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Posts Tagged ‘incremental change’

May Day.

Beltane.

The first of May.

It’s a brand new month starting on a Sunday, and the day practically felt like summer.

I ended up with approximately 56,000 words in my 130-page Came NaNoWriMo project. While I didn’t really stick to my original plan, I am pleased with the accomplishment. Even better, I have a plan for the next step, which I have never taken with a NaNoWriMo project before: review and revision. In the past, I get to the end, breathe a sigh of relief, and pretty much walk away.

This time, I am going to read through everything I wrote during the month of April and expand on it. And I am going to do it longhand. I printed out the document and pulled out a notebook. Actually, I built a notebook. A few years ago I came across something called a disc-bound notebook. Pages and covers were held together by plastic discs along one edge. The advantage is that you can add, remove, and rearrange pages. Since I am not sure how many pages I will need for the project, being able to adjust the number means that I won’t end up with too many or too few. Being able to rearrange the pages means that I can pull an idea out, expand on it, and put it in a separate section.

The original content will be written in black ink, and any additions or revisions will be written in whatever other color strikes my fancy. I am starting with purple.

It’s a daunting task, but I think that it is going to be an excellent writing exercise. I haven’t set a deadline. I am just going to see how it goes and work on it in small chunks.

Some of my other ongoing projects did not fare as well in April. I finished reading one book instead of two, and I only cast of one pair of socks (although I think I am still on track for my goal of 25 pairs in a year) and made very little progress on sweater knitting. My regular journal doesn’t have any entries for about the last half of April because I used all of those words toward my Camp project, which is fine because my real writing goal is to write every day, and that daily discipline is still intact.

With the start of a new month, I can pick up the projects which got put down for a while and even start some new projects. This is an unfamiliar feeling. Usually when I don’t meet a goal, I have a sense of failure. Now I have a feeling of excitement about being able to get back to projects which were interrupted.

I am quite certain that this new mindset and outlook is due to tackling projects in smaller increments and to successfully working on those projects every day for a while. If I have done a small bit of something every day for several months and then I miss a day or two or even a week, I know that all I have to do is the next increment, and I will be back to making progress.

It turns out that the compounding effect of incremental change actually gives you some cushion so that there isn’t a feeling of regressing. The progress you have made so far is still there, so all you need to do is take the next step forward, and you are back on track. Who knew?

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When I searched the web for a graphic of 200, I found this cute and appropriate illustration. I checked out the website, too, and I have to say that I am definitely a fan of the idea of teaching math as a life skill rather than just a course.

Why did I need a graphic of the number 200, you ask? Well, I was preparing to bemoan my inability to manufacture time and wanted to reread my post about increments in a day to remind myself what I had already bemoaned. When I pulled up the list of posts, the number at the top was 201.

I have written two hundred posts to this blog! Very sporadically and over many years, but 200 all the same.

After numerous false starts (most likely due to unrealistic expectations), I am finally having fun. I haven’t quite found a groove yet, and the site needs a thorough facelift, but those things will happen in due time. The persistence will continue to pay off.

In the meantime, thank you to everyone who has read and followed so far!!

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Since discovering Ryder Carroll’s bullet journal maxim of “the compound effect of incremental change,” I have been applying it pretty much everywhere I can.  There are all of these things that I want to do from mundane to interesting, from simple to complex, and I am trying to apply the incremental change approach to all of them.

While the effort is starting to pay off, sometimes if feels similar to the advice about eating the elephant one bite at a time.  But what happens when you get so sick of eating elephant that you can’t possibly stand to eat another bite because if you do, all of the bites you have already eaten might come right back up on you?

At what point do you run out of increments in your day? What happens when you end up not having much in the way of flexibility because you are busy checking off all of the items on your daily list? There also might be occasions where you have to break the projects or activities down into such small increments that you can’t get through them all before it is time to start all over again.  Cleaning the house fits squarely into this category for me.

The question has become more pressing now that I have returned to working full time. So far I have been able to keep up such daily disciplines as Morning Pages, going for a walk, and a certain amount of knitting. There are also professional development plans I need to keep moving forward, and those are proving to be more difficult to break down into increments.

I am holding steady for the moment, but how many increments are there in a day?

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