Monday, September 12, 2011

How to Make a List and find a Vision.

Why do I like lists?

For the frustrated creative, homebound mamma, the working mom, the bored, longing singleton or hardworking man...

There is a proverb that says, "a people without a vision will perish."

The times in my life I have felt the most frustrated with myself or my life etc...  it has been because of a lack of vision, or I was waiting for my circumstances to change. Now I do NOT have all the answers and in fact this is a complicated problem when circumstances involve other people... still working through those. BUT sometimes a simple, helpful way to re-focus and feel full of vision again is to make a list.

So today is a step by step tutorial how to get vision again and a secret peek into my list-life. Ready?

Finding vision in a good notebook.

Step 1. Product Find a notebook, paper, pen etc... that you enjoy writing on. For me, everything is aesthetic so I have a special notebook that is pretty and has clean pages and I have a favorite pen and I use in this notebook just to make lists and goals. of course you don't have to be that crazy about it if you don't care about those features.

Step 2. Find a quiet time when it can be just you, if you have to make a plan for it, do it.

Step 3. Create a pleasing atmosphere or go to an enjoyable place. Maybe you like coffee and jazz in an urban environment, maybe you like a spot in the woods, or in a park, or maybe all you can do is light a candle when your baby is sleeping and go to your favorite place in your house.

I know this is sounding crazy just for a list? but it's not just a list... ;)

Step 4. Get ready with your pen & hot tea and begin to ponder....

What do I like? What do I want to do with my life? What do I want to be? What do I need to change? What am I like? Who do I want to be? What am I inspired by? What do I really want to do? What makes me feel alive...

and begin to write your list.

Ok, now this is going to sound really ridiculous, but this is my blog and this is my life so I'll share it.

I have 3 notebooks, all hand-picked; spiral bound and pleasing color schemes. I carry them with me everywhere.

THESE ARE NOT JOURNALS, they are my brain catalogs.
Inspiration Catalog
This is a spiritual, personal thought notebook: I write thoughts, dreams, moments of enlightened revelation, things I'm thankful for, things I feel from God, thoughts toward God, special secrets, lists of what I think God is like etc... and I also write lists of things to inspire vision in my life like the questions I asked above... What do I love? What makes me come alive? Sometimes pondering these things connects you to God, because asking a question is an invitation to an answer.

Creative Catalog
I have a creative notebook, this is lists of projects, practical things I'm going to do to accomplish my creative visions, business ideas, decor projects, creative ideas etc... the purpose of this book is so I don't forget what creative things I want to do or be working on, especially if I have an inspiring moment, this way when I have spare time and am in a creative mood, I can look at this list and pick something to work on... it is also projects for my photography business. Photoshoots I want to do, website design ideas, blog ideas, Etsy ideas, goals, traffic numbers, photography series, blog series, book ideas... or practical things like, design new business cards, paint ideas for downstairs, photoshoot detail ideas... i can't give away all my secrets.

*****Secret tip***** I also use this notebook in conjunction with my Pinterest account, so I can have images and ideas connected to my creative lists... This is why I was so upset at first that it became popular because all my secret ideas where in my pinboards... alas it's ok... go find me and get inspired there's so much to do on there!

Everything Book
This book is for everything. It's my weekly scheduling & to-do list. So it's creative, spiritual, daily tasks, what I have to do this week, numbers, ideas etc... but all pertaining to anything and everything weekly related. It will have dinner ideas, grocery lists and "must do" like oil change, tax information, plan something special for Josh, get babysitter etc...

OK so the reason I have so many notebooks is:

Step 5: Categorize 
As you begin pondering your life and lists... sometimes your brain goes to things you need to do or I'll forget, so I quickly put them in my "everything" notebook, otherwise if I try to get spiritual all I'll be thinking about is making sure I don't forget to call the doctor back...
And sometimes as you are pondering your life you get instant creative ideas or things that inspire you like, video project, movie idea, sewing project, business idea... so I write those in the "creative" book, and sometimes those lists are therapeutic because you feel inspired with creative vision that you forgot you had.
And then sometimes I get real deep and remember who I am, or who God is, or what promises I have or simply writing a list of things I enjoy brings delight into my heart.

That's why I have 3 books. And when you sit down, there are no rules, you don't have to stick to one thought, you don't have to erase your brain. Sometimes when you sit down to get quiet, it's the first time you've actually had any time mentally to yourself... so of course you are flooded with things to do, that's why you have a notebook it can go in so you feel safe, and then you can move on and ponder the deeper things of life, or the simple things of life.

Step 6:
LAST tip. If you don't know where to start, you don't consider yourself creative or feel cut off from vision. Just start on a piece of paper and write a list of things you like. Even if it's the way the sun feels through the window. You'll be amazed at the power of pondering pleasant things brings life and vision.

There's even a verse about that if you believe in the bible... "Whatever is lovely, whatever is noble, whatever is of good report, think on these things...."

Now go! Go to target and get your special notebooks. Go find a piece of paper, go find a spot in a chair at Starbucks or in the closet away from your kids... and Make a List!


Jackie said...

Oh my goodness, thank you. I really needed this~


Gillian said...

I'm a list person too, so thanks for sharing this!

Gillian from Baby Talk without the Babble

Anonymous said...

this was WONDERFUL! thank you for sharing so much. i'm list maker/categorizer and it's great to hear how others do their thing. i'm very thankful for this post and for your blog:)


Charis Hil said...

i love this. I've journaled my whole life... and done things like this in small doses but only recently im realizing its what makes me happy...
i love lists!

JasonBethMicah said...

I love this! Thanks for the encouragement Anna!

Blake said...

Anna, this is brilliant! I was just talking with our friend Simeon about this very thing the other day. Looking forward to forward progress and momentum!