Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What Do You Know?

Today tastes like tart tatin, like truffled honey, like fois gras. What a nice day! Lush and sweet and earthy all at the same time.

Looking forward to the four day weekend. Planning to spend all the available time in my paper studio, winding up projects. When I cleaned this last time, I boxed most everything up and then labelled the boxes so I could make my to-do list simpler. I have a box for collabarative art projects ("Other People's Art AKA the Guilt Box"), a box for my personal stuff ("My Next Big Thing"), and a box of collabarative ATC backgrounds ("Jam Stock").

So far, I have nearly emptied the Guilt Box. I did decos last weekend, which cleared an enormous logjam for me. I stopped doing decos this summer. The game just wasn't worth the candle. But, of course, there were some projects I'd agreed to take, and there they were, glaring up at me everytime I walked past my workbench.

And now, they fly free.

So--what do I know?

In this context, I have learned that my listmaking tendencies slow me down. See, I start a list of stuff to do, and before I know it, I have scheduled every single minute of my weekend with stuff to do. Which is fine when everything goes as expected.


So I wind up with no more than half my list done, and then there's stuff that pops us that needs to get done, and oh, there's the things I wannado . . . and, and, and.

So one of the best tips I've found is to write no more than three things on your to-do list. And then do those three, pause for a modest celebration of your accomplishments, then write three more. Or take the day off and do what you wannaddo, because, after all, you DID the things on your to-do list.

Example--last weekend, I had three things I wanted to have done before Monday morning rolled around. I wanted to have completed the knitting on one Linus binkie (two looooooong garter stitch borders to be picked up and done), I wanted to have the decos in the Guilt Box ready to fly, and I wanted to finish a set of ATC's and charms for swappage. I put them on my list, posted the list on the calendar (what DID we do before Post-It notes?) and went to town.

It doesn't sound like much. Three things in a sea of thousands, right? But I got all three done in plenty of time to read and go out for brunch and loll around. And now I have a list of three more that I'm chewing through. (The ATC's in the guilt box need to be finished, the Linus binkie needs to be made ready to present, and I have a book form I want to experiment with. Do you have any idea HOW LONG I've been putting these off? Three things at a time may be small progress--but it IS progress.)

So--I know that lists are a valuable tool for me. I know that I can get a lot done in small bites. I know that I need to keep my focus on those small bites, because otherwise, I get overwhelmed easily.

And I know that when I'm overwhelmed, I wind up spinning like a Sufi dancer. And nothing gets done.

1 comment:

CarolCot said...

I love this idea of only 3 things. I've avoided lists recently because of being overwhelmed. Takes time to put it together and then I can't bear to look at it. What a waste of time that is! Thanks for the tip!