The real benefit to a structured Happiness Project, or at least the structured list, is that it measures balance. A list of certain things to do each week requires that nothing gets neglected week after week. It’s so easy, especially when you’re busy, for time to all steamroll together, and the daily actions that make you what you are or want to be get put aside “just today”, again, and still again. Then you look up and days or weeks have passed without any attention to the things you want to do.
The list makes you look up more often. Having a checklist to report to with all the truly important things on it is an ongoing feedback device that reminds you at a glance what is getting neglected. I love my fancy weekly “nice list”, because I can tell instantly, where there is a gap between the stars, what I haven’t been paying enough attention to and voila, my attention turns that way. It’s a natural balance meter.
My list has two sections: eight things I intend to do daily, and eleven things that I want to do 1-3x per week. Of course it’s all jazzed up with bluebirds to make associations to the book, and inspirational quotes and colour graphics, on a half page sheet.
The daily things -mostly quick things that still need some reminding before they become natural habit -have their little grid where I can put checkmarks each day of the week. The other, weekly things- naturally, bigger endeavours that take some time and effort – have little grey stars to indicate desired results. When I execute one, I get to stick one of my fancy glitter stars over the hopeful little grey placeholder. The satisfaction of doing this is all out of proportion.
My list of the week floats around and gets a bit crinkled over the week, then I make a week-end synopsis of what worked and didn’t and do a little review and analysis on the back of the sheet before I file it where I can occasionally see all those stars from weeks gone by.
Enough with my Happiness Project – next up: advancing with our fiberglass camper reno.
To kick off my Happiness Project, I made myself an official Happiness Project list.
Every project, before it can begin, requires a fancy supporting document, with at least a little colour, sometimes on the scale of a major arts and crafts event. This one I wanted to do on my computer.
In a spectacular example of the wrong approach, I started the day with cookies, didn’t drink water, and spent nearly a day creating the list of my model Happiness plan. The irony was not lost on me, as I flouted early entries ON the list, like hydrate; wrestled with text in a handwriting font when I could have written it by hand faster; and spent energy on an accessory, at best- creating a list instead of taking actions that were on the list.
I started out with a vision of digitally straight line tables and slick graphics, but never imagined it could take so long. I slaved away, using four different programs because I didn’t know how to make one do what I wanted, and got teeth-grindingly hungry and mad at the whole project. I was too deep in it by then to give up, though. There was probably a point of turn-around, where it would have made sense to write off the time already invested and not waste any more, but I missed it. Continue reading Never was a list so serious
I finally updated my life into the digital. My lists, at any rate.
The last incarnation of my “list system”, in a beloved orange clipboard, was a masterpiece of design. I had tabbed pages (different colours), and each page had topical lists on it. Books and Movies, Big Dreams, Sewing projects, Want list, Long-term projects, etc. The top page was always the current, top of the heap need-to-do things. The beauty was any page could easily be replaced, top page most often, when it needed significant changes or got used up, and the overall system retained its order. Crucially, everything that I would need to write down or collect in a list in any way had a place in my system. See, I’m still proud of it.
Its fatal design flaw was that the orange clipboard was sometimes not conveniently around, while my laptop nearly always is. I get why people might put everything into their phones for the same reason, but I hate typing on a phone. So I transferred all those lists into the Journler program (Mac) that I use every day. I made a folder – LISTS – with a master lists file that has many many short lists – old projects, new projects, current to-dos, wanted things, things to look up on the internet, etc. Addresses and Birthdays; Books and Movies have their own files.
It’s so elegant! I’ve no idea why it took me so long. Continue reading Lists in peace