“The problem with you, Lindsey, is that there’s only you and there’s not very much of you.”
I hung onto the phone, eyeing the whiteboard that held my daily routine for writing – working on my current story, and learning HTML from a book so I knew how to format ebooks now that the entire world was switching over to a device I’d just now gotten myself. And that had all but fallen by the wayside because I’d gotten involved in writing and directing a show about the Titanic with 30 cast members and only a handful of people working behind the scenes. I was twenty-three years old, involved in every single area of that show, including playing the 30th character, and way in over my head. I was collecting music for the background of scenes, blocking stage movements with pennies, meeting with the man in charge of the theater to nail down details of the shows finances, and regularly breaking down on the phone with my friends who were too far to be involved in the show or a woman who had all but adopted me during it. The comment came from her husband who had met me briefly during the show before and who had agreed to make slides for the project so we had backdrops that changed easily, as well as helping me plan sound cues and lights. And he was, of course, correct.
I’m a dreamer. I take on big projects. I thrive on challenging myself. And – I still bite off a bit more than I can chew. I’ve learned a lot, though, in the past five years, about pacing myself, organizing, time-blocking, and (dare I say it?) delegating. Right now, my life has a basic routine. Monday, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays are spent writing the current book project in the morning, cleaning the house and watering the plants early afternoon, and teaching piano from after school until evening. Thursdays are spent writing, afternoons are usually spent running errands, meeting with people, updating receipts and finances, paying bills and general “office work.” Fridays are generally writing, publicity, and doing the projects of fixing up a large, Victorian house and the land that goes with it. Or grocery shopping. Or traveling. Or trying to think of something to write on my blog.
Even so, I waste a lot of time spinning my wheels, trying to decide where to focus, and realizing I haven’t finished taking that blogging course since week two, or some other “dropped plate.”
So this March, I decided on the “3E” challenge. I thought it was a clever name until I couldn’t come up with the third “E” and realized it wouldn’t work. But here’s the premise of it. I’m going to start looking at each area of my life and working to make them more efficient and effective. I’d love it if you followed along, even more if you jumped in and did your own version. So I’m going to be breaking down each part of my life and really giving it a good look to see what I can do to make it ever better.
The E. E. I. Challenge
1. What works here and why?
2. What doesn’t work and why?
3. How much time do I spend on this every week?
1. Is there anything I don’t need, use, or love here?
2. If this was my job, how much would my time be worth?
3. If this is a low-value task, can I eliminate it or delegate it?
1. What needs to change for this match the picture of what I want my future to look like?
2. What already fits that picture?
3. What do I love best about this place or task?
I may be modifying these questions as I go. I’m doing this challenge off the seat of my pants (which currently have holes and need to be replaced 😉 ). But here we go off on an adventure! I figure a good place to start this challenge would be at the beginning of the day and going through the different areas, so I’m choosing my morning routine as my starting point. Every minute from when I wake up to when I open my computer and begin typing the first word of my manuscript will fall into here. For you, it could be before you arrive at work or wake the kids or whatever that moment looks like when you feel like your day officially begins. Or any other part of your life you want to take a closer look at.
Anybody in with me? Let me know in the comments below or use #E.E.IChallenge and share your project!