how to get sh#t done in 13 steady steps

Revised-Resolutions, Dan Zevin

  1. Make a priority list with End-dates for each thing; write them down. Yes, each thing. Don’t be delusional. We all think we’ll do our taxes early, find an ending for that piece we’re writing, update our website, master that song, have lunch with friends, work out, practice trumpet…but we don’t. Try not to betray your Self. If you go past an end-date, re-set it. Strive to do what you say.
  2. Begin again and again until you’ve accomplished it. Consistency is key; a little time given most days. Again don’t be delusional; just because you’ve done it once doesn’t mean you’re actually doing it. True, it is one step above many Generation X-ers who believe that wanting to do something is the same as doing it. [see: there is no there there, and i’m not talking about oakland or how not to be delusional].
  3. Don’t be mean to yourself with this list. It’s your wish list not a dictator. If you only have time to practice guitar for 15 minutes, do it. Stop with needing everything lined up/cleaned before you start. Ask the Mr/Ms-perfection-ducks-in-a-row-person within you to sit down, not criticize/analyze and present you with “Brilliant Brutal Plan #347” that makes you want to quit from the sheer weight of it’s unrealistic expectations.
  4. Chose something you’ll never be done with: playing piano, mastering a new language, being kind to other people. End-date? When you die.
  5. Focus on what you’ve chosen. Regardless of appearances in this culture, you really only do one thing at a time. Be present to that thing no matter how small. The fewer objectives you have in the Now, the better you accomplish them.
  6. Do the difficult thing first. Acknowledge your inner resistance but leap right into activity anyway. This is the kind of challenge that builds new pathways in the brain and allows for stronger more inspiring choices in the future. The complex things usually involve more than one or two “sessions.”
  7. Conversely, intersperse and perform simple things that give small endorphin hits from achieving: washing dishes, hanging up your clothes, cleaning your car, paying bills.
  8. Put down your smartphone. Only check it twice an hour; you won’t miss anything. Not like how you’re actually missing your life right now snared in this dependency. Same with Facebook. Try this for ONE week. Your fantasy of non-addiction will pop ingloriously.
  9. There are rarely real shortcuts. Stop wasting finite life energy looking for them and just do the thing.
  10. Read more literature and less one-hit media gratifications or “news.” Books make you smarter and more compassionate. Plus, you’ll be less of a dick since most of us don’t simultaneously read books and “talk” with friends.
  11. Play. Play games, play with kids, go on walks or stretch/yoga–not to accomplish anything but just for fun, play darts or Tiny Wings, shoot pool, dance, sing, fiddle in your shop, doodle. Every day, something! Even for 10 minutes. See #3.
  12. Meditate/Be In the Now. Just do it. Not like Nike, but like Demeter
  13. Breathe.
*cartoon by Dan Zevin

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