Friday, January 13, 2012

Stuck and Unstuck

On a forum of local Etsy sellers recently, a colleague posted the question, What do you do to get unstuck? She was contending with having many ideas and inspirations for projects, but finding she kept getting distracted and was having trouble getting at any of them.

I welcomed the topic because I often find myself there, too. So I took the opportunity to think through what sometimes works for me and post a response. Just doing that is helpful, of course!

When my work space is messy, everything seems overwhelming and it's hard to organize my time or anything else, so often I will start there. Once my desk/table/art room is at least somewhat tidy, I feel more ready to tackle some tasks.

The next thing I like to do is make myself a cup of tea or coffee and sit down to prioritize, using a few criteria:

Valentine cards: timely
• What is most timely?

• What can be accomplished with materials I already have on hand?

• What will take the least amount of time and effort to complete? The satisfaction of finishing something often sweeps away some of the mental/emotional clutter and helps me to move on to the next thing.

• What do I feel the strongest urge to work on? Sometimes, I feel a strong desire to work on a new idea even though it's not the easiest one to complete or the most timely, and I may think I must finish other projects before I can start on the one I really want to do, and so everything feels like an obstacle. If that is the case, I think if I could just ignore those other “shoulds” and throw myself into that wild impractical thing that is tugging at me so fiercely, I would probably make meaningful progress. I rarely give myself permission to do this, though.

And, of course, it's all much easier to say than do!

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