When Good Strategies Lose Their Shine

On Saturday, the first day of October, I pulled the rest of my monthly to-dos from my pretty little box. I had three left. And I knew what two of them were for sure. Find a professional photographer for my next book’s headshot. And finish my second book. And, well, you and I both know that one won’t happen this year. I could either keep playing the game and take another free month or pull that last to-do.

Well, I decided why not do it. It was organize my jewelry chest. And guess what? I did that a while back on a free, lazy day. Or was it just a day where hubs was napping and I said to myself, you know what? I’m going to spend some time finally organizing my jewelry chest. The thing about anything that constantly needs organized due to regular use is it continues to need organized on a regular basis. But in this case, my to-do of setting up drawers had already been done.

Considering Other Options

This got me to thinking in the middle of the night (or was it morning?) how sometimes to-do projects, or any project really, can lose their shine or their purpose. So, in addition to this project which I learned from a cousin two years ago, I was doing a project last year with a friend where we would list five things to tackle in a day. Or was it in a week? Well, anyway, after a while of being successful, I got involved in other things. Life changed in some big or small way. And I went back to work. Then, one day I realized I hadn’t done my five things in weeks, maybe even months.

Of course, that’s when I decided to go for three things a day. And that has definitely more manageable for me. When I do it, of course. No, I don’t always try to get three things done in a day – only when I’m being ambitious. So, in other words, if I have an ordinary busy day of work and other have-tos, then I don’t even consider the project. But if I’m having an easy day or aren’t committed to anything else and seem to have an overabundance of energy (for a change), I consider three things I can tackle within the time I have. Sometimes it’s a type of chore. Sometimes it’s paperwork stuff. And sometimes it’s even emails or texts. Often, I’m very successful at this strategy.

As I continued to think and to change up how I accomplish much-needed stuff at work and at home, I realized that maybe I hold myself too rigidly. I started to consider if I should be more flexible, more open to other ways of tackling or knocking out my to-do list. Maybe I should be doing a combination of things and switching things up, depending on what I need to accomplish and by when.

Fighting Procrastination

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for order and appropriate procedures for getting things done. But, sometimes, we just need to give ourselves permission to use different methods to get the job done. This is not to say then that we can slack off and not do anything because now we don’t know what strategy to use to knock out that mountainous and ever-growing list. And, yes, I do fear – at times – becoming lackadaisical, not caring any longer, and letting everything pile up, get behind, and not get done – like I have at different times in my life (due to overwhelm, mainly).

This is where we have to trust ourselves that after all these years we will not slip into a prior procrastinating rut. You know, the one where we know what we need to do, but we simply cannot make ourselves do it. We are far beyond that point. So far beyond that we can now pick and choose which strategy we need to tackle any job anytime we want.

Looking Ahead A Bit

On that note, I’ll switch back over to the to-dos I just pulled. Okay, so you know that my second book, even though it’s closer than it’s ever been to publication, won’t be being published in 2022. And, I just told you earlier about my jewelry being organized. Well, it’s not 100%. It’s always in a state of transition – with retiring (donating or giving away) pieces and adding to certain colors like orange, yellow, and white and always having to put back what I’ve worn during the week. So, one of those on-going projects, you could say, lol.

Let’s talk about that professional portrait while. I’ve been wanting to do a professional photo shoot for an author headshot in time for the publication of my second book. But time and the busyness of life has a way of putting some things on the back burner. Warp ahead to now and my 60th birthday looming in the next 32 days and, well, I came up with a great idea. I decided I wanted to have a photo shoot that would take care of two things at once, my author photo and my upcoming milestone of reaching sixty years of age. I didn’t have much time to find a local professional photographer to come onsite for this grand event.

And you know how great ideas have a way of evolving into something else? You know that. I know that. Everyone knows that. Well, I waited sooo long or tooo late in taking action to get the date I wanted (or needed) for my photo shoot. And, with all these booked-solid weekends coming up, the only days photographers had available were Sundays. And, if you don’t know how I feel about doing anything extraneous on Sundays, you’ll now know I don’t do photo shoots on Sundays (lol). Sooo, coming up with a Plan B was eminent, if I was to get this done this month.

First, I looked up Glamour Shots which had been my first plan way back before covid hit, and which was the photography company I had my photo done for my thirtieth birthday way back when. Imagine my surprise when I learned their San Antonio location had shut down and the next closest location is in El Paso. Okay, so now on to Plan C.

When Flexibility Is Needed

While still hoping a local photographer would come through for me, just in case I finally braved it and asked hubs if he’d be my photographer for my photo shoots. He took Photography in college and often takes fabulous photos when he sets his mind to it. After some mulling it over, he agreed. And he surprised me with an early birthday present. Yes, a camera! He knows how much I love taking photos of sunrises, sunsets, and nature, and how I’m often the family photographer.

So, now we have a plan.

And, yes, tomorrow, Saturday, October 8, one month before my 60th birthday, we will have a mini photo session for my author headshot and any other photos I want for my website and social media. I’m so excited – so much so that last Friday, I went shopping for something special to wear. Tomorrow will give us practice on using the new camera and finding out what works and what doesn’t in the way of lighting (morning, day, evening) and clothing colors.

Here’s the real kicker, I got my birthday off from work. Yes, you heard that right. We will be going to the lake for my Countdown to 60 and 60th Birthday celebration photo session. I couldn’t be happier. Am I nervous? You bet! Am I exited? Yes, most definitely!! I can hardly wait to see what happens and what hubs, my new camera, nature (and weather – it rained today), natural lighting, clothing, and so on does toward the end results of a long-awaited idea and dream of a special photo shoot.

When A Plan Comes Together

So, when some strategies stop working or don’t pan out like we want them to, sometimes we just have to pause, think it out, and come up with another plan. And, just like anything else, it will be different for everyone. Some strategies will work well long-term for us while others will work well only for as long we are excited about them. Then, if you’re like me, they will fade from memory if they don’t make an impression on us, especially if they get lost in the clutter.

My favorite expression when a plan comes together like my photo shoot(s) is, “I love it when a plan comes together,” by Hannibal Smith of the 80’s The A-Team played by George Peppard. It’s one of my favorite go-to quotes that I use all the time. I had always gotten a kick out of it, and I’m sure Mr. Peppard gets a kick out of how many of us use it, lol.

So, what are some strategies that make your life easier? Have you used the Monthly To-Do Project I’ve used for the past two years – write down twelve to-dos, each one a small piece of paper, and draw one on the first day of each month? Have you tried to knock out five things in a week? Or three things in a day? Are there any strategies you use which you think I might like to try?

Calling It A Day

Whatever strategy you use, it’s important to know when to give it up, when to try something else, and when to call it a day even if it’s working out for you. We all need rest. Our minds need a break from the computer. Our feet and bodies need rest after a long day of walking or standing. Whatever you are trying to achieve, let’s remember that there needs to be room in our days for fun, too. Let’s not always try to be doing something all of the time. It’s okay to call it a day and pick up where we left off – tomorrow.

It is my hopes that you will benefit from some tiny morsel of illumination as I blog about letting go of strategies that may no longer work for us, trying new ones, and just taking time to rest. May you strive to make knocking out your to-dos, or reaching your goals, fun. I try all the time to make my to-dos fun as life is just way too short to just always being an over-achiever.

And I’m especially looking forward to some photography fun tomorrow with hubs!

Until next week, keep smilin’, keep striving for balance, and keep on keepin’ on….

Love & hugs, Virg

2 thoughts on “When Good Strategies Lose Their Shine

  1. I make daily or weekly To Do lists, not on a regular basis, but when there are important and/or time-sensitive tasks I have to get done.
    I write each list either on a piece of note paper or in my journal.
    If I’ve written on note paper, I lay it on top of my tablet to review it with my morning coffee. As I complete each task (or at the end of the day), I put a large check mark over the item. If there was a snag in doing the task, I draw a star beside it and note what went wrong and how to fix it. Once everything is done, I throw the paper away. For longer-term lists (usually kept in my journal), I check back on thar list (for months if need be) and update my progress. It’s fun to look back and see what actually got done, even if it took much longer to complete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. VirgSpeaks

      I think I might need to go back to handwriting my lists. I’ve been using phone app for years now. It’s great for checking off that I’ve done my to-dos for the day, but I’m terrible about using it for weekly or monthly to-dos. So, it sounds like I need a new strategy. Thank you, writing friend, for sharing what you do. It’s inspired me to re-evaluate, once again, how to accomplish what I need to.

      Liked by 1 person

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