Amy Jones paid off $26,000 in debt with the help of the art project below. And she paid off all five of her credit cards in half the time she originally estimated. Last April, she realized that making minimum payments was not helping to alleviate the debt she had accumulated over the years.

Photo via Amy Jones/Quartz
Photo via Amy Jones/Quartz

"Unfortunately, unicorns saddled with cash were not coming. I needed a new approach. I also had this piece of framed canvas sitting around (as ridiculous as that sounds) and wanted to do something with it. One night, as I surrendered to the fact that it was time to be a grown woman, inspiration struck," Jones wrote for Quartz.

She was inspired by the same tactics her mother used when working toward sales incentives.

"So I grabbed a Sharpie and started drawing the same doodle pattern of swirls that I’ve been drawing for years in notebooks while on conference calls. I wasn’t paying too much attention to how it looked, what shape it ended up being, or how many swirls were in it. I eventually got tired and went to bed without finishing it," Jones said.

Each time she paid $100 to her credit cards, she would color in one swirl. She first took a chunk out of her savings and paid off a large portion of her debt.

Photo via Amy Jones/Quartz
Photo via Amy Jones/Quartz

After sharing her project on Facebook, others began to realize its potential and Jones ultimately began selling her designs, calling them Creative Progress Maps. They serve as a visual representation of progress, and motivation to encourage you to keep going, whatever the goal may be.


"Coloring in those swirls month after month helped me feel like I was doing something," Jones wrote. "It helped me see that I was making progress toward my goal of zeroing out my credit cards. I joke that it’s the most expensive piece of art I own, because of how much money it represents to me. Money that has been paid off."

Jones now has 15 different designs available to help others map their progress. All created using her iconic swirls, there are designs for weddings, dog training and others that are simple designs that can be used for any kind of project.

"No matter what goal you have, be it financial, fitness-related, a big life event, or a desire to form healthier habits, Creative Progress Maps are now here for you to use. Yes, they are black and white drawings. But they are also tools, and hope, and your own work of art the second you color in that first swirl."

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