Monday, September 20, 2010

Move Over

This is a view from where I used to live.
Estero Americano • photo ©2010 Jennifer Libby Fay

I live somewhere else now.
The New 'hood • photo ©2010 Jennifer Libby Fay

Last week trucks arrived with the car, furniture and boxes. Even though I have been through this many times before, I felt anxious and unhappy. I got the distinct impression that no one was listening to me. People came and went. They made promises, saying things like, "We'll give you 24 hours notice.", "We're almost finished.", and "Don't worry, everything will be okay." I'm sure they meant well at the time, but later, when the promises proved inconvenient, they made excuses instead.

For awhile I thought I could maintain my usual schedule in the studio and in life but at about 10:00 am on Wednesday I gave up, or shut down, depending on how you look at it. Fortunately my sister, who has moved half way around the world and back, rescued me with laughter and sound advice: "Go slow, breathe, do the best you can."

I am grateful to all of you who come here to read this blog and I apologize for not being able to keep up these days. I promise to write more in the near future…

…or if I don't I'll be sure to have a great excuse.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Calendar Girl

Over Time • Dye on Paper • ©2010 Jennifer Libby Fay

Last year at this time I was sitting in my favorite chair in the living room of our new home in Northwest Arkansas. The laundry was washed, folded and put away, the dishes were clean, the pantry stocked, the meals planned, and I'd recently written or called all my friends and family. I remember wondering if all that was really the reason I was put here on earth.

A few weeks ago I sat in the same chair wondering how I was ever going to get the laundry done, the dishes washed, the pantry stocked, the meals planned, and whether or not my friends and family are still speaking to me.

I've known for awhile that the situation was reaching a crisis point, but I hadn't taken the time to slow down long enough to analyze the reasons why. For me, one of the best ways to get focused is to take a class, so I signed up for the Get Organized class offered by Art Biz Coach, Alyson Stanfield. When, on Day Ten: Maintain Your Calendar, Alyson strongly urged us to try using an electronic calendar, I balked, I complained, I resisted. I have been using my trusty Sun Graphix calendar with the blue leather cover engraved with my initials for twelve years. I love it, it fits in my purse, it isn't heavy and it works—well I thought it worked, but lately I have been writing things in it, but not looking at it, or worse, not writing down appointments at all. Also, when I did look at each weekly spread, it looked pretty manageable to me. I was saying yes to things and then feeling overwhelmed and not knowing why. Reluctantly, but because I had committed the time and money to the class, I decided to take Alyson's advice and try the iCal application that came with my Mac and syncs to my iPhone. I entered all the appointments from my paper calendar. Enthralled by the ability to automatically fill in the repeats, I filled up the year with monthly meetings and weekly appointments. It was actually a bit fun. I printed August and carried it around for a while to see how it felt. The new calendar was pretty and neatly organized but the laundry still wasn't getting done. In frustration, I read the Day Ten notes again—and there it was, the sentence that changed my life: "If tasks take up a significant amount of time (say, more than an hour) add them to your calendar. This will keep you from over-committing yourself." Talk about Aha! moments. That meant that writing the blog went on the calendar, studio time, marketing, finances, householder duties…when I was finished I had a pretty and neatly organized graphic representation of why I feel overwhelmed.

Now comes the hard part because a few activities will have to go—not because they aren't fun, fulfilling or important but because if I really want to be who I say I do, then I can do a lot, but I can't do it all. I suspect September will be about setting priorities and saying no. If anyone has any advice on the subject, I could sure use it. Thank you for reading this blog and for your comments, I really appreciate your time.