Everything is a project
One of my favorite people on Twitter, @visakanv, posted a great thread about project management back in 2019.
if you are 2-3% better at project management, over time this compounds to gains in *everything else*, because everything worth doing is a project to be managed— visa is chilling tf out (@visakanv) August 10, 2019
good project management is procedural intelligencehttps://t.co/GhVmYLeEn1
"Everything worth doing is a project to be managed."
You might think of a Project Manager as a job title. A person who sits at a desk and sends a lot of pesky emails asking for status updates.
But Visa helped articulate something I've always felt about project management: it's an important, albeit unsexy life skill.
Setting up my work-from-home desk setup was a project. I had to coordinate with my dad to drive up in his truck to pick up my desk, chair, and monitors. I also had to coordinate with my office manager. Once the desk was delivered, I spent money and time organizing the various cords and cables that were getting tangled underneath. Even still, there are some missing decor elements to purchase and assemble.
When I started telling people that I finally got my desk and monitors set up, they were shocked that it took me so long. (I started working from home in mid-March but didn't get my desk until mid-November.)
But this isn't surprising to me. I knew that picking up my desk was going to take time and energy. The coordinating, purchasing, and organizing deserved its own headspace, and I waited until I had the mental capacity to make it happen efficiently.
This is how I approach most one-off projects. I write down as many to-dos as I can think of (usually in Notion or in the good ol' iOS Notes app). Then I take the next step. Then the next one. And the next. Until the project is complete.
However, many things in life are not one-off projects as described above. In my mind, grocery shopping is a project. Connecting with neighbors is a project. Exercising is a project. Writing is a project. Building strong friendships is a project.
These are projects that we're managing all the time. My goal is to make all of these things feel less like projects and more like the heartbeat of a rhythmic and spacious routine. I'm not quite there yet, so I build systems to help with these everyday projects.
- I use a Notion table to manage the grocery shopping
- I schedule weekly exercise sessions with my trainer and put them on the calendar
- I write every day (hopefully) first thing in the morning
One day, perhaps, all of these things will start to feel more like a second-nature rather than a project to be managed. But for now, the systems help the habits stick.
In 2021, I have a list of projects that I want to work on. Each one requires its own project management system or routine. With each one, I can only really focus on doing the next right thing. Here's what I've done thus far:
- Become a morning writing person
I've done absolutely nothing to break out of my 2 am - 10 am sleep schedule. Sometimes I think the solution is to stay awake for a full 24 hours as a solid reset.
- Write a poetry zine
I've been writing 750 words every day. Yesterday I wrote my first poem! Perhaps it is a bad poem but that's ok.
- Become a person who reads
Ugh reading. This one requires some experimentation as the next step. For a while I was pretty good about reading one chapter of a book when I took a bath, which happens several nights per week. But I'd like it to be something I do before going to sleep.
- Make a DIY online store and donate all profits to great causes
I have it on my to-do list today to design my first sticker!
- Go to therapy and actually commit to it this time
I am on the waiting list at a local counseling center. They said they would contact me within a few weeks to set up my first virtual appointment!
- Make my Nana’s Linzer cookie recipe
My Nana is sick and has been in and out of the hospital. I'm worried about her and I miss her.
- Learn to dive off a diving board
This one will have to wait until Summer.
- Find a professional mentor/coach
I have a couple of people in mind for this, but I am waiting until I've paid off my Wandering Aimfully business coaching program, which will be in March.
- Start doing dance aerobics one day per week
I've scheduled my first virtual session for Friday, January 9!
- Schedule one date night per month
AJ and I made a list of date night ideas. Now we just need to set a date and put it on the calendar.