This has been my daily challenge for this year. As a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom (who also holds down a part time job to help pay the bills) it is much harder than it sounds. But I’m learning that if I make it a priority (the dishes can wait for an hour while I sit down & sketch something) more often than not it actually happens. I’m making progress towards my big life goals and I’m happier for it.
Excellent advice from @1000lifelessons . This is something I really struggle with when life gets hectic. But by identifying specific goals & committing to working on them every day, I’ve achieved more than I ever would have by simply waiting for the ‘mood’ to strike.
The other day I was taking an ‘Insta-break’, while I scarfed down my lunch before resuming work on a design project with a looming deadline, and when I came across this quote I just stopped. Could that really be true? I mean, nice thought, but I’m pretty sure my paying customers will mind quite a bit if I suddenly decide I need twice as much time as I originally told them to complete their project. Then it hit me. Yes, some things in life do need to follow a specific timeline, but when it comes to the broader goals I have for myself – both personally and professionally – no matter how many roadblocks I keep coming up against, I’m only a failure if I decide to quit instead of pressing onward. And some days it really feels like I’m making zero progress, but deep in my heart I know that’s not true because I haven’t stopped. And I’m not going to.
As a lifelong artist, I’m constantly seeking new sources of inspiration (sometimes consciously, sometimes not). I have within me a NEED to create, which tends to pop up at rather ‘inconvenient’ times – like when I’m halfway through a project and suddenly get an idea for something else I just HAVE to try out. Now. On any given day, you can walk into my office and see several different works-in-progress in various stages of completion…I used to consider this one of my biggest setbacks as an artist, but I’ve come to accept that this is just how I work. Eventually I will circle back to each piece and finish it. And more often than not it turns out better than I originally envisioned. I just needed to take a break so I could return again with a fresh perspective and renewed energy. As it happens, this applies to quite a lot of other things in life as well.
A brief glimpse into my glamorous life as a stay-at-home mom. More humorous in retrospect than it was at the time…
Yesterday afternoon I decided to hem a new pair of pants to better fit my short legs. While my 3-year-old son was busy eating lunch, I managed to get them pinned up without incident. By the time I was ready to sew, he was done eating, so I set him up with some fresh-out-the box colored pens & markers and a stack of paper. He was thrilled. I only needed 10 minutes to complete the job. Piece of Cake.
Attempt #1: I pressed the foot pedal to make the machine go. Instantly, there was a loud SNAP and the top half of the needle flew out & landed in my lap (I still have no idea what happened to the bottom half…). I’d seen my son under my sewing table the day before playing with the unplugged machine, but it never occurred to me to check to make sure he hadn’t loosened the screw that held the needle in place. Whoops.
Attempt #2: 30 minutes later, I finally located my spare sewing machine needle (after dejectedly sorting through about 1000 other varieties) at the bottom of a bin I hadn’t rifled through in years. I sat back down, inserted the needle into the machine, pressed the foot pedal, and…CRASH! I whipped around to discover that my son had managed to knock over a large picture frame (which I’d had propped against the wall until I could find the time to hang it up) shattering the glass.
Attempt #3: 20 minutes later, glass shards having been removed and the picture frame relocated, I sat back down again and pressed the foot pedal…’HELP!’ I turned my head to see that my son (who had decided he was done coloring) had somehow gotten his foot stuck in the back of the folding chair while trying to get down.
Attempt #4: 10 minutes later, after rescuing my son from his predicament and helping him locate all of the marker caps, I sat back down and pressed the foot pedal…and 10 minutes later I was done. Hooray! It may have taken me 7x longer than I’d planned to complete the job, but, hey, at least I accomplished something.
What a lovely reminder to slow down & enjoy life. I sometimes feel like I’m in a competition for who can create the most to do lists. It’s great to have goals, but it’s OK to take a break & relax when you need it too.
This might be the best advice I’ve come across in years.
I came across this thought-provoking article by James Clear today & it kind of rocked my world. What do I know in my heart (or from past experience) is a proven strategy for success, but I haven’t been doing lately? Have I been focusing too much on what’s ‘trendy’ and ‘exciting’ while ignoring the tried & true, but perhaps ‘boring’ or ‘time consuming’ methods? Am I wasting precious time seeking a quick & easy solution?
I’m afraid the answer to all of these in one aspect or another is, ‘Yes’. Ouch. Time to step back, reevaluate my goals & priorities & follow a lot of my own advice (instead of everyone else’s).