This is Part One in a small series on how to do longterm projects.
I have a longterm project that I’m working on right now. I’ve got no deadline. No one else is asking me to do it. I am not sure of any specific reward. I just have a hunch that if I do this, my family’s life will get better.
I’m decluttering. We have way too much stuff, and it stresses me out. I get overstimulated and overwhelmed by the clutter, as well by the sheer amount of work it takes to maintain all these things we own. So we’re getting rid of most of it. Like we’re going to empty our house of 50% of the objects inside of it. I’m not messing around here.
The catch is this will take months of effort. Annoying, repetitive effort.
So how do I plan to see this thing through to the end?
I change my methods, not my goals.
My goal: get rid of ALL of our excess.
My method: whatever strikes my fancy that day.
For about two weeks I filled up one box of stuff each day and posted a picture of it online. It was fun to get a good photo and write a few sentences about what was in the box and why I was letting go of things. The act of posting it online provided a little accountability and immediate feedback in the form of comments. Then I missed a few days of doing that and realized I was just not going to get back into it.
I still think that the end goal is important and good to work toward, but my brain craves novelty.
A new method provides the novelty that I need.
So each day, I set a timer for 15 minutes and work as quickly and as intensely as I can finding as many things as I can to get rid of (or whatever other task needs to be done toward this goal: loading donations into the car, etc).
Whenever I realize that I haven’t done that in a while, I’ll develop a new approach. I might even circle back to the box posts again. I don’t know. But I’ll find an approach that strikes my fancy and keep working toward my goal. Because who cares how I do a task? (Not me.) But I care immensely that I get this project done.
Check back next week for Part Two