This is the second month of my 30-day experiments series. Last month, I began a daily journaling experiment to see whether I would get as much out of the exercise as so many high-performers I had heard on podcasts or read in articles. The results were positive.

For at least the first several of these experiments I’m going to add something to my life rather than restrict something. I don’t want them to feel like some kind of diet or deprivation or punishment. That’s not going to get me excited about the challenge.

What I’m doing this month

This month, I will add to my life by spending at least an hour per day “creating.”

Why is that in quotes? Because it’s a squishy word, and I feel the need to put some guardrails around it lest I rationalize wasting time as somehow being productive.

Here’s how I will define “creating” for the purposes of this experiment:

  • It produces a tangible, physical result: I play the drums. I could play the drums for an hour and “create” music, but that wouldn’t accomplish what I’m going for here. I need there to be something I can look at on Nov. 30 and see how my time was spent.
  • It can’t be related to work or I Dream of FIRE: I write stuff. A lot of stuff. What I create will most likely find its way into a post or two, but writing blog posts isn’t going to count. I’m already doing that. This has to be something different. And writing for work — well that’s just silly to count.
  • It doesn’t have to be big, good or artsy (but it can be): My goal isn’t to become a prolific sculptor or build Stonehenge or even make something that my mom would want to put on the fridge. I just want to build a habit of making something and of learning and problem-solving along the way.
  • I get bonus points if it’s outside my comfort zone: I’m not a stranger to making stuff. I’m fairly handy, have a bunch of tools, and like to build things. Some of what I’ll do surely will be in that realm. But I’m absolutely not crafty or artsy or Pinteresting in the slightest. It’s not that I have an aversion to those things; I just don’t have an affinity. So if I do any of those types of things, that’s worth a gold star.

Here on Day 1, I have two ideas in the hopper.

I’m thinking something like this, but with more wood. Also not built like a sieve, like this one, according to Amazon’s reviews.

First, I was sitting in the lobby of a massage place recently admiring the Zen waterfall wall and thought, “I wonder how much that costs?” Then I immediately realized it’s basically just a bucket of water with a circulator pump that moves water from the bucket to a pipe at the top so it cascades peacefully down a slate wall and back into the bucket. I could totally build that!

So that’s one idea, which would involve sketching out the build and figuring out which materials I need. Then I would just assemble the pieces. In my mind, it’s an hour to draw up, two hours to buy everything (because I seem to crisscross the store and stare at things for awhile), and six hours to build. That’s nine hours. That means it will really be 15-20 hours by the time I’m done.

Second, I’ve got a wild hare to make some scented candles. This falls squarely in the “not in my wheelhouse” category, which is why I feel compelled to explore it. There’s more to it than that, but I don’t want to give away all the details in case it becomes a full-blown post.

I’m sure I’ll find other ways to create during the month, but at least I have two solid ideas right out of the gate.

As with last month, I’ll check in midway to let you know how it’s going and then recap the whole experiment at the end.