The Art of Accomplishment


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When I was a kid my folks would make a weekly task grid with four or five things that I was supposed to do. I was pretty young still- too young to be in school, so as I recall the items went something like this:

  1. Did you brush your teeth?
  2. Did you comb your hair?
  3. Did you pick up your toys?
  4. Did you not hit your sister?

Anyway, you get the idea. At the end of the day we would sit down and my Dad would ask me each of the questions and I would tell him whether or not I did it. (I suspect that he cross checked my testimony with my Mom, although I had a very real fear that Santa would find out if I lied). If I did it then he would draw a smiley face and if I didn’t do it or I did it badly I would get a frowny face. And if I got smiley faces for the whole week I would get an ear-to-ear grin complete with ears.

This might be where my special satisfaction in crossing things off my to do list comes from; I’m still striving for that ear-to-ear grin.

Since I was recently making my new-years resolutions I thought it would be interesting to track my progress. And, being and artist, I thought: “why not turn this into a piece of artwork?”

Here is my idea:

On a large sheet of paper I will create a grid 365 squares tall and 6 or 7 squares wide. On the top will be my goals for the year:

  1. Did you floss your teeth?
  2. Did you go for your run?
  3. Did you send a birthday card for your friends’ birthdays?
  4. Did you update your blog?

And so on. For each goal that I accomplish I will fill in the squares below it- maybe in different colors, though I’m still trying to figure out which colors I should use. And I still have to figure out Quantative goals like running- if I go for a 10 mile run can I fill in more squares than if I just do 3mi?

It won’t be art imitating life; it will be art made out of life.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on January 2, 2013.

2 Responses to “The Art of Accomplishment”

  1. […] month ago I wrote a post called The Art of Accomplishment listing my goals for the year. I decided to make a chart of my progress that I would turn into a […]

  2. I notice you also give yourself five stars on each post…am I right?:P

    Your grid sounds complicated and adrift from what the original was intended to do. I think–had my folks used such grids–I’d be a happier and more productive person. My folks had problems with discussing and doling out tasks other parents handled in stride with their kids. I thought I was precious for not being a latch key kid. But, it seems those kids had all the lessons they needed sooner than later. I had to have people I met later in my school years ask me, “Didn’t your parents ever teach you about __?!” How humiliating…

    I have a sister who likes to make lists. I am either lazy or stubborn in some strange way about them. I make grids and lists when writing a story/book/blog post.

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