My friend Sarah Goodman (author of Ferry Ride and other books) approaches her journal writing with this structure lately –
Write five things –
- The Weather
- One thing I did well today (or, since I write early, yesterday)
- One thing I could have done better, and
- and 5. Two things I commit to doing today (that I might not otherwise do).
The weather has always and naturally been noted on my pages, but the other four things are new and helpful. The evaluation of things done is structured perfectly for a self-flagellant like me — notice, it does not say, “one thing I did well, one thing I did badly“!!! This teeny exercise helps me note the things I am accomplishing, which I tend to skip over. It also allows the discussion of things I am doing badly (mostly in the parenting department) to take a softer tone.
The last two things are also helpful and decidedly different from items on a To Do List. Now, I am a big fan of having a To Do List, and when I can find mine, it is helpful (that speaks volumes, doesn’t it?!) Lately, I have been housing my To Do List in a beautifully hardbound daily calendar — a strategy which helps with the location bit (the clip board didn’t work, the post its didn’t work, and it’s too much script to include in my weekly APPOINTMENT calendar). The TO DO items occupy the entire seven days, without reference to particular days of the week. This tends to encourage more Long Term Goals making the list. I can easily refer back to earlier weeks and bring forward things which did not get done and which are still important. I cross off items with enthusiasm. This may be childish, but for instance, “Pay Sales Tax”, was on my list every week since Newton Open Studios in May, and when I finally did it a couple of weeks ago (Note to Self — it only took two minutes online), I got to cross off about 10 entries!!
But here’s the difference with the “Two Things I Commit To Do”: To Do Lists tend to be lengthy and aspirational to some degree, whereas the Two Items are more like commitments. Try it. It’s different.
Yesterday one of my two items was to sort the bins under my studio desk and put more fabric on the curb. I did not do it. (I DID call the friend, though, which was the other item). So, TODAY, again, I put that on my list and make myself even more accountable by posting the intention here!
The yarn pictured above was dumped out of a bin which we needed to take on our canoe camping trip. Without this commitment, it might sit there for months!! The other bins have been recently sorted, during my Big Sorting weeks, but have no where to go. This poses an organizational challenge that is going to require many, many daily plugs of effort.
In keeping with the spirit of The Five Things, here is the commission for a boy’s baby blanket, finished!
The satin binding is a crucial element. My two boys (and I) used the soft satin bindings of their (my) baby blankets for comfort, rubbing them while sucking a binky (in my case, my thumb).