Little Big List Woes

Creatively drained and exhausted, whilst busting it day in and day out. I've been creating continuously like I never have before. I'm surprised I haven't broken yet. 

Exhausted, but feeling revived in my clothes, among the weeds growing through the concrete. 

Exhausted, but feeling revived in my clothes, among the weeds growing through the concrete. 

I am consistently battling my limits. Sometimes I feel like I will never learn.  I push push push. I recently had a conversation with my boyfriend about how regardless of what my body tells me I fight and fight to control what is happening. The specific conversation was discussing  a recent change in my digestive system and my inability and increasing difficulty in eating things I had been used to eating. Instead of staying away from foods that trigger my stomach issues, I just eat them. This is dumb, but I'm stubborn sometimes. This story is such an accurate depiction of  my entire life. I fight like hell to control everything, which typically leaves me exhausted like a limp noodle with no sauce.

A tried and true way I burn myself out is by giving myself a ridiculously long + impossible to do list. These lists are rarely ever completed and leave me feeling like a loser with an endless elder scroll of a list.

Let's pause for a minute. As you may have already noticed my blog is a fusing of many things. This allows me the fluidity to use this platform  as somewhat of a live journal. Some posts are refined and others raw.  With that being said, while some of my posts are for you, focusing on things that may interest a larger audience than just myself, this is for me first. This is a written, public documentation of an attempt to change one of my self-damaging habits: creating unrealistic lists.

Lists for me in their proper use are to help prioritize and combat anxiety and stress. However, I am often guilty of improperly using them. Instead of alleviating stress I create it. I make impossible expectations for myself. On the crazy off chance that I am souped up on tons of caffeine and finish a doomsday list, I still don't win. At the end of the whole stint, I am exhausted beyond a night's sleep, and I am basically a useless zombie for the rest of the week.  If you are like me and do this to yourself you know this is not sustaining.

My problem is quite clear, however my solution is not. So how can I stop the vicious cycle of feeling unaccomplished with my unrealistic list making habit?

Possible solutions to fight my crazy listing:

  1. Create a big list for the entire week. Prioritize items with time sensitive/ urgent to be completed first. Alphabetically notate the first round of prioritizing. "A" being for complete today items, "B" for items to be completed tomorrow or soon, "C" for within the week, and "D" for the more distant future. Once all items on list have been notated alphabetically, re-write the list with all letters of the same kind grouped together. Now prioritize again, and use numbers. Once every item is numbered then assign days/day ranges to accomplish items.

Note: I learned this particular method while in high school. I think this is a great method. It is hyper detailed, which can be daunting because it is so meticulous. For that reason, I am not totally convinced this is the best solution for my day-to-day mania. Also another note about above solution: Jonathan, my boyfriend, thinks the tip above doesn't really solve my impossible long lists, it just breaks it down. This is true, but I need a long list! 

The remaining solutions are a conglomerate of tips I  found while researching how to create better REALISTIC to do lists. 

2. Having a little night cap with your list goes along way according to an article written by Gwen Moran of Fast Company. Typically the morning is a high energy time for most people. If you already have your list ready to go when you rise in the morning, success is more likely to be yours.  

3. Another tip that resounded,  was ensuring you are choosing what items to execute with quality not quantity in mind. The idea is to not junk up your list with unnecessary clutter. In an article from Forbes,  Vanessa Loder, a contributor, she writes that a list of no more than three items is one of many successful entrepreneurs. Personally, only three items seems so underwhelming to me.  I have way too much to get done to only put down three things. If you feel as I do about this three's company business and cannot fathom such a  small, truncated list, Forbes suggests that you purge everything else that exceeds your top three items. The article refers to this               process as a "mind dump".  You write everything that doesn't make your main list, to eventually let it go. I think this is a great idea. Buttttt, but, the article loses me when it suggests that you do this whole process only with the intention of purging. It suggests you write everything down and then just forget about it. How does one forget ?? Obviously I need to know how to just forget and I can do this. 

4. Create sections/categories for your list. This helps tame the chaos of a longer list. This tip contradicts the method in Forbes, of the power of three, as three items don't need sorting. The article that posed this tip seemed to be more directed at creating better lists in the workplace. This may be the reason for the difference of opinion. I, again personally, prefer this idea. I feel like I need more than three things on my to do list.  Three is not a charming number for my lists. I prefer entries of like 15 or 20. My life is very diverse and I need to be able to harness the crazy with more, the irony. 

5. Evaluate what is left behind. I found this particularly important for me. The author of this article believes it is important to dissect why items are postponed. Items of high importance are those that have been postponed day after day. Possible reasons why you may have overlooked items may be that they are not as high priority as you may have assumed. It may also be the case that you may have an unforeseen roadblock that is blocking you from said  item. I think this is important and also means you should probably keep all lists of importance in a journal of some sort. My take away from this point is the importance of documentation. I definitely think I will begin keeping a to do list journal. This will battle many of my list woes. One, by allowing me to take full advantage of evaluating my list journey, from wildly unrealistic to realistic. Also it will allow me to soothe and calm my stresses when I feel as though I am not   accomplishing anything. I will have a physical list to rely on.  There is so much power in physical documentation, a theme that was discussed in my last post. It is a fail safe way for me to remember and validate my progress.

For now I have a few answers to my impossible list situation. There is hope for my masochist tendencies. Also I actually think some of the tips I found in creating this post are feasible.

Now I'm going to let this post breathe before I implement anything major and regularly. I'm currently in a bit of a frenzy with a ton of creative projects. As of lately, I've been fixated with getting my new apartment and craft space perfect. That means a lot of building of things, painting, crafting and sewing. All these things inevitably mean lots of long crazy lists. All my skills are at full speed right now. Just typing all that has me tired. Every day is another project that needs to be completed or started at this point.

I  should give myself a break, I know. I feel so strongly compelled to continue on creating. Any other of you creative peeps feel compelled to keep creating no matter how loud your body and mind is yelling to stop? How do you balance that? I am pretty convinced that balance doesn't really exist. So this is an effort to find a way to manage the mania of my need to get shit done within the limits of my body. I do believe there are ways to manage the different priorities in life. This is the start to taking back the power of a well planned, realistic list, and also to slowly regaining comfort in accomplishing things slow and steady. Well, maybe. 

The following images are from a mini shoot when I got my list done the best way.  I  felt like a numba' one stunna'. Wear something so innately, and grandly you, to help you knock out your goals. Dress for your list.  Also please please let me know if you have any suggestions that work for you in the comments section!  Ok byeeeee.  

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Trying to be a fashion girl so hard. Restyling a thrifted, basic button up to be an asymmetrical off the shoulder shirt. On trend for cheap ? Or looks like I don't know how to wear my clothes ? Jonathan begs the latter.  

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Kind of obsessed with my geriatric shoes + sporty mesh sock combo. I will be a repeating offender for this.   

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Cute lil' Ann Taylor wrap skirt that I got from a closet swap! Thanks Rosemary, The Office Goth,  if you are reading this for the invite! I have so many great clothes for the summer now!