Which is a good thing.
I have a typical job with typical constant e-mail interruptions and conflicting demands on my attention. In a normal week, I’m lucky to get 45 minutes on a task before something comes along that needs more immediate attention, and maybe I’ll get back to the first thing later. Or not. This is the life described, and suggestions for prescribed, in David Allen’s Getting Things Done. Great book. My to-do list fluctuates around +/- 225 items; when it gets much above 250, it’s time to prune.
At my day job, I had two 100+ slide presentations that needed to be updated to follow the new logic and language used in the most recent release of the application I support. I had looked at them and made some of the minor tweaks, but getting them finally right meant digging in and focusing and not answering the phone. A fair number of other assignments didn’t get done on time, and I could almost hear them calling me from the distance. But the presentations would not get done without huge blocks of attention. There simply wasn’t any other way. Sometimes art is the same.
At this time in my life, a great deal of my art can be accomplished in 15 minute increments. Portability is one of the best features of knitting. Almost any amount of time allows a knitter to make progress. But sometimes not. A collector commissioned two rugs earlier this summer. After a visit to the office, I promised to make up a swatch board so the decorator could check that the fabrics I planned to use would work in the room. After two months of making no progress at all, I realized I had to take a vacation day in order to even get started.
The rug room in my house meanders from crowded to jam-packed and back again, depending on how much organizing attention I am able to give it. Sometimes, I just get in there and make art, and the piles of in-progress projects get higher and higher. I closed my eyes to the piles last night and finished a carrying bag for one of John’s umbrellas, and this morning I successfully experimented with turning a parka zipper into a luggage zipper (parka zippers open at either end; luggage zippers open from the middle). But then it was time.
Five hours later, every bag of stash rug fabric has been sorted and repacked, separating out the colors that might work in these planned pieces. Those fabrics are piled into five laundry baskets, neatly stacked by my slicing table ready to be cut. The big work table is clear. The floor has been vacuumed, all the way into the corners. Three bags of “rejected” clothes are waiting to go to the thrift shop; I’m long on stash right now and I don’t need to hold on to less-than-ideal garments (children’s, too small to be worth the effort) or fibers (100% polyester is hard to cut).
Now, I know what to do next, and I’ll be able to make progress in 15-minute increments again. I feel better.
Funny how badly that pressure has been building up. There’s still a ton of work to do in that room. I have no idea how long the effort will last; whether it will be back to this morning’s condition before it’s time to clean for the Studio Tour in December. Would be nice if it stays neat and I don’t have to do that much work again for a few months.