Four Seasons and Productivity Update

Inspiration for my Four Seasons series. Clockwise starting with the upper left: Spring ephemeral gentians with bright green vegetation from a local Forest Preserve woods. Grasses turning brown in our backyard prairie. Purple bee balm in our prairie at the height of summer. Grey, brown and whites of winter across our creek.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about new series ideas to get me back into the studio on a regular basis. A few years ago, I created the Four Elements series; Fire, Water, Sky and Earth. My next series is going to be the Four Seasons. The size will be small, a 10 inch canvas for each season. The design sketches and color palettes are all ready. I’m heading into the studio this week with the spirit of play and adventure. The more I try to push being creative, the more I freeze up. So I’m going to keep it light and breezy.  Create just for the joy of creating. However, I needed a plan to get me going. Now I have one with this series idea. 

I am feeling particularly motivated to create since I completed the Lisa Congdon class on Creative Live, Work Flow, Time Management and Productivity for Creatives. I wrote about this class in my last post called Productivity Upgrade. The process described in this class is an exercise in getting rid of the feeling of overwhelm. Based on questions to my readers in the past years, I know this is the #1 problem people face in their creative lives. Too many creative projects in mind and too little time to do them. I highly recommend this course. I finished the class in one afternoon since I found the information so helpful and practical. 

My thinking has changed in more profound ways than I thought possible about completing tasks. When you load up your to-do list and schedule it with too many things to do, you can feel like a hamster running in a hamster wheel. It kind of takes all the joy out of being productive. A few days this month I woke up to over 100 things in my to-do list in my 2 Do app. Yuck. When you get clear on your entire workload, you get a visual snapshot when you put all your projects (large, medium and small) onto a spreadsheet called your workflow. It sounds geeky, but for visual people like me, being able to see your workload on one screen is empowering. Next step, you think about just your weekly priorities based on your current workflow. Then you transfer that to a rolling to-do list and you add in how much time it will take you to do that task. The steps sound simple but they set you up for feeling of completion. This is obviously a high level review. Lisa gives tips to make this process do-able. I am a convert. 

The times when I’m not working on my rolling to-do list, I am more relaxed and productive.  I’ve actually gotten more things done by doing this system. Long-term things that I’ve procrastinated like renewing my passport were completed once I added this as the main task for one day last week and I got it done. I have wanted to do a capsule wardrobe project for a year now. I put it down for Saturday and I got at least half of the project done. That sense of completing what you want to complete provides a momentum where you have the mental energy to do it.  This process really forces you to decide what are your priorities and what you can let go. I’m still working on that.

I sent you all an email last Sunday about opening up my schedule for custom EcoMemories. 

Contact me by November 1, 2018 if you are interested or have any questions. 

What my clients have said about their custom EcoMemory...

My favorite part of the custom EcoMemory process was being encouraged to really search the depth of my connections to specific places from childhood/young adulthood whether through memories visual, emotional or sensory (or all three!) I realized in the process how vitality important it is for me to return to those places on as regular a basis as possible.

The EcoMemory collaboration will result in a beautifully constructed and extremely personal fabric artwork encompassing your feelings and memories of place in abstract form. I’d also add how easy and communicative Kathleen is to work with.... that she really listens to her clients and that her dealings in all ways are done in an extremely professional manner.

-Jackie from Kalamazoo, Michigan