Tag Archives: planning

A Commitment

I don’t know what the future will bring, so setting goals far into the future seems like an exercise in futility. I’m committed to a direction, a general understanding of what I want to accomplish, but not a method of getting there. I might need to make frequent changes but that’s okay. It might even be necessary.

Cheers, Catherine

The One Month Frame

Some time ago, I wrote a letter about the one inch frame, a concept that I borrowed from Anne Lamott, an author that I’ve come to idolize.

As I was planning the relaunch of my email letter for January 1, 2015, I started to think about the one inch frame. Anne Lamott’s concept is that when the writing task seems overwhelming, just start by writing only what you can see in a one inch frame. Maybe it is a short description or a tiny little bit of dialogue that will get the writing mind relaxed enough to keep writing.

My idea was to take the one inch frame and expand it to a concept of the one month frame and use it for managing projects. I tend to have illusions of grandeur when I start planning a new project and believe I can do so much more than I actually can. I’ve been known to plan out months in advance on some projects. In hindsight, I’ve come to understand that no one can predict the future so far in advance. Inevitably, I can’t meet my unrealistic goals, get frustrated and usually quit.

I’m not good at working without a goal in mind. I need some structure and I need to do some planning. I’ve tried to work without any goals or plans but what happens is I get distracted and the next thing I know, I’m watching Elementary on streaming video from my computer or wandering around FaceBook reading cute status updates.

Even though I need some kind of plan and a goal at the end, I can hold the plan lightly and only plan a few weeks ahead. So much of what I do doesn’t have a hard and fast deadline. I can create deadlines but I don’t find it necessary to get the work done.

The one month frame seems about right. I can set up some challenges for myself, a goal, that can reasonably be completed within a month. For example, I can challenge myself to finish 30,000 words for the email letters by the end of the month. If I write every day, that is only 1,000 words per day and I can reasonably handle that amount, maybe even get ahead by having a few days where I write 2,000 words. I’ve set up a method to track my results in an excel spreadsheet chart. The visual representation is really helpful.

I’ve also built in rewards along the way. At the 15,000 word mark, I might reward myself by buying a new e-book to read. I can also create a reward after I finish my daily quota. Instead of using the streaming TV video as a distraction, it becomes the reward AFTER I finish the daily word count.

I’ve also come to realize I need one additional feature in a one month frame. At the end of the month, I need to assess where I am. Did I succeed in completing what I set out to do at the start of the month? I can also review what worked well and what did not work at all.

As I look ahead to the next month and start the planning process all over again, I can start with a fresh challenge. Maybe I didn’t quite reach my 30,000 word goal. Maybe I only wrote 28,596 words. No matter, I can start again and reset the timer, so to speak. I’ve decided that since I work for myself, why not? I’ve still accomplished something in the previous month and I can have a fresh start for the next month. Besides, I’ve found there is always a next month.

What do you think of a one month frame for project planning? Share your thought in the comments.

Cheers, Catherine  Location: Saltspring Island, BC

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Holiday Stress? Learn to Say No and Yes

It seems to go without saying that the holidays bring a unique stress all their own. There are the additional responsibilities of gift giving, obligations to attend parties and never mind coping with the heightened dysfunction of your family. Okay, maybe the last one is only true in my case. 🙂

What are my recommendations for coping with holiday stress?

First, learn to say no:

  1. Gift giving – don’t we have enough trinkets and baubles already? Why don’t we all call a truce on this particular tradition?
  2. Obligations to attend parties – if your heart is heavy with the idea of accepting a particular party invitation, decline it. You are not obligated to provide an excuse.
  3. Large traditional meals – how do these traditions start anyway? Why not make a new tradition of a simple, lighter fare or a pot luck arrangement so you can get out of the kitchen and spend time enjoying your company.
  4. Holiday Travel – travel is tough at any time but with the high amount of traffic and potential for incremental weather, it’s even more difficult. Why not arrange to see family or friends at other times of the year instead of now.
  5. Extensive Holiday Baking – My mother use to start in October to do all the baking required for Christmas. I bake one favourite item – short bread cookies.

Then, learn to say yes:

  1. Experiences – meet for quiet evenings with close friends, make it pot luck and enjoy the company.
  2. Gratitude – say thank you for all you have and share your gratitude with those you love; just maybe you won’t miss the gifts.
  3. Special Connections – call your loved ones or Skype with them, then have deep, meaningful conversations.
  4. Donations – time is often more important than money but money is good too.
  5. Activities – instead of spending time unwrapping presents why not go outside to enjoy nature or be active.

Question: How do you reduce the stress of the holiday season?

Cheers, Catherine, Location:Edmonton, AB


Thanks for reading! If you found this information useful, informative or even entertaining, please share. I really appreciate it!

how to set intentions

I made no resolutions for the New Year. The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me. – Anais Nin

New Year, new start

The New Year is usually a time for new resolutions. I chose this quote because it resonates with me. I’ve set New Year’s resolutions more times times than I count. Perhaps you have too. Unfortunately, at least for me, I have a difficult time keeping them. Then I beat myself up about them.

I often say that language is important. My trusty Canadian Oxford Dictionary defines a resolution as “an intention.” It seems to me that this meaning describes a different tone for setting resolutions. Normally, I would make lists of goals and priorities each year. Then I would spend hours figuring out how to make them just right. Some stuff got done but not a great deal. I believe now that the reason I was not “successful” is that these lists created expectations that were too rigid. Continue reading

Happy New Year! and what’s to come

“All glory comes from daring to begin.” – Eugene F. Ware

January 1 seems like a good time as any to start something new. I’m launching a website, this blog and an online business as the first step towards my lifestyle redesign. Pretty cool. I’ve been working hard over the last few weeks to get the website up and running. Talk about a learning curve. It has been worth all the struggles though.

In the next few posts, I’m going to talk about how I came to this place. It has been a long journey here. I know it will be an ongoing journey.

Continue reading