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Planning Ideas from Karen

December 28, 2009

I do a lot of long-term projects. Last year, I did an art tag each week. For the last two years, I’ve been doing weekly art for creative therapy and taking daily photos. And I have several year-long projects planned for 2010.

When I commit to a long-term project, I’ve found that I work much better when I set boundaries and prepare lists of ideas. For this project I’ve already posted about my format. I am making a 4×6 page that has a photo and some words. Those are my creative boundaries.

I want to be clear that my Weekly Gratitude piece isn’t going to be specific to an item from that week. As I’ve already mentioned, I’ll be posting three things I’m grateful for to my blog every day. Some weeks, I’ll pick an item from these posts and center my project around that. But other weeks, I will do it on anything I want. To me, this project is not about what happened that week but it’s a project that simply encourages me to take the time to acknowledge things in my life that make me feel grateful.

In that vain, I decided it would help me to make a list of things that I am grateful for in my life right now. This way, if I feel stuck one week, I can just look at my list of ideas. One other thing I wanted to mention is that I tend to express gratitude for the “obvious” things in my life quite often. I make a lot of scrapbook pages about my children, my husband, etc. I could do a whole year’s worth of gratitude on just them. But I want to focus this project on things I don’t take the time to appreciate as often. And that’s another reason to make this list ahead of time (so that I don’t fall into the easy pattern of just making it about my sons.)

With that said, here are some items from my list:

  1. Having a backyard.
  2. Colorful fabric.
  3. Tulips.
  4. Christmas spirit.
  5. My favorite pen.
  6. My sewing machine.
  7. Graham crackers.
  8. Non-minty toothpaste.
  9. Inspiring art.
  10. A great book.

As you’ll notice, none of these are big, obvious things. They are personal to me but they are things that add to my happiness and they are worthy of gratitude. I plan to make a list of 25 or so things. This way I have half-a-year’s worth of ideas. I might not use any of these but if I need to, they are right there.

What are some ideas you have to make this project more doable for yourself? Have you decided on your format yet? Are you interested in making a list of your own? If you have, feel free to share. I am confident that your lists will inspire us and make us notice things in our life that we take for granted.

One other thing that has helped me stay on top of my recurring projects is scheduling a day of the week to work on them. For example, every Wednesday I post a free digital download on my site. If I designate a day of the week to create and post my gratitude post, it’s more likely to get done. This may not work for you but it works magically for me and it’s a system we will use on this blog so I thought it would be worth mentioning in case it helps you as well.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. December 28, 2009 8:35 am

    You have inspired me to get more organised and I aleady have my first one done and ready to go. Love the format of the 4×6 size.
    I have to mention… non minty toothpaste we only have baby and minty here.
    What does non minty taste like?
    I have done 26 favourite quotes with matching photos (from google) which I want to blog about weekly as well as how I have tried to live up to it that week, practically. I can’t wait for the new year. Thanks for all your inspiration and organisation and ideas and freebies.

  2. Bren Stuart permalink
    December 28, 2009 10:21 am

    I too, want to remember to be grateful for the not so obvious but still big things. I just wrote a letter to God this morning on some of these things. They are:
    a dad and mom who thinks of me often
    my degree
    my future spouse (I haven’t met him yet but this year could be the year)
    dog cuddles

  3. Gab permalink
    December 28, 2009 2:02 pm

    Great ideas and great list, thanks Karen!

  4. Lisa permalink
    December 28, 2009 6:53 pm

    Your post has made me realise that I need to get more organised – thanks for that. I started a quick list straight away; it’s just the start.
    little note books & journals
    Ali – my little dog
    MacBook Pro
    my office/craft area
    warm bed – somewhere safe to sleep
    clean, running water
    washing machine
    food in the fridge & pantry
    money in my wallet
    COFFEE – cant forget that one!!
    husband and my 2 sons – of course they are a given
    DSLR Canon camera – yippee
    favourite chair for watching TV
    comfy shoes
    medicines – to help me and mine get better when they are sick
    reliable safe car
    airconditioning – it’s stinking hot today (in West Australia)

    People you should have a go writing your own list if you haven’t. It was fun, really quick and very easy. One idea sparked another and before I knew it I had over 20 ideas without even really trying.

  5. Susan Williams permalink
    December 29, 2009 1:06 pm

    So I have begun with a first thought that I should buy a nice new journal, then thought better. I looked around my home for a notebook that I already have and can reuse and found the perfect choice: A purple 3-ring binder that I used during my engagement year for wedding event planning notes. As I am grateful for my husband/partner/lover/friend, then this is the start I need. I just clipped the other notes together for safekeeping in the front and set up a new section. I can take this notebook wherever I go and will use gratitude as a koan upon which to meditate each week. I am curious to see what arises.

    I am ready for the year year….although, perhaps I should introduce the project, as the first entry this week?

    Let the new year and the journal begin! Happy new year everyone!

  6. December 29, 2009 5:01 pm

    Karen, I’ve been reading your lists on your blog, and thanks to your BPS class have already started a few of my own. I’m planning to spend the next couple of days expanding on them. I do think this will help me stay on track. I started gratitude album in 2008 that I made with an acrylic album. I love it so I’m going to continue with it this year. I abandoned it in March of that year, but simply took the date off the cover. I will date each entry, I think, but I am leaving the ones from 2008 just where they are. I will need to add a few more pages to the journal, but that can happen later. Thanks for all the inspiration. I am really looking forward to 2010!

  7. December 29, 2009 11:37 pm

    That’s funny because I thought about doing such a list a few days ago but somehow it felt like “cheating”! I am planning to write daily about something I am grateful for (a new habit I want to create) and was thinking to myself: “how pathetic if you can’t even find ONE good thing in your life each day”…
    So THANK YOU for quickly brushing away this negative thought and for making me realise that I don’t need to make it harder on myself. I am happy to be part of this project and I shall concentrate on this; not on being perfect!

  8. January 2, 2010 11:56 am

    I just love how you are organised! It’s a great idea doing a pre-list; I’ll do one for me too. Last year, I tried to maintain a gratitude list every day, but usually I come up with: my family, my sons, my husband, my house… all obvious things! Your list inspire me to have a not so obvious one. Thank you for sharing!

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