My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #79: Finding Balance (sigh!) Again

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 08-21-2010 01:41 PM 9081 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 78: Another Skating Figure Complete - Meet "Sonja" Part 79 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 80: Lots of Good Ideas From You All »

How quickly things can sneak up on us! There are times that I wonder if it is something I do to myself, or is it just life’s way of keeping us on our toes. I guess when I find the true answer to that, I will be well on my way to having “all the answers”. (That was a joke – not an arrogant comment. I know that sometimes when I write things, my subtle sarcasm can get lost in the print)

I want a 48 hour day.

I guess the realist in me knows that that isn’t going to happen so I had better come up with a way to fit everything in comfortably. The problem is that I just don’t know how to do that sometimes.

It seems as if all of a sudden, things kind of crept up on me and there is a long list of unfinished things that I have to do and many of them need to be done soon. Looking at them all in one place is simply overwhelming. But juggling them and looking at them individually is chaotic and confusing and much worse. I worked on putting packets together most of yesterday, along with trying to catch up on my correspondences to customers and friends, yet it seemed like I accomplished so little.

When I reevaluate in my mind what I did finish and accomplish, the list was something that would be impressive to most. Yet I felt like I accomplished little and the list of things that still had to be done was longer. I woke up this morning at my usual 6am and the sun was just starting to rise. Instead of popping out of bed like toast, as I always do, I thought of the many tasks and rolled over until 7:30 and slept. That isn’t my usual behavior and I can’t imagine it being good. I usually face challenges with vigor and a smile, but I am feeling quite overwhelmed and I had the need to put off starting the day for another hour or so. It just isn’t like me.

For that reason, I am going to be brief here. I guess the only thing I can do to make things better is face my dragons. I am going to make a list of things I have to do and prioritize them in order of importance and systematically go down that list one by one and check them off. I need to limit my time on working on them and not do so until all hours of the night and take some time for my own relaxation and pleasure so that I don’t feel this way again tomorrow. Perhaps in a day or so things will get caught up.

After all, life is just too short.

With writing this plan down, I am already beginning to feel better. So I will let this go and get down to business. I hope you all have as productive of a day as you wish. For the others, enjoy your time to relax. Happy Saturday!

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

11 comments so far

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 4277 days

#1 posted 08-21-2010 01:54 PM

Simple (simplistic) solution. Write a list of everything you have to do in order of priority, with time estimates at the side. Add up the times from the top downwards and draw a line across when you reach your daily limit. Tear off the bottom, screw it up and throw it away. Some times you have to be black and white about things.
Now you have a manageable day in front of you.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4544 days

#2 posted 08-21-2010 02:07 PM

set it at cruise control and let off the brake… i feel like staying in bed all day maybe that feeling will go away after i sleep more…....sometimes its just best to leave some things unsaid…......bob

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 4259 days

#3 posted 08-21-2010 02:43 PM

Sheila, I am glad that I am retired so I don’t have any set schedules except for what my wife sets for me. :-) I can sympathize with you and lend you my shoulder! I can see where you are coming from in your self set schedules and needs (maybe not entirely self set) to accomplish things. Martyn gave pretty good advice. We all like to meet and exceed our “set goals” but I would say most of us (?) routinely do not, after all we are not robots. Just take comfort in what you can do and in what you do get accomplished. The phrase ” The hurrier I go, the behinder I get” really does apply in many cases because when you work so fast you tend to make mistakes and have to do it over so slow down a bit and do it right the first time and you get far more accomplished! I have found this to be true when I was working as a welder! I get far more done when I take time to do accurate measurements and check my work frequently before welding up my projects. Also, could be I’m talking through my hat where it applies to you. Good luck and best wishes in your endeavors.

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View woodcraftertom's profile


38 posts in 4093 days

#4 posted 08-21-2010 03:03 PM

I understand what you are saying and hope that my recent requests have not added any extra pressure. I love your work and the requests I made are not needed any time soon. I wanted to see what you could do with them. Please put them on the back burner as I also have plenty to keep me busy right now. Take time to smell the roses and enjoy this life—we only go through it one time. tom

View mmh's profile


3697 posts in 4963 days

#5 posted 08-21-2010 05:46 PM

Hey, you’re right, life IS short and we have a limited time use here. So I can understand your need and want to accomplish everything on your list, and also the items you’ve yet to list, but that just won’t happen if you’re the creative and inquirying person you have shown us to be. A little down time is OK. I’m sure you won’t slack off very often, so don’t feel guilty about a day off. Enjoy your endulgence and then pop-up like toast when you’re ready. Your body may be telling you that it’s just had enough of this Popping Toast Syndrome and wants a small vacation.

Also, in note of this forum, as I do really love the LJ website and the wonderful array of members, but if people request information from you about your work, you’re not obligated. If you don’t have the time and energy to follow up on these requests, that’s OK. You don’t owe anyone but yourself and a paying client the time and energy. For some reason people think they can freely ask for FREE advice and this may be an innocent inquiry, but they don’t realize how much time and energy that can cost the recipient of these requests. Just ignore them or kindly reply that you don’t have the resources to assist in a detailed manner. They will just have to understand and figure things out, as that’s what you invested in yourself to do.

Just keep up your health and your creative efforts and enjoy life. The world will still be spinning in circles no matter what you do or don’t do!

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 4161 days

#6 posted 08-21-2010 07:30 PM

Thanks, guys! I appreciate the advice. It is about 2:30 my time and I have my house somewhat in order and did the grocery shopping and I made some progress on the list I did make today. Putting a limit on the time per day is a good thing – especially on days like today when I am feeling overwhelmed. There are no such things as ‘full days off’ for me and that is just part of what I do. (my choice!) Limiting the hours is a good check so I can goof off a little and not feel bad about it.

I plan on working the rest of the afternoon, then making cheese and bacon stuffed jalapeno’s and home made beef enchilada’s for diner. (comfort food!) Tonight I am going to paint on what I want to paint on with some good shows or movies in the background. Tomorrow I will get up and pick up where I left off and see where that gets me. :)

I find I am better with a plan. Sometimes a few things come at me at once and my brain can’t organize everything into neat little compartments quick enough and I get anxious. I am better at recognizing this and taking a breath and talking to my friends, as it helps me put things back into perspective.

Thanks all so much for your input. It really does help! :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 4181 days

#7 posted 08-21-2010 09:48 PM

Sheila, you sound JUST like me! I am also now checking out all the clever advice given above.

PS. If you ever find the secret to that 48 hr day, please let me know too….

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 4277 days

#8 posted 08-21-2010 10:04 PM

Back in 1986 I met and worked with a Canadian, called Gligo, on a computer training course in silicon valley. On one particular day we finished our work in double quick time. After lunch I wanted to go back to the training centre to do more. He convinced me to goof off. We had a great afternoon and went back the next day refreshed. I learnt something that day.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View William's profile


9950 posts in 4083 days

#9 posted 08-21-2010 11:45 PM

It seems that anytime I think I’m caught up, someone or something will remind of the two or three things I forgot I was supposed to do or places I was supposed to be. Since I forget what day of the week it is most days, I am at least lucky to have such a patient wife to try to keep me on schedule. Now if I’d judt learn to listen to her I’d be set.
I quite worrying about what needs to be done long long ago. I take care of the things my wife and kids need first. After that, I do one thing at a time and only one thing at a time. For example, if I’m on a project. I don’t care what else comes through my shop doors. Nothing else gets started on until that project is done. Then I always do a good shop cleaning, put all my tools in their proper place, since I have everything everywhere during projects, and then I’ll start on the next one. I found through experience that if I take on more than one thing at a time, I get overwhelmed, lose interest in any of it and then I have a hard time finishing any of the projects. One step at a time gets me to the finish line.
Sheila, I know you like it busy busy busy, but you have to slow down now and then, if you don’t like the roses, like me, stop and taste the coffee. Sit back sometime and see the beauty in the world. I’m not saying take whole days off. I’m just saying, if it helps, step outside and watch a cloud or too go by. Get bacdk into focus. It works for me.
There are times that I feel I just can’t keep up with the flow of everyday life. There is a trick that puts me back into perspective though. When I get that way, I lock the shop up. Not for a long time, just long enough to go spend a few needed moments with my loving wife or to watch my kids. All this helps me remember a very important point. That point is that I do this type of stuff because I enjoy it. If I let too much stuff overwhelm me, then I will get to where I don’t enjoy it. If I can’t enjoy it, then what’s the point?

When all else fails, everything gets put on hold and I take a day of fishing.


View Richard's profile


11310 posts in 4274 days

#10 posted 08-22-2010 08:43 AM

A LIST of the IMPORTANT, MUST DO THINGS, is my best way of dealing with what HAS to get done. Sometimes it’s all to easy to get sidetracked by “Other Stuff”. It’s usually in my Shirt Pocket or sitting beside the Computer.

In RED on Top …MUST DO! When something gets done, I stroke it out with a Fat Red Marker, usually followed by a YES!! I’m a Huge Believer in the Power of the Sub-Conscious Mind. I Definetely think it’s at work when I do that. You just Rewarded Yourself and that Sticks!

Of course William’s “When all else Fails …Go FISHING!” ain’t on my List…BUT! I could handle that TOTALLY Necessary Diversion!!

By the way on another Post somewhere the Site “” was recommended so I had a Look See and amongst other GREAT Items, in the “Plans” Section I saw a Fretwork, Old Time Fire Engine with a Clock.What A Beauty! BANG! Gotta get this to Sheila! It’s 14-1/2”x5-1/4”x18”, Plan #123-869 at $12.69.

I downloaded the Pic, Cleaned it up, got it into Photobucket and with any luck it should be below (Didn’t know how else to do it). NO! Not Now! It’s a “Whenever Project” IF you like it.

Fire Engine Large


-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 4161 days

#11 posted 08-22-2010 12:16 PM

Wow! That is really incredible, Rick!

I really want to thank you all for the friendly advice and support. It really means a lot to me and I am sure it helps a lot of others who read this who are in similar circumstances. Sometimes we just need a little encouragement when we feel overwhelmed and we need to hear that everything isn’t “do or die”. There is always a way if we look at things with a little cooler head. It helps to have an outside perspective sometimes.

I really appreciate you all very much as both colleagues and as friends.

Thank you! Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

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