Heartmade Blog

A New Way to Organize Your “Rocks”

Dreaming Into Doing
Fair warning: what I’m about to say here may surprise you.
2011 is already a quarter of the way through.
Let that sink in for a minute.
I’m not saying this to cause you to panic. (Although when I first realized this, my heart raced for a second.) I’m pointing out that this year is flying by so you have a chance to recognize it, pause, take stock of where you are compared to where you would like to be, and forge ahead for the remaining three-quarters renewed and with a bit more direction.
Maybe, like me, you have big dreams for 2011. It’s okay if you haven’t made as much progress as you wanted to towards those dreams so far. But you’ve got to stop yourself soon, reflect, organize your thoughts and recommit to your dreams. After all, what you really want is to move from dreaming into doing, right?
I have 5 questions to help you make that shift. Even better – I’ve put together a FREE worksheet to help you out. Don’t worry! It isn’t a test, there are no right answers. Instead, focus on being real with yourself. After all, to get where you want to be you have to take those dreams right into reality.
Question 1: What have you done that is truly AWESOME this year?
Could be something big and impressive (my friend Mayi, owner of this here blog, http://www.heartmadeblog.com//blog/is-your-blog-ready-for-some-bootcamp“>doubled her email list). It could be something small (I taught my toddler to say “bless you” when someone sneezes). Whatever it is, record the great things you’ve already accomplished, especially things related to your goals/ resolutions/ dreams.
Question 2: What have you done so far this year that leaves you thinking, “I can do better”?
While you shouldn’t get all down on yourself for things that haven’t turned out how you wanted, you need to know where you are to know where to go. What areas need the most work? What have you procrastinated, neglected, or down right ignored?
Question 3: What do the “awesomes” have in common?
More than likely, the things you’ve made progress in have a common thread. It may not be obvious, but if you seek it out it will help you know what you should keep doing and apply to the things that haven’t gone so well. For example, the things I’ve done well at this year have a theme of persistent, repeated action. I said “bless you” about a million times before J started saying it. I’ve tweeted up a storm and my Twitter follower list has grown.
Question 4: What do the “do betters” have in common?
Similarly, the things you haven’t made progress in probably have something in common. Are they the things you haven’t created a plan for? The things you hate doing (and should probably outsource)? Do they involve putting yourself out there in a way that’s a little scary? This will point you towards some key things to start doing to get closer to your goals.
Question 5: What are your top priorities in the 9 months to come?
Pick a couple of things (stick to 5 or fewer) that are your absolute must-haves to bring those dreams of yours into reality and put them to paper. Use your “Keep Doing” and “Start Doing” lists to make your priorities more actionable.
Want to take it one step further? Comment on this post with one or two of those top priorities. Two steps further? Find someone else in the comments who has a priority you can help with. Reach out and offer a hand – I bet you it will get both of you closer to your dreams.
Zoe Rooney is a multi-faceted designer who creates everything from training for new teachers (during the day) to websites, organizational tools, and hand-embroidered paper goods (often late at night). She is a relatively new blogger and enthusiastic pinner. Connect with her through her website A Quick Study or @aquickstudy on Twitter.Guest

 

I’m sure we’ve all heard the “big rocks” analogy – it’s a time-management classic. If you need a refresher, check out this odd but kind of amusing video that explains the concept.

 

I was working through my copy of Cultivate Your Creativity, the wonderful e-workbook Jessika gave us the inside scoop on, and came to a page that reminded me of the rocks analogy, but with a different take. This time it’s about ensuring your small rocks are somehow going to get you to your big rocks.

 

 

This particular page of the workbook has an illustration of various sized rocks on the page, along with a prompt to fill in the small steps you’re taking towards the big things you want to achieve. I immediately printed it out, because I love the idea of celebrating small successes on this road we’re all on.

 

I mean, it’s about the journey as well as the end achievements, right?

 

Ok, I’ll admit- I never really believed that until this worksheet came along and flipped the switch for me. I mean, come on – achievements are the whole point right? Right?

 

Hmmm…

 

So I got to writing some of my various accomplishments, as well as some of the things I’m hoping to have happen soon (like attending the 2012 Alt Design Summit). I put them in the different pebbles based on how big they feel to me. It was amazing to write these things down, but even more amazing when I filled in some of the biggest pebbles with some of my goals, then started connecting the small pebbles to the big ones to visualize how the steps I’m taking are building to my goals.

 

 

Suddenly, all these small pebbles felt more meaningful. And it became more clear than ever what other small pebbles I’ve been missing – the other small steps I need to be taking to get where I want to go.

 

So this time, I actually started with the small rocks. I know this is a different scale and different concept than the original analogy, but I think I maybe had missed it before because I was so focused on the big rocks. I wasn’t recognizing the importance of the smaller pieces and I wasn’t making the explicit connections between the small pieces, and from the small pieces to the big. I have a plan, yes. I am deliberate about what I do with my time, certainly.

 

But something was still missing until I drew it all out across a page of pebbles and freed myself from the normal constraints of planning. Suddenly the plan connected to the free-ness of the creative work itself.

 

And now I’m more excited than ever about these small steps. The journey.

 

Zoe Rooney


Zoe Rooney is a multi-faceted designer who creates everything from training for new teachers (during the day) to websites, organizational tools, and hand-embroidered paper goods (often late at night). She is a relatively new blogger and enthusiastic pinner. Connect with her through her website A Quick Study or @aquickstudy on Twitter.

 

editor’s announcement

Thank you so so much Zoe for this amazingly helpful post. Your organizational tips arrive at a perfect time now that I’m attempting to squeeze in some wedding planning bonanza with my day to day world dominations schemes LOL. Now, I just wanted to peek in for one little sec’ to announce the winner of Jessika’s so so so lovely + colorful Cultivate Your Creativity book. Are you ready? The lucky winner is: Kristal Norton YAYYYY!

5 Responses to A New Way to Organize Your “Rocks”

  • Erin says:

    Fabulous. HAVE to sit down with this workbook!

    I actually had never heard of this concept…so its all new to me! thank you ladies for this post:) I will get to naming my rocks this week:)!

  • Joy Charde says:

    Jessika’s book is awesome and Zoe rocks (pardon the pun) – Good stuff… I’ll have to fill out my rock section :)

  • Jessika (oh my! handmade) says:

    I adore that video! Thanks for sharing Zoe and thank you with all of my heart for this totally incredible post. This is the best gift I could possibly ask for, seeing these sheets at work and how creative minds will use them makes me dance in my seat!

    Your mind constantly amazes me, since it is so like/unlike my own-which I think makes us an awesome balance for each other & one of the reasons I am SO grateful to have connected with you.

    I would say it is not just the journey but the company you have on the way that is what really matters. The destination has a funny way of revealing itself as we are adventuring! So often the small steps end up having as much or more value then the big leaps.

    This is so beautiful & humbling-I am printing it now:

    “But something was still missing until I drew it all out across a page of pebbles and freed myself from the normal constraints of planning. Suddenly the plan connected to the free-ness of the creative work itself.

    And now I’m more excited than ever about these small steps. The journey.”

    Yes! You really do rock!

    PS: Congratulations to Kristal for winning a copy of the book-I hope it inspires you!

  • Bridgett says:

    I love how you are so open and share your journey! I know you’ll make it to the summitt next year!

  • Kristal Norton says:

    YAY!! I’m the winner!!! Ahhh!!!! :0) I was just wondering who the winner was and came over to take a peek! I can’t wait to get the e-book and start reading it. This rocks worksheet looks like so much fun! I’m in definite need of some creativity since I’ve been working so hard on the nuts and bolts stuff on my site lately. Thank You!!

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