Monday, May 9, 2011


I'm reading a number of books at the moment, most likely too many. I think this gives a good indication where my mind has been: in too many places. I'm toning myself down again. Not only has it been a time to regroup on the weekend but also a time to re-choose regarding where my priorities lie. All of us experience this. How to go about your life and what to busy yourself with.

Reading (finally) Napoleon Hill's book (I love the 70s crumpled version I have) it has made me realize hey there's simply no way and no point to dilute my energy to such a point of exhaustion, that one wonders what the heck the point was of starting an activity in the first place. (Anyone recognize this? I bet you do.)

So I am asking myself the question I think many of us tend to forget: what. do. I. really. want. to. do? I'm not talking about just an idea or 'yep that will do'. I'm talking about the kind of conviction that wakes you up in a tizzy of excitement. One that you just KNOW is right and that needs your attention. It keeps you fuelled and running around with a smile on your face.

You see we THINK we know what we want to do, but really we usually want to play and do so many things. Ah how about this? Yes usually it is fun for a while but then later we may realize we had enough. This can be fine or dangerous, the latter mainly when you're sharing the activity with others. So I thought about it as I am much more in favor of working on exciting projects or work that will carry on for more then just one year. (I'm not the quick excited social bunny I used to be.)


In my case I know for a fact that what I do now, I will not be doing in 5 years time. What I want to do in my entire life are various things that I have trouble choosing a small selection from. So I considered choosing 1 predominant activity and one sub activity and going with that, opposed to 4. That feels better. There are overlaps in my smorgasboard of options so I need to clarify those.

The exercise of the Focus Wheel came to mind. Therefore I've taken an A4 and actually have drawn my desires on it and written the statements. Wishes have nothing to do with it. I'm not talking fluffy bunny-ing in the park here, it's about defogging the mirror and uplifting the goal. (Join me and dot yours down.) The Focus Wheel is great for general statements about how you feel about something.

I figured that my problem has been too many desires, more like fleeting desires or wants instead of longer term pursuits. Many artists have this dilemma. It doesn't mean I want to stick with one desire forever as I know I would like to experience new things once I have mastered one aspect. My current work activities all deserve attention, but how much? And does it really? These continue to be big and good questions. It's all beneficial to go through writing it down and clearing the head (Mooodlies of course stays). I've made a lot of progress over the years but I reckon I could do better.

First I decided to do the focus wheel and then to work out the nitty gritty of eliminating problem areas from my to do list. As quite a few are longer term they need to be divided in steps to process everything more easily. I have always found this challenging: how to keep an eye on so many things with different time frames? It's like playing 3d Chess where multiple games are played at the one time with one board. Exactly. It's not just a matter of cramming it in my agenda or keeping a large wall planner.

So I have started narrowing it down. You know zooming in style. Questions, problems, dilemmas and then its options. This helps to basically help decide to go over all options and determine the solution I like best, then it's far easier to carry the work out and done! This doing and finishing is vital. Self discipline is certainly essential in this process. Finishing small jobs and projects brings both satisfaction and progress. Also it is essential to kick butt in order to move quickly through the river of mud.

So what do we need to add to the list above (that Napoleon Hill also mentioned)? Perseverence and dedication. Not in a flog yourself way, but a focused self steering way. It needn't be hard either as it contributes to the main desire. I believe that one can achieve many goals and ideas-brought-to-life when we are happily and energetically dedicated and we finally have a grasp on our organizing capabilities. Did I mention delegating and outsourcing is beneficial? Do it.

Nico and I have decided to watch less tv, we already stopped watching daily tv shows, I'm talking about the occasional dvd or watching a serie. We are cutting this back too. Why? Because we noticed that instead of relaxing-time we'd still feel tired so it would be more sensible to cut it out alltogether or limit it severely and read a book or do some other work we can enjoy that quiets the mind. (Apparently this zenning of activities helps to relax and create more space for yourself!) What energizes you really? Do that most. Ditch the rest I say.
(It is SO well phrased in this great post here by Scott Scheper as a Zen Master tells him how it's done.)

Which brings me to focusing again and the bottomline: Keeping It Simple Stupid.
Narrowing down the most important things for you and how to manage these are of course essential. Then there's the how-close-do-you-stay-to-your-own-truth? Not the gospel kind altough that could certainly have something to do with it but the kind that says: hang on am I still doing what I want to be doing? If you, like me, have times when you seriously wonder why you do what you do at times then yes it's time for a time out and overhaul of existing beliefs and actions. Sweep it baby!

Our lives in this physical format do not last indefintely, which means we would do well to get a focused grap on our time. So back to the focus wheel: how do you feel about what you are doing? And on time management: how effective are you really in finishing things? And as the Zen Master said: our today's world is so full of distractions that we have trouble distracting ourselves from it. So what do we need to do in order to manage our lives well?
  1. Use a weekly planner
  2. A year planner (this has my vote)
  3. Focus list (generally 3 things for every day segment opposed to 40.)
Combining the desire as the focused feeling and the effective carrying out of that focus brings you results AND satisfaction. It however asks of you to: dedicate yourself and put yourself first. A change in habits and in thinking will bring you more fun!

(note: I will give myself one month to stick with this consistent plan like a fly on poop or a garden gnome on his gardenflowers and then see how the results speak for themselves! I think I will see an increase in effective productivity, results and I will feel better about it too.)

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