In Everyday Life

Author Note: What follows has been in the works for almost a year and should only inspire! Do not let the breath and detail of this post overwhelm you – it took me all of that time to get comfortable with the plan . To take a quote out of Kelsey’s “52 Healthy Changes to make in 2016”; “The secret of getting ahead is getting started” – Mark Twain. Pick one Goal, two or all four, even one of your own, but get started!


reat! Welcome aboard Redeem 5.2. I am really excited (and a tad nervous) to have a plan to work from in 2016. Hopefully many of you will join in and make this a team effort. It is certainly no stretch to say over the years I have personally made halfhearted “resolutions” and have watched many friends make well intended pledges; what I don’t seem to remember are too many actual changes. Apparently there is a difference between a pledge and a commitment…the time has come for me to commit.

Redeem 5.2 is not about adding “one more thing” to my day. It is a plan to take back time already spent during the day, filling that time with new found value.

Do you understand the math? Read Introduction to Redeem 5.2

Hopefully this resonates with you, or maybe it was just for me to work through. Regardless, time to put myself out there.

Here is the general process I will utilize to redeem 5.2 weeks of 2016 and a few general suggestions on how to fill the time. Some may inspire you and help get you through the inevitable “Dark Night of the Soul”, some are going to be a personal grind (I am personally including two that I am not excited about but know I need to do).

In the coming weeks look for more detail on how to go about these suggested areas.


From Steal like An Artist – Austin Kleon

Step One: Get a Calendar

From the book Steal Like An Artist – Austin Kleon: Pages 127-128

”…Jerry Seinfeld has a calendar method that helps him stick to his daily joke writing…break your work into daily chunks. Each day, when you’re finished with your work, make a big fat “X” in the day’s box…”After a few days you’ll have a chain, “ Seinfeld says. “Just keep at it and the chain will grow everyday…”

Ok…who else saw that coming? Comedy, the result of grinding daily process and discipline. And how many of the jokes ever see the light of day? But stick to it and like Seinfeld’s comedy or not, this process has contributed to his extensive success.

So instead of reinventing the wheel I am “stealing” Seinfeld and Kleon’s process – a calendar to help me keep on track…making a “chain” to visually inspire me. And when that chain gets broken? I will count up the longest chain and start a new one with the goal of setting a new record. Even if that new “record” is only two days in a row.

Step Two: Pick four areas to fill the redeemed time with

This is where the plan and measurables come in. I am approaching Redeem 5.2 like this:

1 Hour a day: 2-30 minute blocks – one AM and one PM. I plan to get the AM session done before breakfast in the morning, and the PM session done after my kids go to sleep. Both sessions redeem time that I currently spend surfing internet news and social media sites (“surfing” – aimlessly filling time. Redeeming the time when I linger on the internet while avoiding other parts of my day…and I can tell exactly when that avoidance begins).

That makes 8 sessions per week. If I try to fill all 8 with the same goals then I am right back to “DBET”. So I am picking 4 areas to fill the time with variety and as measurable: each area gets 1 hour a week broken into two 30 minute sessions.

Areas to consider focusing on:

  • Unfinished Projects – house projects, ideas,
  • Children – think about them, how to love them, understand them, plan for time together, journaling
  • Spouse – think about them, how to love them, understand them, plan for time together, journaling
  • Relationships – write hand written letters to distant family, everyone who has ever influenced you
  • Volunteer – find an opportunity to serve others that can be done 1 hour a week
  • Dreams – Chase them! Moving them closer to reality
  • Learn – that thing you have always wanted to do: play an instrument, paint, write a book, build furniture, write poetry, learn a new language, learn to repair your own car
  • Plan – your day tomorrow, next week, month, year, future

My choices are, and week will look like:

Mon AM Children
Mon PM Relationships
Tues AM Dreams
Tues PM Relationships

Wed AM Unfinished Projects
Wed PM Dreams
Thur AM Children
Thur PM Unfinished Projects

…and each session I redeem gets one of those big fat “X”s on my calendar (see Header picture).

Remember, I love “process”. Part of process is planning and tools to help keep the process moving. In this case the plan is determining the time and content of the 8 sessions and the tool is the calendar. This works for me and is meant as a possible route and inspiration for you. Have a better way? Sweet! A method that matches your way of doin’ stuff, awesome! Don’t let my approach get in the way of your commitment! Pick one goal for all 8 sessions…do one hour blocks once a day…take different days off…make it work!

But one caution: No plan + no tools = no follow through.

P.S. I am looking forward to re-writing this post in the future. Can you tell I am struggling communicating the concept? It is clunky and feels like a teenager learning to drive a stick shift…car…5 speed manual…clutch…ask your parents. ANYWAY, good example of “just start making stuff”. Get started and expect refinement and clarity to come later through the focus of experience.

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    WOW. I think I need to read this again tomorrow. Right now mostly I need to do unfinished projects AM & PM, every day.

    • Jason Steffen
      Jason Steffen

      Cassie, There is A LOT in this post. Like I said it is a bit clunky. Watch for future posts breaking it down into more bite sized pieces. Thank you for reading!

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