Crammed-in workday after some time away

Just spent about an hour or so commenting on my cousin’s supplemental essays for college admission. Tutoring writing is never something I feel like doing, but once I get started I almost always enjoy the process. If Erik and I ever run out of savings for our creative projects, the plan is that he’ll do software consulting and I will look for writing tutoring gigs. It occurs to me I have a damn good resume for such a position, for someone my age. I’ve tutored or taught at the beginning English literacy, high school, and college level, and I’ve served as a coordinator for other university writing TAs. I’ve taught and tutored in person, over email, and on the Web. And I’ve been an editor for an undergrad journal, written extensive papers of my own, and even published a chapter for a high school/college-level textbook. Pretty fancy, huh? I guess the tutoring experience will be my feedbag, if I ever need one someday.

I was on the Etsy forums for about two hours today — they’re so addictive! — and really enjoyed giving and getting critiques from other sellers. I even started my first-ever thread (on any site, as far as I can remember!) asking for feedback on my banner, and within minutes I had some really useful tips that I was able to act on right away. Amazing!! I think the only problem from now on is going to be limiting my forum time…

I was out with my mom and sisters yesterday and today, since my youngest sister is returning to college later this week. I’ll be heading down to San Jose again on Friday. I’ve been cranky and griping about losing so many work days this week, but in the end I enjoyed myself (and felt somewhat productive because I took a yoga class, bought a much-needed replacement cell phone, and did part of my Getting Things Done weekly review while I was away). I think a big part of my grumpiness comes from feeling that family members take it for granted that I can go places and hang out at any time. It’s true that as a self-employed artist, my schedule is flexible and I don’t have to get advance permission to take time off. But I think sometimes people forget that my time isn’t just “free time”; when I take a day to play, I still have to make up that time somewhere else, otherwise my projects won’t get done. It’s especially frustrating because I think there are a lot of people out there who think a self-employed artist basically doesn’t work… well yeah, the more non-work demands there are on my time, the less I’ll work, and the more it’ll become a self-fulfilling prophecy! I have a lot of anger and irritation about this that I’ll vent one of these days in a friends-only entry on my blog. But for tonight, I’ve still got work to get through.

By the way, I’ve already programmed everything I need into my new cell. Here’s my desktop photo, which makes me smile (if not actually squeal) each time I see it:

Sleeping LyapaIt’s our dear girl Lyapa!

This week is a particularly tough one to take time off from because I’m already very much behind on all my commitments (personal projects, as well as commitments I’ve made to other people). I have big deadlines coming up (like the Craft Happy event in March), and the further behind I get on my immediate projects, the more I fear I won’t make the later deadlines. My recent reorganization really helps keep the panic at bay, but even so, sometimes I feel it creeping in, as silent and disorientating as fog on the highway!

I’ve been working on my first Weekly Review, which David Allen says (and I believe) is vital for keeping the system functioning. I’ve already had to push it back twice — first when I wasn’t able to do it before leaving for the South Bay on Monday, and second when I realized last night that I hadn’t brought all the relevant papers with me — but tonight I finally got it done. The steps are these (imagine Jim Dale saying “the facts are these” on Pushing Daisies!):

  1. Collect loose items you’ve accumulated over the course of a week: receipts, business cards, scribbled notes, etc.
  2. Collect other potential action items and reference info from the past week AND the upcoming 2-4 weeks on the Calendar.
  3. Collect any loose thoughts from your head!
  4. Process #1-3, as usual.
  5. Review your project list, project sheets, action lists, deferred items, someday/maybe file, support files, and short- and long-term goals lists.

It’s not too crazy a review, but it’s useful to stage a regular session so the brain knows everything really is accounted for. Keeps the desks and purses tidy, too. 🙂