Episode 05 Show Notes
People ask me all the time how I “get stuff done” and I often don’t know exactly what they mean! I don’t feel like I do a whole lot more than the next person. But, as I have thought about this topic, I realized there is a pattern that I use when I am setting goals and accomplishing things. I am excited to share it with you, so you can “get stuff done” too!
Segment: Life Lately
Our renovation is almost finished! The siding and porch skirt is finished! The pavers are going in this week, and now I am focused on landscaping. I want big limelight hydrangea planted in front of the porch, but they are best planted in the spring. So, I am looking for something that will look great with the hydrangea that I can plant in the fall. Anyone have suggestions?
We finally had this amazing secure dog door installed into the wall in the kitchen, so Quincy can let herself in and out at her leisure. It has made such a difference in the pattern of our day, and she is happy to be so free! Here is a link to the type of door we had installed. It is one of the best available and my dad, who owns a construction company, recommended it to me! The company sell all different types, so if you are in the market, check them out.
Plum is in English-Speaking Pre-school:
My daughter, Plum, has been attending Spanish Immersion Preschool since she was 18 months, and I also speak primarily Spanish with her at home. This year, we decided to put her in an English-Speaking school for the first time because it will be good prep for Kindergarten next year, and because the school is so much closer to home!
I am rededicating myself to speaking Spanish with her at home as often as possible, so she can continue to understand and speak it as well as she already does. I will record a whole episode about raising a bilingual child soon!
Segment: Odd Jobs
When I was finished with my first year of college, I spent the summer working as a Wilderness Counselor at Outback Treatment Wilderness Rehab. This is a survival-based program where kids with drug and alcohol dependencies and different types of behavioral problems go to straighten up!
Here are three things I learned:
“All of the things we tell ourselves we are or that we need to be melts away when you spend a few days out in nature.”
- Nature Heals and Brings Perspective: It is grounding to spend time in nature. We can shed all of the layers society imposes on us and really come to know our true selves. Spending just a little bit of time outdoors can really help bring perspective.
- Life Isn’t All About Me! One day while I sat in a therapy session with one of the students and the lead psychologist, the student shared how her mom was always upset that she took long showers and used up all of the family’s hot water. The student didn’t know why that was a problem and the therapist told her: Life isn’t all about YOU. We can get so caught up in being the center of our own universe, that we forget to be aware of the needs of others around us.
- Fire Making: I can make fire with sticks! I scope out a bent juniper branch, use a leather shoelace, and drill down a piece of yucca to make embers for a fire! It is sort of like a party trick these days, but there is something really empowering about being able to have the tools I need for basic survival.
How I Get Stuff Done
1. Choose Something!
There are lots of right things. We can get so caught up in the very most right thing, that we don’t actually get started. Maybe we need to simply choose something we like, without worrying that it is absolutely perfect.
“If you don’t choose something, you won’t do anything.”What comes to mind when you ask yourself ” What do I KNOW that I want?” It might be in just one area of your life that you have some certainty, but those are the things that you can get started on right now.
An example: When I was in college, I didn’t know what I wanted to study. I didn’t want to waste time taking classes that weren’t going to contribute to my degree. The only thing I knew for sure that I wanted to learn was to speak Spanish fluently. So, I took a semester off of school and went to study Spanish in Costa Rica and Mexico.
I still didn’t know exactly what I wanted to study, but I had DONE the thing that I DID know I wanted to do.
“Don’t worry about knowing every single thing that you want to do. Focus on the things that you already know. The things that you have already decided are the things you should start doing.”
What is that thing that you DO know you want to do? It is really easy to move forward with things you want to do and get stuff done.
2. Get Really Specific
Once you have decided on something, get specific about what you want the experience to look like. There is no one perfect way, there are lots of different ways to do anything. So it doesn’t matter that much what specifics you choose, just that you define what you are looking for.
When we moved to Richmond, we knew we wanted a small, inexpensive fixer upper in a nice neighborhood near a school. As soon as I decided what I was looking for specifically, it was really easy to know the right house when I saw it! In addition, I got really specific about the design I wanted from before we even bought the house, so it every time we needed to make a decision, or hire a contractor, or move forward, I was ready.
“You may ask yourself ‘What if I don’t know what I want?’ Just choose something! There are lots of different ways to do it right, so choose something you like and then allow yourself to have peace about the decision you make.”
Don’t try to explore every idea. Just choose and run with it!
3. Break It Down Into Small Pieces
As you make your goals small enough that you can achieve each small piece at a time, you will be well on your way to getting stuff done.
An Example: The Room by Room Challenge is a project where you focus on one room each month to design, decorate, and organize. The steps you follow to complete a room are these same steps! Choose a room, decided what you want it to look or feel like, then break down the tasks into a “punch list”.
“Breaking things down into small pieces so you can prepare yourself to accomplish them means that you can actually get stuff done!”
4. Ignore Everything Else
This one is so important! It isn’t always easy to “get stuff done” because there are lots of other things you can be doing.
“Multitasking is the fastest way to feel like you’re spinning your wheels and not going anywhere.”
It doesn’t matter that much what you are doing, as long as you are focused on it all the way. This is mindfulness. Thinking about what you are doing while you are doing it and forgetting about what you might be missing out on.
If you have already decided this is something you want to get done, you’ve already gotten specific about it and broken it down into pieces. You should know that you can DO IT and not feel bad that you aren’t doing something else at the same moment.
Hire a babysitter so your kids are well cared and you don’t feel guilty while you get something else done.
“Forget about that mom guilt, because you are going to feel happier and better as a mom for your kids when you are able to also make some other stuff happen in your life that you want to do.”
Find out more about the bistro light pergola DIY right here.
5. Done Wrong Is Better Than Not Done At All
We have heard a hundred times that done is better than perfect, but I am taking this one step further and telling you that done wrong is better than not done at all!
“If you don’t do anything, then you don’t learn anything. If you don’t do anything, there is no chance at all of doing it right.”
We can spend so much time planning, and thinking, and worrying that we never actually do it! I think that if you jump in, do it, even if things don’t turn out the way you expect it to, you will be better off than if you hadn’t started at all.
I use this idea all the time when I am sewing. I just cut and see what happens! Worst case scenario I throw the project away and begin again. Measuring twice and cutting once is a good rule, but if you measure so many times that you never actually get to the cutting, you aren’t doing yourself any favors.
“I have learned more from making mistakes than I ever have by doing things perfectly.”
Let’s just take “doing things perfectly” off of the table, and allow yourself to just go for it.
I try my hardest, and I do want things to be done really well. But when things don’t turn out the way I expect, I always feel better that I have done something.
If you do something wrong, you are likely to fix it. If you never decided and do, you might not even get anywhere at all!
An example: When we were newly married, we collected less-than-perfect furniture so that we had somewhere to sit and somewhere to sleep. We had a starting place that we could change and work with, rather than not doing anything at all.
Hang something on the wall and it might take thirteen holes to get it straight, but that’s okay! It is really easy to fill a hole in the wall!
“Allow yourself to do it wrong. Know that doing it wrong is better, because you learn as you go.”
Sometimes, when people ask me how I get so much stuff done, I think they believe I am doing things according to some grand master plan. I am not! I am just making it up as I go and winging it! I pick something, break it down, work on it and don’t expect that it will turn out perfectly every time.
That is the biggest piece of advice that I could give. Don’t expect that everything will go perfectly.
Here are the steps again:
- Choose Something
- Get Specific
- Break It Down Into Pieces
- Ignore Everything Else
- Done Wrong Is Better Than Not Done At All