Getting Organized for 2008

December 26, 2007

I bought Dave Allen‘s Getting Things Done and have from time to time thumbed through it in an attempt to motivate myself to actually get things done! Sometimes just thinking about the book has inspired to get going on some things but I haven’t yet spent the necessary time to really get everything out of my head, written down and ready to work on. Why not? I think I may have thought that GTD was a bit anal-retentive too complicated. More likely, I was too lazy to do the work necessary to get all the “stuff” collected, out of my head and ready to process. During the next few weeks/months I’m going to pull it together and start working on GTD and begin the new year with an actionable plan to be more productive with my time.

I’ve been working on the workflow process (off an on) for years: collect, process, organize, review, and do. My left-brained self works comfortably in this mode. I’ve also been gathering and consolidating ideas on my vision of my different levels of focus. Allen’s next method in gaining control and perspective is achieved through what he calls natural planning. I know I get caught up in “reactive” planning and despite my best intentions I haven’t made the natural planning model work. I’m sure after I do the work of collecting everything that I’ll get to the “next actions” management that I’ve been missing.

My 6 levels of focus:

  • Life Goals – Pursuit of happiness by living a full life: make it up, make it happen!
  • 3 to 8 years – a broad celebration of life. A time to let go of “realizing expectations” and turn more towards leisure interests, living with more lightness and deepening friendships and personal relationships. I’m not sure what I’ll be five plus years from now but I do know that I want the journey over these years to be focused on:
    • Developing a more inner-driven behavior: an ease to enjoy many things; a focus on the here-and-now; comfort with assertiveness, compromise, and managing conflict; an inner contentment with life.
    • Broaden and deepen my expressions of intimacy or caring – allowing friendship to increase in importance.
    • Find outlets for social caring – know how to enrich my sensitivity to the world.
    • Appreciate play as a feature in my life and get more personal meaning from travel and leisure.
    • Know how to create a simpler more fulfilling time schedule
  • next 3 years – I’ve pulled together many of the things I want to do in life and with my art work in two separate 101 tasks in 1001 days (here: life and art.) I still need to do one last review and check that I have, in fact, the integration I need from my 101 tasks through my areas of responsibilities to my current projects and activities.
  • areas of responsibility –
    • Be and take care of me – mind, body, and spirit.
    • Infuse the joy of being a couple into my daily life – shaping, sharing and managing life together.
    • Actively affirm the lives of family and close friends – be optimistic, keep thinking fresh, and do what it takes to make sure they are well and loved.
    • Express and formulate my artistic work and distinctive character in various media.
    • Reach out and give back to a broader community.
  • current projects – weekly review: revise projects and someday/maybe’s
  • current activities – Deal with “stuff” and the daily to-do (next actions)

Well, that’s a start. Next, I need to get to the stuff and start a weekly list that I can start review each Friday.

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    new month

    December 1, 2007

    November’s over, so is my structured commitment to DrawMo! and NaBloPoMo. Now what? I was trying to explain to someone who doesn’t blog ( she hardly ever uses a computer) why I blog. The short story is that it helps me maintain a record of accountability and it’s a place to journal my activities.

    I started blogging as past time, curious about some of the how-to’s: learn some html; take digital photos; use photoshop; learn to upload/download; play with Flickr; share my artwork; etc. I don’t consider myself a writer so I always feel like I’m struggling to come up with something to say. I’m not a storyteller. If I went to the dentist, I might say so, but I wouldn’t feel compelled to give more information (unlike my husband who can go out to get the mail and spend 20 minutes telling me what took him 5 minutes to do!) I’m not trying to sell anything, the art I create is to indulge myself and decorate my home or give away as gifts. I still feel a little uncomfortable with the whole socializing/chatting stuff – I don’t think I play well with others. I know my family members read my blog, they never comment and I’m okay with that. When I do get comments, I try to respond, but “Gee, thanks!” wears thin after a while. I’ve joined a few communities and while I enjoy checking in on their activities I tend to look for the bottom line and look at the visuals. I have a hard time when it comes to making comments (even when I really like sometime) because it usually sounds like: “Wow, that’s beautiful! I love it.” and I know I’ll get a “Gee, thanks!” in my gmail inbox straight away. I must confess I do have a fondness for a few fellow bloggers and I do catch-up with their blogs from time to time. But I just don’t seem to have enough time and there are so many things I want to do!

    So, where do I go with the future of my blogging? I’m tending to be more open with my blog being more of an online diary. Even when I was keeping a personal journal (offline), where I recorded my morning muses and nightly notes, it took the tone of how-am-I-going-to-get-from-A-to-B or a introductory paragraph that was the prelude to a To Do list! I don’t fret over would’ve/could’ve. I don’t have the time or energy for wallowing in angst. I don’t have the desire to persuade others to my way of thinking. I don’t feel the need to engage in controversy( my politics/religion/sex – my business!) I do want to improve my writing skills. I do want to keep an easily accessible record of what I’m working on and what I’m doing. I do want to share and socialize with a select group (I’m not sure what I mean by “select” – whether I select them, they select me – it’s both static and active – this new flavored social networking in the world-wide-web… but I do appreciate the opportunity to expand by community outside my physical small town!)

    I’m going to try and post more frequently. Daily? maybe, if I can figure out some format for me that works with the who and am and the what I want to do.

    exquisite writing

    November 6, 2007

    I’ve been reading Spring in Fialta by Vladimir Nabokov. It’s a short story but it took forever to finish it. The writing is exquisite! I read, then re-read – savoring each syllable.

    I wonder if any of his writings have been recorded on audio tapes?

    Themes for 2008

    November 4, 2007

    I’ve been working with monthly themes for a while now when considering what to make for my textile art pieces – I suppose it’s like a writing prompt. For this next year, I’m toying with the idea of a single word that I can use to inspire me across what media I choose to work in – textile art, drawing, photography, etc. I still need to work out some “hows” but at least for now I’m planning:

    • Jan – Transition
    • Feb – Gratitude
    • Mar – Simplicity
    • Apr – Authenticity
    • May – Order
    • Jun – Contentment
    • Jul – Harmony
    • Aug – Transformation
    • Sep – Beauty
    • Oct – Remembrance
    • Nov – Acceptance
    • Dec – Joy

    being inspired…

    November 3, 2007

    I started looking through Sarah Simblet’s Sketchbook for the Artist this evening. Wow! I love the feel of the pages, her words, the illustration. She wrote –

    “There are countless reasons for drawing. We should not try to know how every finished picture will look, but it is important to be clear why we are making it. Decide before you start whether you are drawing to warm up, or to discover the best use of a new material, to express the beauty in a moment’s play of light, conduct an experiment, make a calculation, shout against a terrible injustice, or illustrate a dream.”

    I really find those statements very helpful. As I have been sketching these last few days, that judging little petty voice in the back of my mind kept whispering that the sketches weren’t good enough. Why was I making the drawings? – obviously to draw everyday for DrawMo!, but mostly to figure out what I needed to do to make a stamp… conduct an experiment. Putting it in perspective, indeed.

    Deciding in advance why I’m drawing is one thing, putting in the hard work and discipline quite another. We’ll see where the journey takes me.

    Making the most of November

    November 1, 2007

    November is NaBloPoMo and Drawmo! for me. Which translate to more time at the computer. Managing my time is going to be important. My main blog reside here and this wordpress blog has sat idle since last year. I’ve toyed with the idea of using this space as a sort of clearinghouse for various things I have going on – notes to self, reminder to-do, goals for assorted activities… a rambling artist daily pages if you will. Discipline to do it and maintain it – that’s the key.

    NaBloPoMo has very cleverly engaged Ning to host the month long activities. All kinds of groups have sprouted and the sites abuzz with social networking. This morning there were 3675 member and tonight the NaBloPoMo member count is at 4598. I need to cull my gmail inbox already. It’s going to be interesting to see how this may impact other sites. In one group, they were singing the praises of Goodreads and from that post alone four new people joined Goodreads.

    I have two new books to add to my Goodreads art-studio shelf, both be Sarah Simblet, Anatomy for the Artist and Sketchbook for the Artist (aka The Drawing Book in the UK.) I’ve been trying not to drool on the pages. They are stunning! I am in awe. Humbled, but not intimidated, and eager to spend more time drawing. It’s an odd feeling.

    I’ve been reading a lot lately. With the youngest heading off to college last month I figured I’d have some extra time but it feels like I have more than I thought. I keep thinking I’m forgetting to do something but I’m meeting all my obligations and current with all activities. Feels good.

    Why am I going to Draw?

    October 30, 2006

    It seems that whenever I begin a new project I find myself at the computer typing words into the Google search engine. I call it research – it’s usually just procrastination. I should be getting my supplies together. Surely I have a sketchbook somewhere and pencils, sharpener, eraser – but instead…

    I listened to an interview this morning with Peter Steinhart, the author of The Undressed Art: Why We Draw. I haven’t seen the book and the interview was from July of 2004 but it’s pertinent to where I am now and the challenge that I am about to undertake. He talks about drawing as a way of seeing and when we are young we begin drawing symbols – circles with lines radiating out of them. As we continue to draw, six lines become four and more circles represent eyes and soon we have stick figures. Returning to drawing as an adult, we may continue to draw symbols or stick figures but with more essence, more nuance, more detail and in such a way that we are learning to “see” over again. This drawing to rewire the brain, to engage personally with the world in creating ideas (or “eye-deas”) that work out better in pictures than they do in language – this is why I am going to draw everyday in November! (Matter of fact, it has a whole lot to do with why I want to create art in general – but this is about drawing.)

    From the interview:

    Drawing is the precision of thought – Henri Matisse

    …drawing may be the most haunting obsession the mind can experience… – Paul Valery