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How a dream becomes doable

How a dream becomes doable

Now that you are swimming in beaming goals and dreams for the New Year and the holiday spirit is all packed up and put away…the moment of truth has come. How the heck are you going to make those dreams a reality? How are you going to get it all done? How is your day/week/month really, truly going to change to accommodate all the new plans?

The first step (and I know you know this!) is to break it down into do-able mini-goals. Something you can do or reach in 3 months that is measurable and map-able. The Map-Making Guide is my go-to way to break down a big goal into a bunch of smaller steps, do-able to-dos. (Elise has a great take on the difference between goals + to-dos here)

But even when you've made your whole map, plotted how to get from here to there….it's so tempting to stop. You have your big list, so you're all set! But well, that's not quite it.

You're not actually any closer until the to-do's get done.

And while I'd love to think I can fly down my list of to-do's in an orderly fashion…that never happens.Life gets in the way. Products have to be shipped, problems have to be solved, blog posts have to be written.

The only way to make sure the “extra” stuff get done (that stuff that moves you towards your bigger dreams, that's outside of your day to day work) is to make it a part of your normal day.

For most of the map-makers, this means Giving Your To Dos a Date. In the map-making guide we set lifelines (soft deadlines) for the stuff that has obvious dates associated with it, and then you move everything to a to-do list for the week. In other words, we're taking a big goal and taking it down to the exact week in which you'll take a step to get closer.

But then the question is: how do you get stuff done from the weekly level to the daily level?

I have a few things I do each week so I'm working on both my big goals (the map-made destinations) and the usual work of everyday life. This is what I used to write the book, get new wholesale yarn accounts and create my workshops.First, I set some intentions for the week.

What do I want to happen? What do I wish for?

And under each wish, I write:

How it might happen

My commitment to this wish

How I want to feel (or the qualities associated with this wish.)

Then, I make a big list of my projects (this might include movement towards a destination, or work for a client, or just blog posts), and include the to-dos under them.

 

On that list, I might assign a day of the week, or not.

And finally, I write my to-do list for the day. I make each day's list based on the weekly lists of project, going with what feels good and has my enthusiasm.

 

How do you move your big list of to-dos into your daily life?

PS. Before you plan your week, make sure your to-do list is moving you towards to your big, shiny dreams in a strategic way! Start with a map and then plan your week.

 

The Holiday Adventures

Every week is an Adventure..and this is round-up of the view, the links and the inspiration that made it special. You can see all the adventures here.

The View

Beau's new fave spot- the back of the couch, over my shoulder.

Four strips down, 7 to go! #quiltsbychristmas

And now... I have days of this ahead of me. #handquilting #quiltsbychristmas

Still life from a handquilting afternoon.

The finds

 

  • The Internet blew up over Instagram's new Terms of Service. Here's the scary way of looking at it…and here's the less-scary way of interpreting it (short version: YouTube + Twitter have nearly identical language). I'll be on Instagram for the near future, but I'm also on Flickr if you've moved there (with their new app, I'll be more involved in commenting, fo sho.)

 

 

  • This video is my favorite thing of the week, for thinking about how I want to work in the New Year.

 

 

And with that, I'm offline (except for welcoming new Starship Captains aboard) until the new year.

Speaking of, the Starship closes January 3rd. If you're curious, sign up here to learn more about who the Starship is for, and to get to know a few of the members. And if you're hoping to get my book or any support for your biz for a holiday gift? Here's a template for asking.

How to survive the holidays as a Biz Lady

“For the busy Biz Lady, the holiday season is a time of joy (Peppermint mochas! Decorations! Candle light!) and stress (Holiday orders! The post office!). Sanity can be hard to hold on to between filling orders, fulfilling family obligations and standing in the dreaded post office line.

But sanity and profit are possible. It starts with knowing yourself, your business and what you want from the season and then setting expectations (and plans) for yourself and your community.”

Read the rest of my post on DesignSponge.

 

And if you've read that post, you might like

If this is your first time here

Hi! So nice to have you! Get to know me and say hello here. Don't miss the free mini-lesson How To Be An Explorer of your Biz. And, well, start at the Start Here page if you'd like more!

Want more survival tips? Check out the (free) Definitive Guide.

Sign up here to get more on surviving your business adventures, no matter the season.

 

A flip through my Holiday planning

 

I can't tell you how tempted I am by December Daily. I love the idea of having holiday-specific books that can come out with each year's Christmas decorations. But with the weekly Project Life, I don't need a whole other scrapbook, ya know?

So instead, I updated my traditional holiday planning guide (I can't believe we've been using it  for 3 years!) with a scrapbook of recipes and decorations.

At the end of the season I'll have a compendium of what I wanted to do and what I actually do. This way, next year I stand a chance of remembering the decorations I wanted to make or the recipes I wanted to try (and which ones worked…or didn't).

To get started, I added in pictures from last year. When we put up this year's tree I'll add an extra page.

I also made notes of what I want to change or redo this year.

 

And I couldn't leave out our favorite ornament! (The Yay sticker comes with the kit.)

Of course, there's also business-y pages in the book:

 And the beloved Giant List of Doom:
Don't let that list scare you! The Guide is all about breaking it down into do-able to-dos and getting it done.
You can see that I altered the standard weekly list a bit, by adding a little right hand column that includes the ongoing stuff I want to do each week (blog, read, run)..and I also got smarter about adding stuff to the week, splitting it into work and play.

As the Holiday Sanity kits are filtering out into the rest of the world, I've just loved seeing how everyone uses it to plan the season.

Here's Amy's,

and Rebecca's List of Doom:

Everything you see in the above pictures (except for my own photos!) comes with the kit:

 

 

How do you organize this busy time of year?

Do you have your own system or are you using Holiday Sanity?

 

PS. $5 from every kit goes to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Thanks to your planning genius I was just able to make another donation, right before hitting publish! Woo!

 

Want more survival tips? Check out the (free) Definitive Guide.

Sign up here to get more on surviving your business adventures, no matter the season.

The Adventures

Every week is an adventure…and this week was hot air balloons, quiet words, and stacks of books.  Past adventures can be explored here

The View

Epic game of Risk. #fallbreak
And then: the waterfalls.
And now, hiking the Appalachian. #fallbreak
Simpson's Clue. #fallbreak
Andre finds books snugglable

The Delights

  • I've been totally surprised by my very quite introduction of this. Just one tiny tweet (to a half-written page…it's still not finished!) and the response has been…delightful. If you're into it, jump on it.
  • Fitocracy. I'm not sure I can say anything more about this, but suddenly everything that seemed so un-Tara feels do-able + interesting. I blame it all on Lolly.
  • I could not be more excited about (and obsessed with getting everything just right for) the upcoming Holiday Sanity Kit (coming next week! Sign up here to make sure you don't miss it – there'll be a limited number) It's my first ever real-mail business-y goodness, and I'm having so much fun with it.
  • Quilting. Still. Spoonflower is having a Buy 1, Get 1 sale, so I'm finally going to order my first self-designed fabric!
  • I love hearing that I'm not the only one who procrastinates in order to savor an exciting project!
  • Too busy this holiday season with ORDERS to spend time marketing? Here's how to make it last, on Rena Tom for makers, and one for retailers on Vianza.

 

What was your week like? What were your adventures?


Two years ago (exactly!): Planning for non-planners
Three years ago: My photos – in a book!
Four years ago: Slowing

Holiday Sanity and Starships

When I tweeted a link to last year's free guide and was overwhelmed with thank you tweets and emails, I realized I needed to share it again:

It's a quick-to-use, silly little guide with handdrawn lists and goofy metaphors.

Yet, it works.
It helps you get a handle on what's coming next and it makes it all more do-able.

In the Starship, we're doing weekly check-ins on ho and I'm (again) surprised by how much just  a bit of planning + a dash of accountability can improve your experience of the holidays.

So much so, that I was starting to doubt closing the Starship until January.
Last night, after chatting with Starshippers, someone said “Once again, I'm surrounded by smart and understanding people” and there was a round of “yay starship!”s.
I realized: yes, it's easier for me to manage everyone's membership if I wait to reopen enrollment until January….but this is the time of year people need help. And community of like-minded friends. And encouragment.

Thus it's decided: the Starship is now open to new Cadets.

If you're feeling a little worn out, a little apprehensive about the oncoming rush of holiday sales, and holiday shopping, and holiday gift-making, the Starship is here for you:
Community, weekly check-ins, accountability partners, everything we can do to make the holidays sane.
Oh yeah, and access over $500 worth of classes + tools. For 13 months.

Come aboard here

Thematic

I'm not one for resolutions.

FxCam_1293394796820

In the past, I've picked words to guide me through the year, to sum up my goals.

But this year, the year ahead feels sprawling. Too huge and unknown and exciting to slap a word or two on it.
Instead of picking a word or goal for the entire year, I'm picking a goal for each quarter (more about this in today's SparklePointer).

But for the whole year?
I'm repeating something from last year: allowing a theme to come to me.

The difference between a theme and resolutions?

Resolutions, goals, visions = action, grasping, finish lines

Themes are just there. They define a period time, whether we want them to or not.

For me, picking a theme means bringing awareness to something. To notice when I need it, to notice when I'm blessed with it.

And the best themes aren't picked. They picked me.

An example

In 2010, during an exercise with Havi, the word PEACE came to me.
And I was annoyed. I am not a person who seeks peace. I seek adventure and challenges and struggle.

Oh. Yeah.

That is why I needed peace.
For the rough times. For the struggles. For the challenges. For the adventures.

And 2010 brought me plenty of opportunities to look for peace, to find it unexpectedly, to cultivate peace in an unpeaceful time.

This year

Despite avoiding it, despite wanting something more sparkly or exciting, I got SAFETY.

Oh, blah. How boring!
And so expected after the recent unpleasantness.

But that's the word.

But what does it DO?

Knowing the word is like having a study guide. I know what I need to pay attention to, even though I have no idea what's coming.

To get a handle on it I start by writing about the qualities that SAFETY includes. What does it mean for ME?

And then, I just pay attention.

I notice the word.
I notice when I feel the feeling (or feel the distinct LACK of it).

In confusing, uncertain or hard times, I ask myself:

  • “How can I bring the qualities of Safety into this situation?”
  • “Where is Safety here?”
  • “What small thing can I do to make this feel more safe?”

This isn't about fear.

Or playing it safe.
Or avoiding risks.

This is about building a safe space, within myself, to act from.

To brunch with.
Like a comfy house in the Shire that you set out from to go on great adventures. Its presence (no matter how far away) comforts you on the cold nights.
Or, for a different geeky metaphor, it's a space station. It's DS9 and my adventures happen with the Away Team, who stays safe as long as they're in contact with the station.

Does your new year have a theme?

Better yet, does it have a geeky metaphor? Tell me about it in the comments!

It’s ok

It's safe to say that I am more excited about the Holiday Sanity program (and all you creative smart people who are joining me) than I am about actually doing the planning. Which is why I invited you to keep me (and each other)accountable. This afternoon is where it all starts, but before we get going, I just needed a little reminder:

With all this talk of holiday planning, it may overwhelm you.
I know it does me.
I finally filled out my own mini-guide (yeah, I shared it with you just to convince MYSELF to do it!) and then all I wanted to do was nap.

And so today, it seems important to know: you don't have to do everything.
You don't have to be perfectly planned.
Or have life balance.
Or know what's going on.
It's ok, just as you are.

Whether you have a family, or an illness, or just stress.
Staying on top of it all, seeming perfect, having your stuff together.
That's not the goal.

The goal (or at least, my goal) is to notice.
To interact with the stuff that comes up, instead of ignoring it and hoping it all works out.
To get help when I need it.
To rely on my community.

This is just a friendly reminder that wherever you are, with your business, with your holiday planning, with your life is exactly where you're supposed to be.
And I'm so glad that you're there. And here.

(If you do have life-stuff that makes you worry you can't run a biz, check out tomorrow's class with Kirsty Hall, about working Within Limits)

Free Guide to Planning your Holidays

This is the third in an ongoing series about planning (your business and your life!) for the holidays. If you want to keep your Holiday Sanity this year, join a group of crafters + artists in our accountability fun If you're struggling to find the time because of family or health limits, check out Within Limits.

Instead of going on and on about planning today, let's just get down to the action. The action of looking clear-eyed and honestly about what you want to do this holiday.

For most of us, that starts with a List.

I am Queen of the List, but my planning really needs to go beyond the list.

I've put everything I know about dealing with big (scary!) to-do lists and turned into a teeny tiny mini-guide.

How I figure out what needs to be done.
How I make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
How I make sure it actually GETS done, hopefully a few days before it's really done.

All of it explained and then demonstrated with silly handdrawn worksheets.

This is one of the first materials I made for the Holiday Sanity program, but I got so much gushing about how helpful it was, I thought, I need to share this with everyone.

So here it is, completely free. No sign-ups or commitments or anything.
Just right click on the little button to download.

And enjoy!

Edited to add: At the request of several fast readers, we're going to do a weekly check-in, right here in the comments.
Today, let us know: did you fill out the first List of Doom?

Of course, you can get private accountability (and brainstorm and learn from a whole pile of clever crafters) in the Holiday Sanity program. Tuesday's the last day to join!

November is National Do Lots of Stuff Month

Happy November!
November is the month of turkey, gratitude and crazy big group projects. Something about all that impending time with extended family seems to draw us to gathering online to accomplish ridiculous goals.

Today I'm embarking on two (um, three?) big projects:

  • NaNoWriMo
  • NaKniSweMo
  • Holiday Sanity

I'm hoping I can convince some of you to join me in the craziness, let me know if you're also doing any of these in the comments!

NaNoWriMo

For the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo is a yearly endeavor to write 50,000 words (or, a small novel) in the month of November. Thousands of writers, the world over, participate and it is a beautiful thing. You can read more about it here.
I'm not writing a novel, but I am challenging myself to write 50,000 words this month (these right here count!), in the hopes of giving you what you've been asking for: more CraftyBiz written material to go with the classes.

Gettting it done

I'm using 750words.com to keep track of my daily words. My goal is to write 2,000/day every day that I can, since I'll be traveling a lot in November and I'm sure there will be several days when I can't write at all.
I'm still a little sketchy about WHAT exactly I'll be writing about, so if there's something in particular about crafting a business you'd like to read about, let me know.

NaKniSweMo

As if 50,000 words weren't enough, I'm also attempting to knit 50,000 stitches.  Or, a whole sweater. This is a knitter's version or NaNoWriMo, NAtional KNIt a SWEaterMOnth, in it's 4th  year and is organized by the inimitable KnitGrrl, Shannon Oakey.

Gettting it done

I'm knitting the Featherweight Cardigan by Helen Fettig. I spent, oh, an embarrassing amount of time thinking about what yarn I would make this in, before settling on the designer's own kit. It comes with the fabulously squooshy Malabrigo laceweight, which I got it in Pearl.
No special stitch-counting or knit-progress-tracking with this, I just plan to work on it All. The. Time. All the time I'm not working or writing or crocheting cute amigurumi.
first amigurumi

(Not a knitter? Check out Art Every Day, a sort of NaNoWriMo for artists.)

Holiday Sanity

Unlike the other two projects, this has no big goal line.
It's simply an accountability and planning group project that I put together to help myself get through the holidays. It's my hope that it'll help you do the same.

Tools

I'm creating all sorts of (optional) worksheets to help me (and you) figure out what, exactly, has to be done (and by when) in order to have a great holiday season, both in my business and in my life!
To figure out what to include, I put together all the tools and tricks I know help me get stuff done and I talked to other crafty people about what's worked for them.
What we came up with is simple and not too time-consuming (the goal is to focus on our work, not on the planning.)

Each week will have a theme to help focus our work and we'll follow up in a (private!) chat room where we'll check in and ask questions.
I'm looking forward to it because I know just the *idea* of checking in with someone pushes me to do better work. I've seen my gentle email accountability do wonders in other crafty businesses on projects as big as starting their first shop to making art on a regular basis.
You can join us right here.

Are you doing any crazy big projects this month?

Tell me about it in the comments.

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