Friday, February 21, 2014

Making Lists, Artists and Crafters, making the most of your overwhelming task list!

Cat Portrait I painted
I was talking about this with a very successful artist friend of mine, how not having a boss, but working for yourself.  It's so easy to get overwhelmed, so much to do, so little time.  His work-around?  Just do anything.  Because the often advised list-making, task ranking and finished crossing offs take time and sap momentum.

Now, I have been trying goal setting on a team at Etsy and that did help.  But some days, I felt like a failure.  My day had veered off in some weird direction and what I came back to report was that I hadn't gotten anything done on my list of priorities, but had worked all day.  Kind of deflating.

I have a friend who is ultra organized.  On paper.  She writes down every single task in order to be able to cross them off, as advised by the experts.  AND she prioritizes them, as advised as well.  I often thought she spends more time reordering tasks than the tasks would take to do!

And lists can be overwhelming.  Look at all that needing to be done.  What is the most important one?  Maybe this, maybe that.  Maybe the hardest thing, the easiest thing, the shortest thing, the longest thing.  Maybe I'll see if there's any new tutorials on Youtube.  Then I'll get started. 

Just do it!  When you're overwhelmed, just picking anything and getting moving affects your whole list.  Every minute you spend on ANY task, moves the rest of them up a minute.  And really, is "clean palette knives" more important than "file away the paperwork"?  Either one can be behind the other, and once one's done, the other is next!
C'mon, get moving!

Of course, being ever mindful of deadlines is crucial.  We work well under pressure because we must keep working, not sitting back thinking about working. 

So my lists now are very short.  
1.  Any must dos.  Things that can't wait even a day.
2.  Anything I need to do later that I'm likely to forget.  (I get up very early, so calling the insurance company about the problem on the bill has to wait).

Then, I make it a habit to revisit my list around 4 pm, when I have the chance to do any of the things that I needed to do that slipped through the cracks.

What about the rest of the tasks?  I just did them.  Without ranking them, crossing them off a list or debating their importance.  Just get started and put that overwhelming list making away!  Off to finish up that house portrait...... :D


Anonymous said...

pretty nice blog, following :)

Robin said...

Well thanks and welcome, Skyline!