Thursday, December 27, 2007

Orange you gonna stay on target? Don't shave that Yak!

I start the morning by surveying the holiday carnage rife in every room of our home, in every corner of what used to look like an art studio.
A familiar feeling, like looking over a deep abyss, steals over me. I ask first the question of where to begin?
I could motivate myself with a nice bit of panic. No need. I have coffee.
Deep breaths instead.
It's reset time for the household and for the studio. This means there are long lists of things to prioritize, delegate, schedule and do. This year we have several large projects and many smaller ones and more humans involved. After the New Year holiday we'll 'hit the ground running'. We've been gearing up to this for months. Now, here we are. A bit scary, a bit exciting.
The good thing is that we work smarter than we used to. The good thing is that there is lots of work to be done. The good thing is that we are aware of many terrible things around us.
The good thing is that we will make every effort to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. The good thing is that we'll accept our human responsibilities without wasting time on guilt. The good thing is that we'll marvel at new technology. The good thing is that sometimes we'll screw up. The good thing is that we will make art. The good thing is that we're traveling through space and time, living our lives. The good thing is that it is we and not me.
They are all good things. Like the oranges I picked from our front yard today. Bigger inside than out, worlds unto themselves. But too many good things can roll us over if we don't stay on target.
Creative sorts of people tend to go off on tangents. This is often a good thing---my best ideas seem to happen when I'm busy at work already. But side trips can eat up our time, get us lost.
This sort of wandering, (particularly bad for types like me who tend to approach projects like we're fighting fires) can lead to distraction and frustration. One of the best bits of advice I've ever heard on this subject comes from life hacks Danny O'Brien and Merlin Mann.
In an article from Make Magazine (I cannot say enough about Make) they write:
"Solving the world's problems is something good hackers achieve, often as a side effect. But you don't have to spend all your time lost in your own life's subroutines - even if that's where the best fun is to be had."
If you find yourself deep in plans for the coming year, or trying to clean up the mess from the last, you might want to give things a closer look before you start. Seems to me that we could all use a good refresher course about yak shaving.
The new year approaches with all that comes with it. I think I'll use these last few days to clear my head, breathe deeply and stretch. It's never a good idea to run (or swim!) without warming up and stretching.
I know many of you are standing on similar starting lines. I'd like to hear your plans and ideas for implementing them.
Here we go again...


ravyn said...

Oh nooooooooooooooo! You said the P-WORD!!!!!!!!

Artist Boot Camp (TM), Baby! T minus 10 days and counting! :-D

Dan Guy said...

Xander and I got back from the hospital after a lengthy stay on Friday and there was a poppet waiting for me! Thank you.

Dan Guy said...

I like to treat every day as the clean start of a new year.

DesLily said...

I just want to wish you and your family (all all the poppets) a Healthy and Happy New Year!!

Holly said...

I've never shaved a yak, but I spent several days combing muskoxen one year. . . but that's what I set out to do that week, so I suppose that doesn't count.