My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #727: One Step at a Time

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 06-09-2012 11:04 AM 1413 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 726: The Importance of a Good Presentation Part 727 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 728: Lollygagging »

As I reread my post of yesterday this morning when responding to comments, I decided that perhaps I should try to take some of my own advice.

It is funny to me how it can be easier to advise others sometimes while not adhering to that same advice for yourself. It reminds me of that old ‘can’t see the forest through the trees’ saying that we are all familiar with. Sometimes we are just too close to things to make a good decision.

Things have been busy lately. That is always a good thing and I do always appreciate the challenges that being busy brings, and the fact that if I am busy, business must be going well. All of that is true, but in the last couple of weeks, I feel a bit overwhelmed, as if I am swimming upstream and not really making any progress.

I know that isn’t true, as I have things in front of me to show that I am. It is just that I think I am getting a bit tired of running at this speed and need a short break. I think working at this speed for the length of time that I have is getting to me.

I have one more big and really important deadline looming. Then (hopefully!) I can slow it down a bit and maybe take at least a day off where I don’t feel quite so pressed. That deadline is probably Tuesday, which means if I can hold on for a couple more days, I will meet it and be good. Then I will be able to take a breath.

The funny thing was that last week (and the week or two that led up to it) I was pushing pretty hard to complete those two ornament patterns for the catalog submission. I met that goal, just under the wire. I was thrilled about it and I am still, as it is a great opportunity for me and will mean good things for me this fall and winter.

Within a day of meeting that goal, I found that both the designs I worked on so hard were accepted, and I am thrilled. All the hard work and time I put into them paid off. I am very grateful.

But with that acceptance, came another deadline and more responsibility. I need to get the finished pieces and pattern sent out and have it all the way on the other side of the country by the 18th. It seemed like plenty of time initially, but when I consider how long it sometimes takes to ship things (without costing an arm and a leg) it puts a bit of pressure on me to finish quickly. So I needed to jump right into the race again.

I want it to be clear that I am not complaining. I hope it doesn’t seem that way. I just wish that there were more hours in the day to accomplish everything that I want to and need to and that I could get everything done.

I really don’t feel that it is because I mismanage my time. I try to be efficient and do what I need to do. But lately, however, I have found that I have felt guilty for taking half an hour to eat my lunch. And as I looked at the huge clock we have on the wall last night and it was after ten and I still wasn’t finished with what I was drawing, I felt kind of bad about calling it a night. Part of me thought I should ‘buck up’ and keep going, but I was really getting tired.

I am sure that all designers go through this feast or famine in their lives. While we all enjoy the feasts, there is only so much we can eat and we have to stop.

And then I reread my post yesterday about breaking things down into smaller, more palatable steps and it dawned on me that I should be doing this myself. After all, there is only one of me. While it is quite impractical for me to put a set time limit on working on things, I need to trust my judgment and give myself a little break. Sitting on the deck with Pancakes (my cat) and enjoying a half hour of sunshine while eating my lunch should have no guilt attached to it. It isn’t going to make or break me if I take that time, and in all probability, it will do me good.

I have a long staircase to climb in this journey of mine. If I look at the entire road, I find myself both intimidated and exhausted before I even begin. I just need to take my own advice and take one step at a time, enjoying the journey as much as I will enjoy reaching the destination. As long as I know I am doing my best, I can feel good about things and be happy.

Good for the body is the work of the body, and good for the soul is the work of the soul, and good for either is the work of the other. – Henry David Thoreau

Have a wonderful Saturday. Remember to take time to enjoy your journey.

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

6 comments so far

View Spofeo's profile


105 posts in 2198 days

#1 posted 06-09-2012 11:31 AM

something to think about, thanks for sharing Sheila! we all need a little pause in between, so we can boost the morale. hope you make your deadline with peace in mind :)

-- Spofeo/Kristian

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2921 days

#2 posted 06-09-2012 11:35 AM

Thank you so much. It seems we get caught up in things so much that we are sometimes swept away by them. I am going to try to tackle things with a ‘relaxed’ attitude today and see how that works. I think it will help a lot. :)

Have a great day!


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

View HamS's profile


1829 posts in 2390 days

#3 posted 06-09-2012 11:41 AM

Good morning Sheila. I hope you can lighten up on yourself a bit. Julie and I are running hard this summer trying to get the kitchen remodel done before Thanksgiving guests descend on us. I have a plan to take the second Tuesday of each month off (just kidding on that).

-- Haming it up in the 'bash.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2921 days

#4 posted 06-09-2012 11:46 AM

Yes – you have a big project in front of you! Good time to do it though, when you can at least grill a bit. I am sure it will be a festive Thanksgiving, whether you are finished or not. If you aren’t done, invite the guests early and hand them tools as they walk in the door. ;)

Thanks for the comment. Have a great weekend!


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

View jerrells's profile


918 posts in 2885 days

#5 posted 06-09-2012 12:21 PM

YES this is so true. I knew the concept and just forgot it. It is not a five hour of five day project. It is thrity minutes for this and an hour for that part. Also, it must be 30 minutes on those steps for lunch with your or my cat. Interruptions are unplanned events. The easy way to control them is PLAN them. If it involves someone else, say, “Let me do that for you at 2:30 this afternoon, when I am free”. You have always got to schedule some ME time in your day.

-- Just learning the craft my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ practiced.

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6856 posts in 3980 days

#6 posted 06-09-2012 06:59 PM

Hi Sheila,

In closing, you mention enjoying the journey, not just the destination. I can’t tell you how many times I have advised that to my clients in the construction business. Often, their projects would take a year or more to complete. I’m talking about 5 or 6 thousand square feet of living space, and roughly a million or so in renovation costs. The completion date is set in the bidding process, so the amount of time involved is not a surprise to anyone.

Too many times the client would be so anxious to get done and move into their new residence, they would make hasty decisions based on speeding up the process. This in itself would slow things down, as they would not be happy with their choices, and want them changed. Hundreds of change orders in not uncommon, and each one would have an effect on the completion date, and the project cost.

I would try to explain while it seems to be taking forever, we’re on schedule, and once it’s done, you’ll be living with your choices for quite a while, so take you time, and try to enjoy the process. Make the most of it. Don’t rush it, and regret it later.

Most of the time, the clients will agree with what I’m saying, but not actually do it. Only a few really do enjoy the process, or journey, and they have the fondest memories of the time spent designing their new homes.

I think most of life is like this. One day, when we’re old and gray, we’ll look back at our lives, and wish we could do the very things we hated doing, when we were doing it.

I try to keep that in mind as I do things I really don’t feel like doing. If nothing else, I feel better about it, as I get it done.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics