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The Slow Project Redefined: Do Less By Planning More

The Slow Project Redefined: Do Less By Planning More

Since embarking on The Slow Project, the past couple of weeks have certainly been enlightening. As those who are following me know, it came about after I wrote about easy ways to slow down, ironically finding them very hard to do.

As I have tried to meet each slow goal, I have had trouble. This has led me to realize some bigger issues I need to address before tackling those goals. Some of the comments I received from Care2 readers have really helped me find those issues and have been very helpful and enlightening.

For example, one of them (from Mary B.) led me to realize that those of us who over commit never think about the person on the receiving end. We can leave them waiting for us, and it actually results in a lesser quality of work and makes us think what we actually do is more valuable than it really is. This made me ask myself what does that tell someone when you aren’t really focused on him or her?

Another thing I have learned in the past couple of weeks is how plugged in I really am and how I need to unplug. All of the wonderful technology we have allowing us to do so much, has made me think that I should always be able to do more. Each new piece of technology is always capable of doing more, and doing it faster. We get more memory, more power, and more speed. It is no wonder we have no idea how to slow down or do less when we are encouraged to keep doing more.

But, as I wrote about last week, the thing that has really come into focus is that I really need to do less.

And, this week I realized why I always end up doing more; it’s as if a big light bulb just went on and I can see things so much more clearly. This realization came about during lunch and a long talk I had with one of my good friends. She mentioned that she doesn’t have a plan, and that she never has and is thinking she needs to get one. This surprised me because to me she seems so focused on her career goals and where she is going.

As we kept talking, it suddenly hit me; I don’t have one either, and, I have never had one. I have no specific goals and have no idea where I am headed. So, I just keep adding things to my list because I am unclear what should be on that list.

I pride myself on being organized on making a list of all the projects, errands, and chores I need to get done, but I don’t make a “life list.” Where do I want to go in my life? I keep saying I need to learn to say no to everything but I realized I first need to define where I am going and what needs to be part of that journey and what doesn’t.  Just like saying “yes” to everything isn’t the right answer, so is saying “no.”

I realized that only if you know where you are going can you ever get there. It is no wonder I haven’t felt that I have gotten anywhere; I don’t know where I am going.

I am like the stereotypical male who will never ask for directions. Yet, ironically, one of the most popular pieces of new technology is the GPS. So, I need to map out my life using my own personal GPS. I will keep you posted on how I am navigating with it.

Read more: General Health, Health, Mental Wellness, Nature, , , ,

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Judi Gerber

Judi Gerber is a University of California Master Gardener with a certificate in Horticultural Therapy. She writes about sustainable farming, local foods, and organic gardening for multiple magazines. Her book Farming in Torrance and the South Bay was released in September 2008.

28 comments

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3:22AM PST on Nov 10, 2011

It's a balance, isn't it, of having enough of a goal so one isn't directionless, but being supple and fluid with that so that one can change if the plan is no longer serving one's purpose. But I think in the end it's better to have a plan because then that give you some rails to go off if need be!

10:44PM PDT on Jul 5, 2010

I like the life plan, but keep it flexible - a general plan with measurable goals is great, but life doesn't always go according to our plans and being open to new approaches that may help us gain the same end is helpful

2:21PM PDT on Jul 5, 2010

Goodness, this reads like something I wrote in my journal. I have been slowing myself for some time now. My daughter pointed out my habit of darting from one externally influenced task to another. Having a "plan"in place is the key to survival and keeps me grounded in my own life.

10:52AM PDT on Jul 4, 2010

I have been noticing the lack of planning myself with everything. It is necessary for my health.

10:21PM PDT on Jul 3, 2010

Here's another thought - while being aware of people on the receiving end, don't be so focused on others that you don't do what is important to you. Find a way to do what is important to you while meeting the wishes of those on the receiving end. If other people are completely sidetracking you, get their demands out of your life.

3:00PM PDT on Jul 1, 2010

Mine problem hasn't been the goals. It has been FOCUSING on a couple of them instead of trying to do ten things at the same time. Right now I trying to save for a house and get back in shape. Everything else is if I get the time. Of course that is after the job which allows me to focus because I have a rented roof above my head!:)

3:45AM PDT on Jun 30, 2010

It is really refreshing to read about someone with the tools, but who is struggling to implement them. Thank you for your honesty and for your insights Judi.

I recently went for the Dreamboard idea. I've got it place in the area which is most beneficial, according to Feng Shui, and which coincidentally is in my line of vision from where I spend a lot of my time - the computer.

Last year I only had 4 vague goals on it. This year I have 8 measurable and realistic goals on it, all depicted in pictures (used power point). Some of them I colored in to really grab my attention.

Maybe this could be a helper?

7:30PM PDT on Jun 29, 2010

You go girl. You are well and truly on the way to become ORGANISED!
Don't forget to un- organise from time to time and just be, otherwise you might lose your focus.

7:27PM PDT on Jun 29, 2010

Well too much plannig is useless,when you have kids/grandchildren! Most of your plans are anyway going to change,because of them! So i don't take my planes too seriously any more,earlier I used to and that made so nerveous.Now I just don't care,there is a new day tomorrow,maybe then.....

2:51PM PDT on Jun 29, 2010

From the article: For example, one of them led me to realize that those of us who over commit never think about the person on the receiving end. We can leave them waiting for us, and it actually results in a lesser quality of work and makes us think what we actually do is more valuable than it really is. This made me ask myself what does that tell someone when you aren’t really focused on him or her?

It tells me that that person should stop asking you for so much, and try doing things for him/herself. I'm one of those people who overcommits, because people are always asking stuff from me, since I seem to know how to do a lot of things (fix cars, fix houses, etc.). If I say no, then they'll think I'm being selfish or lazy, so I overcommit and produce poor-quality work.

It's worse these days because so few people know how to do anything anymore. Most people these days don't know how to do anything besides mindless office jobs, so when they run across someone who can actually do something productive, like fix their car, they immediately ask for free labor.

Learn how to do your own work.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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