The Multipotentialite Year: 12 Projects in 12 Months

The Multipotentialite Year: 12 Projects in 12 Months

Written by Joanna James-Lynn

Topics: Goals

Alternative title: One Way to Achieve Loads this Year

It’s that time of year when you’re probably thinking about your goals, what you’d like to achieve, and how you can make the most of the year ahead. Everywhere you look, people are announcing their big goals and words of the year.

When you’re a multipotentialite, though, deciding on just one or even several focuses for the next twelve months can feel really limiting. And even if you do manage to settle on just a few goals, knowing exactly what you’ll be working on for the foreseeable future can suck the excitement out of it.

However, struggling to pick just one thing or stick with a project long term, doesn’t mean we aren’t keen to achieve things and feel like we’ve accomplished something.

So how do you make sure you achieve a lot this year without setting limiting goals for yourself?

An Idea from the World of Coding

Last week, I was reading some blog posts about coding when I came across an idea that really appealed to me. The author of the post I was reading was inviting anyone learning to code to join him in a quest to complete one side project every month for the rest of the year.

Although this guy was talking about software projects like apps, my mind immediately started whirring. What sorts of projects would I choose to do?

I could finally launch the book review site I’ve been planning. I could do that interview series I’ve been dreaming of. I could try vlogging.

As for the rest of the months, well, as a multipotentialite, I’m always having ideas. I’m sure as the year went on, I’d come up with all kinds of exciting projects to do.

I did a bit more research into the idea, and it turns out it’s been used in lots of disciplines. One person made one garment per month during 2016. Pieter Levels launched twelve startups in twelve months a few years ago. In 2015 one crafter set out to create craft projects using twelve different media (yarn, photo, wax, etc.).

Oh the possibilities!

Two Approaches

This 12-in-12 approach can be used in two main ways.

Specializing

A specialist might use it to develop one skill (coding or painting, for example) over the course of a year, using the different projects (apps or paintings), to test, practice, and refine their skills.

If you’re a multipotentialite who really wants or needs to develop one skill, this approach could be a great way of working on that skill long term, without getting bored. I imagine each new project would at least partly renew your interest in the skill, so you’d be able to stick with it longer.

Dabbling

The other way to use this approach is to try out lots of skills and projects. This is what got me excited when I first came across the idea! It’s a structured way of dabbling that’ll leave you feeling like you’ve accomplished a lot.

Of course, you can adapt the challenge so you can dabble in whichever areas are most exciting to you. Instead of doing twelve projects in twelve months, you could try out twelve languages, twelve hobbies, twelve sports, twelve crafts, and so on.

The Benefits of this Approach

As well as presumably being a lot of fun, there are loads of other benefits to this kind of challenge.

Finish What You Start

If you find it difficult to finish the things you start, this could be a way to complete twelve whole projects. Knowing you only have to persevere for four weeks and being able to work towards that deadline of the end of the month should really help you to keep going.

Plus you’ll have the added motivation of knowing that, once you finish the project you’re working on, you’ll be able to crack on with whichever project you’re most excited about next.

Figure Out Your Career

If you’re not sure what you want to do with the rest of your career, you could dedicate each month to trying out a skill or industry that you’re interested in. January could be copywriting, February could be graphic design, March could be coding, and so on.

Build a Portfolio

Whether you want to work in a specialist role or you’re hoping to build a career or business around your overarching theme, you could use the twelve months to build a portfolio of your work, to show to potential employers or clients.

You could even use the time to create a library of products for your business. For example, if you’re building a blog-based business, you could create one small ebook or course each month.

What Will You Do This Year?

If you struggle to stick to long-term goals, but you’d like to really achieve something this year, consider dedicating each month to a different project, hobby, or skill.

At the end of the year, you’ll have achieved so much, and you won’t have had to force yourself to persevere through boredom and ignore any shiny new ideas that might have popped up along the way.

I expect your mind is already overflowing with ideas. Write them down and define your challenge. Are you promising to complete twelve projects in twelve months? Write twelve short stories? Cook meals from twelve countries?

Once you know what you’re doing, commit to it, find some support, and get started. It’s going to be an amazing year!

If you’re up for this challenge, you might benefit from an accountability partner or regular check-ins with other multipotentialites who “get it.” You can get access to both of these resources, plus loads more, in the Puttytribe

Happy new year, multipods!

jo_authorbioJoanna James-Lynn is a virtual assistant, podcaster, blogger, and writer. She’s fascinated by personality, identity, and self-awareness – themes she explores in her podcast, Introspectology, and on her blog. Find out more about her projects at JoannaJamesLynn.com or follow her on Twitter @joannajameslynn.

14 Comments

  1. Morgan says:

    I love this idea so much. 1 month to focus on one new task – seems completely doable! I’ve already started jotting down what each month could be devoted to. Great idea! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Love this idea! 12 projects in 12 months… no commitment – 30 days and done.

  3. Tina says:

    I had that idea before, after I finished my first NaNoWriMo in 2014. I thought maybe after I have my writing month, I can have a guitar month, then art month, then blog month, then programming month, then…

    It didn’t take off. I blame it to my shift work at the time because it was inhuman work. I was also applying the equivalent of 50k-word goal to my other hobbies, like “play 10 songs in a month”, “make 30 code snippets in a month” and such. It turns out having such a big goal is very mentally draining for me, and I already depleted all my energy to the 50k I wrote in NaNoWriMo.

    I still love the idea of a “theme month” because it’s fun. Better if you have a community to do it together with like a bunch of writers in NaNoWriMo. The write-ins / write-together events were what really pushed my word counts up. An advice I’ll learn from myself is to set a vague, easy goal, instead of a harsh and tough goal that will leave you exhausted at the end of the month. Maybe alternate easy months and harsh months too – like May and November (to align wit NaNoWriMo) for crazy goal months, and other months for easier, more relaxing things.

    Good luck Joanna and good luck everybody.

  4. Pura says:

    Sounds like a great idea. I ll give it a go. There are so many things I d like to try out, love the idea of short time commitment ?

  5. Venice says:

    This is by far the best goal planner for the year I have come across, especially since it syncs with a multipotentialite’s character. Thanks for sharing this wonderful idea with us Joanna! I’m definitely going to take this up this year :)

  6. Khaled says:

    Hi,

    This year is going to be an action year for me too. And yeah I really love this idea of doing 12 things. For me, besides being a flight attendant, I am going to build a new skill of developing web apps. You got me very interested in trying to do twelve projects during my journey to be a web developer (specialist).

    I guess this would be helpful to be more focused this year on one thing. But, don’t worry my fellow multipotentialites, I will still be exploring new countries and reading about anthropology ^_^

    Thank you!

  7. Tori says:

    I just heard Emilie’s TED talk and never knew I was a Multipotentialite. I always just considered myself a “serial hobbyist.” This year I started learning Italian and taught myself to crochet. It’s only 2 weeks into 2017, I am sure my list of nonsense obsessions will grow throughout the year. Very inspiring to hear the TED talk and now find this site!

  8. Gerhard says:

    Hi Jo,

    I found this site by accident because of the visits to my “one side project every month” article :) Awesome to see that my article provided some inspiration!

    I never heard of “Multipotentiality” before I came to this website, this is really exciting! I guess it explains why I sometimes spend days listening to accordion music from all over the world on youtube, enjoy books on Japanese sleeping habits (“Inemuri”) in one week and read about astrophysics, philosophy or psychology in the next. I also like cooking and taught myself fire-breathing a while ago…

    I picked IT as my profession because it’s a wide field. I can focus on a programming language, framework or project management technique for a while and then move on to something else while staying in the same field. Also, the different projects often involve different domains.

    However, there are always phases of boredom and frustration. It’s like what we programmers call a “deadlock”. When too many ideas and interests block each other and you end up doing nothing. The other problem is to actually finish something you’ve started.

    That’s how I came up with the “one project per month” idea. On one hand, as a method to actually finish something (I stressed a “presentable result” in my article), while on the other hand still being able to pursue many ideas and interests. Also as a way to “test” ideas and see if they are really good/interesting or just sounded good.

    I started 1ppm in the area of programming because there are already lots of people doing side-projects out there and GitHub provided a good platform to start and see if there was interest. But eventually I’d like to make 1ppm to a community for all kinds of creatives.

    For my first project in 2017, I’m building a 1ppm website. (There is already a static page at http://1ppm.club/). I would be very happy about any feedback on how to make a site that is useful for non-programmers too! Just contact me on twitter (@gerji) or find contact infos at 1ppm.club.

    I wish you all a great 2017!

    Regards,

    Gerhard

    • Hi Gerhard,

      It’s so cool that you’re a mutlipotentialite too. And I’m pretty excited that you’re hoping to expand things for non-programmers. Definitely going to keep an eye on your Twitter!

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