven't been able to find time for. Secondarily, I scooped 45 extra minutes out of my day--at least 30 of which is spent either agonizing over what to do next or procrastinating, and the other 15 unnecessarily prolonging my coffee break--which I will use at least four days a week to work on items from the Can't-Do List. Here's the list, with appropriate can't-do notes:
- It might be nice to drive out into the countryside to a park and sit at a bench and write or draw for part of the day. (No, I can't do that. I don't have time.)
- I think I might like to do a major project like a graphic novel or an internet thing. (No. I don't have ideas that are good enough. I'm not skilled enough. I don't have time to invest on something that big when I have other work I should be doing.)
- I want to make some illustrations and send some out and develop a portfolio of samples. (I can't. What would I draw? I don't have a style. I don't have enough skill. I don't have time to make the drawings good enough.)
- I want to make enough art to have a show, or at least send work out to juried shows. (But again, see above. No time. Not enough skill. No ideas. Can barely even finish art work I'm currently working on. Have too many other projects that take precedence.)
- I would like to make a chapbook of short-short stories with accompanying artwork, but I seem to have run out of steam with those and now I'm afraid to try.
- I want to make "found poems" out of found text; even found stories, and maybe accompany them with artwork in a chapbook.
- I want to get back into practice on the piano at least a little, and possibly start learning how to play the drums.
- I want to try to fit in a little meditation every day or every other day.
- I want to make enough handmade books that I can set up an Etsy shop for them.
So my goal is to spend the first 5 minutes of my 45 minutes meditating, and the other 40 on one or two of the list items. It's the 45-Minute Plan, and I'm not allowed to procrastinate about it AT ALL. I have to eliminate the "but I should be doing X....but I should be doing Y..." that takes up so much of my mental space. It's really, really difficult. I'm hoping that making this sort of bite-sized plan will help.