There are many, many wonderful ways to approach a project and make Giant Progress on it.
By “wonderful”, I mean useful, fun, powerful, effective, light-hearted, joyful and/or play-filled. As in: not stressful and depressing.
And by “project”, I mean any kind of mission, adventure, gwish or whatever it is you happen to be working on or playing with.
The point is: variety!
There are least as many valid methods for projectizing a project as there are people and projects but realistically probably way more. More!
Because we’re all different. And because we’re creative, inventive people engaged in a process of mindfully discovering neat and useful things about how we function.
Today: the art of the OOD.
This is one of my favorite projectizing methods ever. It’s one I often use on my projects at Rally (Rally!)
The OOD is pronounced Oooooood — rhymes with food — and it is the not especially secret code for:
Object Of Desire.
I’ll share the full version with all the steps, though of course you condense it. Pick and choose. Adapt and adjust. Move things around. Whatever works. Here we go:
1. State the OOD.
This is your basic declarative statement of the thing you want. Or a proxy.
I often do this part with crayons or magic markers on colored paper, which I then tape to the wall.
It’s a way of finding out what happens when you say the thing:
I want to set up a series of Shiva Nata classes!
That was the OOD I worked with at the last Rally.
Note! Rally ended last Thursday, and these classes not only were set up but also have already sold out. Thank you, OOD and Rally and blog readers.
2. Is this what I really want? In what ways?
Quite often, stating the OOD helps you realize that the thing you thought you wanted isn’t the thing.
Or is only part of the thing.
Maybe you realize you want to enjoy the creative process and you don’t actually care whether people see your painting. Or you want to bring a sum of money into your business but it doesn’t have to be through writing that ebook.
Related to the above. You aren’t just looking at the Object of Desire but the essence of wanting it.
What are the qualities that this project brings into your life? What defines it? What are you really and truly gwishing here?
Yesterday, the OOD I was working with was my Plum Duff days project. And the qualities I wanted for it were:
[+fun] [+gleeful] [+exciting] [+enthusiasm] [+joyous] [+delight][+buoyancy] [+light-hearted] [+trust] [+pleasure] [+experimentation] [+courage] [+wheeee!]
4. Why I want this.
Always useful to remember. Especially after you’ve just tuned into the essence of the wanting.
There are a lot of legitimate reasons for wanting your project and for working on your relationship to that project, and it’s good to get them out there.
Often this is where the fuzzball monsters will start really getting loud What?! You want to make MONEY?! And have more TIME?!
And this is useful because we need them for the next step.
5. Possible disadvantages, What-iffery, monster-objections.
This is the new home for the worries — from the Very Legitimate Concerns all the way to the Batshit Crazy This Is Me Obsessing Over Things That Will Never Happen.
It’s all good. You just want to know what they are.
What if I’m not ready? What if I can’t finish in time? What if I get stuck in the middle? What if it’s no good? What if I suddenly go blind and then I trip over a pile of socks and then this will live forever in my memory as the project that ruined everything?
Often as you’re listing the objections, the solutions show up at the same time.
Otherwise, you can always do some Shiva Nata and stone skipping on the objections later. Or bring in a negotiator.
Useful resource if you get stuck here: the monster manual & coloring book.
I am somewhat allergic to words like “timing”, “schedule”, and “deadlines”.
So I use the Hebrew word tizmun, which has elements of timing, arranging, itineraries and so on, but doesn’t freak me out.
This is where I figure out all the what-needs-to-happen-when bits.
Uh oh, if I do X before I do Q, then that’s no good. Note to self: start with Q!
And so on.
I don’t need to have it all figured out. This is just taking notes.
7. What will help?
This is kind of basic Book of You stuff. You might already know what helps. But it’s good to ask.
My list generally includes things like: Talk to H! Drink water! Take breaks! Do some reverse engineering! Ask for help!
8. Slightly Future Me says….
I don’t do anything without asking slightly future me (aka the me who is a few steps ahead of me) for advice and support.
How did she figure this stuff out? What does she wish that I knew? Where does she think I should start? What should I look out for?
What is useful about the places where I’m currently feeling stuck?
9. Allies, resources and helper mice!
Who is going to help me with this?
Whether with advice, moral support, spreading the word, holding me (lovingly) accountable…
Keep in mind that allies can also totally be fictional, imaginary or no longer alive.
10. Practical mapping.
This is where I go ahead and just make the List of Steps. What am I going to need to do? And in what order?
I put these on post-it notes so I can move them around in different combinations.
Listing possible next steps in the soft.
The soft = all the things that can’t really be seen.
The internal work. The talking to walls and being the fox and doing rituals and all that.
The destuckifying as opposed to the active doing.
11. Processing pain.
Working on a project means that your stuff will come up. There is, sadly, no real way to avoid this.
That’s because you’re dealing with an Object of Desire. So all the parts of you that are invested in not having it will show up.
Plus old grief and pain about past situations in which you weren’t able to have what you wanted, or you did get it but things went horribly, horribly wrong.
Projectizing comes with pain. Sometimes anger. This is normal!
And we need to interact with the existence of that pain in gentle, conscious, loving, inquisitive ways. But without diving into the pain and being in pain.
See: everything I’ve ever written about destuckification.
This is where you take notes about various steps in the project or your relationship with the project, or the project as a whole:
What worked? What am I going to try differently for next time?
And that’s the OOD.
It’s challenging, powerful and surprising. And it saves time. And it’s awesome.
Plus you can do the whole thing with crayons if you want.
Playing! Caveats and comment zen.
We invoke Paul’s rule of People Vary. You can adjust and adapt any aspect of this to your needs. This is only one way to projectize, and it’s only one of the methods I use.
The important part is not the steps but the approach:
A conscious, mindful, sovereign, destuckifying approach. Because the culture of projectizing is about exploring rather than being prescriptive, and meeting pain rather than stomping on it.
If you’d like to play with any or all elements of the OOD here, yay! If you want to share projectizing stories of your own or discuss the approach, go for it.
Reminder! This is hard work. We all have our stuff. We make space for our stuff and we don’t tell each other what to do or how to feel.
Much love to the commenter mice, the Beloved Lurkers and everyone who reads.
Ooh! I very much enjoy the OOD, and I’m going to be using it quite soon, indeed. Thank you, Havi, for laying this out.
I’d like to play with this as a way of interacting with getting hitched without flipping out about money/people/time/money again. Which is my current way of approaching it, and not at all effective. Now, I’m almost excited, instead of dreading, the process.
This is exactly what I needed exactly when I needed it. Thank you so much for existing, my dear Havi.
And the whole time I was reading this, all I could think of was the Ood (a race of people) from Doctor Who.
Yes, I am SUCH a geek.
I’m nerding out here about the Ood. Flashbacks of Rose and the Doctor saying “Don’t you think that’s a bit…Ood?” and giggling. So, that’s what I did in the first read-through.
On my second read-through, I discover that this may be the most important thing I’ve ever read. I feel like this post is a secret entrance (maybe the fairy door?) into Rally. Thank you so so much for laying out your process into a list that seems totally doable. I feel like this is a very important tool to be able to do my own at-home mini-Rally.
I love, love, LOVE this. I have this huge, scary, awesome, deadline-y, expectation-laden project that I have been completely avoiding. I could go on ad nauseum about all the ways this project is both the best thing ever and the most terrifying thing in the world. But I won’t. 🙂 What I will do is give some (large-ish, I hope) portion of Sunday over to this project, and I’m going to start with the ODD.
Good grief, I’m actually looking forward to it.
I went Dr Who as well, but you know, it works! And I printed out this post and will be playing with the OOD this afternoon (while in front of the box fan, at the kitchen table 🙂 and watching Dr Who)
This is delightful. I will implement this TODAY. With crayons and colored paper. Brilliant!
Yay! More methodological genius! My favorite. <3<3<3
Thanks, Havi! Particularly timely (pun intended) because I’m going through several changes simultaneously in my life right now. I like the word “tizmun”! It makes me think of being in touch with the flow of things–a nicer image for me than “planning”. And OOD makes me think of “oud”, a Middle Eastern lute-like instrument.
Thank you for this. I’m going to use it this week, and I believe that it will be especially helpful as I sort through the tangle of push/pull, want it/really don’t want it thoughts and feelings surrounding my dissertation proposal, the rest of the dissertation, and the whole dang degree program. This is absolutely a job for crayons, curiosity, and oodles of compassion.
Thank you again.
thank you, thank you, thank you. i just finished another draft of my first dissertation chapter, accomplished with less agony than the first draft because of obsessive archive-resourcing (mostly reading and re-reading the “closing doors” post). today: working through the plan for the second chapter with the OOD method before i begin? feeling immensely better and SO MUCH more ease about the whole thing. this post is so helpful!
I have a picture of an ood on my desk now – beside the picture of the grumpy old troll thats passed to those who are in a grump. The ridiculous rubbery face will remind me that I am in the ood process – its really exciting.
OOD = Object of Desire. That’s so cool. In [boring] software engineering, OOD just means object-oriented design. Sigh. I need to get into a cooler field…
Holy Cow! Read this after a few other posts and the delicious description of the Floating Playground… and insight city! I love your descriptions of the monsters. That would explain all the ickiness that has set in overnight after a wonderful day yesterday in which an heretofore unknown OOD simply arrived in my life like a beautiful butterfly on a flower in my hand. “Too big for your britches” monster, “that was too easy” monster, “must cause some pain now because I was in pure joy for too long” and so on. Thank you for your inspired, inspiring playfulness and honesty Maybe I don’t have to completely avoid the OODs after all….
I am so scared of writing down what I want (in ink, in a notebook I want to refer to for fully-formed wise ideas), so may as well do it publicly, indelibly and half-asleep!
1. I want a career that uses my skills, has challenges, contributes meaningfully and pays my expenses (and a housekeeper and vacations).
2. That sounds a little boring. Maybe I am OK with modest vacations and letting hubby bring in all the expense $ for a while. Maybe I really want to know I’m good enough, competent enough.
3. Qualities are achievement, peace of mind, satisfaction, self-esteem, pride, purpose, structure, security (or maybe belonging), progress.
4. Why? I’m not going to pathologize my childhood influences here. I just want it, dammit. Maybe I deserve it, maybe everyone does. It is the central portion of what I see as a good life. I have always thought that shoring up my self-esteem will make me more able to give and be happy in relationships (evidence: movies last Friday).
5. What if it gets in the way of a balanced life, i.e. the stress of the job makes me barren or (worse) grouchy? What if it doesn’t make me happy because I’m not rightly identifying what makes me happy? What if I’m just covering up feeling incompetent in other areas, e.g. relationships (grouchiness won’t help)? What if it’s the wrong career and I waste all my time and get so burnt out I’ll never want to pursue anything? What if I get laid off again and get convinced I am incompetent and sit at home and eat bon-bons until I’m 400 pounds?
(Solutions: the exercise habit, getting hubby exercising, noticing what works [so even the wrong path is not a waste], meditation for balance, more interest assessments, keeping up with [optimistic, energetic] friends. keeping hobbies that may become careers)
6. I’m going in circles a bit with my assessments right now and just need to make progress on applying for the best possible jobs. Number two: exercise with friends for de-stressing. After I apply for the current obvious posts, consider other careers (by talking to people and studying up).
7. For help:
enough alone time
enough socializing time
structure, especially in the morning — 30 days to a habit
first things first (fight fires later): apply, exercise, friends
going to bed before 12
8: Slightly future me:
It will be fine, whether or not you change careers now or later. Other people think you are competent. No need to play devil’s advocate with them; humility award has been replaced by the confidence award. Enjoy the sunshine as a reward for the hard.
9. Cindy, David, coach, Knock Em Dead author (enough for now, you ambitious introvert)
10. Go to sleep picturing myself as the fox.
The wall I have to get around is shrinking, because it hears the Book of Me talk about how I got around this wall before. The wall is protecting me from failure and what that would “say about me”. It protects me from the pathetic, nerdy, investing-“too”-much kind of failing, encouraging instead nonchalant, cool, accidental failing (i.e. my pretending not to see the size of the wall as I casually walk into it.)
I am naturally, unabashedly, innocently clever, so I can outwit the wall. The enemy is not HR. The enemy is fear of pity, which is holding hands with fear of enthusiasm-for-that-which-is-not-guaranteed. I need a mantra for courage to be bubbly and radiant.
Start every career email: I AM SO EXCITED.
**Visualize the exhale coming out my third eye and taking shape in my world! **
11. Monster is throwing its excrement: the pain of being called incompetent and the pain of being invested in other people’s judgment (thus losing sight of my enthusiasm). Anger at situation. Pain of authority, deciding my worth or whether they will give me a chance. Pain of not meeting my own expectations, that those expectations are not life-affirming (too high and too low). Anti-climatic feeling of past career accomplishments, not wanting to rely on others’ judgments but having no choice.
12. What worked? To be cont’d next week….