Monday, January 18, 2010

The Thinker Living in a Material World

This week’s assignment in my 52 Weeks of Blogging your Passion program is to write about an obstacle I’ve overcome in terms of my craft, shop, balancing time, or finding space for things.

I can think of many current obstacles, but one I have already overcome? That’s where I get stuck. I guess my accomplish- ments seem so small. I’ve already written about:
No, the real issues are yet to be conquered. The first challenge is figuring and sorting them all out, which is what I will focus on in this post.

My current challenges are:
  • Balancing time between work, shop, recreation, and my many interests (that crazy Google calendar!)
      • Not enough space at home/Not making the time to organize things

      • Starting many projects but not finishing them, so they sit around and clutter up the living room

      • Wanting to research everything about everything, instead of actually DOING the things!

        • I'm such a thinker and love the world of ideas, but struggle with getting those ideas out into the physical world

          • And finally, there are so many others who make same/similar products out there, how do I compete for market share?
          I always remember the words of my Buddhist meditation teacher when I ask him for advice, "Susan, you need to relax more deeply..." and I know that is the truest advice of all.

          But, when I do have to face these kinds of issues, relaxing comes before (and while) taking action.  So, who out there has tackled similar issues?  What advice do you have for me?  I would love to hear it-- and Thanks!


            1. Hi! Thanks for taking the time to comment on my New Years post! I just spent the evening reeling about how many demands there are on my time and energy in a day, so I can certainly identify! I appreciate how you are able to identify some of the stumbling blocks you face and the ways you are hoping to grow this year. I'll look forward to hearing more about your progress in 2010!

            2. Oh, Susan, you're not alone. I struggle with the same things, and have since I started my business (a similar obstacle will be my post for Week 3's task!). I haven't gotten everything figured out, but here's what I've done:

              * Have a dedicated space for your supplies. It can be as small as a basket or as big as a craft table or a bookshelf with bins - do what works for you (I utilize rolling carts under a table, myself). Once you have a space that is solely yours, take an afternoon and organize it. This will help as you create (less time will be spent searching, and more time for your projects!).

              * Once you've got your space organized, make it a point to keep it that way. Once you're done for the day, put things away or at least back in "your space". Once a week or once a month, go in and reorganize it.

              * As far as work/life balance, I struggle with this constantly. All I can say is that I've worked myself to exhaustion several times, and now I'll make a conscious decision to take the day off (this is my full-time job). I look at it as "me time" - whether it's grabbing lunch with friends, reading a book, whatever - and absolutely necessary to my overall well-being.

              * And lastly, on the subject of similar shops... all I can say is do your best. Make what YOU love, make it well, photograph it well, and provide good customer service. There will probably always be someone else who you'll look at and say, "What am I doing wrong?" Instead of thinking that way, make it constructive: "What can I do better?" The good news is you're already blogging - you never know who's looking at your blog! It's SUCH a good venue to showcase your work and your artistic process, and a lot of people are interested in that.

              I hope this helps a little!

            3. Hi Susan,

              Separate the two, relaxing and action. If you have a meditation practice you already have the tools to focus your attention on being present. The key is recognizing we can really only do one thing at a time. Like you I also struggle with juggling all my different interest, a day job and creativity.

              I think we really suffer in our society from our speediness. I know I fall into this trap. So meditation practice helps me realize that I can be mindful and aware no matter what I'm doing.

              Competition...another subject! Again, one thing at a time. It takes time and patience. I've been following the advice of those who have great marketing skills. There are many on Twitter to check out. I've found this particular site to be a helpful resource.

            4. Brandi has great advice.

              I would only add, if you have issues with time, get your kitchen timer and tackle tasks in 10 minute increments. For example, if you have to clean your "office", set the timer for 10 minutes and do only that for 10 minutes. Don't let other things distract you. (I'm infamous for loosing steam due to the "oh shiny" syndrome.) Hit each thing once a day and soon you'll find that you only have to do the 10 minute work increment once a week to keep everything up to date and in its place. :)