Tuesday, June 8, 2010

'Listless' week produces surprising results.

Last week, I gave myself a challenge: a week without 'To Do' lists. After a lifetime of making lists, I wondered if I'd get any studio or writing work done, forget to walk the dog, answer my email, and go to yoga class. Would I forget what I needed at the grocery store? Or would a week of 'listlessness' make me a happier camper?

Here's what I learned.

I still worked in the studio. I worked on three clay faces, painted mesh bird masks and bought needed supplies. I remembered to go to the enameling class I signed up for months ago. I experimented with additional paint glazes on the clay busts and the new cement bases I'd cast. I wrote on the blog just as I always do. I started writing a new series of essays. I remembered to check and answer my email, post on facebook and read other blogs, news and sites on the web. Yes, I walked the dog(I don't think she'd let me forget), went to yoga, made my appointments.

Somethings didn't change, but some things did.

I found myself spontaneously doing things and taking on projects that I really wanted done, but had put off. Shopping at Target, I picked up a new comforter set for my room that was over 1/2 off and a tablecloth purchased on impulse led to a whole range of home decor projects. I love to do home decor projects, but due to life changes and the economy, I haven't done anything in 3 years. I made new valances for the nook, took down curtains in the living room, put up different ones and sewed three new pillows for the couch from the rest of the Target tablecloth. The downstairs has needed painting for a few years. Suddenly, last week I was picking out paint colors, buying the paint and, yup, painting those dingy walls.

In the past, all projects had 'To Do' lists with all the details outlined. I always thought that making detailed outlines and supply lists was necessary to get the projects done. That I couldn't go shopping successfully without making a list.

What I learned this week: I don't need the lists to get the projects done. And, perhaps, being a little 'listless' actually helped me jump into projects with more energy and enthusiasm. I also found myself making good shopping decisions on the spot.

Will I go 'listless' forever? I don't know.

I do know, although it was scary at first, I felt lighter, more energetic and spontaneous. I even got my hair cut in a new short cut, on the spur of the moment. (In the past, I would have researched cuts and had a 'list' of looks to give my stylist.) Ok, I still made a list for grocery shopping, after forgetting the ketchup and shampoo. And I still love post-it notes, I think it's the colors.

But I'm thinking that a 'listlessness' might be a very good thing. What do you think would change for you if you tried a week of 'listlessness'? If you're game, try it and let me know how it works, or not, for you.


Kim Switzer said...

Very cool, interesting results. And where's a pic of your new hair? ;)

I sometimes go listless and sometimes don't. I'm a list maker in that I love to make lists of things like character names, places I want to visit, etc. I try to make "to do" lists, but it doesn't come naturally to me. I find that I do get more done if I have a fairly sketchy "to do" list--when I remember it.

This makes me wonder if the nifty results might come from just doing something you don't normally do? Listless if you're usually listy and vice versa.

goldenbird said...

You sure had a productive week without your lists! Wow. It was fun to read about all the new projects and fun that you had. I agree with Kim, let's see that new haircut!

I don't have lists to give up, but I would like to have a spontaneous week like your's. I'll let you know how it goes ...

Thank you for your nice comments on my blog, I appreciate it.

Susan Gallacher-Turner and Michael Turner said...

Good ideas, Kim.

I like your idea of creativity lists like character names and places. It's using a list like I might use a sketch book. I can see that is helpful.

Interesting that you find 'to do' lists better for you in broad 'sketchy' way...perhaps, you could use your suggestion and try using that sketch book idea for your lists?

Let me know what you try.

Oh, and I'd have to get someone to take a pic of me with new 'hair'.

Susan Gallacher-Turner and Michael Turner said...

Glad that you enjoyed my experiment with listlessness. I'd love to hear how a week of 'spontaneity' goes for you, too!

Now...to get a photo of me and the new hair? I'll see what I can do.