Happiness Project assessment, one week in:
I found out that “write when I feel the urge” is easier than I thought it would be, judging by the complete row of checkmarks. I only needed the validation of checkmarks by a list item to let myself seize those moments of inspiration. That and the little warning flag I made to hang out for my husband to tell him to ignore me while I’m writing. Which is working very well.
The only other new institution to have an unexpected 100% score is journalling. While I write consistently overall, and sometimes I keep a journal, I never consistently keep a journal, and I would like to (I’ve begun to, as a matter of fact). It seems the form was the key. I got a dateless day planner with about an inch of space per day. Thinking of it as a one sentence journal, although an inch will fit a few sentences if you write small, made it easy. It takes about a minute to review the day. So the secret is to make the task manageably small, which makes the bigger goal achievable. This little journal reminds me now of the 92 year old woman who dropped a pile of day planners like this on my desk (I was doing taxes-the journals were proofs of her necessary traveling), and blithely told me she’d kept a journal every day for her whole life. “Well, not when I was very small”. Each little inch was filled with her tiny handwriting about coffee dates, projects, feelings, moods, successes- everything. An inch can be enough to summarize the main events of a day.
I found that a few of my list items were too vague, and I had to define better for myself what constituted gold star performance.
Naturally, my initial comprehensive list, which charted a whole month, wasn’t ideal (If a system doesn’t function, change the system). I figured out I needed a weekly list, so I had to do a complete revamp. I did a better graphic layout waiting in a parking lot than the first clothes-rending day-long ordeal. I found that Presentation, not Document, in OpenOffice did what I needed to, and I zapped out a revised edition of sublime perfection that thrills me every time I look at it, so it was all worthwhile after all. Not only that, I strode right in, handed my thumb drive over to the same attendant, and he executed it in about 15 seconds, confirming another adage (Just let the professionals do it sometimes).