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Sara Naumann blog to do list

My to-do list is on my computer desktop. I think it's ironic that the "help" option at the top shows up so clearly in this photo. Ironic, ha ha.

Sometimes there’s just no time.

For lots of reasons. And for those of you who, like me, try to squeeze productivity out of every minute—well, sometimes one thing can really throw us for a loop.

(I’m using the collective “we”, by the way. I’m sure you’re a lot more sane together than I am.)

Anyway, last week I had a ton of stuff planned. I’m contributing projects to Stamp & Scrap Arts magazine in 2012, and my first deadline was approaching. I had the opening at The New Label Project on Thursday. I planned to review all the tapes for the Creative Workshops class. And and and…

Oh, yeah—and the baby!

On Wednesday, Anna had a cold and a slight fever so I kept her home from nursery. Gone was my workday and with it, my magazine deadline. Unfortunately, by that evening, both of us were in full flu mode.

(Let me tell you how lovely it is to have the flu when you’re taking care of someone with the flu. Our washing machine was on overdrive and Keith had to take Thursday off work. “You’re a zombie, go back to bed,” he told me as I staggered down the hall.)

The end result? I missed the deadline to mail in my projects. I missed the opening at The New Label. (It took me two pathetic attempts to text them to say I wouldn’t be there.) I missed emails and following up on a project, which meant I wouldn’t be able to participate in a show here in town. I missed getting information to contacts. And I missed yoga, which was really the least of my issues.

Sometimes there’s just no time. And sometimes it just can’t be helped.

While I was playing email catch-up this weekend, I commented to someone that the downside to being a one-woman show is…well, I am only one woman. I don’t have an assistant to watch my emails or send in that proposal or follow up on that deadline or wonder why so-and-so hasn’t responded.

In the end, things worked out. (As they almost always do, I’m discovering.) I emailed photos of the projects to Stamp & Scrap Arts instead of mailing them….and realized that my project photography isn’t as bad as I feared. I missed the opening…but will go this week with a friend instead. And I reviewed the tapes Saturday afternoon while Keith and Anna hung out.

As for the stuff I missed? Turns out, people are pretty forgiving when they hear you’re sick. And when you’ve been as particular as I am about work habits, people tend to realize how unusual it is when you miss something or need a little more time.

Yes, there’s grace in the face of realizing one’s limitations.

At a certain point—especially when you’re a one-woman (or man) show, you just reach a point where you just. Can’t. Do. It. And if you somehow miraculously did, you’d be nuts.

As much as I hate to admit it, it was a lesson I needed this week—especially since I’ve just been doing strategic planning for my creative business for 2012. Boy, do I have plans: Online classes! Art retreats! Teaching! Television! But a huge key for me is going to have to be flexibility—knowing there will be a lot more days when life throws me for a loop and I’ll have to accept that as much as I hate to admit it, I have limitations.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who struggles with this…I feel like this is one of those things everyone else has already figured out, and that I’m the only looney out there still trying to cram a week’s worth of to-do items in one day.

How do you strike the balance? Or are you, like me, finding yourself re-assessing your limitations—especially as the new year comes upon us?