State of the Meg: 52 Fridays

Mousepad at Freshly Picked

52 Fridays is our first challenge. You didn't know you signed up for that did you...
One huge lesson I've learned over the past year is that to make headway on major goals, I have to break them down into smaller, more manageable ones. I always have some grand idea in my head that can overwhelm me and paralyze me into not doing a darn thing about it. Over the past year I've really challenged myself NOT to do that. I say this to people frequently, if you just do something toward that big goal of yours for 30 minutes a day, or 2 hours a week, or one day a week. Think about how much you will have accomplished in just one month!

I say 52 Fridays because there are 52 Fridays in a year. In my case, I'd need to dedicate some time each week to painting. I'd like to have a painting day where that is my main focus of that day each week. Yes, there will be meetings, blog posts, or tweeting I need to do, but if it's my painting day then I will focus the majority of my day on that (or at least a couple hours, one day a week).

This is a challenge for you too (if you choose to take it). Basically, your current life situation boils down to 99% of your own decisions. I understand that if you were let go from your job, that wasn't your decision, but almost everything else is. Even if your situation isn't something you think you want, you chose to sacrifice what you wanted to be in that situation, right? It's a bit of a wake up call once you realize that. (Try me with excuses... I'm harsh.) You choose to not make time for things, and you choose to make time for other things. Think of the most successful person you look up to... they have the exact same amount of hours each day to accomplish their goals that you do.

So what is that thing, that goal that you really want to work on but you never seem to have the time? You have to choose to make the time. Surely there is one hour a week you can dedicate to it. Find it. Carve out that hour/two hours/day. Turn your phone off. Have your husband/mom/sitter take the kids to the park (if you have kids). And focus only on working toward that goal of yours. Sounds rigid, but distractions are a bitch. Maybe you've always wanted to write a book, go to yoga, whatever it is, just do it. Don't think too hard about it, just go for it. Trust me, you have to start somewhere. Even if that somewhere looks ugly, you have to start there to get to the goal. I'm going to ask you in four weeks if you've made any progress! (Feel free to state your goal in the comments, I'd love to hear them!)

Brent Schoepf
I was overjoyed with the response from my first State of the Meg column. I love learning what works for you, how you organize yourself, how you get inspired, etc. So I'd like to highlight a few of the great tips you shared with me in the comments of the last State of the Meg post. (Maybe I'll do this every time...?)

I really liked this tip Karlita shared:
In an Excel sheet I write my series and in another column I write my ideas.. When the ideas column is empty or I don't really feel like writing of any of that I turn to my series in which I always feel safe... but the posts I have loved the most were the unexpected ones.

I have an entire folder for "Someday Ideas". But Karlita's list is a more focused list for blog post ideas. I have my planner like I mentioned last time, but I have papers, memos, notebooks, all over when scribbles of ideas for posts. Problem I need to solve = Keeping all of those ideas in one place. Have just one list. Do I want it to be digital or written? Decisions decisions.

Whenever I get asked to do a guest post or be featured on a blog I typically get asked questions about where my inspiration comes from. And like most of you, I'm always inspired by books, magazines, blogs, etc. But other huge sources of inspiration for me are art, travel, and people. And when I say people, it's usually two types of situations. New people that have new stories, new ideas, new opinions, new cultures... and if I meet you, you have been warned... I ask TONS of questions. My husband tells me that I grill people, but I'm really just genuinely interested in them, their lives, their stories, their work, their passions in life, what inspires them, what their goals are, and yes, I will be asking you all of those questions. I dig right in, no time for small talk people. And also anytime I'm with other similarly crazy-minded, passionate, driven people like myself. Usually wine or sangria is involved. I can talk to people like that for hours. Many of them are dear friends. I always leave sooooo inspired.

Brannon shared this:
...I've been trying to do is to write down what I've accomplished at the end of each day, no matter how big or small. It's a great way to keep track of my progress and see my projects grow.

I also try to write down what I've done each day in my planner. It's very helpful when at 5 p.m. I'm wondering what the heck I accomplished that day. One thing I've also started doing, at the end of each day, (or in the morning if I forget), I write down a list of what I need to accomplish that day But I'm realistic and that usually turns into a that week kind of list, but you get the idea. It helps me focus in the morning on what I need to start on.
Maren said a few years ago she and several other designers decided to meet once a month to discuss business challenges, resources, and that it has been a HUGE help to all of them to meet in a collaborative environment and help each other. 

Maren, I agree. It think finding a group like this and meeting once a month, is a GREAT idea! Especially if you can really keep your meeting focused on the topic.

I think that's enough for today, but I'm really excited to see if any of you are going to do the 52 Fridays Challenge, I'd love to hear what it is you are going to do!


Shantastic said...

I am going to a. build the filing cabinet I got for christmas last year...which will require opening the box, sanding/painting the wood, putting it together. then b.actually use a filing cabinet instead of the "piles of stuff" route that I've been on.

Heather Peterson said...

a PERFECT kick in the pants as I sit down first thing to procrastinate reading blogs. Thanks for all these good reminders!



I love love thie feature!
This is something I am currently trying to do - dedicate a specific time/day to certain things. Allocating Fridays for painting would be magical and I might just do it right with you :)
I love reading how you ask people you meet questions and can talk for hours with like minded people- that is exactly how I am, I totally get it :)
Have a beautiful Thursday!


Danielle Norcross said...

Haha, Shantastic, I have the same pile of papers on my desk!! Meg, love your blog (and Stella and Henry)! I read it all the time. My New Year's Resolution two years ago was to follow through on ideas, big and small, and it has changed my life. I always had ideas, but what's an idea if you don't execute it? I now live by the "just do it" motto and try to limit my need for perfection and preparation. Keep up the great work!

Gabrielle | Savvy Home said...

Meg, once again, what a great column! I agree about just starting and keep going, however small the steps are. I’ve been doing a similar challenge with a friend to which we dedicate 1 hour of work towards our goal a week and then a catchup every two weeks. Meeting and talking to people in similar situations is definitely a big help! And comparing yourself now to yourself a year ago is always a great one because you take time to think about how much further you are from your original situation and how much closer you are to your goal.

PS – we definitely need to share a bottle or wine or pitcher of sangria one day!!

Rai S. @ Raiana Shanese Designs said...

I am really looking forward to following this series! Thanks for the motivation and inspiration...i need it right now.

Rai xo

designnsuch said...

Hey Meg- I just started reading your blog and I really love your State of the Meg column. You have a really great, authentic voice. My issue is that I have so many things I would like to do that I have a hard time focusing on one. I've also recently admitted (to myself and now to the blogosphere) that I'm afraid of my work being judged and not being perfect so I tend to switch interests and never stick with anything for too long. So my new intention is to dedicate more time to my blog, photography and craft projects and not be afraid of putting my work out there before it's perfect!!

Karlita said...

I am glad you liked what works for me Meg... this series are so inspiring... I am like you in the making those questions to people! I think you suggested 'make under my life' blog.. I am reading it and taking a lot of good stuff from there! thanks!

AnaLisa said...

That mousepad is fun. :)

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