People always say that work in the arts is either feast or famine. I often smiled and nodded when they said that, thinking to myself, “Yeah, you either have work or you don’t.”
In the first five months of 2012, I’ve lived that saying. From January through mid-March I didn’t have any work. I was contacting companies and asking for opportunities to volunteer, but no one needed help. Those three months of famine were kind of like torture. I thrive on busyness. multi-tasking, and six hours of sleep.
Fast forward to the present. I have 10 projects on the go. And I spent the last week feeling like I was drowning under them. Even the simplest tasks seemed like too much to handle. I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t thriving like I usually do.
It hit me on Wednesday as I was at my desk in the Fringe office getting overwhelmed by the fact that this year I’m overseeing 47 companies as a part of my Fringe job. I need to stop thinking about the big picture and focus on the to-do list. One item at a time. All of the little things will add up to the big picture.
With my newfound mantra (THINK SMALL), I took on the rest of the week with an alarming upturn in my productivity. Items that had been on my to do list for a couple of weeks were accomplished. In fact, everything on my to do list got accomplished. And all of a sudden it no longer felt like I was going to drown under the weight of 10 projects. Instead it felt like I was swimming and the current was strong, but I was going to complete the race. It felt GOOD. Some people are visionaries. I’m not. I don’t do well when I start to look at the big picture and dream about how it will all come together. I’m good at compiling a to do list of the steps to make something happen and then systematically checking them off, one at a time.
And now I’m caught up again and have even found time to write. And after Monday I’ll be down to only nine projects on the go. And the to do list is long, but it’s totally manageable, as long as I keep my focus and don’t get distracted by things way out of my control.
By the way, if you’re looking for something to do on Monday night, come to the reading of Sean Minogue’s new play Us and Everything We Own. We’re workshopping it all weekend and then we will be doing a free, public reading at 7:30pm on Monday evening at the Carousel Theatre large studio. The play is currently reading at about 75 minutes and has a pretty awesome cast: Pippa Mackie, Mack Gordon, Julie McIsaac, & Adam Lolacher. Come on down and support the development of new plays in Vancouver!