Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Schedule (pt. 2: diversion/ focus)

Welcome, welcome, welcome to April and new month. This being my first spring on Etsy (I was closed last year for my resettlement), I am particularly excited about April and the New Leaf feeling it brings. Let alone the flowers, sap, green and sunshine!

Well, around here the "sunshine" is never a guarantee, spring time weather is as changeable as the sea. We are getting out more, though, and the birds, colds, open windows and budding trees of this season are picking up steam. I'm going to be re-opening the shop within the next few days, but before I do I wanted to cite some of the reference points I've had in the last week of vacation time to revitalize my artistic & Auntistic engine.

First of all, a little nonfiction story.

We begin with MNJ and his mama upstairs taking an afternoon nap. I was in the living room with SL, who was also napping, working on transferring some drawings with my light box. NPR was on my computer, and SL began to stir. Since that whole branch of the family is still suffering from a particularly virulent cold, I decided to rock with SL until he fell back asleep instead of letting him get up. While having one of those so sought-after daily moments of baby peace and calm, I was torn between putting him down + going back to transferring my drawing + possibility of him waking up OR staying put. Slowly my consciousness shifted to the radio, and an interview I really never would have listened to caught my focus and attention for the next half hour.

There are some shows that NPR stations pick up by region depending on what they're listenership is interested in. This is how we had Speaking of Faith (more on that in a bit) in PA but not in my hometown of MA... at least not when I lived there. Last week another show I had never heard of before, Human Media, was broadcasting on NPR's 24 hour news stream~ which is how I chanced upon it. They were playing an interview by host David Freudberg of David Allen, author of Getting Things Done. Now, don't get me wrong, I mean this in no offense of David Allen but I worked in bookstores a long time and Getting Things Done just looked like another business management book written for the bestseller list. (shrug) Not that back then I knew anything about owning and operating my OWN small business... :)

These days though I'm a little older and a little less cynical, I was glad for sleeping baby SL threatening to wake up if I moved, keeping me seated and listening. I'm going to tell you something about myself as a worker, too: I love, love, love having a long list of things to do as I come into work/ walk into Etsy studio. I love even more to MAKE that list. But, predictably, as days and time go by and actions are taken on a great number of any things we all assign ourselves to do, there is also this background level of yet-to-be-done. There is, in every one's consciousness like a chattering reminder, a stream of "to do"'s that can constantly tick through our day. David Allen refers to this as "overwhelm" and it is the misplaced paper every bit as much as the PRIORITY (!!!) stuff like emails, returning calls, juggling office vs. home, you name it.

When C was pregnant and we were both trying to cull together the resources it would take to settle all the way across the country, words like "intention" and "mindful" and "purpose" were all powerful tools to our decisions. Babies bring with them a fistful of chaos (and twins!?) so in this part of my experience you have to get through the parts of the day that are about survival before you reach for words like that. On the other hand, I know how resonant they are to the way both she and myself strive to live. I know for her, raising the boys with such keen awareness of intentional action as a part of their experience, for example, is important. For me, the meditative calm with which I enter my time with them is surely a cornerstone to my interactions (if I achieve that, too. See above what I said about survival). And then take the both of us with businesses of our own where it is so important to be decisive and clear. I would recommend the book or the download of the interview to anyone, now.

The interview I listened to was called "Relaxed Focus". It talked about bringing intention into our actions, and his book tackles the variety of ways we can reduce the "overwhelm". You can listen to a free segment of the interview via Human Media here.

All that to say that the interview caused me to really look at my own list of things I hope to accomplish each day, and not only what I'm getting done but the spirit behind those actions. Since this time last week I've also been finding threads of resources, you know... when one interesting tidbit leads to the next? about parenting, creativity, productivity and running a small business. In the next couple posts I'll be exploring these (in less of a round-about way, I'm sure) and adding new links.


Knittah said...

I LOVE David Allen. The Getting Things Done method really really works. If you have a Mac, I also highly recommend the program Things from Cultured Code. It fits seamlessly with the GTD method and the interface is intuitive. GTD has changed my life.

Behind ouou said...

Thank you, knittah! Its so wonderful to hear GTD has worked so well for you- I was really very impressed by the interview. Woo- now I'm even more excited & looking forward to learning more :)

always young at heart said...

we too were listening to the interview in the car and had to stop to listen....(thought of you right away with your lists, and I love to make them too) we liked what we heard, definitely another book to buy.

Behind ouou said...

I'm thinking about ordering the audio book from the library first- you guys should see of MPL has that service! With all the "office" time I'm clocking these days, listening is more likely than finishing a book! :)