Saturday, April 23, 2011

friday forte: calm before the calm?

My grin is as big as the cheshire cat's right now. I feel like I've been working flat out for the last six months on 'my artistic endeavours' (and I have) and now it's all completed (at least for the time being).

(ahem) My roll call;
  • five christmas craft fairs, three bricks and mortars, plus three gallery pieces
  • the family christmas plus visitors
  • successful college application with two courses in the winter semester
  • three gallery shows, including my own first solo show
  • wire crochet classes taught
  • volunteer work blogging and newsletter
  • Spring Break and numerous school Pro D days survived (him and me)
I've learned that I can produce inventory and be creative. I know that I can fit my work in and around my family commitments. I can now call myself a mixed media artist (though it does sound extremely odd). I know I can do homework! and that my brain hasn't atrophied completely in the last ten years. My business is now supporting my 'back to school' endeavour and also contributing to the household budget.

What has worked? - analysing the work that I do and preparing a monthly schedule to run alongside some daily/weekly time management, meal planning for an entire month (has helped with budgeting too), after-school care two days a week plus playdates, insisting on sharing the housework, and keeping the to-do list realistic by prioritising tasks. Learning to live with more dust bunnies and less than pristine toilets is a must; scheduling housework into limited chunks of the day is essential if you work from home, otherwise the temptation to do a little here and a little there sersiouly eats into your work time. Be ruthless! Just because you're home all day doesn't mean the house will be spotless, but it does mean that odd tasks can be done while the kettle is boiling.

What hasn't worked? 
Well, I haven't kept up with any form of regular exercise. I need to schedule this; likewise keeping up with friends. I had every good intention of building relaxation, self care, etc into my schedule but it just didn't happen. Although I rarely felt completely overwhelmed as in the past, I did feel a constant sense of urgency and looming deadlines which kept me working just about every spare minute. This meant I rarely relaxed in the evenings. Cue insomnia. I did take 'time off' over Christmas - I had visitors, and while it was lovely to see them it did mean that I fell right off track productivity-wise and had to scramble in the New Year. Rather than forbid visitors in the future I need to either plan a day off from being on holiday to keep things ticking over, or clear my desk completely. Ditto trying to work with the Wee Guy at home - it just doesn't happen and it's not fair to either of us. I need to clear my projects so I can focus on him when he's around rather than try to do two things at once (and fail miserably).

Oh, and I hated commuting to college until I learned to download podcasts for the journey. Otherwise it seemed a big waste of time.

What Next?
I'm going to learn how to be less busy. This will be a huge task in itself. Other than that I have some creative projects I'm keen to start, a website redevelopment which was half-started in the Fall, volunteer work is ongoing, I'm taking only one course this semester, and I'd like to maintain the skills I learned in my first semester at college.
I've proven to myself that I can work on my own, and I can achieve a degree of financial independance - now I'd like to find out if I am employable after almost ten years of unemployment.
Maybe that's my next big project?
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