Order from Influence

More lessons from the garden:

There is a lot of spring clean-up to be done to make our backyard the summer sanctuary I like it to be. In beginning to tackle it last weekend, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by where to start.

I have a favorite spot on the patio where I like to sit in a favorite chair. (Where I’m sitting now, in fact. It’s a little chilly, but it’s such a beautiful morning it seemed a shame not be out here.) So I decided to start there.

With that as my center point I worked outward, in little concentric circles, dealing with what immediately surrounded this favorite spot.

Excellent. (Mostly) clean patio.

Onward to the yard. But, hmmm, the yard is much bigger than the patio. What to do first?

I decided to begin with what I see from this chair, what is in my direct line of sight, working outward to the periphery of my vision. I concentrated on what would most cheer me when I saw it, what would most positively influence my mood.

Yes, it was important to plant the tomatoes, too. But their bed is around the corner, out of sight. So the flower baskets were planted and hung before sowing vegetables. The pond and the surrounding shrubbery were cleaned and trimmed before doing battle with the blackberry that is taking over the opposite corner of the yard (not battle to the death though, those out-of-control berries make really tasty jam). [And, for those of you following along: no, I haven’t finished the rose trellis yet. It’s on the periphery.]

I sorted and ordered my next steps by what would most immediately influence me for the better when I spend time here in this lovely outdoor space. It was a strategy that worked really well. I’m a little surprised by how well. I mean, it seems so obvious. Why didn’t I think of this before? … Doesn’t matter.

What matters is it’s a keeper strategy. And one that I’m curious to experiment with and apply in other areas of my work and life. Because I suspect it can work just as well beyond my backyard.


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Third Hand Works

from overwhelmed to ready for anything | organization and time management for people in their "right" minds | administrative guidance for independent creative professionals [more info]



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