Projects and Goals for 2016 (pt1.)

Before I get down to 'it', I thought I'd share something.
Today I landed on David’s page at “The Survival Gardener", and under ‘Survival Plant Profiles’ tab… I was interested to see what they grow in Florida and consider reliable and nutritious enough to include in a survival garden. 
(Why does this differ from a normal, regular, garden?)

But then I got caught up the the conversations in the comments section reading other things like Chaya and Cassava, and I was sort of hoping to be enlightened as I read (I still don’t know what those are…) but I sure got a good laugh from the conversation:

·         Anonymous
May 28, 2015  12:50 am
You forgot to add Zuccini to the list…..That stuff grows everywhere!

·         David The Good

There's a reason: if I had to eat zucchini to live, I'd probably kill myself.

It's been an hour, and I'm still smiling. 

In actually considering zucchini in a 'survival garden' scenario, at first I thought "I am pretty sure I wouldn't waste garden space on zucchini - except for a bush type plant with MINI squash that would work on a shish-kabob."
But on second thought, I think zucchini might prove useful. It works well as a pasta alternative: slice it into 'noodles' for linguine dishes, or bake like people use eggplant, or in/as lasagna. And it helps create a moist sweet bread (especially good when disguised  by chocolate chips).
It is low in protein and mostly a fibrous carb-y filler with a fair amount of water in it, but contains a fair amount of Vit. C and "Manganese"...for what that's worth... AND is another edible for chickens. 
In that case it might well earn it's sprawling vine space. So, there you go.   

I'm going to veer onto an entirely different subject now, and you may or may not want to wade thru it, but I made a promise to share it.

Organizing the Projects of 2016

1)    DONE:
Compile and categorize recipes for a seasonal (90 day) dinner menu and complete it with a way to use left-overs as lunch the next day. Jan-Feb is only 60 days, but Dec. is already past…so I’m just doing the 60 days first. Of course, this depends on circumstances on the ground for now, but will serve as a guide.

2)    DONE:
Organize & set a schedule a prioritized list of projects I want to do this year. I will propose 12 projects to finish PLUS art (that’s one a month, but if I like one of them I can repeat it!)

First create a list of the projects, then outline steps to complete.
Outline Layout- a main project and it's steps (tasks) like a checklist in outline layout.
Most of these projects will have an instruction sheet and illustration(s). Place in a page protector sheet following the master list page by order of priority (or by order of the supplies available first).

I list a project each Sunday, then distribute the steps/tasks throughout the week. I might list several projects and schedule things every other day or something.

I expect each item will = one 20-min task.
An example is “turning men’s shirts into summer tops”. I can break down all the subtasks or “steps” in 20 minute segments. That means 1 shirt = 1 top (with 7 steps to complete) would take 1 week to complete in 20 minute increments. That’s not hard.
Of course that is not going to be true when I first start out, and obviously some projects will take longer.

3)        DONE:
Compile a ‘Master List’ for home maintenance & seasonal chores) – with all items scheduled in the household binder in the appropriate “seasonal tasks”.  Following the 12 Folders guide of concentrating on “one room a month” with designated tasks. I am in LOVE that method!
(Neither of these things covers routine housekeeping/cleaning chores. When you live in a space, you learn what needs cleaning and when, and how long it takes you.)

4)     DONE:
a monthly “bill-pay” form & a “finances tracking” form:
One form is simply a checklist for bill pmts during the year (to make sure I don’t miss any payments).
The other is a monthly form with all the details (how much paid, when, what method, etc.)

5)   Create ‘Venture’ Binders specifically to address my favorite (and most likely for us) venture ideas - for developing a viable business.
1 binder is HALF DONE:  the one for hydroponically grown salad greens.

There is one for aquaponics (raising fish with ONE ongoing/continual crop like berries or tomatoes).It can be combined with hydroponics - as one biz, but for now they are separate). We would love a year-round farmer’s market and using the fish we raise for a “fish & chips” shop w/ gourmet salads.
These binders include: brainstorming ideas, graphics, preliminary business plans and schematic drafts, guidance & info sheets, helpful templates and checklists, how to cultivate customers/marketing ideas, branding (logo variations & palette font selection, icons, and a brand guide document that shows different ways to use brand elements), marketing mock-ups, tag lines, biz cards, an eye-catching ‘signature web design package’, elements for web content like newsletters –with catchy and useful website elements like interactive content, polls, opt-ins, whether to have a mobile responsive site, a real-time product ordering and pay, email list (to reach people where they are), publication design, (a weekly newsletter template and blog format with content that is “defined, consistent, and repeatable”, to update during scheduled marketing time… etc.)

Like planning a mural, you have to find the right shades, set an angle that appeals to your own sense of destiny or aesthetic, tweak the lighting, combine it and blend it into something cohesive that is doable for your skill level, make a mock-up and see if it works, then DO it...

One of these days one of the ideas I currently am learning and obsessing about may become a real goal we are pursuing– and this work will be “a resource” and a “pathway/map” - with insights/info/how-to, detailed steps/costs, vendors, etc. to take into consideration.
Until then, it serves as directional focus and inspiration.

6)   DONE:
Create a sewing schedule to create a spring/summer wardrobe.
Caveat: Still have to get it calendared, but I need the fabrics first...and that might be the bigger challenge. ***Will share this next post!!

7)    DONE:
Create a project schedule for getting paintings done. ***Will share this, next post!!!

8)    Decide if I really want to write that 3rd story or not. It’s a bigger writing project than the others I’ve done and will really take a lot of me to get down to it. I’ve been playing around with it for way too many years and it’s time to let it go or make it happen. (I don’t think I can really let it go… but I am not sure if I am filling up my time with other creative pursuits as an artistic eccentricity of some kind or another form of escapism/a justification that I am too busy to concentrate!

I read:
Janice Graham on putting up resistance: “At this point, you’re carrying a lot of story in your head. You’ve invested a lot but have a long way to go. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield sheds a lot of light on this phenomenon that plagues the artist/writer…”

On the Writer’s Midway Crisis: “…Non-creative work is frequently task oriented whereas creative work requires flow, and you don’t turn it on and off easily.”

I can’t express how much truth is in that.
But I’m not even midway!
Creative writing really takes a lot of effort and uses every part of you, not just 'creativity'. It can be emotionally, mentally, and even physically draining (or elating).

Elaine Fraser is the author of four Young Adult books, and wrote a paper regarding the “theory of Planned Behaviour…answering the question:Does it really help dreams and hopes become actions?”)

“The bigger and more important the goal (in a life-fulfilling kind of way), the louder and more insistent the “inner critic” becomes. Inner critics (also referred to as gremlins or saboteurs) are those voices that try to bring you down or protect the status quo with phrases like “you are not experienced/smart/unique enough to reach that goal” or “you can’t do that - who do you think you are?” We all have inner critics. Learn to notice the difference between these voices and what you know to be true.” - Jenny Blake

I do believe one’s intention is more likely to become a lived-out part of your life, if it is planned and scheduled into the day.
That is, my intention is to create a path toward the things I currently envision. But, in this case, I do question the intention of all my projects –as to whether they are an escape mechanism or a path to a well-rounded calendar of enrichment and skill-building… and something to wear.

I always wanted to have a box in the pantry with pre-bought gifts: baskets of cheer, stocking stuffers, glittery cards. Miracles have to happen for that ideal, so I’ll simplify with something more realistic, using my project files. I like the idea of making some classy but rustic handmade bottle-stoppers. And Scandinavian corn flour ornaments might be cool too. This may be the catalyst that finally launches a foray into making soap!

So there are worthy returns of some kind for maximizing your investment of time in a hobby or passion.

                                     So many things to do, so little time! 

     Another thought:
There’s a cycle to hobbies/passions becoming a valuable enterprise:
First you study it, then learn how to do it, actually do it, learn how to get better at it or refine the process, practice a lot & actually get better at it, attain an expert level, and at that point you can either sell to, or demonstrate/teach it to others. (It becomes a marketable product or valuable skill)
OR just continue to do it – giving a better quality to the experience of life (through better quality furniture, dolls, or a better/chef-level diet (if you are gardening/raising livestock)… and a sense of pride.

So there are worthy returns of some kind for maximizing your investment of time in a hobby or passion.
So many things to do, so little time!

*** The 12 Folder method~  
Because a goal or a project is easier when it is built in stages. Or what they call 'baby steps'. And I have lots of goals and projects that I really want to attain, so to dedicate myself to the focus or work, this helps distance the distractions and time-wasting.

Because I’m visually oriented too – this is a visual calendar helps me focus - each day of that month has one 'thing to do'  on the chosen topic/subject/focus of that month. I can add a collage of inspirations or ideas/ideals too.

The 12-Folders is a visual way to rein in your time, focus and goals.
It’s as evolving and flexible, general or specific, as you want to make it (or life allows for)!

Envisioning the entire picture & breaking it down into workable phases or steps, is hard, but I think this is an important step in any goal/dream. 

The folder can hold lots and lots of recipes (or lunch plans, biz cards, travel plans/maps, gift ideas, craft ideas, sewing measurements, paint samples, music sheets) it’s really only limited to your needs/imagination.
I schedule my goals in steps this way – by notating what app’s to use, the exercise routine for that day, the lunch plan and the crafting plan onto the calendar. It’s a record of what I’m doing in my life, with the goals clarified and motivating me by being right in sight in an attractive way.

The visuals can both go on the inside of the folder as shown – or put the collage outside and the calendar inside- or visa-versa- whatever you want. (I’m doing visa-versa this quarter, with the calendar on the outside. That way I can simply staple the next month’s calendar on top and save folders…)

Instead of spending all day doing one myself- I downloaded this rustic chalkboard style calendar for the year!:

January’s focus is on wellness and well-being…because it’s New Year’s Resolution month and I like to start a new year with good intentions! I like starting new routines because it’s inevitable that I got lazy or goals got fuzzy over the past year (even with this system a person has to be dedicated).

I tend to schedule things by season. I like to divide the year up into seasonal quarters – that gives me 4 times a year to wrap things up and start fresh!

How will this work out now in Minnesota?
I will be lumping Dec/Jan/Feb together in the ‘deep winter’ season (or, the 4th quarter), and that will mess up the neat ‘quarters’ concept most people adhere to. Even though it’s still a 3 month segment (a quarter), it won’t match up with the typical ideas of “the 4th or the 1st quarter of the year”.

Oh well, who’s to know, but you? LOL

That is very broad in scope with diverse focuses.
This system works great with a more refined scope or goal, too!

A folder looks like this:

To stay on top of the house, I insert a special routine into the 12 Folders –in which each room of the house gets one month's focus, with tasks broken down by type, one for each week:

Week 1 – De-Clutter  (move things out )
Week 2 –Deep Clean  (wipe things down)
Week 3 –Re-Organize/Repair (best use of space, and fix things)
Week 4—Decorate/Re-Arrange (make aesthetically pleasing)
1)  Master Bath
2) Crafting Space
3) Exercise Room
4) Guest Bedrooms
5) Main Living Room
6) Master Bedroom (because it’s our Anniversary month)
7) Storage & Utility room/Storage shed & other out buildings
8) Back Yard & Hen House
9) Deck & Porches/Vehicle
10) Kitchen & Pantry (my space)
11) Closets, Stairs and Hallway/Entry & Front of the house
12) Office (home-based business)

The 12 months could be dedicated to ONE specific goal/outcome
As a single topic – each of the 12 months would be dedicated to practicing something in step with that longterm goal.

Whatever it is you’re starting with a predetermined end-goal. You spend one year focused in on that goal, gaining speed, accuracy, experience, proficiency… start a business or expand your horizons.
Language, Archery, Falconry, Leatherwork, Cupcake Baker, or open for business doing childcare in your home.

It’s the same thing if the topic is more general in nature – such as “resilience”—just like the goals for a single topic but you will focus on all the different aspects of the wider goal:
one month to acquire a suitable ‘working’ wardrobe, one month focused on a cottage industry or hand-crafted goods, one on implementing a new animal into the mix, one on preserving and/or storing foods, one for acquiring and storing non-food emergency preps...

This would be broken down into weekly tasks. One month to figure it all out and to get going on it.
If focusing on one type of animal each month (chickens, ducks, a cow...), you decide what maintenance and improvements are desired, related to that specific animal. There’s a lot to consider, from fencing to breeding, adding homegrown feed and pasture, improving the flock by hatching chicks or breeding...

Consider raising meat animals and butchering them (I hate that word, let’s call it “processing”):
Week 1 to find a processor or learn to butcher DIY (specifically the best month to do it, and how and costs/supplies needed)
-another to secure all the supplies needed to raise the animal(s): containment, shelter, bedding, feed, meds, for handling, etc.
-another to determine household need – how much/many/lbs, or what kinds of meat (sausage, roasts, ground, or whole birds, etc) – so you know how many animals to raise for your purposes, and determine storage, and set up a system for records (vendor and vet records, feed costs/receipts, track # of eggs gathered, breeding records, etc.)
-another to actually take a committed step to start doing it. Order those chicks!
(You wouldn’t be able to process meat animals within one month - they have to get to a proper maturity/weight).

AND....EACH MONTH includes one area to focus on in life- so that you continue to be well-rounded and things remain balanced. You focus on what's important to YOU.

For me (the past 4 years) this worked~

1) January –WELLNESS: all Health improvement categories   (years at a desk job…taking it’s toll in too many ways)
2) February –FARMSTEADING: To gain the knowledge and skills needed to raise animals and food to eat, to make things from scratch, to improve property & environment with an eye for the future, come what may.
3) March –WORK/Business: time management, business direction, customer relations improvements: streamlining office paperwork and general efficiency, incorporating better time mgmt. and improving customer relations, marketing tools and ideas 
4) April --FARMHOUSE: farmsteading but with an inside focus to start a new practical self-sustenance endeavor (canning, sewing, soap-making, etc.)
5) May-- LEARNING: personal endeavors (not art), like horse training and riding
6) June –MARRIAGE/ RELATIONSHIPS: problem areas - find new tactics toward resolution, focus on creating better, more positive interactions, etc. 
7) July –GETTING OUT: life enrichment and entertainment - perspective affects quality of life (sitting in an office environment you can lose perspective of the bigger world)
8) August-- FINANCIAL: deal with bills, budgeting, long-term goals, etc. (because it's too hot to do a lot outside)
9) September--FALL activities -  actual work on the house and yard and everything else needed to prep for winter. This is big and takes all month!
10) October –HOME MANAGEMENT and NOTEBOOKS: revamp and reorganize master lists, tune-up household binders, etc. (getting prepared to cocoon for winter)
11) November --ARTS & CREATIVITY: try new techniques and projects, finish up gifts for giving in Dec.
12) December --GIFTING/SOCIAL: be involved, show appreciation and give back

And now that I have demonstrated the 12 Folders for the 4th time in as many years... I promise this is the last you'll see of it!
(I hear someone saying "YAY!")

Here's how I organize the tasks that move me toward my goals...
This one is arranged on the January 2016 calendar. 
JUST ONE TASK a day, for one month (Don't worry, I won't list it all):

Week 1 
Set up new mgmt. systems for data control and tie up the year’s loose strings: paper organization, tracking & storage, organizing notebooks, day-timers, etc., digital mgmt. & archiving… all docs and information organized.
I like to start a new year out with a refreshed look to all my notebooks, binders, and tracking mgmt. papers, with everything from last year all neatly tucked away and finished.
Re-organize the entire office (clearing out the office desk of old batteries, re-ordering pens, create a new set of cheerful stationary & greeting/note card theme for the year - stuff like that).

1.1  Overhaul the Bill-Pay tracking system for next year, archive this yr’s receipts & papers to appropriate place. (DONE)
1.2  Mail Station- set up space/a place to drop papers, and set up file folders to organize those papers before archiving. (DONE)  
1.3 create calendar template and theme for the next year. Print out Jan and Feb. Fill in known events, appt’s and “to-do’s”. Post calendar onto the Jan and Feb monthly folders (I use a 12-Folder system). (DONE) I am using a “calendared grid” system for planning this year. I have January printed out with 4 topics of interest, an all-in-one month calendar for goal tracking, household tasks, and to-do list/log. (DONE) Set/ schedule routine household tasks into the calendar (clip the dogs nails, do bleach load of laundry, pedi-mani & deep hair conditioning, update blog day, call parents, etc.)
1.5 design stationary for the New Year (theme: a frame of cheerful flowers DONE). Print out 6 for the Homestead notebook. Design new formats for the Farmstead and Farmhouse binders. (DONE)
1.6 get a new address book and copy relevant info to it. Address enveloped to mail “we’ve moved” notes to people as I go thru it.  Day off: even I am not THAT organized/obsessed.
1.7 go thru each tracking template (eggs collected/sold, greenhouse and garden sowing & transplant dates, etc.), Change-up templates if desired. Replace with new page(s) for the year. Print and replace the ones in binders.

Week 2
Setup an area for longterm emergency supply storage (where it won’t get mildew), revamp the layout, function, and zones of the kitchen

2.1 Collect all the saved salads, one dish meals & slow-cooker dishes in one place. Consolidate the ones that will fit into my new plans
2.2 Design the meal plan for February
2.3 determine a new dish set, source(s) and cost, find an awesome (but reasonable) set of steak knives
2.4 organize all the emergency preps currently in storage, concentrate on effective storage in a humid climate!
2.5 organize emergency prep info sheets into binder, get a list together of ‘get next’ items to keep in my wallet
2.6 Plan out new theme for pantry storage and spice jar labels, and a label for homemade/canned items (because I WILL be making pickles next summer!)
2.7 Revamp the 12 Folders to work for current circumstances

Week 3
And what I need to do for business and projects toward the goal of sustainability. These will be long days; could take a week doing each…

3.1 Farmstead: define areas of all my different topics of research for end-goal/objectives clarification
3.2 Create a visual map of 4 different product items (a ‘core of four’ niche products to concentrate on) each with organizational chart depicting roll-out strategy and the production loop. (What it takes to produce each thing)......................................

And just to be real - I am already behind.
Isn't this fun?!

Next post (part 2), I promised to share my painting agenda and sewing schedules... 

Tell me, 
Do you have the right clothes for your lifestyle- or could that use fine-tuning? 
If YOU had to show an example of one outfit that expresses who you are/what you are about, could you do it with what you have?
Do you have separate 'capsules' for the various focuses of life (work, play, leisure, etc.)?
If your financial resources are limited, how would YOU go about planning and attaining that? 

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