People often tell me that I look organized.
The truth is that I’ve spent much of my life quite scattered, sporadically focused on what mattered most . That is until I stumbled on the motivation hacks I’m about to share with you, which usually shift me into a natural and joyful flow.
Hack Number One – The Task Tower
The task WHAT?
I created this life altering hack a couple years ago when I found myself overwhelmed with an overly ambitious to-do list, multi-tasking like a crazy woman, jumping from one priority item to the next, and getting very little done. Sound familiar?
This is how it works.
Rather than write a to-do list, I write EACH thing I want to get done on a small piece of paper. And I mean EVERYTHING, from writing a blog post to calling a friend. I’ve even put things like “take a nap” on a piece of paper to motivate me to take one!
Every morning when I step into my studio, I start by sorting these pieces of paper (currently about 50+), placing them in one of three baskets in the “task tower” (pictured below) based on the day’s priorities.
Top basket – Tasks that need to happen in the next 24 hours. Usually less than 10 papers land in this category (thank goodness).
Middle basket – Things I’d like to focus on this week, but they don’t have to be done today.
Bottom basket – These are my nice-to-dos, but could happen anytime in the next 6 months, or 2 years, and sometimes never. Every time I think of a new marketing project, blog topic, or whatever, I write it on a small piece of paper, and store it in the bottom basket until something inspires me to move it to the middle basket, and eventually all the way to the top where it will actually be accomplished.
Now we get to the good part…
Once I’ve resorted the baskets (about 5 minutes everyday), I take all the papers from the top basket, turn them up-side down so that I can’t see the words, shuffle them, and ask God/ Universe/Divine Beloved to put them in the order in which they will serve the highest good.
Then I put the small pile of paper back into the top basket, and read the one that magically lands on top.
Because I don’t know the order in which I’ll be completing each task, it often feels like a fun surprise when I see what the Universe wants me to do next. This method also helps me to stop avoiding tasks that seem harder than others, like writing this blog post. Yes, I’m doing this blog NOW because the task tower finally “told” me it was time!
The best part of using this hack is the focus it gives me to complete one task at a time, rather than multi-tasking and jumping all over my to-do list.
Because I don’t pull the next task until the one I’m working on is complete, I not only complete tasks faster because all my focus is in one place, but I’m also more engaged and joyful during the entire process of moving through the task before me.
And now that THIS task is almost complete (write a blog post), I’ll soon be pulling my next surprise task from my blessed task tower, and thanking the Universe for yet another gift.
Hack Number Two – Counting hours
I count almost EVERYTHING, from how many days I’ve been in Covid self-isolation (206 to be exact) to how many hours I have created art this year.
The first is just a fun factoid, but the second has become a game-changing motivator and is the primary reason why I’ve created two art collections since the beginning of our Covid “adventure” in March.
Counting how many hours I create art each day started a few years ago with a simple challenge to jumpstart my art practice while still traveling full time for my day gig.
There was only one rule – create one hour of art every day for 30 consecutive days, even while living out of a suitcase in a hotel room (more about this here). This worked so well that I soon expanded it into a 100-day challenge, which ultimately led to quitting my day gig in 2018.
Then in late 2019, even though I had the time to create 3 weeks out of the month (I now only work my day gig 5 days out of 30), I found myself artistically blocked and creating very little. Remembering what worked to jumpstart my art life in 2015, I committed to The Artist’s Way 12-week journey (read about this here, here, and here), along with another 100-challenge to create for one hour a day.
What I learned along the way is that creating for 100 consecutive days was too rigid, so I modified my commitment to creating an average of one hour a day, allowing me to take a day off from art, and create 2 hours the next day to compensate.
Once again, counting the number of hours that I create art each day was so motivating (and fun), that when I got to day 100, I wanted to keep going until I got to 365.
Now on day 275, I’ve created art for a total of 656 hours, an average of 2.4 hours a day, far exceeding my goal of one hour.
This motivational hack is working so well for me, that I can’t imagine stopping when I get to day 365!
So what life hacks do you use to manage your life? Please share, so that we can all learn from each other by adding to our life hack tool box.