Do good things happen to those who plan or those who wander?
I am often guilty of over planning. When I get excited about an idea, I am instantly obsessed and start making elaborate plans. I immerse myself in multiple work-streams and somewhere along the way I get overwhelmed.
What starts as a simple idea turns into a complicated project very soon and I lose interest. Sometimes I even catch myself making plans to make plans and the result of it all is that I end up doing nothing.
As a matter of fact this quality of mine is not lost on my friends either. When I asked their help to identify my strengths they correctly named my passion for projects but cautioned against me losing interest quickly.
OK so I am good with ideas but bad with execution at the moment. I put all the blame on the planning process!!
In order to get around this, I am trying something new. I am calling it the Un-planning the Plan Project. (Yup made that up just now). Here are the rules:
1) Switch from Major to Minor
Recently, instead of undertaking major projects I resolved to take on smaller tasks. It is easier to plan a crochet project than a multi-million dollar business idea. Also I have a better track record of finishing amigurumi dolls than starting companies so it makes me look better.
The idea here is to create small successes with the hope that each small success no matter how trivial, will help me get my mojo back which I need for greater accomplishments. Plus I give away my craft projects which I hope makes the recipients happy.
2) Look for Flow
When I was in the corporate world, I often remember how I’d be stuck at my desk, trying to kill time and waiting for the clock to hit 5 pm. Time never seemed to pass even when I was working on something. I often felt like I could be spending my time more meaningfully.
My new goal is to make spending meaningful time a priority. I hope making money from it will follow. But at this point I am looking for projects during which I lose track of time, and feel proud of.
3) Get distracted to find focus
This may be counter intuitive but I sometimes get focused on something so intensely that I forget that there are many opportunities I might be missing out on. I go through phases of intense focus with no outcome, mainly because I am probably focusing on something that is not just quite right.
Lately I am allowing myself be distracted and playing the role of Jack of all trades, master of none. I switch from painting to crocheting in my craftwork, bake a couple of times a week and work on multiple other things. I let my mind wander. I dream of being a writer one day, think about opening a bakery, or a wood shop and think about how I can start a business. All the while I work on random things. Although sounds like a fruitless effort, in the process I am finding out what I really like doing.
4) Be a yes person (for a while)
Ever since I started spending more time with random small projects, people around me started asking help with their work. Mom needs help renovating her cafe garden, dad needs help working on his engineering project tenders and my brother is looking to decorate his new office. So I started pitching in to their work as well. Each of them is doing something potentially up in my alley.
I could get involved with mom’s cafe and turn it into a bakery.
I could get involved with dad’s business and be a contractor.
I could partner up with my brother and get into decoration.
My only reservation is that our family dynamic wouldn’t allow for a healthy working relationship. That said I am keeping my options open and let myself be pulled in multiple directions.
5) Enjoy Each Project without Expectation
As I take on each of my projects I am embracing the idea that the real value is in the process, not the outcome. So I am enjoying the creation and not worrying about whether it will lead to a bigger thing. I am letting the ideas shape and form in the background, let my subconscious mind work on the aha moments.
Indeed I had an aha moment on why I was never successful in the corporate world the other day. As I was washing paint off my hands I realized that I find flow when my hands get dirty. I need to feel the crochet hook in my hands, get paint stuck on my nails and dough dripping my fingers to feel happy. And looking at how diverse my interests are it all comes back to handiwork.
Now I might be on to something…