Wednesday, April 25, 2012

30 minute promise

The trick to getting stuff done is the 30 minute promise.  Even when I am tired and having a bad day 30 minutes seems like a small enough burden, something I could do even when maybe I don't want to do it.   It is never a lie, after 30 minutes if I am still sore and tired and miserable and just not involved then, times up and I will quit.
Mostly I have discovered that it doesn't happen this way.  We have had several really nice days recently, an early tease of Spring that surely will be dampened with more rain and my garden was calling to me.  It is three weeks too early to rototil  the entire garden but I wanted to do a small section, about 10' x 20' for the early crops.  Thirty minutes worth of work!  Once you begin a project it is so easy to lose track of time and the project itself becomes important, not the clock.  I ended up tilling a larger area, enough to make a path, and then shoveling that smooth, creating raised areas for potatoes, carrots, broccoli, onions and lettuce, all early crops.  Then I raked and smoothed the soil, planted stakes and strung some yarn to designate straight lines and now that part of the garden is done!  A couple hours later!
 three rows of carrots!
    Just "one more" 30 minute promise!  I went to the store and purchased the Wave Petunias I like so much, telling myself that I would plant them on another day. and then another and another and I worked all day in the garden!
   Getting started is the hardest part of any job.  I know a guitar builder (luthier?) who never promises himself more than 30 minutes at a time and I know writers and painters who promise themselves only 30 minutes each and every day.
   Sometimes I give myself "assignments", just a task to get me going, get my material out and the blood flowing.  I like potted plants and have single pedestals all over my garden but I was curious about making a long narrow table to put several plants on.  My normal instinct would be to make one with lots of detail, lots of ornamental iron and perhaps a nice stone top but in this economy I knew I could never sell it.  So the assignment I gave myself was to create this table and be able to sell it for $50.  The top is #1 cedar, a 2" X 6" I bought for $11. The legs were made from scrap I had around the shop.  The finished table is 36" tall, 12" wide and 48" long.  The legs came out pretty nice and I could imagine selling them as a product in the local hardware store where people could buy their own boards to use as a top! hmmm?
    Sometimes assignments will lead to other assignments and almost always that "30 minute promise" will stretch time without ever looking at the clock.


Kay said...

Jerry, I appreciate this 30 minute idea! It never occurred to me I could just devote 30 minutes to something to get going on a project. I have always been an all or nothing kind of gal. But now that the aches and pains seem so up front and in the way..I will try out this concept. I have been overwhelmed by the gardening, chicken coop rebuild, art show entries, etc. So hopefully this will help. A goofy story for you..I was in a women's therapy group once. Of course our mutual therapist would moderate. We had women who were bi-polar, depressed, anxious..whatever. One woman mentioned that as a single mom she could never seem to get her house clean enough. Then she described doing one thing a day in her the tub, then the get the idea. I must have had a shocked look on my face..because the therapist said "what is wrong Kay?"
I replied" I never thought about not doing the whole bathroom at once!" To which everyone laughed and I realized something about myself that I had never known! No wonder I get overwhelmed by projects..I could not see that it was ok to break them down and work on them in stages!! I still suffer from that this post is a good reminder. Thanks

CrimsonLeaves said...

I too am an all or nothing kind of person. Never realized it until reading Kay's words. I love seeing your projects, Jerry. They are always beautiful.

Barbra Joan said...

Jerry, this is a neat looking table. great for behind the sofa, putting potted plants on it etc.
I have a white wrought iron ( the real stuff) from the 30/40's .
Originally it had a long mirrored top. It was my aunts' and she used it as a Make-up table.. I still remember as a little girl seeing that table with all those brushes, bottles of perfume, oh I thought ... " to be so glamorous.
I have the table for many years now ..mirror gone, but a long wood top which is sort of a white, distressed look. I have moved that heavy thing about 30 times.. even to California and back.
Love your 30 minute idea.. I start something and can't stop, then I'm totally exhausted.. . I'll try it 'your way' hugs BJ

Clipped Wings said...

My 30 minutes are never 30 minutes either. I finally planted two tomato plants in my compost pit. Haven't done that for years; so things are looking up a bit for some kind of vegetables. I revised my panama post if you are still interested. Happy gardening!