Haiku – Incremental Accomplishments

Unfinished projects

Overwhelm me. Reminder:

Focus on progress.

Portion of our drainage trenches with added rock to keep dirt in place
Portion of our drainage trenches with added rock to keep dirt in place.

If any haiku purists read this, I’m sorry! This haiku probably breaks all the rules (I’m not sure because my creativity can’t be bothered to find out the rules) but it fit for me today.

Do you ever get bogged down with a “To Do” list that only seems to grow? Or multiple projects in process at one time? I do! I tend to focus so much on crossing the completion finish line that I forget to enjoy incremental accomplishments. My attention zeroes in on what hasn’t been done.

Yep, it's just a gate.  No fence... yet!  (We have a couple of wonderful neighbors that are helping us put in a fence.
Yep, it’s just a gate. No fence… yet! (Two wonderful neighbors are helping us put in a fence.)

Yesterday, the anxiety of our ongoing, and seemingly never-ending, outdoor projects and their interference with my indoor writing made me stressed out and crabby. (My family can vouch for that.) On one of my work breaks, I went outside and looked at things differently. I turned my back on what still needs to be done and stared at what we have completed.  The feeling of, “wow, we did all that!”  boosted my mood. It reminded me, I should do that more often.

(And then I backed away without peeking over my shoulder at the unfinished work mocking my new mindset 🙂 )


47 thoughts on “Haiku – Incremental Accomplishments

  1. Robin Leigh Morgan May 7, 2014 / 5:39 AM

    Hi Janna

    Isn’t it a GREAT FEELING knowing that another phase of a project has been completed and you’re now ready to take on the next step to bring you closer towards NARVANA.

    There’s not a single author I now who hasn’t experienced INCREMENTAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS. To prove this point here’s my HAIKU on this very topic

    Final period
    At long last has now arrived
    Editing begins

    • jannatwrites May 7, 2014 / 8:20 AM

      I like your haiku response, Robin! One day, I hope to be an author and get to the point of finishing a first draft! (Only did it once and that five years ago 😦 ) As for our yard projects – I’m looking forward to enjoying the rewards of our efforts. We hope to before mid-June!

      • Robin Leigh Morgan May 7, 2014 / 8:31 AM

        Janna why don’t you do something similar to what I’m doing. Put together an anthology of all the Haikus you’ve written. Place two Haikus on a page, use a total of 150 Haikus, 75 pages and you’re set for a $7.95 / $6.95 paperback or a $2.99 KINDLE.

        Just a suggestion.

        • jannatwrites May 7, 2014 / 8:38 AM

          Robin, this will sound strange, I’m sure, but I don’t consider myself a poet (even though I did poetry first back in high school.) Folks like Bjorn (who commented on this post – they are poets… wow! However, I have been collecting some short stories that I haven’t posted on my blog (mostly writing contest entries) that I’m considering putting together at some point. I only have about six of them right now, ranging from 800 to 3,000 words. Thanks for taking time to offer the suggestion. I’ve never published anything, so I have some research to do (hey, I’ll add that to my to-do list!)

  2. vishalbheeroo May 7, 2014 / 5:41 AM

    lotsa things to do and it kills us..slowly, we shall arrive:) Love the Haiku btw and even more when it break rules:)

    • jannatwrites May 7, 2014 / 8:21 AM

      Thanks, Vishal! Thinking about what we’ve accomplished makes the ‘to-do’ burden a little lighter 🙂

  3. braintomahawk May 7, 2014 / 6:09 AM

    As I have been planning to remodel my house in any way possible and ‘missing’ deadlines, I absolutely needed this. I will concentrate on what will be completed this week, even as the next steps are put into motion. Thanks ! 🙂

    • jannatwrites May 7, 2014 / 8:25 AM

      How exciting, BT! Remodels can be stressful, so it definitely is a good idea to take time to enjoy what has been done (and pictures of the progress are fun to look at after the fact.) Good luck!

      • braintomahawk May 14, 2014 / 10:43 AM

        Thank you – the rainy week will delay painting the kitchen, and baking some cookies as well (oh noooo!!). So I’ll just work on the living room 😉

        • jannatwrites May 15, 2014 / 8:53 AM

          No shortage of things to do, it seems, BT!

  4. Kathy Combs (@Kathy29156) May 7, 2014 / 6:30 AM

    One step at a time. It seems overwhelming only when you look at the whole to do list. If done one at a time and considered as a victory with each one completed you will find a lot more satisfaction.

    • jannatwrites May 7, 2014 / 8:27 AM

      I prefer one at a time, Kathy! We didn’t plan to have two huge projects going simultaneously, but we had to jump on them before monsoon storms start in June. The rock is taking much longer than anticipated…I think I might be a bit of perfectionist when it comes to placing them 🙂

    • jannatwrites May 7, 2014 / 8:27 AM

      Haha! I’m with you on that, Bjorn…. I’ll check my schedule… later 🙂

  5. Megan (Best of Fates) May 7, 2014 / 6:59 AM

    I struggle all the time with being happy with what I’ve accomplished on my to-do list instead of realizing how much is still left to do! But those draining trenches look great – well done!

    • jannatwrites May 7, 2014 / 8:29 AM

      It is so easy to be caught under the burden of what’s left to do. It’s good to know I’m not the only one struggling with that, Megan. And thanks for the comment on the trenches – a lot of dirt washed away last year so I’m hoping this will help. Still have a lot to do, but it is certainly coming along. I did several more feet this morning.

  6. Imelda May 7, 2014 / 7:45 AM

    Your haiku is a good reminder. I needed that today as well. This business of raising children is sometimes overwhelming and does block creative thoughts. 🙂

    • jannatwrites May 7, 2014 / 8:31 AM

      I’m glad you related to these words today, Imelda. Yes, raising children can be overwhelming (and I only have two!) I hope you are lifted up by your accomplishments today!

  7. Harliqueen May 7, 2014 / 8:26 AM

    Any progress is good progress! 🙂

    • jannatwrites May 7, 2014 / 8:33 AM

      Here, here! I like the way you think, Harliqueen 🙂

  8. Dilip May 7, 2014 / 8:35 AM

    Wow I love this post. Seeing your Fence being installed reminds me of setting-up my small hobby farm. It is always exciting to do new things. Please do glance through my ‘other blog’ at http://jugnoofarms.wordpress.com/a/

    Cheers 🙂

    • jannatwrites May 7, 2014 / 8:41 AM

      Oh wow, setting up a hobby farm would be quite an accomplishment to enjoy, Dilip! We did eight fence posts yesterday, so it’s coming along… it will be a few days before we can get back to it, though. I’ll check out your blog link this evening. Thanks for stopping by!

      • Dilip May 8, 2014 / 8:59 PM

        Thank you 🙂

  9. nrhatch May 7, 2014 / 8:50 AM

    I find the gate without a fence quite amusing ~ it’s apt to confuse the neighborhood critters. 😎

    Self-created suffering is rooted in the frantic desire to attain something other than what we already have . . .

    But nothing lasts.
    So what’s the rush?

    • jannatwrites May 7, 2014 / 10:42 PM

      Haha, well, there are a few more posts out there, so they should be REALLY baffled, Nancy! Most of the time, the rush is internally created. (In the case of our outdoor projects, the rush is to get done before monsoons hit in mid-June!)

  10. Debbie May 7, 2014 / 11:19 AM

    I tend to do the same, Janna — focus on the “to do’s” at the expense of enjoying the process. But you know, it’s hard enjoying the process when the thing looks so doggone UNDONE!! Love that your neighbors are helping with the fence — that project should be done soon with all the help you’re getting!

    • jannatwrites May 7, 2014 / 10:48 PM

      It is hard to see progress when the undone is in our sights, Debbie. Our neighbors are a great resource. They sold us the extra fencing at a fair price, but their help is priceless. We hope to have it completed in a few weeks!

  11. Tessa May 7, 2014 / 3:22 PM

    I liked your Haiku! I am not a purist, I just started writing them. Hope I am not breaking rules, I hate to break rules 🙂

    • jannatwrites May 7, 2014 / 10:52 PM

      I don’t know… sometimes there’s something exhilarating about breaking rules (as long as it doesn’t involve possible jail time 🙂 ) Thanks for reading, Tessa! So glad to see you getting back to writing again.

  12. Widdershins May 7, 2014 / 4:10 PM

    I frequently have to remind myself of one of my favourite love/hate sayings: ‘Be not afraid of going slowly, be afraid of standing still’.

    … love the gate with no fence! 😀

    • jannatwrites May 7, 2014 / 10:53 PM

      I like the saying, Widdershins. There is much truth to it. The gate does look kind of odd just hanging out there, but one day, it will have a fence 🙂

  13. Eric Alagan May 8, 2014 / 1:26 AM

    “To Do list that only seems to grow”

    During my corporate dates – I had three folders:

    1. Do Immediate
    2. I think – Urgent
    3. They think – Urgent

    As there’re only 24 hours in a day, I would get through 1 & 2.

    Usually, did not have time or even the inclination to touch 3. You know what – after a few weeks most of 3 die a natural death. There’ll be new items in 3 – all waiting their demise 🙂

    I think it’s urgent
    These produce immediate gains
    Rest pile up, hide me 🙂

    • jannatwrites May 8, 2014 / 10:37 PM

      The urgency groups seem vaguely familiar. It makes sense that tasks urgent for us would be done before tasks urgent for others. And no tears are shed for to-do items that die 🙂 Thanks for taking time to share your insights, Eric!

  14. diannegray May 8, 2014 / 6:15 PM

    I hear you, Janna – my TO DO list is about 3,000 miles long 😉

    • jannatwrites May 8, 2014 / 10:57 PM

      Oh, sometimes it does seem that way. Just looking at the RUC, you have lots of accomplishments to relish, Dianne!

  15. agjorgenson May 8, 2014 / 7:40 PM

    Hey, what great advice! I’m feeling warn out by the number of (academic) writing tasks that I just can’t seem to get at. Tomorrow I am going to overview what I have finished in the last few years. Thanks!

    • jannatwrites May 8, 2014 / 10:58 PM

      I hope the review boosts your spirits, Allen. Something you read might just inspire you to write something new 🙂

  16. GodGirl May 9, 2014 / 3:04 AM

    Haha, I can totally relate. I am both a perfectionist and a list-maker. My aim is always to complete everything on the list in one day, but rather than get frustrated if it’s not happening, going back and crossing off what I’ve already done helps my mood 🙂
    It’s always a battle between doing things that need to be done vs. the things we really want to do isn’t it?

    • jannatwrites May 13, 2014 / 8:03 AM

      It is a constant battle, GodGirl! And the failure feels so real when not much gets crossed off the list (and more is added 😦 )

  17. Sarah Ann May 9, 2014 / 1:17 PM

    I’ve copied your haiku and stuck it on a post-it on my desktop – fully attributed of course. I hope you don’t mind, but this rings so true for me. Managing to read your post and leaving a comment, I’m chalking up as an accomplishment – not sure what has happened to my relationship with time 🙂

    • jannatwrites May 13, 2014 / 8:04 AM

      That’s a huge compliment, Sarah Ann! I’m glad the haiku “spoke” to you enough to do that. I say reading and commenting is a huge accomplishment (one that I hope to do to today as well 🙂

  18. Sandra May 24, 2014 / 3:12 PM

    You’ve got to be proud of all the work you’ve put into the trench. You will definitely reap the rewards when everything is all done! I know how time consuming this can be. Good luck! You’re almost there, right? 😉

    • jannatwrites May 26, 2014 / 7:22 PM

      We are getting really close now, Sandra. Maybe we’ll be done in the next two weeks?

  19. pattisj June 25, 2014 / 1:23 PM

    It sounds like you have great neighbors. Can’t beat that! Hope your projects are moving along more quickly than ours.

    • jannatwrites June 26, 2014 / 12:06 AM

      Welllll…. none of our projects are 100% completed, but we’re getting there, Patti!

      • pattisj June 26, 2014 / 9:57 AM

        Same here. There’s always something left hanging.

        • jannatwrites June 27, 2014 / 7:18 AM

          It does seem to work out that way. We are progressing to completion (slowly) so new projects can take their place 🙂

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