How to make THIS the year you get Stuff DONE.

Here are the questions and comments I get most often through either email or the comment section on this blog.

  • How do you do so much?
  • Do you ever sleep?
  • You’re great. You do so much and your house is always perfect.
  • You have too much time on your hands/I wish I had as much time on my hands as you do.

O.K. let me address those with you right now.

 

How do you do so much?

I had to give this one a lot of thought because even though it seems like an easy question it really isn’t.  There are several things that factor into my accomplishing as many things as I do.

  • I plan.  I automatically think of a project, compile a list of what steps I need to take to get to the end of the project. Automatically.  It just happens in my brain like magic.  This isn’t because my brain is magical (although it does run in the family, one of my sisters actually had a unicorn horn grow out of her forehead … if that’s not proof of a magical brain I don’t know what is).  It happens because I have used the same planning techniques over and over for so long that I can apply them to any project or goal instantly.
  • I don’t wait for someone to help me.  If I waited for someone to help me to do everything I wanted to do I’d never get anything done. I’d spend my whole life sitting around waiting for help.
  • I’m able to motivate myself.  This is where a lot of people get into trouble doing things.  They can’t motivate themselves beyond the dreaming of something phase.  Or they motivate themselves right to the middle of a project but can’t go any further.

Do you ever sleep?

  • I sleep between 6 and 8 hours a night depending on how long I work into the night or how excited I am to wake up in the morning to start on something.  Seriously. That’s how much I love doing stuff.   I wake up early so I can get to it.

So how can I do as much as I do and still sleep 6-8 hours a night?  1) no kids.  2) no husband 3) it’s my job.  Having said that, when I did have a husband (and I use the term loosely) and even when I had a full time job as a television host and writer I still did more than most people.  Ask anyone that worked with me. They’ll confirm it.  I get ridiculously excited over accomplishing things.  There’s the actual “thing” itself to love whether it’s an organized closet that you know will save you time and aggravation, or the fire pit you’ve always wanted to build, PLUS there’s the bizarre high of accomplishing something.

You’re great! You do so much and your house is always perfect.

  • Not much to say here except YUP!  I’m great and my house is always perfect.  Also I never toot, birds land on me when I walk outside a la Snow White and my hair is a natural shade of champagne platinum.
  • I’d like to inform you all that my house is not even CLOSE to always being perfect. Ask any of my friends or relatives. You can’t expect to do all the stuff that I do (or you want to do) and have absolutely everything perfect.  Once you free yourself of that notion you’ll be on your way to getting way more stuff done.  For instance, 3 years ago when I decided to build a chicken coop, for the entire time the inside of my house was a disaster.  I just didn’t have the time or energy to keep it nice.  If I had worried about this I probably would have eye twitched myself right into the looney bin.  You have to teach yourself to NOT care if one thing slides in order to make another thing stick.

You have too much time on your hands.

  • This one annoys me to no end. We all have the exact amount of time in every day.  And we all decide how we choose to spend that time.  Sure you might not think you have time to make some ridiculous stack of rainbow coloured pancakes because there’s no value in it to you.  While I on the other hand might think I don’t have time to spend an afternoon shopping for shoes.  Because that doesn’t have value for me (although my mother wishes it did).  It’s not about who has more time. It’s about what you perceive as a valuable use of your time.

 

Kay, now it’s time for me to pitch my next live, online video workshop titled “The Art of Doing MORE Stuff”.   Because it ain’t that hard. Any of it. You really can do all (or at least most) of the things you’ve always wanted to do but just didn’t get around to. Things that will make you happy, fulfilled, excited, accomplished and just plain better than your neighbours.  You just need a little guidance and a lot of motivating.  That’s where I come in.  I’m the gentle ass kicker you need.

 

Close-up of a pencil on the page of a calendar

 

 

Cassie (who works on the video courses with me) and I decided this was the perfect way to launch the series of live video courses I’ll be doing this year. (Seed starting coming up in early April!)  We’ve spent months going over content and what we think will work best for you to help you get some shit done.  All those Pins you’ve pinned, or the kitchen renovation or the vegetable garden you always thought you were going to have but never got around to.  This workshop, which will include 3 live, hour long, video sessions with me (and an evening on your own doing a workbook) is designed to help you GET MORE STUFF DONE.  It’ll be one part practical information, one part SERIOUS motivation for you and one part accountability.

Day 1 – Live video with me. On this night I’ll give you all of the practical tools and techniques I use to get both small and big projects accomplished. I will be a motivating fool throughout and by the end of the hour you’ll be scrambling to get to whatever it is you’ve been putting off for years.

Day 2 – You fill out your workbook alone from the comfort of your home.  Your workbook will help decide what it is you really want to get done along with a calendar to plan it out.

Day 3 – Live video with me. This session is where you’ll get to ask all the questions you want so I can help you reach your Doing Stuff goal.

Day 4 – Live video with me. This is the accountability day.  Where you get to brag to me and everyone else about what you got done. I’ll also help walk you through problems that may have come up.  (Day 4 of the workshop takes place 2 weeks after the first portion of the workshop is finished)

Interested?  Click on over here to learn more about the workshop and sign up for the workshop.

Make this the year you actually GET. STUFF.  DONE.

 

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50 Comments

  1. Dana says:

    So it took me 3 years to get around to building a coop, but only 6 days to get it done! I was tired of waiting for someone to help, so I just did it. Finished putting the siding on yesterday. The most remarkable part was how surprised people were that I used power tools. You do not need male anatomy to use power tools, people.

    • Carswell says:

      LOL – my ex and I used to have a running joke about things like that. We had a pile of broken concrete on our front lawn (not really a lawn at that stage) from dismantling a horrendous piece of walkway when we were building. It sat there for – wait for it – two full seasons. There was a stalk of corn growing out of it the second summer – donated by a bird or squirrel no doubt. Anyway we finally got tired of looking at it and decided to tackle it. It took all of 20 minutes to move a couple of wheelbarrow loads. So – it took us 2 years and 20 minutes to do the job.

      I don’t refer to myself as the Queen of Procrastination for nothing. I seem to be able to motivate myself sometimes and accomplish prodigious tasks and at others the procrastination factor is – well – of majestic proportions.

    • cheryl says:

      dANA, You so sound like me ! Look at the project forever then when you actually do it you think to yourself why did I wait to do this ! ahaha I have so many of these projects sitting or pin to do it, that this year I decided to filter thru them an either decide to do or get rid of..VOILA I got rid of some of them so far by way of my daughter hehehe an others just boxed up an put out in garage for a sale later on this summer , an yes I made a promise to not go dig them out…On to more boxs now, an maybe start something…hehehe

  2. Rondina says:

    We may not all want a blog, but I suspect we all want to get more stuff done. I’m looking into this. Love the title.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Rondina! I’m pretty excited about it. I love to teach and I love to get people excited to do things so this is perfect. ~ karen!

  3. Stacy Labriola (TikiMama) says:

    I love EVERYTHING you write Karen. I want to be your friend…. Racking my brain…what can I offer you in return? I’m a decent musician, have some great jokes, and I’ve been told I could be a masseuse (especially foot rubs). Mostly I’m loyal and a hardworking person. . Until then…keep me on your mailing list. You make life brighter. (it’s not GE…it’s YOU!)

  4. Stacy Labriola (TikiMama) says:

    Last post sounded stalking. Not me at all. Just love your writing and your take on life!

  5. Suzanne says:

    Totally true advantage on your ability to do more stuff is not having any kids. I am a “doer” like huge amounts of stuff getting done “doer”. That is… Until I had kids which then all the “doing” came to a screeching halt. That was 2.5 yrs ago ( I have a 2.5yr old and a 5month old). I can’t get anything done. I love your site because I read it and say “thank god somebody’s getting stuff done!” It makes me feel less anxious and I appreciate that. When they get more independent I’ll have more independence to do more things around the house! Thanks!!

    • Melissa says:

      Suzanna, as the mom of a three- and six-year old, I can tell you it gets better. Of course, some of the “getting things done” invariably revolves around them, but your time (at least some of it) will come back your way. Hang in there, Mama!

      • Mary Werner says:

        Well said! Her time will come back and be rewarded so much for the time she took doing stuff for them. The time flies so fast so sit back, enjoy making the mess with them, and play. Playing is important stuff too.

  6. Beth says:

    For me, a lot of the answer to my desire to “get a lot done” was to adjust my own perspective as to what counted – for the young mother, getting enough rest to be a good parent is a fabulous accomplishment! My spousal unit insists that “making love” is as worthy (more worthy!) an item for the To Do list than dusting. Creating small spots of joy, petting a kitty (or a chicken), spending five minutes refilling the bird feeders so I can watch them from my office – all count in my book. That said, we’ve also had a lot of positive energy come from simplifying life – it’s easier to keep the uncluttered house clean so I have more time for the projects I love. Thanks for the post and good luck with the videos – great idea!

  7. Melissa says:

    The motivation piece is super important, and it’s also very hard for me. Years ago, you posted a challenge to clear out clutter from an area and take before and after photos. I was late with the project, lol, but being accountable to you and your readers was motivating, and I got the work done.

    I happen to know that I’m extrinsically motivated (look it up, it’s fancy and smart talk for “I care more about what others think”) so your course might be the perfect thing I need to complete my fireplace project. That, and for someone to take my kids to Disneyland for a week so I can work uninterrupted 😉

    • Karen says:

      You’ll get the fireplace done with or without me. You’ll just get it done faster with me, lol. And you’re so right. Accountability to someone else is a HUGE factor with most people. ~ karen!

    • cheryl says:

      Melisa, I love the new word even if I can’t spell it ! hehe Late on projects that’s totally me…And yes I have to check in with Karen every now an again to see if I muster up to the challenges, I find not so much…But I shall trudge on anyhow……THANKS Karen for the inspiration you give us all, DO you do house calls for us more challenged individials ??? I know i’m not the only one here…..hehehe

  8. Beth W says:

    This is an awesome idea! I too am plagued by the questions of how I get things done, where do I find the time, how did I know how to do whatever it is I’ve done. I haven’t been told my house is always perfect… but I’m willing to let that go. This is a GREAT idea for the folk who want to switch from dreamers to doers. I’ll be sure to refer a couple of people over 😉 The Art of Doing Stuff… more than just a veggie-growing, coil-replacing, yogurt-tampon-testing ground!

  9. Mary Werner says:

    Speaking of uniforms and magic – I can’t believe it has only been three years ago that you built the coop! So much has happened in 3 short years that I was sure it was more like 10 years. So there is some magic going on somewhere and your advice will be great advice as always in getting stuff done.

  10. ~JackieVB says:

    I’m looking forward to this – I have been in a serious slump for the last year and half (or longer!) and I really need some help. My son moved out about two years ago and I am single so I am really feeling the empty nest syndrome. I thought that since I’ve always had different family members and friends stay in my house from time to time that I would really enjoy the peace and quiet of being alone. Instead I am depressed and feeling very lonely. All of the projects around my house as well as the things that I wanted to do to improve myself have fallen by the wayside. I just seem to feel overwhelmed by it all.
    Karen, I really think this is a great direction for you to take with your workshops – teaching others what you have worked hard to fine tune in your own life would be helpful for so many people.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks JackieVB. And you hit the nail on the head. Most people (and it’s understandable) get completely overwhelmed and shut down. I’ll show you how to get past that. And in terms of depression (which hits just about every single one of us in our lifetime) I’ll actually be showing you a behavioural technique that’s similar to one used for treating depression! ~ karen

  11. Jacquie says:

    I have a saying – if anyone comes in to my home and notices that something is not quite finished or needs attention, they are no friend of mine and should leave immediately.
    And who on earth would say that you have too much time on your hands?? Let’s line them up and throw chicken poop at them.

  12. Sounds like an exciting event!!

  13. Audrey says:

    I’m an 80-year old retiree who “gets things done” like you do. I have several projects in process on various flat surfaces in the house, and display shelves of collectibles that could use some serious dusting. I make extra money selling my crafts on Etsy and at the gift shop at the local senior center, and I have a space in a local collector mall. I can’t wait to get up to work on stuff. My retiree friends read the paper, read books, watch TV, go out to lunch, keep immaculate houses, and envy me my abilities. You have to start young. You can’t retire and expect to suddenly become creative and ambitious. I started as a child during WW II; toys were not available, we made our own. (I know you are sick of hearing your grandma talk like this.) But seriously, get a hobby, learn a craft, teach yourself how to do needlework, something, anything, or those retired years are going to be very long and empty. Love your blog!

    • Ginny says:

      I agree Audrey! I am 62 and got married this past October. My husband always says he married me because I owned more power tools than him! I have always been a DIYer and never wait for anyone to help. We bought a 75 year old house that needed a lot of work so the projects are endless and I am in heaven! I lay awake at night “planning in my head” and can’t wait to get up and get started. My family and friends are continually amazed at what I do on my own and what I get accomplished but, as others have said, it is motivation. I love getting things done. I love seeing the transformation. I love reusing, repurposing, recycling things in to something useful and beautiful. I always have several projects going at once. I decided not to go back to work outside the home this past year but I am busier than ever. I hope I am still going strong at 80!! Love your blog, Karen! You are right…it is not hard…any of it!

    • Karol says:

      You go, girl! I like your spunk Audrey. (And your name) I’m not too far behind, maybe a decade or so, but I have the same spunk and intend to be that way until the fat lady sings. I think most of Karen’s readers, no matter what their age, have spunk and sassiness keeping them going.

  14. Polish Princess says:

    Karen, I just got off the phone with one of my kids who is freaking out over this last month of university and all the stuff that needs to be done, and the fact that he is worried about one of his courses, and that he doesn’t have a place to live next year…..and finals, and being homesick….so I tried to “walk him off the ledge” long distance and then I read today’s entry….and immediately sent it to him as I hope he will take something out of you no nonsense advice about project planning and being positive and enthusiastic and the thrill of accomplishment, regardless of what it is that you are accomplishing….thank you for entertaining me, for inspiring me and bringing out my long-dormant creative spark

  15. Leal says:

    “It’s not about who has more time. It’s about what you perceive as a valuable use of your time.”

    Well said Karen! So true. From finishing my very own stump end table last year, to upholstering a bench and making a table lamp, you have inspired me to use my time to at least try and ‘do more stuff’. Thanks for that.

  16. Su says:

    Karen you remind me of the children’s story The Little Red Hen, she wanted stuff done and no one would help so she just did it herself. Like others here I LIKE having projects going. When the babes are small getting their needs taken care of is getting stuff done. But I found over the years that I was actually able to do more when I did something, anything for me too.

  17. Melissa says:

    My friends are also always telling me that they are amazed at how much stuff I get done in a day, and I agree with you that the desire to get things accomplished is a great motivator. If I can physically do something myself, I get it done. Things that require help, like building the fence, I’m so frustrated with because I have to wait until my husband has time.

    Thanks for mentioning that your house isn’t perfect. With blogs and Pinterest, I think we are all in the constant state of feeling bad about ourselves because we can’t compare. My house is a disaster 90% of the time, because I’m working on a project 90% of the time. There is no way, except maybe with staff or a husband that actually does the dishes, to do both!

  18. Lynn says:

    I have to say I agree Karen planning is number one. Not knowing how to do something is not,a reason to never find out how to accomplish your goals. It is a reason to improve your knowledge and your self. As a military wife and mother of two girls I can say this . Our girls learned that mom did not wait for dad to get home to fix anything it would get done before his return , so we could have family time. Now that both girls are married they do the same thing , they never wait for husbands to get a job done they just plan it out an do it. Like your mother my husband would love it if I spent more time shopping for my self …. Me I go in a store for something , I walk out with it an only it . No wandering eyes here. Hubby on the other hand can while’s away a the hole day an usually forgets what he went in for … Frustrating shopping with him I have to say , an I keep losing him in the stores cause he darts this way and that . Point is you have the power to do what ever you want , an there is no better feeling of accomplishment than doing it.

  19. Kelly says:

    Can I request that this be a repeating workshop? I can’t make the nights next week, but this is EXACTLY what I need to get the motivation for the 4 chairs, 3 quilts, 1 living room, and about 10 other projects I start and never finish!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kelly! This kind of big workshop I’m only likely to do once a year. HOWEVER, you can still buy the course after it’s taken place. For the same price you get all the recorded videos, the workbook and an email checkup with me. 😉 ~ karen! p.s. it’s not next week, it’s the week after so maybe you can make it?

  20. Cred says:

    Great points on getting things done.
    Procrastination gets me every time- for example I have to clean my kitchen and prep dinner, start refinishing a used dining table and chairs I bought this week, shower and trim 3 ragged finger nails I tore 3 days ago. I saw your post title and I thought this is exactly what I need to read, right now…. to further delay starting these tasks that I just don’t feel like doing.
    The key to delaying for me is fear (sometimes I’m not certain I am capable even though 90% of the time I know so,etching isn’t hard) or I’m overwhelmed. I know I need to stop looking at the monumental to do list and break things down. Into manageable tasks. Also, fully realizing the size of the task. Sometimes things you put off for months only take a few moments. Other times my daily list is unrealistic because the tasks take much more time than I think.
    Perfection is a problem- so I really appreciate your comments about just letting other things slide while a project is full swing.
    And I hate when people say I have too much time on my hands- sure, staying home to homeschool two kids is a great way to free up your time. I actually do get a lot more things done than many people but like you say it’s priorities. Many times I am highly motivated to make cute things I see on Pinterest. While I’m sure other people find losing several hours a day to Facebook acceptable.
    But I get caught up in the perfection of making homemade meals, keeping the kitchen clean, doing laundry and nagging kids about boots, mitts and coats on the floor etc. I just want a nice chunk of uninterrupted time to do my creative thing. Perhaps throwing a frozen pizza in the oven and surrendering the house to the wolves would be okay once in awhile.
    Great topic- I’m sure many will benefit from your course

  21. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Great advice Karen..now maybe I will stop waiting for the walls and cupboards to paint themselves..lol..

  22. barbee says:

    Oh, how timely-i am right this minute stalling publishing my first post. The theme of the blog-procrastination. The purpose of the blog? Motivation to tackle the to-do list. The inspiration? You!

  23. judy says:

    This post actually made me feel better in a way opposite to helping “get things done”. I am a senior dealing with my Husbands Alzheimer’s,and lots of family chaos. I don’t get much sleep and what there is is uneasy due to worry that Husband will wander off into the snow while I sleep on unconscious. I am constantly embarrassed by the state of the house, not providing more entertaining activities for my Husband and I am reverting to ready made meals and more soup than I feel I should be. This post made me realize that I should be in charge of what I do with my time and not worry about the opinions of others or some rules of conduct established by people I don’t even know. I am feeling very empowered and a little bit Bitchy!

    • Jacquiec says:

      Good for you Judy. You’re doing the most important thing in your world, keeping your husband safe and loved. Forget the rest, it’s not important. I can’t cook so eat ready made meals all the time and LOVE soup and sandwiches (it’s a good thing really in the absence of being able to make anything else!). You’re doing great, feel proud not guilty.

  24. judy says:

    K aren-I didn’t mean for my comment to seem directed to you-I do feel as though I can be more effective due to your post but now feel I am in charge of what and when or not ever! ….. and no one else. Thanks for all of your wonderful posts they have given me much needed laughs and lots of good ideas.

  25. cheryl says:

    KAREN………I so bummed out that I won’t be able to take your course coming up in March….My Hubbie is having surgery during that time…Hopefully you may do this again in the future…Good luck to you on this project an to all who will be taking it…..sniff sniff

  26. Debbie says:

    First thank you for telling the world that when you are involved in a big project, other daily things that can wait, have too. I have never been able to keep a clean house, and tear up the bathroom for a big update. I have family that waits till I start something and then drops by. They get that look like they stepped in dog poop and then lets everyone know what they found. I too am never happier than when I have a project. More important though which sister had the unicorn growing out of her head? ( Fish Feet or Pink Tool belt).

  27. Markus says:

    Karen, if you convince me to do more stuff, which I’m sure you could, i’d perish, i’d be in the future. Plain an simply unable to read your posts, which i adore anytime but I have to draw a line, and prefer to read them shortly after you post them

    • Karen says:

      Don’t be ridiculous Markus. Part of the workshop includes me showing you what’s important and what isn’t in terms of stuff you would do. You’ll be allowed to keep things like eating, (some) sleeping, going to church if that’s your thing and reading my blog posts the second they’re published. I’m strict but I’m not a masochist. ~ karen!

  28. Kathryn says:

    Any idea when this is going to happen? (Crossing fingers that you don’t say mid-May because that’s the only time this year I absolutely can’t do it, and I know I will just send you money and then never do it if it’s not the live thing — I have way too many hours of Oprah meditations that I’ve bought because I don’t have time right now, but I’ll get to them some time).

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kathryn. I do know when the course is happening! It’s taking place on May 5th (live online class), 6th (do your workbook at home class) and 7th (live online class) with a “checking in class” on May 21st. I love those meditations! ~ karen

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