Do the Work Wednesday #3: How’s it Going So Far?

by Lian on February 15, 2012

It occurred to me today, looking at my desktop calendar, that we’re exactly 6 weeks from January 1, a day many of us probably used to set our “goals” for the year. (Otherwise known as New Year’s Resolutions!) I’m sure any social scientists in the Crew can tell us that most people fall off the resolution bandwagon in, what, 2 to 3 weeks.  I know that’s when you start to see the beginning- of- the- year crowds thin at the gym.

So, at 6 weeks, are you where you thought you would be on January 1?

If you are, good for you. How have you powered through? And, if you’re not, how do you plan to readjust and get going again?

For me, I had specific page goals for my new book . Am I there, 6 weeks in? No, I’m behind in the total page count. But on the flip side, I think conceptually, I’m way ahead of where I thought I’d be. The story is coming together fairly well and I have an overall creative concept that I’m really happy with but it did take a few weeks extra to get there. I had to do some research, play around with ideas in my head, try out a few pages. It wasn’t some creative flash that sparked a writing rampage. It was slow, steady work  but when I got there, I knew it was right for the story. So, I’m at ease reassessing the quantity of my page count goal because I think the quality is high.

I don’t believe in beating myself up over work not done. It’s not productive in any way. In fact, it  can be really counter-productive, causing you to give up all together or feel trapped in an endless cycle with no forward progress. ( Raise your hand if you start a diet every Monday because you “blew it” the previous Friday?) Life happens and expectations can be re-set. Moving forward is the key for me, not regretting what I didn’t do last week, but buckling down to get the work done the next week.

On that note,  I’m moving forward.  Back to the book. How about you?

Embracing my Chaos, Lian

Need motivation? Catch up on Do the Work Wednesdays with these Related Posts:

Do the Work Wednesday #2: Getting Started

Do the Work Wednesday #1



Karen February 22, 2012 at 8:32 AM

I have two goals I need to do the work on. One is to “stick to” the current position I hold until the spring. I want to keep the same energy and enthusiasm I used to have…as I currently feel I have short-timers disease. After the spring I plan on moving onto a positon with less responsibility (less management).

The second is the reason I have this short-timers disease. I am in the process of forming a non-profit business that takes all my remaining mental energy (after managing my teenagers).

This business is still in conception, where I haven’t decided on a product base or even learned how to collect a Board of Directors yet. What’s this goal – well as Lian mentioned in the latest podcast from the LTD conference, don’t be afraid to share…so here we go. My goal is to help women who either have an old prison record (and they can only get menial jobs) or women who want to get off the welfare system. The staff (the women) would be the production/order fulfillment staff for products sold that would support the business. The goal is to not only teach them how to go to work each day, be a good employee/co-worker but also to give them additional life skills. Like how to write an application, dress for interviews, speak to others and finance/budgeting. We would also offer daycare as well as other services that in Washington state once you’re working you lose. Okay, there it is…whew. Now the reason is asked “why” I’m not quitting my job now and starting this business? I had three teens that I need to get out of high school. Until then, they are the focus of my life and keeping a full time/full paying position is crucial to their success (me disappearing into my business would not be). So, I send this into the internet ether knowing the of many many responses Lian gets and just maybe I’ll make a connection with someone with similar plans in life. I just thank you all for allowing me to put in writing my goals!

patty s February 19, 2012 at 5:11 PM

I am exactly where I thought I’d be six weeks into the New Year. I’m having fun with accessorizing (yes, scarves!) and am tackling my public speaking fears head on! I finally have a date and a time for my presentation–April 26th at 11:45 am. I am doing the work!
Bill, thanks so much for the info on what to keep and for how long!
Lian, I hope your next year is full of wonderful experiences, people, and lots of joy! Happy Birthday!

Kathy in Atlanta February 18, 2012 at 10:39 AM

Linda Sue, thank you so much for that great resource. How thoughtful of you!

Linda Sue February 18, 2012 at 8:14 AM

Kathy: There is a website that I have used to cut down on the number of catalogs and credit card offers that I receive. Its called It does work as most of the usual cats have stopped. Now I receive more of the esoteric stuff. The cats will aways find you but you can make an impact with this website.

Bill: Great info.

Lauren February 17, 2012 at 9:15 PM

I just listened to the last three Chaos Chronicles (and one Satellite Sisters) on my drive north and home today. I was helping to take care of a sick friend. I don’t have much to contribute to Do the Work Wednesdays, but I have found Pinterest to be an amazing source of inspiration. Listening to your podcasts made the drive so much easier. Thanks Lian!

Bev February 17, 2012 at 4:25 AM

Hi Lian, Just finished listening to your new podcast. Here’s an idea for what to do with the yarn! It’s probably beautiful Persian wool. Why not
wind it into spheres (some could be multi colored) and place them in a
large clear glass bowl to enjoy as a centerpiece on your table for awhile? That wool is often hand dyed and very spendy. Lucious colors and texture.

emily beiting February 16, 2012 at 6:59 PM

I am joining the group a little late..but I have been doing the work just not reporting about it. I claimed earlier to Lian that I was going to lose weight as my goal (i had baby Ruthie in September) but I’ve changed my mind.

About a year ago I started getting involved in animal rescue. Mostly dogs. We pull them out of high kill shelters, foster them or find foster families for them, or find no-kill rescues to send them to.

The woman I do the work with has 4 kids, home schools, runs her household, cares for her sick mother, AND consistently saves dogs from an awful shelter near her home. My two goals this year for this rescue is to become a 501c3 organization and to help them get a new rescue vehicle.

I want to make a donation to them but I’m going to make a fund raiser out of it and try and double my money. I also have worked with a friend this week, who is a paralegal, to help up get over the hump of getting our 501c3…which is a paperwork nightmare when you have no idea what you’re doing.

Will keep you posted on what we get to in the next week!
I’m glad to be part of this forum and have cheerleaders.

Lesley in MN February 16, 2012 at 6:11 PM

Finally submitted an abstract for a university research day, got a couple of research manuscripts (that I have been sitting on WAY too long) to a co-author, and now need to go about searching for position for next year. I am trying to Do The Work now (as much as humanely possible) so that I am more marketable.

Next up, figuring out what I want to be when I grow up.

Lian February 16, 2012 at 7:59 AM

So much good stuff here. More on podcast. Lian

William J. February 16, 2012 at 6:37 AM

You are welcome, Kathy. It really was information pretty easy for me to get. Besides Lian lets me hang out here and the crew allows me to be part of it so I have to hold my end of the deal!

My check-in. Better than last week, worse than next week. I reviewed the novel I am writing and while some of it needs improvement quite a bit of it is damn good if I do say so myself. Was able to spend a little less time at Mom’s thanks to her being well and sister pictching in. I am predicting next week’s check-in will have a new chapter.


Kathy in Atlanta February 15, 2012 at 6:46 PM

Gosh, Bill, that’s more than a shot!

This is expert advice. This makes things so much more manageable. Thank you so much!

Am also thankful to Lian for setting up “Do the Work Wednesdays”. Just knew the Crew would come through.

Thank you again, Bill, for your kindness in giving so much of your time to this. You have gone above and beyond!

William J. February 15, 2012 at 6:15 PM

Hi Kathy. I will give it a shot. Just remember this is general advice and there are exceptions to every rule. How long do you keep bills? It depends on the bill Bills that you used to prepare your tax return have different rules than bills that never show up on your tax return.

Bills on your tax return. The IRS’s statue of limitations is three years from the date you filed your tax return. For purposes of the statue of limitations all returns that are filed before the first due date of the return are considered filed on the due date of the return. For example, if you file your 2011 return before 4-17-2012 (this year’s due date) for statue of limitations purposes your return is considered to be filed on 4-17-12 and the IRS can audit you until 4-17-2015. I make it simple and tell my clients to keep anything that supports a deduction or income on your tax return for four years. You would be safe to get rid of all bills from 2007 and earlier. Here are some of the exceptions. You own your house. Keep all the purchase documents, refinance document and invoices for major improvements for three years AFTER you sell that house and keep the sales documents until then too. If you own shares of stock you want to keep purchase information until three years after you sell the stock. You also want to track every dividend you paid tax on as long as you held the stock because that can your increase your basis in that stock Although it isn’t required I like keeping all the actual tax returns forever, Documents that normally show up on the tax return for the average person, medical bills, mortgage interest, real estate taxes, contributions, W-2 forms, 1099′s showing interest and dividends, 1099′as for pensions or IRA withdrawals. Cancelled checks for IRA contributions. If you have your own business and file a Schedule C you need to keep all receipts for your deductions, all diaries supporting your mileage deduction, all bank statements for the business, all income documents etc for the four years. If you purchased equipment you keep the invoices until three years after you sell or quit using the equipment.

If you purchased rental property you keep all purchase and refinance documents and improvements not deducted as repairs until three years until after you sell the property or the property is foreclosed. For yearly expenses like paint, repairs, interest, and property tax you keep the four years.

For items not on your tax return there is no requirement to keep the bills. Utilities, for example, unless you claim an office in home can be ditched, HOWEVER I suggest keepping them for four years too. There can be disputes and having the invoice and payment information handy can win a lot of arguments.

That is a general overview.

Now what you shred. Anything with your address, social security number, or phone number on it. Shred those suckers. As to shredding a document if it only has your name on it, it depends on your name. If you have a very common name like Kathy Smith there really is no reason to shred those documents because someone would take an eternity to track you down. If your name is Kathy Osh0oninksy then shred all documents with your name on it because you would be easy to find and once found it becomes easier to steal your information. If you have a business that has a federal ID number you want to shred any document that has that number on it.

Just another hint. Be on the lookout for charitable organizations that will shred your documents for a small donation. It is usually done at a high school on a Saturday and happens two or three times a year. You can take garbage bags there. Much faster then you doing it yourself.

That is my best shot for now. Just keep in mind this is general information and not specific to your tax situation. Safest is keep all documents four years and shred everything.


Kathy in Atlanta February 15, 2012 at 2:35 PM

The work I need to do will sound paltry; but it is do some home care in order to have more peaceful surroundings as a foundation from which to do more meaningful work. Today it is get rid of most of the catalogs and mail that have been piling up since the holidays.
This stuff has become a problem because 1. I wasn’t deciding what to throw out the minute I got the mail, and 2. my new-found worry about identity theft makes me want to tear off my address (outside and inside) before recycling.

Does someone on the Crew have the knowledge and the time to tell me if I can just hurl these things into the recycle box (which gets picked up every Wed.) and which things require removing name, address, phone, zip, catalog code?

Also, how long do I keep bills?

This paper is taking over: a six-inch pile on the corner of the sofa, in a corner on the floor, a corner on a table, and a few other corners. It’s not THAT bad, but it’s making me spin my wheels – or wheel, like a hamster’s.
Thanks, Crew!

This is embarassing, but it

ma schmidt February 15, 2012 at 11:37 AM

Off the to gym again! Found out where a grocery store is in Chicago where I’m going for a 4 day conference (fill my room with fruit and yogurt)…made one more step towards finding a research assistant but to be honest, I haven’t written that proposal due on the 20th. So, following my own advice, I’ve made an “appointment” to do it alone in my hotel room thursday night instead of going out for a drink (which meets two goals, no?) Thanks for keepin’ me honest!

Shary February 15, 2012 at 11:08 AM

This hasn’t been a great week for doing the work. I allowed myself to get sidetracked several times. I was afraid to go back and read chapter two because I was sure it would be terrible. Yesterday I forced myself to look at it and I was surprised that it wasn’t bad, which made it a whole lot easier to start chapter three. Once I get a handle on my fear, the work comes so much more easily.

Cyndi February 15, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Keep it up Michele! All of your little changes in habits contribute to your weight loss success over time.

Lian, I really like your moving forward with no regrets approach – that’s good advice for all of us. I enjoy knowing that your next book is still unwritten and the creative process is in the works … when we see it on the bookshelves, we’ll all remember when you were “doing the work” as we were doing our work.

I had a few unexpected interruptions since last Wednesday so I did not get quite as far as I had planned with my coursework. But I also feel good that I made some progress in the right direction.

Not long ago, I was driving home from visiting my daughter’s college – there are two major highways heading north back to my house. It is a route I’ve driven countless times, but this particular time, I mindlessly left one highway and got on the next highway heading south instead … my other daughter was in the car so we were chatting away … about 30 minutes later (!) I saw a sign for Cape Cod and realized my mistake – I wasted an hour of driving in the wrong direction and reorienting myself! That incident reminds me to be aware of the direction you are heading – you can be driving (or working) for a while before you even realize you’ve wasted time going the wrong way (or working on the wrong task).

Kristin February 15, 2012 at 10:24 AM

I am surprised that six weeks in, I have actually had several clients express interest in my practice. I am also knee deep in pushing myself forward in both the private practice and what I need to do to support it. I think the biggest thing this week has been applying for a part time job that far better supports my own personal belief system and recognizes what I am equipped to handle. No word yet on whether I got the job, but I feel hugely accomplished in taking that leap.

If only I could make it work that I didn’t have to commute so far. Then my Do the Work today could include a good run! :)

Deanna February 15, 2012 at 10:24 AM

Since school started again a few weeks ago my exercise routine has been battered slightly, but I’m not beaten. Lian’s comment last week about how other household tasks can sometimes get in the way of our goals was spot on; I have to give myself permission to sit and study and put the taunting laundry basket out of sight and out of mind. I’ve been better at this over the week, and as a result I’ve been better at structuring my study time.

As far as the rest of my 2012 To-Do List goes, I’m still running 9-15 miles a week but not on-track for half-marathon as planned. I’ll settle for a 10K this summer and maybe a half-marathon this fall. I won’t be distracted by the potential for failure; I’ll simply continue to work toward the goal. And I’ll be on the sidelines to cheer my younger sister when she completes her first marathon this summer.

Michele February 15, 2012 at 10:07 AM

I can’t believe that a whole week has gone by since I decided to commit to “Do the Work”! My goal is not as ambitious as writing or painting, but I think it is equally challenging, at least it is to me:) I announced online and to friends at work that I was going to lose weight…15 pounds, to be exact. I told my husband also, and he was encouraging, but gave me that “I’ve heard this before” look. I was moderately successful in getting the work done. I walked only 3 days, but I have embraced the surprisingly satisfying and good taste of celery, carrots, berries, etc. I’m even getting better at portion control! Holding myself accountable to “Doing the work Wednesdays” is a great motivator. I hope everyone else is having success and not giving up on their goals.

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