Yesterday I realized that we were entering the 90-Day Stretch leading up to the Joyfully Jobless Jamboree. Since the 90 day time frame is one of the best power tools I’ve discovered for creating focus and making regular new discoveries, I know where my attention will be in the coming weeks.
If you want to accomplish more, make your business diverse and fascinating, and enrich your life enormously, I urge you to make 90-Day Projects a regular activity.
Imagine how rich your life could become if you took up the practice of finding new things to explore four times a year. In forty years’ time, that would add up to 160 new discoveries.
The simplicity of this plan is that you do each thing as fully as possible—one thing at a time. It’s a way to grow and stretch yourself by focusing on a single new activity.
Been wanting to try contra dancing? For three months, become the world’s most enthusiastic contra dancer. If at the end of 90 days, you’ve had your fill, move on to salsa. If you’re really hooked on contra dancing at the end of three months, find a way to work it into your life on a permanent basis.
* Begin with the end in mind. To get started, take a look at your lifetime goals list. (You don’t have a lifetime goals list? Make writing one your first 90–Day Project.) What item catches your fancy?
Pick one that suits you and give some thought to your intention in pursuing it. Do you want to enhance your creativity? Acquire a skill that will be useful in your business?
Meet some new and interesting people? Travel?
* Give it a theme. A friend who had been procrastinating about getting her writing career launched called her project Anne Learns How To Market Her Writing. This led her to read several books on the subject and take a couple of adult ed classes.
Before the 90 days were over, she’d sent out five query letters and gotten a writing assignment. Having a theme, kept her on track.
A theme helps add focus and raises awareness so you notice what supports that theme—and eliminate things that do not.
* Immerse, don’t dabble. While you’re in the midst of a project, be fully there. Immersion is popular with language schools and it works for other things, too. Make what Barbara Sher calls a “temporary permanent commitment.”
No, you don’t have to stick with this for the rest of your life, but be totally committed for all 90 days. There will be times when you’re bored or lose interest. That’s just part of the learning process. Keep at it anyway.
* Include the unpredictable. If you’ve always wanted to learn Swahili, do it. You don’t have to have a reason or application for using what you’ve acquired. Personal growth is the top priority here and learning for its own sake is commendable.
* Go for variety. For nine months of the year, Todd builds twig furniture in his home workshop. When summer rolls around, he hits the road, selling his wares at Arts and Crafts festivals around the country. It’s a huge contrast to the solitary time that makes up most of his year.
“Getting out and talking to people, explaining how I work and so forth can be exhilarating and exhausting. But it always fires me up for my creative time.”
At its best, the 90–Day Project generates synergy partly because it provides a contrast.
* Get involved in a parallel universe. Anyone who takes up a new learning activity quickly discovers that there’s a whole group of people already engaged in that pursuit. Part of the fun of being a neophyte is meeting more advanced aficionados.
This is also a great way to make progress on your goals. Want to lead a tour to the Mayan ruins someday? Create a 90–Day Project to research Mayan history.
Then create another to learn all about organizing and promoting a tour. Then create another to market your Mayan Exploration.
Not only is this a logical way to move ahead, making smaller projects out of a bigger project can eliminate a great deal of anxiety and fear. After all, you are just researching, learning and experimenting. There’s nothing too scary about that.
There are other bonuses to the 90–Day Project as well. You’ll become more disciplined, committed and, best of all, more interesting. So go feed your Renaissance soul with a new adventure. Then in three months do it again.