Friday, August 14, 2009

My Way, The Hard Way

My focus is splintered today. I'm reviewing contract points for exhibitions in the US, Canada and Japan next year. I'm working out production and delivery schedules for half a dozen large enamel paintings (the 'factory' is living up to its nickname). And I'm trying to refine a study for a new commission.
In between all this, I'm barely coping with conflicting emotional responses to my ebbing physical and mental health. The results of a battery of tests I did yesterday to assess the impact of my over-exposure to enamel will be available early next week. I'm also managing adjustments in the dosages of new medications prescribed to stabilise my bi-polar disorder, a process always fraught with unpredictable side-effects and unclear benefits.
I resist the urge to curl up in my bed and feel sorry for myself.
Instead, I drive myself harder, filtering out the background clutter so I can concentrate on – and complete – one task after another.
A persistent flaw in my work process (besides a tendency to rapid mood shifts) is my frustrating inability to multi-task.
Organisation, a well-defined structure and a minimum of improvisation and distraction are key to my getting anything done.

3 comments:

Hannes said...

Thank you for sharing this. To me your story shows there's great power in just putting yourself out there as who you are.

Your courage to give and share this is an encouragement for me (and I believe many other people) to allow themselves to be themselves and show compassion for people who struggle to express themselves.

Thank you. I hope you encounter many things today which will put a smile on your face.

Hannes.

Barbara J Carter said...

Multi-tasking is a myth anyway. It's been shown to be counter-productive because it actually takes more time to rapidly switch between multiple tasks (which is what you do when you multi-task) than it does to just focus on completing one thing at a time. So you're doing fine by focusing down tightly. That's much more productive.

Rob Reeves said...

Focus is a tough topic for me as well. I'm mentally all over the place and it can be very frustrating. Over the years I've developed a series of rituals I go through before I start painting that help me to zero-in on what I'm doing. Like an active meditation session. I clean my brushes and try to focus my eyes, body and thoughts on the piece in front of me: picking it apart, reconstructing it...breathing, letting the mental flotsam of the day go. This is not ALWAYS successful, but as with anything your mileage may vary.
I think you're on the right track in trying to find something that works for you. Multitasking is tempting, but ultimately multiplies your effort needed and waters down your work.
Stay strong and keep working. Focus keeps you moving forward and keeps you out of the well of self-pity that beckons so temptingly from the corner of your eye.