When Mr. Sketch pens are better than computers

This past weekend, I spent some time laying out my goals and dreams and wishes for the future. I’d been wanting to do it for awhile, but every time I sat down with paper and pen, or computer, it overwhelmed me. I just couldn’t think straight.

Yet, I felt the pull to go through this exercise. It remained in the back of my mind, feeling a little icky, like “you better do this!” Which, as you might imagine, was not helpful at all.

Then I had an epiphany, not so surprisingly after I started a new practice, called Dance of Shiva. Back to my epiphany, it occurred to me I didn’t have to do my future exploration in a linear way! It seems so simple, and felt like a huge breakthrough for me.

So out came the poster board, the Mr. Sketch scented pens and bunches of different sized post-it notes. I started madly writing on a post-it every task, project, dream, wish that had been floating about in my mind and sticking it on the poster board.

When I felt like I had written it all down, I started to look at the post-its for patterns. I noticed pretty quickly that all my stuff naturally divided into four different groups: Current Projects/Tasks, Future Projects/Tasks, Goals and Desired Routines.

I moved the post-its around into these groupings and choose colors for each, decorating the portion of the board accordingly. This is tacked to the wall across from my desk. And my current projects went into my planner, with related tasks broken out. Each month or so, I pick one of the items from Desired Routines to incorporate into my daily life.

Since doing this, I feel more organized and like I’m spending my time effectively. Which is way different than efficiently, but that’s another story for another time.

5 comments to When Mr. Sketch pens are better than computers

  • I totally heart post-its for this! I have covered entire walls with post-its during mad must-get-these-thoughts-onto-paper moments!

    I tend to struggle with categorising afterwards though, and the sheer number of stuff tended to get me down. I’ve started to blog about ways I’ve dealt with that, but I’m still working on it – so do share anything you’ve got! :)

  • @James Wow, a whole wall full of post-its? That would definitely overwhelm me! I didn’t have that many to start with, but I was aware that since this process had been pretty overwhelming up to the point I did this exercise I wanted to go forward gently. First thing I did, was follow Mark Silver’s guidance and identify the 3-5 things that would become my current projects. I did this with my heart, not my head! Everything else went “below the line.”

    After that, it was easy for me to divide the rest up into future projects/tasks, goals, desired routines.

    I’ve been using Mark’s Heart Centered Goal Planning to continue the process of understanding my projects and creating tasks to complete them.

    If you own Mark’s book, Unveiling the Heart of Your Business, then you have access to the Heart-Centered Goal Planning Audio class. If you don’t own the book, buy it now, this bonus is worth the price of the book alone! http://www.perceptionstudios.net/hobfree

    Now, I’m going to go see what you’re blogging about. Hmmm, maybe I should have done that first?!

  • Lynn Crymble

    What an awesome idea Shannon! As much as I am proud of my geekiness and love my computer, there is something to be said for good old pen and paper.
    I’m a big fan of visualization and honestly it just comes out better and faster when you do it the old fashioned way. And I’m totally going to get Mark’s book with that endorsement.

    @James – a whole wall – lol! It’s like a new decorating method.
    I had a friend once who was trying to decide on a paint colour. She got sample boards and stuck them on her wall to see them in different light – this is the technique all the home decor shows espouse. However, she ended up with over 10 of these (3 at most is recommended). She would then be all confused and couldn’t make up her mind.

    The problem is that as human beings, we all have fear of making the wrong decisions. I’m no expert but there is a great video that explains how too many things can cause immobilization. And it may be that you are worried you will let something slip if you don’t have everything down. Who knows but watching it might help a bit. It’s called The Paradox of Choice from the awesome TED site – check out more videos there if you haven’t yet.

    Good luck!

  • @shannon – yeah, total information overload. I’m loving the idea of something of Mark’s being able to bring clarity, his jewel exercise was so good I’m looking forward to having more insights from his stuff. And in fact I just bought his book about a week ago and am working my way through bits and pieces to get to it! I shall look forward (and almost certainly blog when I get there).

    Two pieces of feedback if I may: 1) make the message box bigger please! And 2) get a subscribe option so that I get comments emailed to me – I totally didn’t realise you didn’t have one and only accidentally wandered back to realise I’d almost missed on out some wonderful chat with friends. A wordpress example is here http://txfx.net/code/wordpress/subscribe-to-comments/

    @Lynn – choice paralysis is a BIG issue for me. I used to freeze up when given a menu as a kid! And TED is a favourite of mine, so thanks for pointing out this vid! It’s very interesting, and like most TED films it’s a starting point for thinking rather than an answer. Ironically, that means it suffers from the very problem it talks about! ;)

  • @Lynn, I used to have a friend that would get so overwhelmed by too many choices she’d whine, “I wish I lived in Russia.” (This was in the 80’s!)

    Also, with Mark’s book, it is packed full of great stuff. Remember to take it just a bit at a time.

    @James If you liked the Jewel exercise, you will love the goal planning stuff. It brings heart to the process like nothing I’ve ever tried before. I’ve had lots of great insights and breakthroughs doing it. Plus, I feel organized and effective.

    Thanks for the feedback on the comments section. The box IS way too small! I’ll see if I can get this stuff changed. (It’s not on WordPress, so I’ll have to talk to my designer.)

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