Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I'll Pencil that in

I love lists and schedules. They keep me in line, help me get things done. If I didn't have these things around me all of the time, reminding me of what needs to get done, nothing would. Without these reminders I would probably spend the majority of my time watching reruns, and binge eating gummy worms. I make a point of completing my lists each week no matter what may come up. This is where the holidays come in.

The holidays can mess us all up. We all have a tendency to fall off the horse when the holidays come around. I can be the most devoted person to working out, and dieting but when the holidays hit I run out of time to go running, and add that extra piece of pie to my diet. Then by the time we get to January I have gained weight and gotten so out of my routine that I have to kick my own butt to get the ball rolling again.

I have developed a series of solutions. Through out the majority of the year I try to split up my work to always fall on specific days of the week, I give myself some freedom to accommodate the holidays. I don't have to write on the same day I would normally, I just have to make time to write at some point during the week. Even if all of my work ends up being at 11 pm on Saturday, I will at least put some time into it.

My other strategy to making things work during this time of year is the amount of work I am doing. I don't have to go to the gym for a whole hour, I can do 10-15 minutes just so that I am keeping consistent and it will not be such a chore to start up again, because I don't have to start up again, I just decrease the amount I do for the holidays then bring it back when they are over. By doing less, I don't stress out, and by not stopping I don't have to deal with finding motivation to start up again.

I don't ever just stop working. By always doing something towards my work even if it is writing just a couple of sentences here on the blog, rather than a whole entry, can be the difference between staying consistent, and never finding the motivation to start working again. Keeping up momentum is key to never falling to the wayside. You can coast through the holidays, peddling every once in a while. Then when the holidays are over you don't have to work as hard to get back up to speed since you never completely stopped.

Goals and holidays can be enjoyed at the same time. We don't have to choose we can enjoy both, all it takes is a little adaptation.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

When Things Happen

Sometimes things go your way sometimes they don't. Then there is an interesting place where you think that things are going to happen and nothing does, or that place where you don't expect anything to happen and you are taken by surprise. This week I was given an opportunity to spread the word about my work that was completely unexpected. I jumped at the chance to get the word out to sell more art and get things done. I  diligently gave it all I had to not only make this contact feel appreciated for the chance but also make the most of this free advertising.

Everything was settled and the ad went up. Pleased with myself I waited. I sat back and just waited for views and sales to come rolling in. I checked my accounts ever few minutes for something to happen. The whole day went by and relatively nothing happened. I had done exactly what I had always told myself not to do. I had pinned my hopes on this windfall of an opportunity. I thought that this was my big break, I will get somewhere today. I will be successful, and all without having to work as hard as I had for the last couple of months.

I really should learn by now that the old adage of "don't count your chickens before they hatch," is so true. I cannot pin all of my hopes to some off chance. I would then be just like the people who are on reality television who confess to the watching audience that this is my only chance to make something of myself, if I don't win that I will have to go home a failure. What!? Seriously!? I always question the validity of those people's stories. Are you still alive? Are you still capable of doing stuff? If that is that case then your endeavors are not completely over you can still keep working even though your windfall chance didn't pan out.

That is what it is anyways, A Chance. You gambled that you would succeed on this it didn't work out but that doesn't mean that you are a failure. Gambling is just that, it is taking a chance that you are going to get a great reward for a minimal amount of effort. Some times it pans out sometimes it doesn't. It doesn't mean you don't take a chance and gamble on your prospects, but it also doesn't mean that you have to stop trying if your gamble doesn't pay off. Is means you just have to keep plugging along working towards your goals, maybe you can gable again or maybe not. What matters is that you don't stop trying just because chance wasn't in you favor for the day.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Losing Motivation

Sometimes life feels like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gporNcuC76M

I do all of this stuff during the day and week and I feel like I am being productive, but then I look around and feel like I haven't really done anything at all. Progress can be slow at times, and I live for the little moments where I feel like I have won some small battle.

I try to keep records and documentation of what I have been doing, so that I can at least measure the progress that I have made on my work. Even though I do all of this, I still sometimes feel like I am making a futile effort at getting to my goals. That is where the documentation comes in, if I can some how quantify my progress at least then I can recognize in some sort of abstract way that I have done something. That even though the measurement may have only moved a tiny bit, at least I have gotten it to move up that far and hopefully in the future I can get that measurement to move further. The only down side is that when I get to the point where that measurement is moving so little, I check it more often trying to watch progress happen. This really doesn't help me get any more done. All it really does is make that needle move even slower. The sad things is that some days I just want to see the needle move without having to do any work. That is just not going to happen. As they say, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

It is times like this that it is the hardest for me to find the motivation to keep working on my goals. When it feels like I am getting nowhere, I don't have a reason to make myself work. It becomes difficult to convince myself that I will eventually get there, and that at some point my effort will pay off. This is why I have so many half finished ideas and projects. I have become discouraged about my work and just give up trying. I lose faith that eventually things will turn out.

I have to admit this is the most difficult time for me. I often get depressed, because I don't see what my work is actually achieving. I try to be determined that this time I am not going to give up. I may think to myself that I will not become discouraged by the lack of progress, but it is just so hard to fight sometimes.

I don't know if there is a magic trick to overcoming this lack of motivation, but for me I have not found it. I have just learned that it is going to suck for a while. Things are just like that. They will suck, but if you really want to reach the end goal then you are just going to have to push yourself through this hard part. This is what helps you delineate between the things that you really find worth the time or the things that may not be worth it. If it is important enough to you that you are willing to push though this rough spell and keep working than you know it is worth your time. If you aren't willing to push through this then maybe you weren't as passionate about what you are doing as you thought. In the end you have to decided, is what you are doing it worth it? Is the effort you are putting in worth the value of what you are going to get out of your completed goals?

If it is then don't give up. Take a breath maybe step away for a second to realize that it is worth your effort. It doesn't feel like such a task when you stop to think the value of your time when you finally reach your goal. It was time well spent, it was effort well expended. It is all just part of taking the bad with the good.

Monday, November 4, 2013

How many fails

I totally fail all of the time. Lately I have been working on my watercolor skills and trying to paint something as a Christmas present. I have made loads of attempts to get what I have in my head onto the paper. Below are all of my sad failures.

What I have to remember about failure is, what I have written about before, that if it is a fail that means the work is not done yet. What I have to do is to innovate. Obviously my strategies that I have been using have not been working for me yet. This just means I have to keep trying new things.

I had a teacher in grade school that had a poster in her classroom that we did a lot of activities based on. It had a picture of an umbrella at the top. Below the picture was a series of ways to innovate something. One box had a picture of a branched umbrella that had one handle and several covers with at title called multiply. Another box had an image of an enormous umbrella that resembled more of a canopy with the label of scale up. Then a picture of a tiny umbrella that could easily be a drink umbrella with the title reduce. Last there was a picture of an umbrella attached to a jacket with the title of reinterpret.

These are all strategies that I like to use when I am having trouble trying to make my own work come together. Am I working too small, or too big? Should I add more, or take away from what I am doing? Answering these questions often leads to other fails, but at least I have tried that alley and have learned what options are not working for me. In stead of sitting there not knowing if some change would actually work out I can say that I have tried that angle and know for sure whether it worked or not.

If insanity is defined as someone who repeats the same actions over and over and expects different results, then this method should be the epitome of logic. If something isn't working them move onto a new strategy. No need to continue to bash yourself against the same wall over and over hoping that things will turn out differently this time.

Below are some of my fails. I have been working for weeks to try to get to the right method of work for this piece. I'm still not sure I have gotten to that point, but hopefully all of these fails will get me closer since I have eliminated many of the things that aren't working.