Thursday, September 27, 2012

105/365: Keep Calm & Make Stuff

Today I made:
a tiny dent in my to-do list...

note to self...
I made this sign to hang in my art space a while back, but it's taking on new meaning for me today. It's my version of the "Keep Calm and Carry On" signs that are getting reworded to fit every interest under the sun. I've seen ones that say, "Get Excited and Make Stuff," which I love, but this version fits for me, especially lately.

I feel like I'm rambling on about to-do lists so much these days. It's just that I'm ever so determined to make my schedule work for me, so I'm a bit consumed by time and task management. I'm hoping to find a way to balance substitute teaching, tutoring, art making and my daily creative, business growing, maintaining healthy relationships and taking time to keep myself healthy. I'm just going to keep at it until my values guide me in a different (or more focused) direction, but it's going to take a lot of self-discipline and breaking of some bad habits.

I am an expert list maker. I am also notorious for getting burned out right after making my to-do list. Rather than prioritizing, I practice procrastinating. My lack of productivity makes me feel guilty and that just stresses me out even more. The stress causes mind clutter, which is so not conducive to creativity! It is a vicious cycle I've been battling with most of my adult life. I obviously need some coaching in this area and am seeking out the resources, but today, my little sign made me realize something useful. At the very moment I begin freaking out and getting overwhelmed about my unmanageable, self-imposed grand master list of to-dos, I should just pick one thing I can do that very moment and do it!

"Keep calm and make stuff" doesn't have to just mean crafty stuff, it can mean making things happen,  taking small action steps towards our goals, making dents in our to-do lists, tackling one small part of a big project. I just need to keep calm in the moment and continue to participate in creating my happiness instead of opting to do nothing when I get overwhelmed. The hope is that one thing on the list leads to another and maybe I get a few things done that day. This will feel so great that I'll be motivated to keep on keepin' on...without the unnecessary stress.


  1. The best thing to remember is not to make your To-do list over powering. I to am a champion list maker, but for me it is a source of gratification. I get to cross things off as I complete them (simple things like getting to scribble make me happy!).
    Limit yourself to no more than 10 To-Do's for a week and then break them down to 2-3 things everyday. That way you have plenty of extra time to allow for interruptions and other random uncontrollable things that might somehow turn into inspiration. Example-taking a wrong turn going to the library and making your crazy Elephant loving friends day by sending her a picture of an elephant crossing sign.
    Keeping calm isn't something people like us do well, we usually have a calm exterior that is just a facade for inner chaos. Whether that chaos is emotional or creative or just a general feeling of being overwhelmed it's part of who we are and sometimes trying to adjust that to the real world is hard. Find little ways to express yourself.....only using bright green post-its because they make you smile, having a different color ink pen for everyday of the week (that one drives my boss bonkers, but she appreciates that more than me doodling on every piece of paper that gets left on my desk)these are all forms of creativity. I spent a lot of time reflecting this summer while I was teaching Ali to sew and it made me realize I had lost touch with the best part of being creative, the process. Watching the elements of fabric choice and stitch selection and even patten lay out through the eyes of a 12 year old made me realize that those things in themselves are art. Regular people may never understand it but that's ok I didn't ask them to.
    Change your mantra to Make Stuff it Brings Calm and break the big things down into more manageable pieces I bet you won't feel so overwhelmed!

    1. Thanks for the reminder friend. Your tip about the 2-3 to-dos a day is actually wonders. Feels amazing when I get that fourth or fifth thing done!! ;) So true about the inner creative chaos. We really should honor that as a strength at times, right? It's pure to learn to focus it...yikes! Girlie, the insightful comments you leave here are sounding like the beginnings of your very own blog. I'm ready to help if you want to get started. xoxo