stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a stylised picture of a teapot (Default)
End of the Pier

This morning, I discussed with my team at work the possibility of switching to a pattern of compressed working. The idea of this is that I work about 45 minutes extra for nine days out of the ten, and then take the tenth day off.

I've asked for that tenth day to be every other Monday. This would mean that I could spend Saturday recovering from the work week, Sunday concentrating on some of my inward-looking goals (plus church commitments, which are considerable), and Monday being really proactive and productive while I've got the house to myself.

We're not sure whether that will work or not, given other colleagues' existing commitments, but we're going to give it a try, starting mid-January. I'm really looking forward to this: I already know that I get much more done on a 'day off' than I do at the weekend or on annual leave. It could do wonders for my 101.
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a stylised picture of a teapot (Default)
... to say that not only is my list ready to go, there's a complete version of it here, with links to elaborations upon each goal. I've been posting these with the date out of order, and haven't cross-posted to LJ, because I didn't want to spam you all. Feel free to wander at your leisure.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to find out why I only have 100 goals tagged 'not yet started'.

Frog Fountain

The List

Oct. 16th, 2010 06:35 pm
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a stylised picture of a teapot (Default)
Goal 101: To Be Confirmed

Well, I've got a list I like. Here it is. The observant will have noticed that we're still missing number 101. I'm leaving that one to the last minute, in case I suddenly have one last brilliant idea.

Next step: make a sticky post for the top of this journal, with the full list on it. Then I'll start doing individual posts for each goal, with a bit more explanation of what it might entail, and why I want to do it. Don't worry - I'll backdate!
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a compass (101adventure)
... rather, learning how to use an old one.

The Needles

I've been on a course today, learning about various time management skills. We covered several techniques, some of which I'd heard about before (SMART goals, for example - which all my 101 will have to be) - and some of which I hadn't - such as the timeline method I'm about to describe.

Now, I signed up to TimeToast somewhen last month, after the lovely Ms Alex recommended it on her (now sadly defunct) 101 strategy blog. I marked out my 1001 days on it, and I added ten-day increments, and then I didn't really know what to do, at least until I started the challenge and had things to add. Now I know how to use it as a planning tool.

Let's take as an example my potential goal 'Walk Offa's Dyke or across England'. Let's say for the sake of argument (because it's looking the most likely) that I choose to walk the coast-to-coast route described by Alfred Wainwright.

The first thing to do is to visualise the completed goal: what will it look like? Answer: it will look like me, standing barefoot in the sea at Robin Hood Bay, leaving a pair of very muddy boots on the beach.

Now comes the slightly counter-intuitive part: mentally, one has to work backwards from the completed goal in order to find out how to get there forwards. If I were planning how to get to the lighthouse, I wouldn't start on the cliff, I'd start at the farthest Needle. If I think about the sunlight that's illuminating the earth now, I have to bear in mind that it started from the sun, eight minutes ago.

So I want to get to Robin Hood Bay. Fine. The question is, when do I want to do this? Let's say 30th April 2012. It's an arbitrary date, yes. Currently my rationale is as follows: I most enjoy walking in the spring, I'd like to do it sooner rather than later, but I don't think that I'll be fit enough or organised enough to do the walk in 2011. It doesn't matter that it's arbitrary; I can tweak it later.

I put a pin marked 'arrive Robin Hood Bay' in the timeline at 30th April 2012

What do I have to do to finish the walk? I have to start the walk. How long will it take me? Let's say three weeks - ish. I'll have to tweak that, too, but it's a start.

I put a pin marked 'St Bees: start walking' in the timeline at 9th April 2012

How did I get to St Bees? I travelled. It's a fair way north, so I would want to stay overnight, and perhaps I might want a day's rest before starting the walk. Working backwards, these three pins go in:

'travel to St Bees': 7th April 2012
'purchase train tickets': 1st February 2012
'book accommodation at St Bees': 25th January 2012

And I go on working backwards like that, until I finally find myself in late August 2011, walking 10km in a day, and preparing to check my kit. I've made myself a plan, and I've now got a reasonably good idea of how long it's going to take me to prepare for and accomplish the goal.

Finally, I ask myself whether this plan is dependent upon any other person helping me out or joining in, and, if it is, I make very sure to check their availability.

And where does TimeToast come into it? It's just a virtual timeline into which one can stick virtual pins. Here's the Coast to Coast timeline, if you want to have a look. It's not finished. I'll need to do some more research, and there will be more steps to be added. I just don't yet know what they are.

Does it work? I don't know, yet. It looks as if it very well might. I'll let you know.

A 101 List

Sep. 26th, 2010 10:03 pm
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a stylised picture of a teapot (Default)
Swan in disguise

This may or may not be the 101 list. It's possible that there are still a few impostors in there. Having done a fair bit of pruning, as previously described, I counted up the articles remaining, and found a nice neat total of 111. At this point it just seemed easier to knock off ten, and see what the result looked like.

It looks like this:

Potential 101 in 1001 list )

Then I counted it, and now I make it only 100. I'm not going to count it again tonight; I'm too tired. Is anything going to be reprieved? Stay tuned!
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a stylised picture of a teapot (Default)
Eight Mergansers

The list is shrinking. Here are a few of the things I've dropped:

- do something once a month that pleases my inner child
- comment on x blogs
- do NaBloPoMo
- leave guerrilla art
- make a list of simple things that make me happy
- save £1001
- transcribe more of the family tree
- make a file of nice letters

They're good goals. They're worthwhile, and would probably improve my life in one way or another at least in the short term. They're specific, measurable, achievable, and realistic. If I did them as part of 101 in 1001 they would also be time-bound. I might well do some or all of them, before, after, or alongside my list.

They're not going on the list, though, because they're not my goals. I saw all but one of those on other people's lists (the last is from a book of useful techniques), and, while I'd quite like to do them, I'm not going to lose any sleep over not doing them. They're things I probably wouldn't have thought of by myself, and, let us be honest, I don't want to do them all that much.

This is not to say that anything that appears on anybody else's list is automatically a non-starter. Here are some things that I'm pretty sure you'll find on at least two other lists than mine, and that have a fair-to-middling chance of staying where they are:

- eat at a restaurant six times, two being new-to-me
- learn how to play a song on the guitar
- go on the London Eye
- do three things to help others reach their 101
- write 30 longhand letters (not counting Christmas/birthday thank yous)
- do project 365
- be able to identify twelve constellations
- record 101 dreams

And here are some that are (I believe - I may be wrong) more or less unique to me:

- collect a set of photos of the Royal Arms, and be able to blazon and date by heraldic features
- squirrel-proof birdfeeders and birdboxes
- make ornaments for the three Christmas trees (ours, my mother's and my father's)
- fix up a device to siphon off bath/shower water. Use at least ten times.
- make a finger labyrinth
- buy a monocle
- listen to/watch 30 proms
- become a Mystery Worshipper

Tick Tock

Sep. 12th, 2010 09:27 pm
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a stylised picture of a teapot (Default)
Astronomical Clock

How long is 1001 days, anyway?

About two years and two thirds.

About thirty-three months.

Exactly one hundred and forty-three weeks.

One hundred sets of ten days - and an extra day.

Ten sets of one hundred days - and an extra day.

On the whole, I'm steering clear of goals that have to be done regularly every month, or week, or whatever, because I know all too well that there will come a month, or a week, when I forget, or when I have no internet connection, or when a crisis comes up. Far better to say 'I will do this one hundred and forty-three times', and then it won't matter if I do it three times in one week and not at all the next. There's no sense in shooting myself in the foot before I even start.
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a stylised picture of a teapot (Default)
Pussy Willow

Whittling down the longlist to a shortlist is a little difficult to document on this blog. I might take a photograph of the physical copy of the longlist and show you its multi-coloured amendments. A magenta star means it's something that I really, really want to do. An orange star means worthy and boring, but possibly still a candidate for the list because otherwise it won't get done. A blue crossing-out means that it's something that is important and should be done, but may not get done this time round, or is perhaps something that is not appropriate to talk about in any detail on the internet. A green crossing-out means that it's a really bad idea and I shouldn't do it ever. Yellow highlighter means that I would probably end up doing it whether or not it went on the list, or indeed whether or not I did the list at all. Red annotations are amended goals - conflating goals, replacing xs with actual numbers in 'do y thing x times'. A maroon crossing-out means that I can't really be bothered with that one. And so on.

Here's a sample:

Magenta star - 'Take a flight in a hot air balloon'. Yes, I know [personal profile] freddiefraggles said [ profile] ephrael said that it can be rather dull. But I've loved hot air balloons ever since I was tiny and witnessed a whole field of them taking off. I had a scrapbook full of pictures, and everything. I really, really want to do it. So it gets a magenta star, and it's staying on the list.

Green crossing-out - 'Argue with an evangelist'. I wrote this down when I was annoyed, having been given a leaflet by a leafletting man, to find that it was all creationist bunkum, which I'd have handed straight back had I read it on the spot. I don't want to deliberately set out to argue with someone, though, and I don't want anything so negative on my list.

Yellow highlighter - 'Finish the [ profile] queerlit50 challenge'. I've already read 28 books for this; at the current rate I'd probably only have about ten to go by the time I started working on 101 in 1001.

Blue crossing-out - 'Walk the Camino del Norte'. Yes, I do want to do this. Yes, walking the Camino Francès was probably the greatest achievement of my life to date. Yes, this is still a very important goal. Realistically, though, I'm not going to have two straight months to do it in, the way I did in 2007. And, equally important in a completely different way, I don't want to do it without my best friend, who came with me last time. If it would be difficult for me to manage it, it would be impossible for her. I'm not going to lose sight of this goal, but I'm happy for it to wait.
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a stylised picture of a teapot (Default)
Vault, Winchester

This is the last part of the longlist. I'm sure you know the drill by now: if there's anything you want to know more about, or anything you'd like to share relating to these goals, comment away!

Onwards and upwards! )

If you've any more general comments about my longlist, feel free to leave them here, as well. Thank you all for your advice so far.
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a stylised picture of a teapot (Default)
Clouds over the Channel

At this stage I'm still dreaming; I'm writing things down regardless of whether or not I think I have the physical, financial, or chronological capacity to do them. Writing them down, and seeing other people's comments on them, is helping me to work out how practical they are, and how badly I want to do them. Still, at the moment, the sky's the limit.

Part the Fourth )

Some of these are variants on possibilities I've already posted. I've tried to weed out those that are exact duplicates, but may have missed some. If there are any duplicates on the final list I will have done something very wrong indeed.
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a stylised picture of a teapot (Default)

Another batch of things that might or might not end up on the list.

Part 3 of 5 )

stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a stylised picture of a teapot (Default)

Here's the next section of the longlist. Any comments?

text )
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a stylised picture of a teapot (Default)
101 in 1001 Notebook

There's my notebook. It's nearly fifty years old - so it's high time it was used. You'll see behind it part of the first draft of the longlist, written very small on scrap paper. You needn't go to the trouble of deciphering my handwriting, though; I'll type it out.

This is the first of what will probably be a total of five posts of the longlist; I'm breaking it down so as not to get list fatigue. What I'd love, if you've got the time and the inclination, would be comments on this and the following four posts. I'd like you to tell me things like this: 'you need a license to do that'; 'I have done this - ask me more'; 'this is a really useful book/site/group if you're seriously thinking about doing that'; 'this will take you a very long time'; 'that is a stupid idea'.

Ask me about what I've written. Ask me, 'what experience do you have in this area already?'; 'what is this concept?'; 'do you honestly have the time/money to do this?' - I may not answer immediately, but you can trust me: I'll think about it. Hard. And, perhaps most importantly, ask me, 'why do you want to do that?' Because if I can't answer that one, it's not something that needs to be on my list.

Without further ado )

Some of these I have had my heart set on for years. Some of them I added on a whim because I thought they looked quite fun. I'm not going to tell you which is which, so you are free to assume the same basic level of motivation for all of them.

Thank you for your help :-)
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a stylised picture of a teapot (Default)
Terrapins, Waterfowl

Over the last couple of weeks I've been writing down potential goals. I started out with half a sheet of scrap paper. I filled one side. Then I turned it over and filled the other side. Then I filled three more sides of scrap with potential goals. Then I bought a notebook, and copied them into that. Then I wrote some more goals straight into the notebook.

I haven't actually counted them. I'm a bit scared to, to tell the truth. Also, I can't be bothered. I can tell without counting that there are more than 101. Even allowing for the fact that I managed to write some of them down twice, there are way, way more than 101. It's because I wrote down everything that I could think of that I wanted to do, regardless of practicality, and everything that I liked the look of that I hadn't thought of myself, but had found on other people's lists.

I'm going to have to do some serious trimming. It's a good thing. There is serious competition for space on my list, so that means that the only goals that will make it on to the final version will be the ones that I really want to do, and, more than that, the ones that I really want to do and that I have a reasonable prospect of accomplishing.

Over the next few days I'll be posting the longlist, a couple of notebook pages at a time, and ask for your comments, your advice, your experience. Have you, for example, cooked crumpets from scratch? Could you tell me about it? Would you advise me to try it? What about trying 30 different beers? Reading a book in the place it's set? Most of the things I've written down are things I've not tried before, so the advice of people who have will be very useful in helping me decide whether they're feasible.

Some of my goals I like better than others, some I think I'll be able to do within the space of 1001 days, some I think I won't. I won't tell you which are which - this spoils the fun, and possibly biases the results. I don't know. Watch this space.
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On Thursday evening I heard that my temp job had become permanent. That's good news. It's good for my self-esteem, and it's good for my bank balance.

It's also good for my 101 in 1001. While I've enjoyed temping, the instability hasn't exactly been conducive to forward planning. I've had plenty of spare time, but I've not had the money at the same time, and a lot of the time I was feeling too down to get on with things I wanted to do.

When you're forward-planning two and three quarter years, and there's a lot of stuff you want to accomplish, it really helps to have a decent idea of how much free time you'll have to do it in, and how much money you'll have to do it with.
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a stylised picture of a teapot (Default)
Where did the last list go wrong?

Here's a selection of mistakes that I made while compiling or carrying out the last list, and some thoughts about how I'm going to avoid them this time.

Time and Money
Apart from the blessed three years of my degree, when my rent was paid for me and I occasionally had as few as four hours in a week when I had to be in a lecture theatre, my experience has been that when I have time I have no money, and when I have money I have no time. I didn't consider this when I was making up the last list, and had both some very time-consuming goals, and some very expensive ones.

Some didn't get done because I couldn't justify spending that much money on them. Some didn't get done because I was too busy working to earn the money to do them to be able to do them. When I had a month out of work and could have walked from St Bees to Robin Hood Bay, I couldn't have afforded to do it.

Interestingly, it wasn't on the whole the completely frivolous expensive goals that really stand out in my mind as having suffered from this. My tastes are, on the whole, inexpensive. (It helped that [ profile] countertony occasionally used my 101 in 1001 as a glorified wishlist - almost all the 'Buy X' goals that I completed were actually bought for me as presents.) No, it's boring, practical, old 'Pass driving test'.

Life Happens
...particularly when one of your goals is to make life happen. I should have known.

I made my list on the Isle of Wight. Actually, I didn't. I made it in Germany, but I had the Isle of Wight, my parents' houses, in mind, and it shows. I hadn't thought about what moving out (a goal that was very high up the list, and one that was completed within a month) would mean for it. It's not just things like 'Walk the Isle of Wight Coastal Path' - that was easy enough to swap out. It was things like 'get rid of a book every week'. For the six months that I was in The Bedsit I could have counted the books that I could have got rid of on one hand. And everything I said above, in spades: suddenly I was paying rent, and suddenly I had a lot less money to play with. And I didn't have much to play with in the first place.

Next time, I'll allow myself more wiggle room. I'll think more carefully about how I'm going to achieve my goals, and whether they're dependent upon my being resident in Surrey, in the UK, near London, or whatever. I'll bear in mind that I'm not even single in the legal sense any more, and that this will have a bearing on the things I choose to do.

Things Change, People Change

I covered 'things' above, I think. But people have also been known to change. Specifically, I changed during the 1001 days of the last list, and some things I wrote down at the beginning didn't really interest me at the end. I'm strongly considering leaving about ten goals blank when I write this list, and putting in new goals as I develop new skills and new interests. For example - earlier this year, in a last ditch attempt to get rid of some books, I joined - and immediately got hooked on leaving books in interesting places for other people to find. Now, that would have made a fantastic goal, if only I'd thought to make it one.

Chaucer's Too Big For My Handbag

Back to books again. I had some fairly ambitious reading projects on the last list. Three books by Dickens. The Faerie Queene. The Bible. Shakespeare's plays. The Canterbury Tales. Some of those I finished, and some I didn't.

The ones I didn't? It wasn't the language of centuries past that was difficult - it was reading it in a book that weighs more than two kilograms.

The ones I finished? They all came in volumes that were small enough to put in my handbag and read on the bus, or train, to work.

This is the same principle as eating the elephant: one bite at a time. One verse at a time - it becomes one chapter, or one scene, or one act, or one novel, or one play. If I'd bought a 'Complete Works of Shakespeare' I'd have been lost. Rather, I read All's Well That Ends Well, and then took it back to the library, and got out another one. Repeat that nearly forty times, and you've read the plays of Shakespeare.

If, on the other hand, the book is so big that you can really only read it in bed, you're cutting out a lot of potential reading time. I needed every minute of that reading time if I wanted to finish all those books, and I didn't get it, because I didn't think it through.

And, finally,

Writing Something On A List Doesn't Make It Happen

Not by itself. Writing it down is a useful first step, because if nothing else it reminds you that you want to do it, but it doesn't magically make anything happen. You also have to take the second step, and the third, and the fourthfifthsixthseventheighth and so on until it's done.

It sounds so obvious, but I swear that half the goals I didn't manage failed because I didn't take them any further than writing them down.

This time I'll have a better plan. No goal will make it onto the list until I have a reasonable idea not only of what it is and why I want to do it, but also how, when and where I'm going to do it.
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a stylised picture of a teapot (Default)
In the autumn of 2007, I spent two months au pairing my three small cousins in Germany. In my spare moments, between reading about die kleine Menschenzahnefresser and scraping dried Weetabix off the dining table, I put together a list of 101 things to do in the space of 1001 days. On the whole, they were things that I thought would help me to move on in my life.

And on the whole, they did. When I got back to the UK and the clock started I moved out of my father's house, I found myself a job, I got rid of a lot of junk and picked up some more junk. I also did some things that weren't on the list - I got engaged; I got married. In the course of that I managed a couple more tasks. Have a look here for assorted updates from the coalface.

On my 25th birthday, the 1001 days came to an end. I had completed 47 of the 101 things, and on balance I was quite pleased with that. OK, so it was a less than 50% success rate, but that's still 47 things I might not have got round to doing otherwise. That's not bad going.

And so here I am, ready to give it another go. Actually, I'm not quite ready. This time I want to do better. This time I'm aiming for 101 out of 101. This time I'm going to take my time over making my list; and I'm certainly not going to start it right in the middle of some fairly major life changes.

Last time I fixed the dates so I'd finish on a significant date: my 25th birthday. This time I don't have any convenient anniversaries that fall in about two and three quarter years' time. I don't really have any significant dates in the next few months, either. So when to start? The new year, of course -

- but which? In the course of everyday life, I find myself working on four different years: calendar, academic, church and financial. I thought I'd seen the last of the academic year when I graduated from university, but when you're married to a postgrad and you sing in a choir that relies on school-age children for the top line, the academic year retains its importance. However, that would mean beginning in early September, and I have quite a few other things to worry about in August.

I've never been much of a one for dates; it's as much as I can do to remember people's birthdays, and the fact that we turn the calendar over... isn't really very exciting. The financial year isn't very exciting, either, and besides, it's a long time until April.

I've decided to start on Advent Sunday, which this year falls on 28th November. In the Church, Advent is when everything starts getting interesting. [In the Northern hemisphere] it's dark and cold outside, but indoors people are doing their best to spread joy and light, preparing for the greatest joy and the greatest light. Advent is a time for looking forward, a time of hope, expectation, and preparation. Advent is going to be an excellent time to begin.

So is this blog going to be dead until November? No. I need a list first, and I'll be using the coming months to hash it out. I'll be doing that here.

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