breaking [it] up is hard to do*

I have half a mind to suspend posting until after May 9th, but knowing that I must post here will help give me some frame work to stay on track. I hope.

Continuing along the lines of last week’s post, though definitely not as well planned or edited, today I’ll attempt to write about what I do to break down a complex project.

1) I set frequent deadlines. I may blow past them with nothing done but the fact that the deadline existed in my head is enough to trigger some thought. Sometimes it actually is enough incentive for me to complete something. My opinion is that some progress is better than no progress and one does not need to block large chunks of time to make progress on a project. It’s possible to do decent work in five minute snippets as opposed to five hour chunks. Thought on a project counts towards work on a project.

2) During a review session of my life (these should theoretically happen weekly but I’ve gotten lax with my scheduling recently) I just write down whatever comes into my head to create my “next-actions” or “baby steps”. This is considered a draft and is rewritten later. Sometimes the list making degrades into doing and if that happens I let it. If order matters I’ll try to order them. If order doesn’t matter and I’m completely overwhelmed I actually write them on bits of scrap paper and pull one out of a hat to determine how to start.

3) When writing down the tasks related to a project, I try to identify things that I can do in five minutes or less. It helps if I get distracted or if I find myself with only a few minutes.

4) I reward myself. It’s all about self-bribery. It doesn’t have to mean something that costs money, it can be 5 minutes of knitting (or a row) or reading a few blogs, or another chapter of reading.

In knitting news I finished both my socks and the shawl. I haven’t taken the socks off since I put them on to take the photos this evening, the heels aren’t perfect because I can’t count but that’s ok. The shawl is currently blocking.

* I was pretty clueless of popular culture throughout my childhood. I owe my few pop-culture references to some great high school teachers who happened to introduce me to life outside classical music. One teacher (honours trig), Mr M, would play us songs on the day before winter break that included our names. The first day of class he started singing “Penny Lane” and I had NO idea what he was talking about and was very happy to finally hear it. Kinda funny now.. but I should disclose I’m still quite clueless on movies.. mostly because I prefer the book. I DID see Star Wars when it was re-released (and now own a DVD set) but that’s about it. In a conversation just assume I won’t grok the movie reference.

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One Reply to “breaking [it] up is hard to do*”

  1. Decent work in 5 minutes AND a 5-minute knitting-time reward. I like the balance. I agree with your observation that you can do decent work in 5 minutes – in fact, if I’m doing something and it isn’t gelling in 5 minutes, it’s not going to, and I move on to something else that day.

    Looking forward to seeing the shawl!

    melanie’s last blog post..Wordless Wednesday

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