Monday, January 5, 2015

Do the Work

Most people would have NO IDEA that I've been a 'planner' almost my entire life.

I love to make a list. I love to have a plan. I spend HOURS writing out to-do lists, working out schedules and routines. Step by step action sequences. Stacks and stacks, notebooks full- all these grand schemes and aspirations.

No one would ever guess this about me, because I never get anything done.  Anything. Ever.

My to-do lists? Never glance at them after I write them out. I make these elaborate weekly cleaning routines, but never do the cleaning.  I've spent hours using Excel to map out the perfect workout plan, but I don't work out. I put every single thing in my calander on my phone, but I'm always missing appointments and activities for the kids.

I don't have any follow thru. I don't do the work.

This year, for my One Little Word project (yes, the one I had all the aspirations for last year, but never did anything about it...) I went with a phrase.  A mantra. A motto.

Do. The. Work.

Don't just make a plan.  DO IT.  Do the work.

While a lot (most) of this is (duh) doing the work, some of it is going to have to be deciding what not to do. Deciding that DONE is better than PERFECT.

For the past...lets say twenty years? Give or take? For the past twenty years, I've wanted to be Gwyneth Paltrow. Gorgeous, thin, well dressed, gorgeous long hair, perfect house, perfect everything.

Except you wanna know what? That's not actually what I want. I want to have a healthy body, but I certainly don't want long hair (shudder) and I don't want to have to eat weird food and not have candy.  I don't want  my house to be full of stuffy white furniture that my kids aren't allowed on, a la Pinterest, but I do want a clean house that I won't be embarrassed by if friends stop over unexpectedly. I don't want to wear severely tailored skirt suits and three inch heels, but I would like some comfy well made clothes that fit me properly.

Priorities? I think that's it. I need to somehow work the idea of priorities into this project. And honesty.  With myself.


The first prompt is all about exploring your word, why you picked it, what it means, blah blah blah. Naturally, I had to buy some new scrapbook supplies for this because my mantra isn't "quit spending money on things you don't need."

I spent some serious time on the definitions.  Any idea how many definitions there are for DO and WORK? A lot. Words are so cool. I decided to keep it simple and steer it towards what I want out of this project in the first place.  Put forth the exertion and effort to accomplish something. In short- produce. In other words- DO THE WORK.

My quote, of course, comes from the great Macklemore, right in the middle of one of my favorite songs (okay, they're all my favorite) Ten Thousand Hours.  "The greats weren't great because at birth they could paint. The greats were great because they'd paint a lot." They were great because they practiced. Yes, of course, they had natural talent. But that wasn't enough. They had to...wait for it... DO THE WORK.

(As a side note, the entire song is amazing, the lyrics are SPOT ON. "Put those hours in and look at what you get- nothing you can hold, but everything that it is." "I could be who I wanted if I could see my potential.")

Then for let go (let it goooooo.....) I went with another quote- done is better than perfect. The internet seems to attribute this to both Mark Zuckerburg and Sheryl Sandberg, with credit leaning slightly more towards Sheryl.  I'm pretty lucky in that I'm not one of those perfectionist types, but still.  Get it done, don't worry about it being perfect. Sure, I'll never be as thin as Gwyneth, but I should probably still get that workout done, right?

So there you go. I don't have a job, I'm not trying to start a business or remodel a house. I'm not going to train for a marathon. I don't even actually have any goals yet.  I just want to DO something, anything, everything. I want to look at my lists after I write them out.  I want to follow the schedules I plan out for myself. I want to stop pretending that I want things that I don't actually want, and spend more time working for the things I really do.

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