Slips: A Way of Life

We love efficiency, planning, lists, productivity, and incentives. We love to trick ourselves into feeling good through productivity. I know you could objectively examine my life or Dollissa’s and come away thinking that we are disorganized and lazy, but that is an illusion. Inwardly, and occasionally outwardly, we are precise go-getters who have a thousand things to go and get, and a thousand ways to go and get them.

An illustration that was actually done with pen on paper! It is actually two illustrations. One is of a smiling Dollissa and under her it says "Glory." The other is of Amandoll and under her it says "Success."
Here we are!

This obsession has led to us being barraged by targeted advertising, trying to get us to buy calendars and journals built exactly for people like us. Dollissa, being unafraid of advancements in the productive sciences, will occasionally buy these products, and they either work for a second or don’t work at all. Well, except for one journal — but that review deserves its own post.

We are always on the quest for the thing that works all the time and keeps us going, and I think in 2019 we might have developed our own system that actually works. We sort of fizzled out by the end of that year, and again by the end of 2020 — but 2021 is looking up. We have been tweaking our system. Perfecting it.

You already know that you should have multiple calendars, reminder apps, reminder scraps of paper, daily to do lists, and accountability from friends set in place. We have already shown you how to get that together, I think. Listen, we have almost a thousand posts and I don’t necessarily have them all memorized. But! This system I will teach you today deals in motivation and sticktoitiveness. And also I guess if we never told you how to get yourself into gear — watch for that article in the future, too.

Essentially, we have taken the idea of setting goals, blended it with the magical properties inherent in building your own altar to power your dreams, but also included something like a vision board, too. Having our goals in front of our eyes is like having a To Do List, but for the year, or the next years to come, if you can’t get around to it. Behold:

We see a little bulletin board with rectangles of different colors pinned to it. There is a basket and some things under it. It looks like little drawings of Dollissa and Amandoll are in the corners. Above it is a silly little thing that says "you got this."
Right at the top of the stairs.

Color Coding

First, you should divide your productive life into segments or “categories.” We have narrowed our lives down into eight general sections, but could probably make Sneer Campaign its own thing, if there were more colors in my construction paper pack.

To guide you, I will list our life categories in case it would inspire you:

  1. Houses (red) – projects and decoration goals
  2. Garden (green, of course) – yard work, garden plans, vegetable harvests
  3. Empire (neon orange) – Sneer Campaign, our legends, our public efforts
  4. Work (hot pink) – for Dollissa, her job, raises, etc; for me, it is commissions and sales
  5. Personal Projects (plain white) – zines, making books, learning skills, hobby goals
  6. Health (blue) – exercise, appointments, self care, pet health
  7. Social (orange) – parties, reuniting with long lost friends, outings
  8. Philanthropy (yellow) – donations, volunteer work, etc
A close up of some slips. There are two that are neon orange. One says "taking cards to Hail" and the other says something about migrating sneer campaign.  A red slip says "painting kitchen", a hot pink one says "finishing ed's commission," and a blue one says to take Muriel to the vet.
We have achieved a few of these pictured already!

You could very easily choose to have your categories be more specific, such as “write the Great American Novel,” or more relaxed, like “learn to ride a bike.” The important part is that you tailor your dreams to fit your happiness. Do what speaks to you. We are notorious for overloading ourselves with expectations, so be cautioned before you try our path.

Write on the Slip

At the beginning of the year, and periodically throughout, we fill out some slips ahead of time to keep us on track to long term goals. There is a board where they are displayed. We are confronted by this Slip Altar every day of our lives.

A photo of Talismans. Some good luck coins and a Batik Balinese shadow puppet.
Details of some of our good luck and protection talismans. They guard our wishes.

You may write whatever pleases you on your slips, but we always say “[Name of Person] achieved the goal of [description of achievement, in larger writing] on [date of achievement].” We never deviate from this format except for when it is a group goal being achieved, such as a party. Then, you will see that “we” is in place of an individual’s name. We are living the collective dream when that happens.

A Basket or Similar Container

Completed slips are to be tossed into a small basket at the base of the board. These are your achievements. Seeing the pile grow gives you a sense of swelling pride and intense accomplishment. Did you ever doubt yourself? You shouldn’t have, because before, that basket was empty. And now? Now there is a little slip pile forming. As the year wears on, you feel like a titan.

A small little basket contains slips of many colors!
The Basket of Glorious Success.

It is also not a bad idea to have a container of pre-cut blank slips of all your colors. When you are dizzy with the success of another attainment, it is kind of a mood dampener to have to cut out a new little paper to write down your action before you can soak in the good feelings. Forewarned is forearmed.

Points & Rewards

Originally, we had planned to, at the end of the year, look at our achievements and ascribe “point values” to them. We would honestly assess each triumph and add them up. Depending on how many points we earned, we could then reward ourselves accordingly. We were inspired by memories of selling candy bars for school fundraisers and things like that. The thrill of getting to go through a prize catalog and choosing what you deserved was appealing to us.

However, it turns out that we are the kinds of suckers who feel fulfilled just looking at a stack a slips. It felt like a joyous reward to know that we do in fact do things! Besides, why wait until the end of the year to buy yourself treats? We are adults and can buy whatever we want! Also, we have enough already.

This is an illustration of Amandoll and Dollissa heavily stylized to look like a fashion image from the 1980s. They stand back to back with sunglasses on, looking pretty haughty and smug.

Who needs stuff when we have our precious slips!

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