101 Things

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So, the quest for a final list of goals is continuing apace. I’ve given myself until the end of the week to finalise it because for some bizarre reason, next week feels like the proper start of January to me. Don’t even ask, I have no idea why, I just know that I’m still mentally in an ‘in-between’ sort of space.

One thing I’ve definitely decided to do is 101 Things in 1001 Days. This online project involves making a commitment to complete 101 preset tasks in 1001 days, which is about 2.75 years. If you want to take part, there’s a list of criteria and suggestions here.

When I read about this on Eliza’s Back Yard blog, it totally freaked me out. I wasn’t sure why because I undoubtedly already have more than 101 things on my various to-do lists. After some thought, I realised that it was the time-scale that bothered me.

Now, I have no problem with the concept of doing something for a year, as The Diary Project amply shows, but the idea of publicly admitting that it might take me the best part of three years to complete things seriously bothered me. I’m not exactly your Go-To Girl when it comes to delayed gratification: when I have an idea, I want to do it right now. Actually, I generally want to do it yesterday but even I accept that this breaks the laws of physics because I don’t have one of these…

Tardis

Yet conversely, I’m also The Queen of Procrastination and many of the things on my to-do lists have been lurking there for so long that they’ve become seriously embarrassing to me. This happens partly because I take on too much or commit to things out of a sense of obligation rather than a real desire to do them but also because my energy levels simply can’t keep up with the relentless slew of ideas that pepper my poor defenceless brain. My family have come to live in fear of the words, “hey, you know what would be a really great idea…”

But the fact that I was a bit afraid of the 101 Things meme made me think that it was probably an excellent idea to try it. Then it occurred to me that it could also act as a handy dandy place to hide all my ‘shoulds’, so that they weren’t on my official goal list. Hmm, perhaps I haven’t completely integrated that whole ‘only having positive goals’ thing yet!

Anyway, for both these reasons, I decided to go for it and enthusiastically started yet another database. However, after several days, I still only have about 75 things and I’ve utterly run out of inspiration. I could probably plump up the list with more things from my to-do lists but a lot of those are quick, small, one-off or rather boring tasks and I’m not sure they deserve to be on this big list. Plus, I’m still trying to stay mostly positive and only commit to things that I feel are worth doing or that are bothering me enough that I need them out of my life.

So I’m wondering if it’s acceptable to start with just 75 things and add the other 26 at some point in the next 2.75 years. Sigh, I suspect this means that I’m still having trouble with the time-scale thing – after all, how can I possibly know what I’ll want next year, let alone in nearly three? As you can see, I’ve never been one for Soviet style Five Year Plans but perhaps learning to think more long term is part of the reason for doing this.

I am an artist & purveyor of obsessive projects based in Hebden Bridge, England. My work involves the accretion of large numbers of small objects - pins in fabric, knots in string or hundreds of envelopes - to make sculptures that deal with fragility, loss, repetition, obsession and time.

10 thoughts on “101 Things

  1. I’m intrigued. I’m actually on a “3 year plan” though to be honest there isn’t actually a plan involved, just an end goal (moving out of London). Giving that I’m now 5 months into the 3 year plan this 1001 days thing might be perfect. Not art related for me, but possibly a good way to make my goals tangible (which is always part of the problem isn’t it?). I may have to do this, but like you I probably will need to add some of the goals as I go along.

    And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with putting your “shoulds” in your list – as they’ll become “will do”s! You’re simply accepted and admitting that they are longer term goals. That’s positive!

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  2. I’m intrigued. I’m actually on a “3 year plan” though to be honest there isn’t actually a plan involved, just an end goal (moving out of London). Giving that I’m now 5 months into the 3 year plan this 1001 days thing might be perfect. Not art related for me, but possibly a good way to make my goals tangible (which is always part of the problem isn’t it?). I may have to do this, but like you I probably will need to add some of the goals as I go along.

    And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with putting your “shoulds” in your list – as they’ll become “will do”s! You’re simply accepted and admitting that they are longer term goals. That’s positive!

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  3. Hi Kirsty,
    I wandered over to your blog from another site, and laughed when I saw your post title. I had another sleepless night again too… thinking about blogging. I had the same reaction as you to the time span of 1001 days. I do try to have a long term goals sort of list, ten years, but it’s never very clear. Hard to think that far out. I think it’s perfectly fine and normal not to be able to have a specific list for the next 3 years! In fact, who ARE these people who came up with this? I’ve just started an “artwork-a-week project that I plan on pursuing for one year. And that feels pretty huge to me. Anyway, good luck adding items. You sound like you’ll have no trouble thinking of them as the weeks go by!

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  4. Hi Kirsty,
    I wandered over to your blog from another site, and laughed when I saw your post title. I had another sleepless night again too… thinking about blogging. I had the same reaction as you to the time span of 1001 days. I do try to have a long term goals sort of list, ten years, but it’s never very clear. Hard to think that far out. I think it’s perfectly fine and normal not to be able to have a specific list for the next 3 years! In fact, who ARE these people who came up with this? I’ve just started an “artwork-a-week project that I plan on pursuing for one year. And that feels pretty huge to me. Anyway, good luck adding items. You sound like you’ll have no trouble thinking of them as the weeks go by!

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  5. Ha, I laughed thinking it may be a more realistic timescale for my book swap/collaboration given that i’m attaching no deadlines to when people return them, and goodness knows how long i’ll take to gather together the return pieces and photograph them, and blog about them, and send a CD of the images to the other participants etc. I could literally make my a list of write one name on an envelope, put one stamp on, post, write next name etc… that’s pretty much the pace I’m at, but seriously, I’m really pushing myself to do better than that, to get them all send before summer.

    i forgot to say before how i love that you do databases. i used to, and found them so addictive that i never had any free time left. they were mostly health related (what i ate, how my bod reacted, when my period due, when i had headaches-dull dull dull) then I started the garden and they were all about plants and soil and flowering times, cutting times… till i realised i was spending so much time on the list the garden was growing weeds! Not done a data base since, but i’m jealous of yours.

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  6. Ha, I laughed thinking it may be a more realistic timescale for my book swap/collaboration given that i’m attaching no deadlines to when people return them, and goodness knows how long i’ll take to gather together the return pieces and photograph them, and blog about them, and send a CD of the images to the other participants etc. I could literally make my a list of write one name on an envelope, put one stamp on, post, write next name etc… that’s pretty much the pace I’m at, but seriously, I’m really pushing myself to do better than that, to get them all send before summer.

    i forgot to say before how i love that you do databases. i used to, and found them so addictive that i never had any free time left. they were mostly health related (what i ate, how my bod reacted, when my period due, when i had headaches-dull dull dull) then I started the garden and they were all about plants and soil and flowering times, cutting times… till i realised i was spending so much time on the list the garden was growing weeds! Not done a data base since, but i’m jealous of yours.

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  7. Love this post and I can SO relate. When I first read 1001 days, the thing that jumped into my mind was a book on Anne Boylen (Henry the 8th’s second wife) called “Anne of 1000 Days”. Then I thought what if I was queen for 1001 days, what would be on the to-do list? sheepishly I have to admit having bespoke shoes made would make the cut. But so would several fair trade projects in the developing world.

    Ok, backing slowly away from fantasy- so Queen of my own universe for 1001 days, then. hmmm…even though I agree, loads of things see “not important” enough to put on the list, let alone a public list. This could very well be a very naked assignment. I say, make it what you need it to be. Perhaps to get to 101 things, some pretty mundane stuff is going to make the list. I tried to follow the website 43things for a while, but getting the reminders from myself like “Tay, have you hung the curtains in your livingroom yet?” or Tay, have you fallen in love?” totally bummed me out. Like you said, there has to a positive focus or it can become just another thing to beat oneself up with. You’ve got to make it a tool that fits your life, your art, your sleepless nights.

    I admire your Diary Project so much and am excited to see where this 1001 days project may take you.

    cheers,
    Tay

    ps. I once had a roommate that I drove completely crazy with starting nearly every sentence(she claims) with “you know what would be a great idea?”

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  8. Love this post and I can SO relate. When I first read 1001 days, the thing that jumped into my mind was a book on Anne Boylen (Henry the 8th’s second wife) called “Anne of 1000 Days”. Then I thought what if I was queen for 1001 days, what would be on the to-do list? sheepishly I have to admit having bespoke shoes made would make the cut. But so would several fair trade projects in the developing world.

    Ok, backing slowly away from fantasy- so Queen of my own universe for 1001 days, then. hmmm…even though I agree, loads of things see “not important” enough to put on the list, let alone a public list. This could very well be a very naked assignment. I say, make it what you need it to be. Perhaps to get to 101 things, some pretty mundane stuff is going to make the list. I tried to follow the website 43things for a while, but getting the reminders from myself like “Tay, have you hung the curtains in your livingroom yet?” or Tay, have you fallen in love?” totally bummed me out. Like you said, there has to a positive focus or it can become just another thing to beat oneself up with. You’ve got to make it a tool that fits your life, your art, your sleepless nights.

    I admire your Diary Project so much and am excited to see where this 1001 days project may take you.

    cheers,
    Tay

    ps. I once had a roommate that I drove completely crazy with starting nearly every sentence(she claims) with “you know what would be a great idea?”

    [Reply]

  9. Tay, you’ve reminded me of something to add to my list. :) I’ve always wanted a bespoke suit.

    I started my list and while many of the things seem in the larger personal realm, rather than my art or business, realistically these will influence my business as well. So our 101 things coule be quite diverse. Art related, home related and shoe related!

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  10. Tay, you’ve reminded me of something to add to my list. :) I’ve always wanted a bespoke suit.

    I started my list and while many of the things seem in the larger personal realm, rather than my art or business, realistically these will influence my business as well. So our 101 things coule be quite diverse. Art related, home related and shoe related!

    [Reply]

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