Well, now you can experience it for yourself! I’m goin’, and I hope you’ll join me!
A WORKSHOP ON MANAGING TIME TO SUPPORT CREATIVITY
FRIDAY, JANUARY 25TH 2013
HANNAH GRIMES CENTER, 25 ROXBURY STREET, KEENE NH
9AM TO 4PM
Call to Artists and Entrepreneurs: Invest a day in learning some resourceful and “out of the box” ways to approach managing your time and energy from an Integral Coach™ who specializes in advancing the capacity of artists and creative entrepreneurs.
• Learn the secrets of generating creative states more consciously and within time frames
• Get to know your relationship with time and how to work with it instead of against it.
• Come away with new methods for managing your energy so that you can make the very best use of time.
Lyedie Geer is a Certified Integral Coach™ who brings twenty-five years of experience in the areas of leadership, artistry and entrepreneurship along with a Masters Degree in Management & Leadership to her coaching practice. Lyedie has managed a number of artists over the years and is currently devoting herself to coaching. Her professional experience ranges from philanthropic roles in education and the arts to small business ownership. She was the Founding Director of The Moving Company Dance Center
(Now known as MOCO) and is currently serving as Vice President of the Board at Brattleboro Museum & Art Center.
($50 DISCOUNT TO Creative Professionals Guild MEMBERS WHO SIGN UP BY JAN. 11TH)
I have so many projects in the air, I’ve been suffering major brain buzz. I hardly even know where to start.
Now, life coach and writer Martha Beck has a great article on how to unhook yourself from a to-do list. I think she actually suggests scheduling “empty time” in there.
And I know my life is so much more than a to-do list. One of her clients, on her deathbed, jokingly said, “At least this is one more thing I can cross off my to-do list!”
But I needed something more. Something that felt more like my whole approach to life. And this morning, I found it.
I was writing my morning pages–the “brain data dump” I try to do every morning. Sure enough, “more things I have to do” kept popping up as I wrote, and I dutifully added them to today’s ever-growing list. It’s already so long, I couldn’t possible complete the tasks in a week, let alone a day.
With a big sigh, I started to prioritize my tasks. What could wait? Which ones were more important? Which IS more important–the ones about my family? The ones about the latest foster puppy? The new open studio tour I’m working on? Cleaning my studio so I can HAVE an open studio? What about my upcoming surgery? Should I focus on getting healthy? What about my phone date with Lyedie this afternoon? (You can read more about integral coach Lyedie Lydecker here and read my article about her here.
Ah. Lyedie. What was that she said about time?
It’s not about priorities. It’s not even about balance–balancing family time with art time, friend time with exercise, pet care with health care.
It’s about awareness, and intention, and engagement.
For me, it’s about crafting a whole life. Seeing, learning, participating, growing. Not sideways(sigh), but inside-ways.
That’s when it hit me. What my to-do list really is.
It’s a travel guide for my life.
It’s not an AAA road map. It’s a list of possibilities.
Priority be damned.
Some of these tasks aren’t high priority. But they also won’t take much time or effort. Or I can do them on my way to another, “higher priority” task.
Some are totally unimportant. But I like doing them. They look like work, but they are actually fun.
Even some of the most important ones aren’t necessarily time-sensitive. They’re big, but they can wait. And sometimes, they can’t happen until other smaller, simpler steps are taken.
But what really blew me away today was thinking about the unimportant, quick, not fun, actually dreaded tasks on my list from a week ago.
It involved picking something up from a person I’ve had totally negative encounters with. This person is sarcastic and resentful, in a job they hate and not getting the recognition they feel they deserve.
I thoroughly dreaded the pick-up, and had to force myself to do it. Actually, I did it first because I wanted to get it over with.
I decided to be my higher self for just a few minutes. I said I was sorry for the circumstances behind their donation.
And the walls of anger came tumbling down.
I’m sorry to be so circumspect, but want to protect their privacy. Let’s just say that I saw another side to this person, a totally different aspect of their life that blew me away. They opened up to me, sharing their sadness and joy, their dreams and hopes.
It turns out I was able to speak to that in a way that encouraged and supported them. I gave them the small thank-you gift I’d prepared, and they were delighted and grateful.
Now, the point here isn’t that all people (okay, almost all people) have an inner beauty, if only we knew where to look.
The point is, this was an item on my to-do list I’d dreaded. And it was actually a door into something powerful and profound.
There was a connection, a reconciliation, a new way to interact with this person in the future.
And it all came from a place I never could have predicted.
Now I’m sitting here with that same to-do list.
It looks different. It doesn’t seem to fill me with as much anxiety. Time doesn’t seem like a upside-down bottle of sand with grains running out the bottom.
It looks like a travel guide to a mysterious, exciting and beautiful new country, a country I’ve wanted to visit all my life..
What with the big show I do in August (9 days, people–please remember that when I’m slow with your special orders!), and getting my daughter off to graduate school (first time she’s been too far away to visit) and then vacation (I did nothing for six whole days), I fear I’ve sadly neglected my blog.
I felt it, too. The guilt. Heck, I didn’t even do my morning pages. Didn’t keep up on Facebook, either.
This morning, I had an extra fifteen minutes, and pondered what to do with it. Check my email? Sure!
But then I realized I miss writing. I may drag my feet about it, but it’s like fun exercise–I always feel better after I do it.
So rather than waste time looking for my current journal, I simply started another one. (Because of this coping strategy, I often have three or four journals kicking around at any given point in time.)
And of course, I started off pissing and moaning about what an awful person I was for not writing for the past five weeks.
And then I stopped. I looked at what I’d written:
I haven’t written in…months.
And then I wrote:
I’d made a choice, every day. Write….or go to the beach. Write….or go out to breakfast with my husband. Write…or sleep in. Write…or pick up Meg and go ride horses.
I did not choose to write, every day, for five weeks. That’s all.
Do I regret any of those choices? Not a bit.
Eventually, I miss writing. I restructure my day to allow time to do it. Or I suddenly have something to say, and drop everything to get it down before I forget. (Dear readers, you have no idea how much wisdom I’ve had that has simply blown away in the wind of my busy-ness like so much lint.)
What helped me get here today was this post on time management (NOT) by Danielle LaPorte, whose blog WHITE HOT TRUTH is one of my favorite reads. I’d long given up trying to be super-productive–lost my mojo a few years ago–but I hadn’t given myself permission to not feel guilty about it. When I read her post, I laughed out loud in relief.
Most of our choices are simply that….choices. Yes, there are good choices and bad choices. But it’s not always so clear which are which.
Work in the studio, or blow it off to have lunch with a friend? If you are honoring your art, and fiercely protecting your creative time, then perhaps the former is the right choice for you today. And maybe that friend is annoying, and always leaves you feeling vaguely unsettled.
But perhaps something says you need to honor your friendship today. Maybe your friend needs some love and support. Maybe it’s you who needs the love and support. (And hey, maybe, like me, you’re the annoying friend.)
Different times, different goals, different stages of life call for different choices. The sooner we allow ourselves to simply be who we are, today, the happier we can be.
So instead of a to-do list today, I simply set some priorities. I had three pages of writing with a great idea for an article. Done. I thought of all the ‘have-to’s’ I have to today, and picked the one that keeps coming back–the new design that’s just right for a store that’s waiting on some new work from me. There’s a friend who’s special order just keeps popping into my mind. I’ll work on her piece today. And I’ll make the phone call to another friend whose need is greatest, and make time for her.
But the first thing I did this morning, after my morning pages, was my favorite.
I went riding.
The first frost of the season killed off most of the annoying bugs. The sun was brilliant, but the morning was cool, perfect riding weather. I had unexpected (and welcome) company on my ride. My muscles are sore–I’m finally healing after a back injury last fall, and foot surgery this spring–and it feels good to be sore from riding. From doing something I love.
My blessing for you today:
May you choose for yourself today, the thing that will make you the happiest.
And may you have many opportunities to do so.
N.B. In the interest of full disclosure, I did write my column for The Crafts Report. And I did my columns for the Fine Art Views newsletter. And I wrote several times to my son, who moved out two months ago (to a house two blocks from here.) And I kept up on some crucial emails.
So, yeah, I wrote. But isn’t the point of this column still a good one?
This article originally published on Sunday, March 30, 2003
The advice still applies.
Let’s NOT do what we ought, but what we want
A cry for help appeared on a list serve I subscribe to. An artist gave up painting for years. She’s now determined to take it up again. Unfortunately, all her paints are so hardened in their tubes, they are almost unusable. Can anyone tell her how to salvage them??
I’m not sure how welcome my advice would be, but it’s clear to me the universe is sending a message here, loud and clear.
BUY NEW PAINTS.
What a huge obstacle she has overcome! The urge to paint again is wonderful, and I wholeheartedly tell this artist to go for it.
But the artist is already stuck again. “I can’t paint until I fix my paints.”
Where have we heard that before?
Well, I used to hear it every day. And sometimes, when I’m down or overwhelmed with the simple problems, I still hear it:
“I should do the laundry first.” “I really need to run a few errands first.” “I’ve got to get this mailing out this week–I’ll work on some new art ideas later.”
Sometimes it feels like my passion for my art, the work of my heart, is the last thing I take care of.
To that renewed artist, I’d say….
Maybe those paints are ruined for a reason.
Maybe the universe is sending a message here. You can paint again, it says, but maybe it’s time to really start anew.
Here’s a powerful thought: Maybe you don’t have to do penance by fixing those tired, dried-up old paints.
Maybe the message is, “Go out and buy wonderful new paint. Buy some of your favorite old colors, but try something different, too.”
Maybe it’s time start fresh with new ideas, new inspiration, maybe an entirely new direction.
Maybe it’s time to play with colors again, to regain the same sense of wonder and excitement when you first began to paint. And then to move ahead in a different way. Forge a new path.
But to do this, you need to get rid of everything that held you back the last time.
You have found your inspiration to paint again, and you’re determined to really set aside the time and energy it deserves. And that means not wasting time and energy working to revive dead paint.
What a lesson for me today! I’ve been sitting in the middle of an overwhelmingly messy studio, bemoaning the fact that I “should” clean up before I get back to work. Then I get the note about dried up paint. Sometimes what is easy to see in others is what I need to see in myself.
Maybe it’s really okay to just jump right into making something today, messy space notwithstanding. Maybe it’s okay to do a little cleaning up after I have fun.
A reader left a comment yesterday on my LESSONS FROM HOSPICE Part Deux essay. Only sixteen hours of the last year could be devoted to art due to family circumstances.
Now if sixteen hours is all you got, that’s a lot.
Here’s another thing to consider….
Months ago, I read an essay (and I apologize from the bottom of my heart that I cannot remember where I read it) on writing.
The author was working on a book project. At first, they tried to write whenever they had a good chunk of time. Over the course of a year, that came to a handful of days and half-days, and something like 10,000 words. Sounds impressive.
The next six months, they resolved to write for twenty minutes a day, no matter what.
In three months, they wrote 50,000 words.
That stopped me in my tracks.
Yes, some projects take a depth of concentration, a certain amount of time.
But others don’t.
So two possibilities are open to you:
Work in smaller time chunks.
Work on projects that don’t demand that total immersion. This is the time to work on sketches, samples, smaller works or simpler pieces.
I thought I didn’t have enough time to write and post this today. And for sure I don’t have time to do a deep editing.
But I started anyway, and this is how far I got in ten minutes.