There is a lot I want to write and I’ve got scribbled notes and typed drafts all over my office, but I’ve got too much to do this week. A couple of weeks ago Erik read in a book about a productivity trick used by Charles Schwab, where you write down the six most important things you have to do that day. A six-point to-do list isn’t exactly brain surgery, but somehow it’s been working well for us both. I think it’s that it forces prioritization, usually my weakest point when it comes to planning the day’s actions. (Brain surgery = A joke played beautifully by Mitchell and Webb. I snicker like a fool every time I watch the video.)
The six-point list works brilliantly with the 45/15 work schedule I learned about earlier this year, and so I’ve been getting a lot done — which is great, because otherwise I’d be absolutely drowning! Is summer super-busy for everyone? It feels like it around here! Lots of visits and travel, not to mention all the usual stuff, and post-IWL obligations. And I’m starting a daily newsletter of writing prompts — sign up here if interested (it’s just a simple prompt each day and you can unsubscribe anytime).
For today, I’d like to show you some paintings from the past couple of figure drawing sessions. Last night we had a male model, which was great for me as I have very little experience drawing guys. As always, click on the images for larger versions and descriptions, or visit my flickr to see all twelve images from these sessions.
I love the above painting so much, it’s the only one I’ll post from last week’s session with Karen. There are a few more on flickr.
Just realized the other huge benefit of the 6-item to-do list is that by listing only the things I most need to get done, I eliminate the dreaded “I worked all day and yet I feel like I got nothing done!” Even if I only get through half of one item on the list, at least I know it was something I really needed to do, and there’s satisfaction in that.
LOVE the gold & ocean painting!!! your watercolors have gotten AMAZING. wow!
also like the idea of the 6 item to do list. i’m always looking for ways to switch up my regular “routine” to maximize productivity and keep myself from getting stuck in a rut and feeling like i’m drowning in all the things i have to do! maybe i should try something similar for all my “outside of work” obligations that seem to have fallen by the wayside now that i’m in the office all the time…
Ahh, thank you, Tamara! 🙂 Well, some of them have gotten amazing. Some of them still feel really blobby and amateurish to me… but that’s the way it goes. Progress is non-linear. 🙂
Yeah, when Erik and I started doing this six-item thing, we at first thought about making separate lists for work and home, and then just tossed the home idea. Sometimes “outside of work” stuff does end up in my work list, though, particularly if those specific actions really are things that must be done that day (e.g., we have guests coming that night and the bathroom must be cleaned). If you are making a list especially for these “outside of work” actions, maybe it doesn’t have to be six things every day, but just what’s really most urgent and vital?
yeah that first picture is pretty boss…. i can’t quite get over the fact that you painted the male model’s member red..it really stands out
Well, it kind of was red. Not that exact shade, but it did stand out! 🙂
I love seeing the progress in your painting! The first one is breathtaking and the last one, the twelve minute pose, is interesting for me I think because of the movement and the suggestion of muscle. It makes me feel like writing.
I’m glad the six item to-do list works for you. Unfortunately for me, the six most important things I need to get done in a day smack me in the face constantly. I long for the times when my life’s priorities include some of the things I want to do.
The last time in a long time that writing fiction rightfully made my list, was the past few weeks’ work for the contest I entered. All the other time I work on stories, is time stolen from something else that is actually much more important. (I know many would say that my soul is important, too, but most of the important things on my list would eventually support that. If only the ‘doing’ of them wasn’t so long and drawn-out and aggravating, and seemingly endless in itself.)
Thank you, Ré! I think the last one would make me feel like writing because he appears to be holding space for something. At least that’s what I like about it (and also the muscles).
Ack, I see what you mean about necessary priorities versus creative priorities. I feel like a chump for forgetting how lucky I am to have time for my most pressing creative tasks. I wonder… I know a lot of your necessities take up an anguishing amount of emotional and mental space. When I had less time for art I tried to figure out a way to at least “touch” my most important projects each day or each week — like the single heartfelt hug from a loved one that provides comfort all day long. I’m sure you already devote as much thought as possible to writing, even when you’re not writing, but I wonder if there are different ways of doing that — so as to be differently fruitful. I don’t know if I’m expressing this well, and anyway this might be something you’re already doing. I’m thinking, for instance, that if you have a goal to become more poetic in your prose, you might spend a week very carefully observing sensations in your body whenever you feel strong emotions. That way, even if you can’t write at all that week, you’d still be developing your craft and expanding your mind. This isn’t the best example but it’s what I can come up with at the moment.
Thanks for the link in this post…I live by this top 5 concept. It keeps me on track and focused. I also recommend it to all my clients. It does not matter what field you are in it just works.
Thank you for sharing the concept on your blog, Elaine! It’s definitely been working for me.
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