I'm one of those girls that can't not be doing anything. I usually have my calendar booked a week and a half ahead of time and not long ago I felt like I was drowning in obligations, to-do lists and always on the edge of full out panic. 1. Using a calendar
Sounds rather basic, but for a long time I was going on with life not using a calendar to organize my schedule. I would just remember everything...for the most part...until I didn't. But life got considerably more complicated when I graduated from college and started working full time. My regular work schedule allowed me to start doing a ton of other things that I couldn't do when I didn't have any money and my schedule was a little more chaotic. All of these new hobbies had a pretty flexible schedule and became challenging to manage just in my head. I started using Google's calendar because of how well it integrated into my life via my computer and my phone. This has helped me to keep my commitments and get more of the things I want to do accomplished.
2. Taking action
Recently, I discovered that Behance offers a great project management tool called ActionMethod online. It gives people a way to take all of the things floating around in your head, put it in manageable bites and in an order that will help you make it happen. Then, during a staff meeting, my boss suggested we all read David Allen's "Getting Things Done". I remembered having this book lying around somewhere so I dug it out and decided to give it a try. The first chapter in, I realized that ActionMethod was likely made with GTD in mind. Using these tools together I've started to prioritize my actions in order to make sure I do more with my time. Still working on the clearing what's in the inbox though...
3. Putting myself out there
Lately I've been packing up a portion of my studio and bringing it with me to work on projects at Dunn Brothers while I visited my boyfriend who works there part time. Working on projects in public makes me nervous, I feel like the work I do there is being judged and that everything needs to be perfect or it's not worth doing. As I've been doing this, I've attracted some attention to my usual table and enjoyed conversations with new people, learning about their own creative efforts and fears. I've passed out a few business cards which made me realize that this needed an update because I was directing traffic to a site that I've long been neglecting. Putting myself out there has to come full circle, I need to put my work and the things I am passionate about out where people can see it. Writing about what I do is going to help me find more connections between the people I meet and the things I love.
4. Keeping it clean
Although this task isn't close to being complete, cleaning my room and studio has started to help de-clutter my head. My various unfinished projects are starting to find homes in boxes where I can easily see them and have everything in one place. When I want to work on something, I can just grab a box and get to work. When I'm done, everything goes back in and the box goes on the shelf until I'm ready for more. Like I said, this system isn't perfect yet and my studio is still in disarray until I get things buttoned down better. But I like looking next to my desk and seeing projects looking at me waiting to be done. It tells me I have no reason to let myself feel bored.
5. Taking time
A couple of months ago, I went on a trip to Europe (Amsterdam, Bruges, Hamberg and Berlin). I let myself use the previous year's vacation time that I was too afraid to use and splurged (I mean REALLY splurged) on the next big trip since Guatemala in 2010. It was a little spontaneous (and I would be lying if I said my pocket book didn't feel like it took a major hit) but this trip was what I needed to jump start so many new avenues in my life. An example of this is how I was inspired by the street art in Berlin and now I'm working on stencils for The Wildcat Sanctuary of their residents. The first stencil is already going to be used as a design for their new temporary tattoos. That feels so cool! All because that spark I felt while traveling.
Another example of how taking time for myself is working for me is just this weekend when I volunteered for CRA (see previous post). It took me over a year to feel able to take a Friday off of work to go do something outside of my comfort zone. I don't know why asking for days off is so hard for me but I'm realizing that I earn that time in order to explore what makes me tick. Taking this time benefits not only my personal life but also my professional life in ways that might not be obvious, but are profound and unique. I grow more as an individual when I let myself play and break out of the routine. Traveling and taking time off does that for me.
Yes, I'm still behind. Getting caught up won't be easy, but I'll get it done...It's in the ActionMethod system :)