Barney Davey has shared another insightful blog in ART PRINT ISSUES on one way to cope with the malaise that sets in when we become bogged done in the minutiae of unfinished tasks and too many things to do without enough time. I recommend that you read it and subscribe to what may be the best art blog on the Internet.
Here are a few suggestions I’ve found useful on how to crawl out of the “over commitment – under performance” quagmire that sometimes makes it seem impossible to accomplish anything:
Make a short list of the smallest tasks that are weighing you down. Pick one and tell yourself: “If I finish this, I don’t have to do anything else for the rest of the day unless I feel like it.” I remember a difficult time when the only item on my list that seemed possible was “Trim toenails.” When I crossed it off, I felt a tiny sense of satisfaction and found the second had diminished in size. Every time I struck something from the list my spirits and sense of accomplishment increased.
Straighten the picture of how things should look. For an artist, that may be “straighten the studio.” Too big a job? Try: “straighten my paint box” or “wipe the excess paint off the necks of the paint tubes and replace the caps.” If you’ve made a list, cross it off. That’s Visual Feedback. The trick is to pick something where you see an immediate result, whether its sweeping the sidewalk, trimming an overgrown bush or putting the dishes in the dishwasher.
Learn to say, “NO.” When asked to take on another job, try: “I’d love to help, but there’s no way I can fit it in.” That’s the truth, isn’t it?
Recognize: It doesn’t have to be done MY way, and the corollary: It doesn’t have to be done on MY schedule. If you knew how long it took me to learn that, and at what cost, you’d tattoo it on the back of your hand.
Don’t let bad news force you into a “Chicken Little” panic. Falling stock prices? Banks failing? Crime and corruption on the rise? Hurricanes or earthquakes wrecking devastation? Try turning off the TV. How is it in your town, in your neighborhood? Will the sun come up tomorrow? There are days when times are so tough “on the tube” I hop in the car and drive to the Gulf just to glory in God’s marvelous creation. My wife and I did it yesterday. We saw a manatee, a dolphin, sun sparkling on azure water and came home refreshed. It’s even better when you share it with someone.
Here’s a couplet to remember:
Its always wise