Today I am writing to share an experiment I am undertaking to identify an approach to scheduling all the little and big actions I will take to move each element of my dream forward with daily, sustained action.
A brief recap here from the years of pushing like heck and sprinting in this direction and that towards my dreams–2019 brings a different approach: small, incremental, routinized actions that move the ball forward slowly and steadily and allow us to maintain the stamina to keep it going for the years (decades even!) it takes to build our dreams. This approach also emphasizes smaller, hyper-focused increments of time, which are much more productive than long wades through the work muck where we are liable to get lost.
Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of our dream-building work is balancing all the things.
I am going list out mine here as an example: Writing consulting client work, writing business development work & continuing education/ skills development, part-time restaurant job, studio apprenticeship, sewing practice, figure drawing study & practice, writing & video blog, administrative, budgeting, Reid Miller Apparel networking and strategy. Yikes.
After realizing that all these pieces are important and that I was getting in a bad habit of spending too much time on any one piece, to the detriment of the others, I realized that I needed to come up with a plan. Take for example getting the website together to launch the new blog. I have a vision for how I want it to look, but then the website template will only let me size my photo to a size that doesn’t work for it. So now I’m in Photoshop, where I realize I have to learn how to do something. Now I’m watching a video. Next thing I know it is late afternoon and I am redistributing items on my todo list to the next days of the week and therefore reducing my time spent on all the other important, incremental bits of work to develop skills, market my writing consulting or practice sewing.
This just won’t do and with all the things a creative entrepreneur has to learn these days we must find a better way. I read this Medium article on how to get better at professional writing and was inspired by the author's regimen to make sure that all the small must-do’s did in fact get done each day. So here goes, we are going to do an activity together that I hope will help you if you are finding yourself in a similar place.
Activity: Dream Building Plan
Duration: 2 hours (but WELL worth it)
Supplies: Large poster board or press board (at least 18” by 24”), thumb tacks for press board, 4+ color types of post-its, markers or pens, and scissors
Step 1: List out all your building blocks for dream building (see paragraph 4)
Step 2: Mark the top of the board with the days of the week (for this activity you can use an example of your average schedule if it varies)
Step 3: Go back through the list from Step 1 and note the amounts of time that you would sit down to do each task without breaking or switching to another item. I.e. – writing client work – 120 minutes; sewing practice 90 minutes; update monthly budget 60 minutes; etc. etc.
*Note: It is helpful to put the non-negotiable items time-wise at the top so you can allocate time for the ones lower on this list once you have time allocated to the ones at the top
Step 4: Color code your post-its to relate to brackets of time chunks – i.e. 1.5- 2 hours, 60 min, 30 min or less etc.
Step 5: Transfer each item from the list onto its own post-it note and multiply the number of post-its per item by the amount of blocks of time you would do it each week
*Also- For activities with long time commitments – i.e. your full-time gig or part-time job – I use multiple post-its to denote a 5- 7 hour period of time
Step 6: Populate your board with the post-its
Step 7: Go for a run, go to yoga, play with your children, blast music and dance with your dogs, cats, go out with a friend. Get out whatever MAJOR anxiety was stirred up by this crazy action-oriented dream building work.
Step 8: Do it. Do the work. Everyday. Transfer the board into whatever calendar system you use. Don’t let yourself stand in the way of your dreams. We need you and your creative genius. We’re counting on you.
Step 9: Update your scheduling as you hone in on how much time you are devoting to each item and you progress down your dream path.
Please adapt it to make it work for you, let everyone know how you modify it, or let us know what other tricks you use to take incremental action on your dreams by sharing in the comments below.