The Life List That Changed My Life

Written by Dusti

I love lists. Like religiously. Lists for shopping, lists for goals, lists to keep track of everything. I’m not OCD, but I do like to track progress. Checking off each little box makes me warm and fuzzy inside.

Last year, on January 3rd, 2010, I started a list that would change my life. It was called 101 in 1001. The idea is you choose 101 things of varying difficulty and complete them in 1001 days. That’s not so long it’s impossible to see the end of, but it also gives you more leeway than New Year’s Resolutions. Count me in.

One of my more outlandish tasks on the list was “Use a productivity system for 30 days.” (So much for not appearing OCD.) A productivity system would help me get my crap in order, and hopefully, my life would follow suit.

Enter GTD (Getting Things Done). I bought files and a box and got to work. But soon, I realized it wasn’t a good fit for me. (Too many files and far too many rules.) I began to look again for a new system to try. That’s when I found ZTD (Zen to Done).


That’s when Leo Babauta and Zen Habits entered my life. I started diving through the archives. He wasn’t just talking productivity. He was bringing simplicity into every aspect of life. That’s when I entered the blogosphere, first as a reader, then soon as a fellow contributor.

One of the movements Leo was advocating was minimalism. I started reading about other people trying similar life experiments, and I was shocked. I couldn’t believe there were other people like me so dissatisfied with the the consumer culture that appeared the only option. But they were doing something about it. Many of them were living with 100 things or less!

That was insane to me. It reminded me of a few years back when I had moved to Texas with what would fit in a suitcase. And I had loved it! So I made the decision to do it. I started going through my things, making Goodwill trips, and downsizing.

Then, it was my daughter’s turn. Everyone thought (read: still thinks) I was crazy for doing it, but what do babies really need? Clothes and toys. Who needs more than 100? (She seems to be just fine, thank you.)

While I was doing this downsizing, I had also started blogging about it. The fact was nobody was writing about what radical minimalism looked like with kids, and I felt like I had something really worthwhile to talk about. It turned out other people felt that way, too. Within two weeks of starting my blog, I’d guest posted on my favorite blogger’s site (when she wasn’t taking guest posts) and taken my niche by storm.

I was in love. After feeling so isolated since I had my daughter, here were all of these people who understood what I was going through. Here was this wonderful community willing to share and discuss and be vulnerable. Out of the blue, I found friends, mentors, and more than a few adventures. And how could I forget the passion I felt for writing? The words flowed like water. It was beautiful. My calling stumbled into my life when I was just looking for new things to keep me from remembering my QLC.

Since then, it’s been a wild ride. I’ve released several ebooks, turned my blog into a business platform, and now I’m here pouring my heart out at Stratejoy. I found Stratejoy in an unconventional way these days – I met Molly in person! We found each other at a karaoke bar during the World Domination Summit this summer, and after hearing Molly’s story, it wasn’t long before I was diving in and out of her archives.

When I saw apps were being taken for new Stratejoy writers, it was fate. With my blog being so business-like, there’s a lot a I want to share that no longer fits that audience. I am so ready to share the stories that make us who we are. It’s an honor to have the opportunity to connect with such an amazing group of women. Here’s to another year of beautiful words, broken stories, and creating incredibly rich lives.

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