30 Lists in 30 Days

30 lists in 30 days

I know that I have a lot of work to do to get this blog up and running the way I would like.  The thing is, I know it’s not going to grow overnight and I know it’s not going to happen if I don’t put the time in, so I wanted to jump back in with kind of a fun project that I think will help me form some really good writing habits.  Starting tomorrow, I’m going to be embarking on my 30 Lists in 30 Days challenge.

The lists will be about any and everything and some will be personal in nature, while others might have more of a business or artsy slant.  The point is, I’m going to be publishing something every day for the next 30 days and I’m really excited about it.

Why lists?

Why not?  Lists are awesome and they serve my personal (and human) need to categorize and make sense out of this chaotic world.  Plus, I just really like making lists, so it’s an easy and fun way for me to get in the habit of publishing something every day.

Why 30 Days?

They say it takes 28 days for an action to become habitual, so it would reason that if I can write and publish consistently for 30 days in a row, it should become an ongoing habit, which would be great.  One of the issues I think I have is that I tend to worry so much that the quality is not up to par that I stop myself short of posting something or I hold myself back from actually launching an online shop.  Committing to a 30-day goal should help me overcome some of those hurdles.

So wish me luck as I embark on my latest challenge – this is one I’m looking forward to!

Productivity – Or how not to be a lazy piece of crap

I’ll admit it – I love me some TV watching.  I love plopping down on the couch, snuggling down in a blanket and vegging out for hours on end.  I love Netflix binging and I love watching whatever schlock we have taking up space on our DVR.  I love all kinds of TV too – sitcoms, dramas, histories, biographies, dog shows and even a little reality TV from time to time.  I am well aware that television and reality TV in particular is rotting my brain, but there is something about the fact that I can check my brain at the door that I just love.

Now that I have started this post with what amounts to a love letter to television, I understand that I may not be the best person to be giving advice about productivity.  The thing is, it’s because I’m constantly walking the line between accomplishing what I set out to do and slipping into the abyss of time-wasting that make me the absolute right person to give this kind of advice.  So with a better understanding of where I’m coming from, here are a few things that help me get the job done:

1. Make a plan

I’ve said it before, a to do list is your friend!  If you start each day with a clear vision of what you hope to accomplish, you will be so much more likely to make it happen.  There is no way you can live a productive life if you don’t know what you’re working towards and your to do list helps give your day direction.

2. Develop a routine

I consider myself  fairly “go with the flow” type of gal.  That being said, with two kids under the age of 2, I wouldn’t get anywhere if I didn’t have some sort of a routine.  I’ve got our morning routine down to a science so that I can have myself and both the girls dressed, fed and out the door in about 45 minutes.  If I didn’t have a routine to follow, we’d be all over the place and it would probably take me twice as long.  Routines take the guesswork out of your day and they really do save time, not to mention that having a good routine is pretty much essential when you’re raising children.

3. Embrace the art of multi-tasking

This is one that it took me awhile to learn and I would say that I’ve only gotten good at this fairly recently.  Multi-tasking is this amazing little thing that allows you to accomplish multiple things at once and then at the end of it, you get to cross a whole bunch of crap off your to do list.  Kind of amazing-face.  My favorite things to multi-task on usually involve our almost 2-year old, Adele.  I’ll clear the dishwasher and throw in a load of laundry while we’re practicing her ABC’s.  Or we’ll pick up toys while the cookies are baking.  Whatever it is, killing two birds with one stone always feels great.

4. Treat yo’ self

This one is such an important motivational technique for me.  Sometimes I literally have to bribe myself to get things done.  It sounds kind of lame, but it works for me.  For example, I’ll tell myself that I can watch an episode of Top Chef after I clean the kitchen and if I fold the laundry while I’m watching.  Or I can have a Diet Coke after I vacuum and dust the living room.  I fully understand that it seems silly to have to bribe oneself to do what needs to be done, but honestly, these rewards are one of the biggest reasons I get anything done at all.

5. Eyes on the prize

When it comes down to it, the art of productivity boils down to desire.  What do you want more?  Do you want to lay on the couch and do absolutely nothing from the time you get off work to the time you go to bed?  Or do you want to actually do something with your time?  What kind of person do you want to be?  Do you want to be a person who is content just biding their time, or do you want to be the kind of person who is out there creating something amazing and making connections.  Keep your eyes on the prize and know what you want and it will help you make the decision to veg or not to veg so much easier.

Is there anything new to create?

In the immortal words of the Barenaked Ladies, “Woo hoo hoo.  It’s all been done before.”  Whether or not that is actually true, I’m not sure, but I found myself thinking today about the uniqueness and individuality of creative works.  Most of the time I find that when I look at a piece of art or listen to a song, it all seems so familiar.  Like I’ve already seen it or heard it even if it’s something entirely new to me.  And that familiarity led me to the question, “Is there anything new left to create?”

I mean, have we tapped the limit of what is left to be new and different?  After all, there are only so many colors in the spectrum and notes in the scale.  Is there a limit to the combinations of what we as human beings can put together?

There is a really cool theory that was first put out there by Carl Jung called the Collective Unconscious.  The basic gist is that all the experiences and everything that is created and put into the world become part of the collective unconscious of our species.  The effect is that even if we have not had any direct experience with a particular song or story or piece of art, the fact that it is out there and we are human means that we are connected to it in some way, shape or form.  Because something exists, it is innately a part of who we are and will influence how we think and thus influence how and what we create.  And if that is truly the case, then we are all impacted by what came before us and doesn’t that mean that nothing is truly unique?

Now I don’t know if I buy into the idea of a Collective Universal Unconscious, but I do believe that everything we see, hear, feel and experience stays with us.  Even if you don’t consciously think about it, that experience is cataloged and stored somewhere in your brain and will influence what you do and create.  And I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.  I think that the things that resonate most deeply with us usually have an air of familiarity.  It may bear a new and unique twist on an old idea or concept, but it’s grounded in something that we can relate to and can innately understand.

So I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t believe that anyone can create something that is 100% new and different.  To an extent, everything truly has been done before.  What we can do is take what’s been done before and add our own personal influence.  We can take our own experiences to change the outcome of the creation and make it our own.  The fact that it is still connected to what has come before shouldn’t be a reason not to put something out there.  The connections and similarities in our art just reaffirms that we truly are all connected.

Snow Day Productivity

So today did not go as planned.  It wasn’t a bad day at all, it just ended up being completely different than I thought it was going to be.  First of all, school was cancelled due to the snow and so daycare was closed as well.  This meant I was home with the girls today, which was kind of a fantastic Wednesday surprise.  I was looking forward to spending some time snuggling and dancing and just hanging out.  I was also looking forward to spending some time finishing some new prints and moving closer to launching my shop on Etsy.

Then the laundry beckoned.  And the dishes.  And my 3 month-old’s closet, which I’ve been meaning to update for at least 3 weeks.  So instead of working on my little business, I did the laundry and I did the dishes and I reorganized Everly’s closet.  It wasn’t quite as rewarding and I still wish I would have found time to knock out a few prints, but the upside is that the house is in good shape and I got to spend the day dancing and cuddling and bonding with these cutie pies:

Little Diva Adele (she totally posed like this on her own):

Diva Adele

 

Mini-diva Everly, who fell asleep in the bumbo at dinner:

baby asleep in bumbo

 

And Manny, our bulldog and company mascot:

Bulldog napping

So I guess the moral of the story is that while I didn’t get everything done that I wanted to, I did get a lot of important things accomplished.  And even better than that, I got to spend some quality time with some important people.

A humble beginning

Over the past few years, I’ve started quite a few different blogs.  Some blogs were started with the goal of making money and starting a business, other blogs were started for purely personal reasons.  All of these previous blogs have one thing in common – they didn’t last.  They didn’t last because I wasn’t committed and dedicated enough to stick it out.  My hope is that this time will be different.

I’ve got several goals and lots of big dreams for what Pink Bulldog will be.  One of my problems in the past has been that I dream big, but then I don’t want to put in the time and effort it takes to achieve those dreams.  I’m impatient and anxious for things to start moving.  It’s not a bad thing, but it means that I often take shortcuts when the long way is actually better.  And this blog, this company, is my vehicle to building a better life, and I’ve had to learn the hard way that if you want to live the good life, you’ve got to put the work in.  The good life doesn’t just happen overnight, it is built with every tear, every laugh, every hug and every drop of sweat that you put into it.  I want a good life and I want to work for it.

My hope is that Pink Bulldog will become a kind of love letter to the world.  I believe that you can find beauty and joy in almost everything and the mission of this company is to help others find that joy.  Whether it’s the sound of a child laughing or the words on your favorite t-shirt or a stupid cat video, there is joy all around if we take the time to see it.  That’s why every print I create will be designed with the ultimate goal of bringing joy and inspiration to others.

It’s a simple mission, but one that soundly resonates within me.  To be honest, I can’t quite remember the last time I felt so passionate about anything and it’s exciting.  I fully expect that this will not be an easy journey.  Starting a blog is hard enough, but starting a business will have challenges that I’m not sure I’m totally prepared for.  Either way, this mission is something that I believe in and I believe that with help, it’s something that I can achieve.

So wish me luck and watch me go because an adventure is about to begin…