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Fragments and Shrapnel: Lists that Manifest

This past week I’ve been taking a few quiet moments in the morning before leaving for work to write down what I want to manifest for the day. While it is my nature to choose a long and ambitious list of things to get done like write 20 articles, come up with 20 story ideas and shovel all the snow in Antarctica I’ve scaled the list down to simple and achievable tasks. Some of the goals for last week were:

  • Find beauty in everyday life and photograph it (This helps to make my commute a little more interesting AND get my camera out)
  • Write 100 words (A writing goal that’s achievable and easy to surpass)
  • Enjoy work today (This helps me stay focused at work not get bogged with work drama or cranky customers)
  • Breathe (Easier said than done, right?)

I keep the list in my pocket while I’m at work to give me a boost and stay focused. At the end of the day the list gets taped into my journal so I can reflect on my day and my achievements. Some days I accomplish all of my goals, others, not so much. Looking back at my week of lists, I noticed I was letting my much needed after work down time turn into a night of decompression with mindless interwebs and television. My normal reaction is to berate myself for not working on my creative endeavors but that doesn’t help me fix bad habits. Instead I decided to honor my need for relaxation and productivity at the same time.

When I get home I don’t jump on the computer right away to see what important Facebook status updates I missed. Instead, I’ve been trying to divert my attention away from the computer and chat with my husband, help him make dinner or pet the cat. After dinner I allow myself a certain amount decompression time to check e-mail and Facebook and then get to work on creative projects. I put on good music to create writing triggers and get my mind in Creative Mode. I might write a little in my journal about what I achieved during the day and get on to other things. This approach is much more productive and breaks my tasks into chunks rather than going down the spiral of self pity. Whoda thunk?

After I had completed a week of list making, I went back and reviewed what worked and didn’t work. Being the good Virgo that I am, I decided to fine tune the list and break it down even more:

Spirit: Meditate for 5 minutes; take a few moments to absorb something beautiful

Work: Enjoy work today, accomplish certain tasks

Body: Exercise for 30 minutes and eat enough

Writing: Write 200 words and finish workshop notes

This detailed list covers all of my basic needs instead of just focusing on the one thing that’s diverting my attention. It also challenges me to seek out new goals and not focus on something easy like getting a good parking spot or not killing the teenagers on the train. Yeah, it sounds very Type A but it works for me and can work for others. It also prevents me from of getting overwhelmed at thought of shoveling all the snow Antarctica and writing the next epic novel.

How do you break your goals into smaller chunks? I encourage you to sit down and make a list of everything you want to manifest for the day – even if it’s something simple like drinking enough water for one week. Let the list grow into something beautiful. After a week, drop me a line and let me know how it works for you and how much tweaking you had to do. I’d love to hear from you!

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About Anna Alexander

I am a freelance writer and producer living in the Pacific Northwest. My husband and I live with our cat Grendel who lets us pay his mortgage.

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