Sunday, October 24, 2010

Projects and Priorities

I have been thinking about how I often have so many projects going at once that I never really get everything done with any single project.  It occurs to me that I may be majorly wasting my time, and definitely a lot of my energy, by making so much to do all the time.

Where is my priority?  Have I chosen one, or two, or three?  I seem to sway between each project on a whim, getting a nice start on many ideas, but then letting them slide as my attention goes elsewhere.  Is there a way to become more focused? What would that mean?

I think it would be a good idea to decide what my overall goal is for my life and then take a look at all of the projects I have going on and see if there is a common thread.  Then, find the priorities within all the projects: what would logically happen first or lead into another, or even negate another.  Simplifying would be great.

I would like my life to be more simple.  I would like to have the ability to spend more time at home with my husband and have meals together.  I'd like to be able to study Kosho Shorei Ryu.  I'd like to have enough peace and stillness in my life to drawn and paint my own ideas as they are inspired.

Right now I am treading water a lot.  I am behind with work.  I have let my correspondences get far behind.  I have become overwhelmed and stopped encouraging new clients and return clients, which is now resulting in stress of not enough work!  The studio needs to be cleaned and straightened, and my home studio absolutely needs this.  Drawings have been done but I have neglected to follow up with clients who took breaks on their work.  A few days of catching up on paused projects would do me a lot of good.

With the idea that it will be good to move closer to work for both my husband and I, we have several projects at home that have been looming.  Replacing the dishwasher, cleaning up in general, re-dry-walling the sun room and replacing it's ceiling, many outdoor tree trimming projects and deck repainting. . . this list is large and often seems to stop me in my tracks.  I forget to breathe and that this doesn't have to happen overnight.  Just one step each day will get us there.  Still, this is the hardest one for me to calm down about and allow to happen.

Having so much furniture to move around and get out of the way is claustrophobic.  Thinking of needing to pack it all and move it is intimidating as well.  I feel weak trying to lift or even help lift furniture, and I am hoping that I can find stronger people to help move it all when the time comes.  Already we have had a lot of help with the yard, so I am thankful.  I find myself wishing I could do it all myself and spare friends and brothers the hassle of this stuff.  Asking for help is hard for me and I feel bad needing it.  I feel bad getting it as well.  I feel like an annoying child that has gotten what I wanted at others' expense.  I would like to find a way to reduce that feeling.

I suppose a good way to look at it is to keep in mind how much more of myself I will have to offer when all of this is done.  With the stress of moving and the long commute reduced, I would be able to put forth a much happier self to all I encounter.  I won't constantly feel the need to sequester myself in cramped rooms and plot and plan ways to get it all done - it will already be done!  And once I have the space to breathe and create again, I know I will be much more outgoing and smiley.  I am at my best when I am painting and making my own art, enjoying being at home with Derek and generally less frantic.

I have let several projects begin and dropped them halfway.  Some of them were art related - working on my kid's book but not pursuing a publishing contact because I just didn't have the energy to follow it through and knew I wouldn't be able to finish the illustrations while expanding my studio and moving it last year.  I was beginning the Rosetta Stone French series but only did it for a week or so before putting it on hold.  I think I would like to do that one some more, but would like life to calm down a bit before resuming.  I already speak French decently enough to be understood, so I didn't feel a great urge to push that just now.  I've dropped a lot of my own paintings and photo shoot ideas for paintings feeling that I ought to be working harder on the studio.  Still, though, I seem to want to take on classes like the Illustration Master Class even though it is expensive for me and turns into a week I can't work or earn money.  Why do I do this?

I think that the answer lies in my desire to create my own artwork and become better at expressing myself artistically and in general.  I hate to miss opportunities to grow was an artist, and can also see how I can use the class into an opportunity to network with my friends and get even better shows to happen at my gallery.  But I think the primary desire is really to paint better and create more.  Taking the class twice highlighted for me both times how I don't do as much of my own work as I would like to and instead spend a lot of time working for others or on other projects.  This might be a candle I need to tend to.

The kids book is not anything that is calling to my soul anymore.  I used to love to write and wanted to get into children's books, but that spark has faded.  I am happy with what I wrote, but not interested in pursuing it. Perhaps that will change in time, but for now, this is at least one project I can put to rest and feel good about.

I will continue to put thought into how I can become more focused and disperse my energy less.  I imagine only good things can come of that.

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