Simplicity and Creativity

Posted on September 8, 2008

These last few weeks I have had the sinking feeling that life is spinning out of control. This happens when I have over-estimated what I can fit into my life and have over-committed myself. This months I have two community projects I committed to that are due by the 26th, and I started my latest class at Glassell – Abstract Painting Essentials – with a VERY demanding teacher and a tight schedule. I need to complete the first painting by Wednesday morning and this is what I have so far:

Doesn’t look like much does it! So, I am getting a bit panicked to say the least.

Then, this morning I read Leo at Zen Habits post about simplifying and the following really spoke to me:

  • Deflect all requests for a week. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, make the decision that you will not say “yes” to any new requests this week. If you get a new request, politely decline. If it’s a request you can’t decline, tell them you’ll get to it next week because you have some projects you need to finish this week. Then pick one or two or even three projects (depending on their sizes) and focus on finishing them this week. You can worry about new stuff next week. Repeat this hack when needed.
  • Limit yourself to one project. How many projects are you juggling right now? If there are too many, you might be limiting your effectiveness. Instead, focus on one project right now, and put the others on the back-burner. Try to get that one project done as quickly as possible, and then work on the next one.

You can read the whole list here.
Terribly simple, but it doesn’t occur to me to do this when I’m so swamped. I sometimes wonder if I overcomplicate just to avoid the urgent project! This week, then, I am going to focus on the painting and on getting my life back on ‘auto’ setting. More about that ‘auto’ setting thing later…

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