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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

“Waiting for Godot” is another Means of Procrastination


One of the Newsletter’s I subscribe to comes from the artist, Robert Genn. He suggests that we shouldn’t wait around for “inspiration.” We should just dive into our work and see what happens. Sometimes waiting for the “muse” or that perfect idea is another form of putting off the actual work.

Some people think if they pay enough money for “the perfect web site;” the one that generates “thousands of viewers,” their careers will take off and they will begin to sell.

In actuality, it isn’t how much money you spend, it is how much actual time you spend on marketing and promoting your work. If one site fails, just beginning another won’t necessarily cut it if you’re not putting in the time. Marketing and promoting take as much work as the actual creating and implementing stage. Without promotion your creative work sits around with only one viewer: you!

"Moonshines" Acrylic on canvas
I’ve discussed fear before. Fear is paralyzing. Fear can also be another form of procrastination. The news caster Robin Robins recently dealt with a severe form of cancer. How did she beat it? Robin said: “When fear knocks, let faith answer the door.”

She believed in herself, she believed in the power of God, and she faced her fears courageously and beat them down with the “sword of God’s word.” Fear can be overcome. Human will is powerful, but there is a higher power than ourselves that can help us overcome fear, weakness, and the frailties of human nature.

When fear knocks, we need to rally all the support systems available to us. We need to jump into the pool of the unknown and beat off the sharks with every ounce of strength we can muster. Waiting for Godot or some magical super hero, who can save us from our work, just doesn’t cut it. However, if we do our part and “put in the time,” eventually the powers that be will reward our efforts.

"Sandhill Cranes at Twilight"  mixed media on canvas
Being successful isn’t for the “faint hearted.” We must struggle with our adversaries; some of which are self-inflicted. We battle with physical limitations, spiritual weaknesses and with time.

As an employee, as a wife and mother, I used a “To Do” list every day. I noticed that now that the children are gone and I’m retired, I’ve stopped using one. My days have become loose and unstructured. I think about what needs to be done, but somehow I don’t quite get to them.

I purchased a tablet with bold red letters: “To Do.” The page is divided into two columns; each line ending in a check box. The first column says: “Do it Now.” The second column says: “Do it Later.”

Since I started using this organized way of using my time wisely, I’ve accomplished at least three times as many projects as before. A warning should come with the check list: "Too many items on your Do it Now column will cause exhaustion by day’s end." I need a warning like that. I’m a Type A personality who keeps going so I can check off every box.

"With these Hands -- Love" mixed media on canvas
So I divided the page in half. One page actually lasted me all week as the interruptions of meetings, appointments, and phone calls kept me from doing my tasks on schedule. Being a slave to your list is almost as bad as not doing your tasks at all. Flexibility is mandatory.

Once the jobs were checked off, I was exhilarated. I circled those chores that remained or were more difficult so I wouldn’t forget them. This process turned out to be a great way to define my goals more clearly. It gave me an overview of my week and helped me to hone in on my priorities.

Magically, my To Do list eliminated my fears and procrastinations. I had a clear picture of what needed to be done and I methodically did them without wasting time on “how” or “why” or “when?” I was so focused on checking off those boxes, I followed my list’s directions without even thinking.

"An Open Book" mixed media on canvas
Who said I couldn’t set goals? Who told me I didn’t have time? Where did that voice come from that said I didn’t have enough talent or skill? Oh, I remember. It was the person I was before I started my To Do list. Try it! See if it smacks your fears and self-defeating behavior right out of the park!