Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What do you do to stay on track?

While most people say oh how much they love to get in the studio and work away all day diligently and how easy and how much fun that is…..I suspect it’s very different. At least it is for me! I find it very hard to stay focused and on track – checking the computer, making a cuppa tea, tidying up the studio, folding fabric, even housework starts to look like a fun activity!! I tell myself now come on you need to get on with this after all it’s supposed to be a hobby not a drudge!! And of course it’s true t hat there are moments, sometimes even long moments, where you’re flying along – rushing from the design wall to the machine, to the ironing board and the cutting table…but that’s only about 5% of the time. Like any art, there’s a lot of discipline involved and it’s important to learn how to motivate and activate oneself.

I do think it helps to have a specific place to work, with tools easily to hand and things fairly well organized. If you have to look for something chances are you’ll come across several hundred other really interesting things on the way!! Each one needing immediate investigation or perusal of course.

I also find that a To Do list – written out at breakfast time or the night before – works for me. This is not an Overall What Must Be Done In My Life list – but a simple list for that particular day: today I will accomplish the following……

I always try to tackle the thing I least want to do first, after that it is definitely easier.

And t hen, oh joy!, to cross off things is wonderful.

I also give myself little goals and little rewards immediately upon achieving those goals. For example – three difficult seams sewn and then you get a cuppa tea or a walk round the garden,

or four designs sketched then you get to play one game of Free Cell or 5 minutes of sudoku! By the way there is a really good downloadable computerized Sudoku game program. It does away with all the busy work and you get the pure fun of elimination – and it’s timed so you can allow yourself just 5 minutes, then tuck it away on the screen ready for the next reward period. It’s only for Windows, I’m afraid! – yes there are reasons for not owning a Mac!!!

I think having fairly specific Work Hours helps too – after all this is your job! The pay may not be much, and the benefits often negligible, but hopefully the job satisfaction is all!!!

Job Satisfaction and Overall Goal: I think it’s helpful to know what particular aspect of the work is really satisfying to you – and this may vary for different people. I know the money, the honour and glory, the companionship (at workshops and guild meetings) work for a lot of people. What turns me on I think are two things: one, when I hang a finished piece in my Quilt Hanging Place (there’s only one, I’m a window addict (as well as tea) and have punctured every wall in the house with windows!!

There are 74 of them!!!)…well when I hang that new piece for the first time and look at it over the next few days or weeks and feel that it’s strong, it conveys the Main Idea I had and that it holds my interest – then I’m rewarded. The second prize for me is when I sell a piece to someone who then calls or emails and tells me how much it means to them, how much enjoyment and pleasure it is bringing to their daily life.

So, if you know where your satisfaction lies, then you can aim toward it. And what is wonderful for you might be very different from what satisfies me – and that’s absolutely ok!! Honestly, if having fun is your goal and you do have fun and never finish a thing that is absolutely fine!! You have met your goal.

And, if you have been, thanks for reading!


1 comment:

beadbabe49 said...

That's a great list, elizabeth...the only thing I'd add to it (and maybe this only works for me) is to have several pieces going at once, so if I dry up on one of them, I still have another one to work on. I also usually try to have a very simple thing to work on (like a pair of earrings or pin) that doesn't require any creative thoughts, just simple actions, one after another, which works great for days when my muse is visiting someone else's house, lol!