Project Renovate

Last fall my dear friend Aimee and I were discussing life in all its glory.  She had recently returned from wrapping up a consulting gig in East Africa and I was nearing the end of a long stretch of soul-searching unemployment as I weighed grad school options.  I expressed how the most delightful thing I have gleaned from my time ‘between cubes’ is how many wonderful things make up our lives, other then a job.  Aimee shared a blog post with me entitled ‘Project Renovate’ that had been done by a friend of hers.

Like most people, I tend to use lists to remind me of all the to-do’s I’d rather forget, like paying bills and picking up dry cleaning. Yet ‘Project Renovate’ caught the beautiful elements that can make up life and inspired me to capture the things I actually do want to do.

Why not be intentional about renovating my own life?  So, as I begin this fall and my last 9 months of graduate school, here is my list of 100 Life T0-Do’s by 09/2011.

Go Somewhere New Around The World (2/7)

  1. Stand at the edge of the Grand Canyon (Done)
  2. See the Pyramids in Egypt
  3. Explore Istanbul, Turkey
  4. Camping in Joshua Tree National Park
  5. Spend two unscheduled weeks in Bali (Done, December 2014)
  6. Go to Rwanda
  7. Visit my grandmother in South Africa (Done)


Be A Good Student (3/7)

  1. Meet with the Dean of my grad program (Done)
  2. Have a one-on-one meeting with each of my professors (3/3) (Done)
  3. Skim the reading for each class, prior to class, for the entire semester (4/14)
  4. Write a blog post about the process and what I learned from each group project I do (0/4)
  5. Have lunch with 10 classmates to learn more about their life and professional background (5/10)
  6. Research fellowships and opportunities available through Georgetown (Done)
  7. Sit in on a class in another department/school at Georgetown


Learn Something New, Expand My Horizons (4/17)

  1. Read Influencer and blog about it’s relevance to my passions
  2. Read A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink (Done: May 2012)
  3. Finish reading The Element (Done: June 2011)
  4. Read my camera manual
  5. Read a historical or award winning book
  6. Watch one TED talk a month (7/12)
  7. Attend 5 lectures on topics I know nothing about (1/5)
  8. Go to the Natural History Museum
  9. Attend a lecture at one of the local art museums
  10. Learn how to use excel well (with mathematical functions and all)
  11. Learn how to drive stick
  12. Learn something new about Word Press
  13. Learn how to make a great PP, Keynote or Prezi presentation
  14. Eat a food item I have never tried before
  15. Learn something new about painting with acrylics
  16. Learn how to play chess
  17. Find 5 red wines that I love (1/5)


Manage Financial Assets (1/6)

  1. Develop a personal budget, and practice using it
  2. Make a plan and schedule for paying off grad school loans
  3. Learn about my credit score and how to manage it
  4. Develop a savings plan, to reach the goal of buying a home in 5 years
  5. Open a Roth IRA
  6. Consolidate my retirement funds


Food For the Soul (2/10)

  1. Keep one healthy snack in the fridge each week (39/53)
  2. Eat three meals a day for a week (coffee, ice cream and chocolate do not constitute a meal) (7/7)
  3. Make a pie from scratch
  4. Bake a birthday cake, from scratch
  5. Be a vegan for a week (ok, it was almost vegan for 10 days)
  6. Go one month without ice cream
  7. Practice a strict vegetarian diet for one month
  8. Grow a herb garden of some sort
  9. Prepare a full, family style meal for a group of friends to share over a good bottle of wine
  10. Learn how to prepare a roast


Peaceful Mind & Active Body (1/11)

  1. Re-start my yoga practice – do yoga once a week (0/52)
  2. Take a dance class for a quarter/session
  3. Go to the gym 3 times a week, for three straight weeks
  4. Go for a 30-minute walk once a week (49/52)
  5. Stretch before bed, every night (5/365)
  6. Run 5 miles without stopping
  7. Read a novel that doesn’t have to do with a social issue, conflict, war or aid worker lifestyle
  8. Journal at least once a week (40/52)
  9. Practice Gratitude: Write a list of things I am grateful for, before bed, for a week
  10. Go on a hike
  11. Have one technology free day a month (2/12)


Invest in My Professional Development (4/10)

  1. Publish an article (Done - 2014)
  2. Finished website for new consulting business (Done)
  3. Finish writing the business plan for Red Balloon Ideas (Done)
  4. Attend one networking or social event a month (3/12)
  5. Have a meeting with Bill Novelli
  6. Interview Key Social Marketing Figures: B. Smith, A. Andreasen, and N. Lee (0/3)
  7. Attend a Renaissance Weekend (Done- July 2012)
  8. Follow-up with new contacts within a week of introduction
  9. Apply for the Presidential Management Fellowship
  10. Join a networking/brainstorming/inspirational community and actively participate


Engage My Community (4/9)

  1. Visit two new restaurant or store a month (11/24)
  2. Have an open house once a season: fall, winter, spring & summer (2/4)
  3. Attend a local art show, play or performance
  4. Support/Cheer a friend on at a major event or milestone
  5. Write 5 thank you note to our troops (0/5)
  6. Volunteer to baby sit for friends so they can have a date night
  7. Have drinks or dinner with a new friend
  8. Go ‘across town’ at least once a week/Get off the Hill (33/52)
  9. Volunteer to help a friend with a non-fun project


Love The People That Love Me (3/13)

  1. Call my grandmother in South Africa, at least once a month (8/12)
  2. Send all of my immediate family members birthday cards on time (3/7)
  3. Have a meal with my brother James (Done - November 2010)
  4. Write my mom’s parents a card 4 times (3/4)
  5. Visit Hubbie and Chelle in Tennessee (Done)
  6. Visit Amy and Drew in Florida
  7. Have dinner with Anne, Ana and V once a quarter (1/4)
  8. Throw a fabulous birthday party for someone I love
  9. Make someone’s wish come true
  10. Send 5 cards to friends who live in foreign countries or far-off places (2/5)
  11. Have brunch with the CA-Crew once a quarter (0/4)
  12. Make it home for a major holiday
  13. Write a love letter


Life’s Random Things (2/10)

  1. Look at a creative blog, website or magazine once a week (25/52)
  2. Fly a kite
  3. Buy a piece of art (Done - small painting in Avignon, France)
  4. Attend a jazz festival
  5. Organize electronics and toss all stray cords and random knick-knacks
  6. Assist with a political campaign
  7. Vote
  8. Call my Senator about something I care about
  9. Go Bowling
  10. Watch one new indie film a quarter (2/4)