"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." - Vincent Van Gogh

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Are you losing the rat race?

It's 2 AM and the rest of the house has been sleeping for many hours. And yet I am up - my mind spinning, as if sleep is something that I haven't earned.

Do you ever feel that no matter how hard you run - you just can't catch up. Catch up to what? My own life.... somewhere along the line it ran away from me and no matter how hard I scramble, I just can't seem to find it!

Sometimes I have a hard time gaging my days or how well I spent my time. I will tell you the truth, I don't waste time. I don't sit in front of the TV. I don't chat on the phone to people. I multi-task my entire day away. I cook and work on the computer at the same time (usually with disastrous consequences to both my dinner and the bottom of my pans). When I work on something on the computer, I am always listening to a podcast or training. At a given time I have at least 7 windows open on my computer so that I can jump from site to site if one is taking too long to open.

Today I jumped out of bed in the morning to run to the bank to deposit a check for my daughter and then ran to my bank 5 miles up the road to deposit a check for me. On the way home, I got gas in the truck. I raced back into the house, quickly made a fruit smoothie, grabbed a bag of almonds and sequestered myself into my bedroom (which is my office in the winter). Even though it was Saturday, a family day to putz around the house, take care of small errands or cleaning and visit with my family, I had only one thing on my mind this morning - to get my pictures back up on a website.

For the past few weeks I've been living on a learning curve, designing Wordpress sites with all kinds of plug ins and sub-domains, squeeze pages and automated contact forms. In the middle of this madness, I've been studying HTML in a highly excelerated speed course AND learning how to paint a live model! If this wasn't enough, while I was designing my friend's course, I decided to revamp my own website and show off my fine art work. That was all fine and dandy, but then I realized that all my portrait customers would have no way to see my work anymore, so I had to design not one, but two other sites for that. However, my web design teacher mentioned that even though HTML is a great thing, and Wordpress is impressive, the real websites are now going to Drupal. So, me being the competitive, over-achieving first born that I am, decided that I needed to design my next site as a Drupal site. So today.... I brought my family and senior portraits over to a few new sites and linked everything all together. (You can see my handiwork by clicking on the link on the right for my site - then clicking on the portrait window.)

So, having been on the computer all day in a state of learning and frenzy, I decided to quit at about 10:30 when the sites were done. But did I feel like a job well done - NO. I felt like there was so much more I should do. There are after all never enough tags and feeds and feelers. Doing one thing reminds me of the 20 things that I haven't done on my internet presence and leads me down days of rabbit trails. To make matters worse, I actually experience guilt for not doing due diligence to my online reputation management! Who can keep up with all the tweeting, linked in stuff, FB feeds, google plus not to mention the 12 other art sites that I joined and haven't posted on in months. And of course there is the obvious guilt that I can't post daily on this blog... thus the 2 AM epiphany!

Unfortunately this little electronic glimpse into my day probably reflects more on my life than I would like. If it wasn't the computer, it would be something else that was catching my attention. There is always more work than time to do it in and usually it's the family that gets the leftovers.

Does this sound familiar to you? Are you racing from project to project without an end in sight? Do you even know what the end would look like? How many of us take time to breathe? Do you get to the end of a day of frantic busyness but wonder what on earth it was that you actually accomplished??

I have a nice little tool for those of you who think that despite all they do in the day, they don't get anything done. Go to this site  idonethis.com. Hunt around a little for the free personal sign up. Every day you can type in what exactly you did and it will be recorded on the calendar. You will then KNOW that you did indeed accomplish something! Hopefully this can set your mind a little at rest and you can learn to pace yourself better. At the very least, you will have a complete record of your activities and can have some sense of pride in some things well done.

This week I have a list of to do's yeah long and then... a trip to Vegas which promises to be much more relaxing as I catch up on the lives of friends and listen to some great speakers at WPPI. Hopefully I can rent a car and go breathe the red rock air and bask in the sunlight.

But at any rate - life is too short to run, run, run. We all do eventually stumble, or burn out. I'm preaching to myself when I say. Take time to breathe... enjoy your loved ones... putz a little and waste a little time. We were created to live life to the fullest! It's good for the soul!

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