My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #801: The Catalyst

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 08-29-2012 09:56 AM 1262 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 800: Home Again Part 801 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 802: Back on Track »

I want to get back on track today and have a productive day. It seems to me that yesterday was the type of day when I got some things done, but didn’t feel that I accomplished anything. Perhaps it is because I didn’t really finish anything, but rather just pushed several piles forward a bit.

It is hard to measure our productivity some days. Sometimes we can see the finished work physically piling up, and it is very satisfying for us, as it sits in front of us like a trophy for the efforts of the day. But other days, it seems we are busy the entire day and at the end of the day there is little to show of our progress besides knowing in our own minds that matters were settled and some things have been changed intrinsically within our company. While those days are extremely important to the health of our business, it is those types of days that sometimes leave us wondering if we really accomplished anything at all.

Yesterday seemed to be one of those days. I found myself doing ‘stuff’ most of the day, yet by the end of it, I wondered to myself what I actually accomplished.

We received the order for the new kits, so we began printing and preparing the wood for cutting those. We shipped out the large order that was placed last week, so that was a good feeling too. And I had to do some paperwork and get some office work done and catch up there. It doesn’t sound like much, but it certainly filled the day. I found my self spending the evening not doing much at all, and just watching some TV. Usually I multi-task and do something else while watching – even if it is playing a game, but I just didn’t feel up for doing much at all and took the night off.

It is hard for me to do that after being gone for a weekend. I already feel behind because of the time away, but looking at all the things I need to catch up on is somewhat of a daunting task for me these days and I need to take a breath and organize and get focused once again so I can progress.

I often receive emails as to how organized I am. The above example is exactly the reason why I find it necessary to be that way. When I have several tasks in front of me and no set plan to accomplish them, I tend to flounder around like a fish out of water trying to get them done. I need to step back, take a deep breath, and methodically go through them one by one and tick them off of the list so I can feel like I am really accomplishing anything. This jumping around from thing to thing doesn’t set well with me.

I woke up yesterday with no set plan. Oh, I knew in my mind what I ‘kind of’ wanted to get done, but the goal wasn’t really as clear as I needed it to be to actually pursue it and accomplish it. I am finding that for myself, when my goals are vague, they are much harder to reach, no matter how small they seem to be. I wind up in this mish-mosh of not knowing what to do and as a result, I accomplish very little in the end. Bits and pieces here and there. It is not my usual way of doing things (thankfully!) and I will have to change that right away.

I believe that is where this blog comes in handy. By ‘talking’ about what I plan to do for the day in these writings, I am kind of making a commitment to myself as to what I wish to accomplish. For me, it offers that extra little push that I must need to keep moving in a positive direction on a daily basis.

Just now, while writing this, a thought came to mind. I wonder if the reason that I am so unfocused the past couple of days is related to my taking a couple of days off of writing here? I looked up the term ‘catalyst’ and found the following:

1 – A substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change.
2 – A person or thing that precipitates an event.

I believe that by the second definition, this blog can be defined as a catalyst for my productivity. Interesting idea, don’t you think? It rather makes sense to me.

I’ll give it a test . . .

Today I am going to try to get things organized a bit better. I will continue to do the printing on the order and see how far I can get with that. I also need to write the instructions for my next submission to the magazine (the “SNOW” word art) and pack that up along with Keith’s project so I can send it off to the magazine tomorrow. If I will have time, I will begin writing the instruction packets for the Halloween Silhouette Plaque/Ornament patterns that I designed last week.

I think that should fill the day.

While this method may not work for everyone, I think that for me it is the key to getting stuff done. I feel better already having stated my goals and now I can continue on today with a defined purpose, rather than just good intentions. I think it will make a big difference.

I wish you all a wonderfully productive day. May you all find your own catalyst to inspire you to do your best and reach your goals.

Have a great Wednesday.

-- 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 Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6866 posts in 4215 days

#1 posted 08-29-2012 11:09 AM

Hi Sheila,

Glad to hear the order came in.

Have a great day.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Roger's profile


20965 posts in 3039 days

#2 posted 08-29-2012 11:21 AM

You are a busy, busy young lass. Wish I had a bit of your energy

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9237 posts in 3155 days

#3 posted 08-29-2012 11:24 AM

Thanks Roger – I feel as if I have been running on fumes the last couple of days. Better today, though. :) I hope it is a good one for you too!


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

View Steven Davis's profile

Steven Davis

118 posts in 3150 days

#4 posted 08-29-2012 08:16 PM

Sheila -

I’ve just been catching up on your blog. Sorry about the problem with your distributor.

Some customers are not worth having. Even if the money is good. Especially, if the money is good, sometimes.

Keep to your principles, read your contracts.

All my best.


-- Steven Davis - see me at

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 3158 days

#5 posted 08-29-2012 11:18 PM

Hi Sheila,
Catalyst—we have it in our body, that is how the food is processed to become blood. Different ENZYMES are catalyst who speed up the process.
Good news that you are coping up with everything. Be positive but have a risk management in it.
Take care.

-- Bert

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9237 posts in 3155 days

#6 posted 08-30-2012 09:51 AM

Hi, Steve! Yes, it was a bit troubling. I kept a cool head though and didn’t do anything rash and I think we came out OK. It is hard to not ‘react’ sometimes or take things personally – especially when we put so much of ourselves into the business, but stepping back and maybe counting to ten does keep things calm and give us a chance to think before we act. Good thing.

And thank you Bert. We certainly will try. :)


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

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