Big Plans Ahead, and How To Design a Wildly Inspiring To-Do List
Photo courtesy of Cornelia Kopp.

Big Plans Ahead, and How To Design a Wildly Inspiring To-Do List

Written by Emilie

Topics: Goals

Like many multipotentialites, I am an avid list maker. Completely obsessed with getting ideas out of my head and onto paper. I’m a fan of crossing things off, keeping my Cs apart, and keeping track of my small wins. I take my creative output very seriously.

Lately however, the majority of items on my To-Do List have looked something like this:

  • Buy dish rack
  • Wash Grendel‘s bed
  • Return the rental car
  • Ask landlady about oven

Not exactly the most inspiring tasks…

This is a far cry from my usual TDL, which is typically made up of creative projects that are in line with the big visions I have for my life. I still include the every day stuff like groceries and laundry, but the inspiring work tends to outweigh all that.

Transition Periods

It’s been a good four weeks of apartment hunting, living with friends, and adjusting to life as a new mother with a puppy. While I’ve managed to keep up with my regular blog posts, my weekly email to you guys, Puttytribe stuff, and coaching, it’s been hard to do much beyond this. I certainly haven’t had time to pursue any new interests or projects.

The danger of not allowing yourself time to explore new passions is that you can begin to resent the old ones. Work that you used to want to do, can start to feel like work you have to do. I never want to stop appreciating what a gift it is to interact with amazing multipotentialites every day. It’s the reason that I limit my coaching to 3-4 sessions per week. Any more and I wouldn’t have time to dip into my other projects, which would cause me to start resenting the coaching, and that’s no fun for anyone.

Most multipotentialites need a few pots on the stove at once and need to exercise different parts of their brains regularly to stay happy.

I’ve had my head down for a while. Just because I needed to. Because transitions sometimes require stepping out of your creative rituals in order to do what needs to get done.

But after a while, having a To-Do List like the one above, day in and day out, can start to wear on you.

Popping Your Head Back Up

I did something the other day that I hadn’t felt secure enough to do in a long time. I spent the morning, not running errands or frantically trying to catch up on email, but getting in touch with the big visions that I have for my life.

It was amazing. Really rejuvenating.

For each goal, I set a plan as well as action steps that I can take immediately. The plan will likely be tweaked as I progress, but that’s okay. Here’s what I came up with.


It’s time for me to tackle this speaking goal of mine that has been on my back-burner list. I want to start talking to groups and maybe students, about what it means to be a multipotentialite– sort of my version of a Ted talk. I may run some interactive workshops too.

I need to do this for my own personal evolution. Things have felt a little safe recently. I’m ready to step it up and push myself out of my comfort zone. But I also need to do this for the cause. It’s time to think bigger here at Puttylike, and use other avenues for getting the word out there about multipotentiality.

The Plan

There’s so much that supposedly needs to get done and it’s a little overwhelming. How do I get gigs? Do I need a reel? Do I need a new website? A press packet? Ahhhh!

I’ve decided to tackle the one thing that I think is underlying a lot of the anxiety. I’m going to start, not by building a website or doing endless research on potential venues, but by writing a speech.

My immediate action step is to write a rough speech by this Friday at midnight. (Don’t expect me to share it with you guys until I’ve polished it a bit though.) I just need to show myself that I’m capable of doing this. Then I can worry about finding the gigs.

Setting a Date

The second action step that I’m taking immediately is to set a date: Sept 18, 2012.

It’s three months from my when I set the goal (it also happens to be my mom’s birthday). I’m simply going to book a room, somewhere in Portland– possibly at PSU, and hold a workshop or seminar. I’ll definitely keep you guys posted on the details, in case any of you would like to swing by. :)

A New Manifesto

Since I like piggybacking my goals on top of each other, I will be writing a new manifesto that will be comprised of the same ideas in my speech, but in written format. The manifesto will probably be out in the Fall, and it will be available to download for free as a PDF, on Kindle, iPad, etc. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while. The last manifesto I wrote was over a year and a half ago, shortly after launching Puttylike. I think it’s still quite good, but my ideas surrounding multipotentiality have definitely evolved since then.

This new manifesto will also likely expand into a real, traditionally published book (a 2013 goal perhaps?) Again, using one project to set the stage for a much larger goal.

The Plan

I’m using the Puttytribe to help me with support and accountability while writing this manifesto. I’ve already set up a huddle group for people who want to write a book in 3 months. Our first meeting is coming up in a couple weeks, and we’ll be setting our own weekly writing goals at each huddle, and then meeting up two weeks later to talk about how it went. I’m really excited that there’s been such enthusiasm about this idea. We’re probably going to have to break up into two groups because so many people are interested.

(By the way, this is the sort of thing that all Puttytribe members can do (and do do)– create a system of support and accountability for their goals. Most of the huddles in the Tribe right now are member-initiated. It’s wonderful seeing Puttypeep taking advantage of the potential of the Tribe.)

Other Goals

I’ve set big goals in other areas of my life besides work– namely health and relationships. I’m not going to share too much of that here, since it gets a tad personal and I think I’ve already made my point: dream big, set an measurable goal, and then come up with some immediate action steps to include in today’s To-Do List.

My To Do List, Revised

I still have stuff on my To-Do List like “pick up shower curtains,” but it now also contains a few other items. Things like:

  • Write draft speech
  • Take a tour of the Alberta Green Microgym (Done)
  • Practice the violin
  • Have a deep and/or flirty conversation with one new person today (Note: puppies are excellent conversation starters.)

Much better!

Your Turn

Are there items on your To-Do List that are in alignment with your big goals? And while we’re at it, what are some of your big goals?


  1. Thea says:

    I wish so much that I could go to your workshop/seminar because that’s the day after my birthday and it would be the coolest birthday present ever. Unfortunately, there is a distance factor as well as the fact that I’ll miss almost all my classes that week if I drove. :/

    Oh well. I shall be there in spirit, and I will totally be cheering you on! :D

    • Emilie says:

      Bummer. It would be great to have you join! Well this will hopefully be the first of many. :)

      • Thea says:

        Exactly. :) And it’s not like I’m hugely far away… just far enough away for the trip to be inconvenient when university is happening. Maybe your next one should happen during Reading Week. *hint hint nudge nudge*

  2. Jen says:

    This is great Emilie, just what I needed to hear this week. Here is what my to-do list has looked like:

    1. Make Doctor’s appointment.
    2. Get my car AC repaired
    3. Clean… everything :(
    4. Repair my shower

    All of those things felt like something I needed to get out of the way before I could get on to the “fun” stuff, but I kept procrastinating on them and therefore haven’t been moving on to any of the fun stuff.

    So what I did is I went to the gym after a long day in cubicle land and I tried a new class that I haven’t done before. I also worked out really hard to get our a lot of frustration. That upped my confidence and made me feel like I was accomplishing something.

    I added some items to my list:

    1. Do a test firing on my kiln
    2. Go to the farmer’s market (to check out the vendors and see how they are setting up)
    3. Go thrifting for pretty dishes for some projects I am about to jump into.

    Just the thought of getting to do these things immediately made things easier and when I got home I was actually able to knock off a good portion of my list with renewed energy.

  3. A perfectly timed post! My To Do list was looking something like: Buy nephew birthday gift, do laundry, clean the bathroom, take my daughter to ballet.

    Then yesterday, despite feeling a bit poorly, I went to a workshop about setting up an independent magazine, something I’ve longed to do for ages. (I want to make a beautiful print magazine all surrounding one loose theme each quarter – perfect for combining many of my interests)

    Now, I’m all fired up about it – and so, along with the laundry, my TDL now has ‘learn QuarkExpress, write editorial calendar, find crowd funding’ on it, and I’ve got back in touch with my big dreams…

  4. Jenny says:

    More and more I find myself going through the motions of these summer days, wishing I had time to do the things I really want to do, instead of all the things my family is depending on me to do. Your teachings and concepts have helped me to be kind to myself, to embrace the variety within and not worry about going too far off the map in wild, uncharted creative territory. I have managed to focus on a few things I really want to do, and just this week I accomplished one of them! I wrote a short story and submitted it to Chicken Soup for Soul. I found that I enjoyed writing it and was not nervous about whether it would be accepted or not. I did it for the sheer pleasure of creating something with words, which I find to be less messy than sewing, painting, or projects such as making a mini golf course in the back yard with my son using boxes and found items. Sometimes my creative pursuits in this house tend to come with the anxiety and expectation of cleaning up the mess. Just as soon as I’m bored with the activity, I have to face the task of clean up and organization, along with the other daily chores of laundry, dinner, bathrooms, shopping, ect. So, I’ve decided to include writing (a clean creative act) and music…relearning my french horn and joining a concert band. I’m hopeful that taking on new projects doesn’t mean that I end up being buried under a mountain of tasks. Thanks for continuing to encourage us with your perspective and brilliant thoughts!

  5. I’ve been completely overwhelmed the past few weeks — so many things I want to do and just not enough time in the day (my day job was excruciatingly demanding) and certainly no energy even when I got home. I sat down this morning and just started writing about how I felt and let the thoughts flow where they may. A little plan developed and I was able to re-group. Then I figured I’d see what was on Puttylike and found this post. Thanks!!!! Just needed some rejuvenation and “it’s OK” to feel this way.

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