Thursday, May 3, 2012

week in the life | in my shoes

week in the life: in my shoes
Whew. It's hard to believe that Week in the Life is over. This was such an exhausting and amazing project. I'm still getting used to the fact that I don't have to take pictures of everything anymore. I don't have to tell you that I drove to the airport yesterday, listened to and sang along to Adele in the car, met my mother for lunch, and spent the evening watching the world's longest hockey game. There really is something fun about paying attention to all the little details of my day.

Thanks to all of you who followed along! I love seeing how other people spend their days and based on the comments here, other people do, too. I think human beings are all inherently voyeuristic. I'm sure most people thought that following the life of an artist would provide insight to my creative process, and when I started the week I was a little disappointed that this was going to be a business week and not a creative week - but I think the week showed that being self-employed/an artist isn't all fun and games. The business aspect is extremely time consuming. Some weeks (like this one) I don't get to do any creative work in my studio at all. It can be frustrating when accounting, errands, and tending my Etsy shop get in the way of creating, but that's what makes this a job and not a hobby.

Still, I wouldn't trade this lifestyle for the world. When I started this project last Monday, I thought, My life is pretty boringI work from home, I talk to my dogs...but then I thought, how is this any less interesting than the years I spent working in a cubicle? I wouldn't have even bothered documenting my life back then. 9 am: In my cube, 10 am: In my cube, 11 am: In my cube, 5 pm: STILL in my cube. I don't miss that life at all:

(Just kidding, Mom!)

Documenting the past week was an extremely revealing endeavor. I feel like I can't end the project without a review of what I learned through studying my own habits. A summary of what I've discovered about life in my own shoes:
  1. The first rule of life in my shoes is that I don't get to wear cute shoes. I work in a studio and am on the road a lot - comfortable shoes are key!
  2. How do you people do it? I'm looking at you, people who remodel your kitchen in a week AND take care of small children AND cook photo-worthy and nutritious meals all at once. I wish I were that productive. I feel like I can't get anything done.
  3. I never want to edit another photo ever again. This project was exhausting!
  4. Life gets in the way of life. No matter how much you schedule and plan, you can never predict when your bank is going to screw you, when a blog will feature your work, or when your toilet is going to clog. Life is messy and unpredictable. It never goes according to plan.
  5. I am not graceful under pressure.
  6. Small tasks can eat up my entire day.
  7. I am easily distracted and am not a good multi-tasker. I feel like my attention span has gotten shorter as I've gotten older and I bounce around from task to task like a pinball. I start a lot of projects, but most often do not finish them. I need to block out larger chunks of time to focus on (and finish) one thing at a time.
  8. I eat crap when I am stressed/busy. This has been true since college. It's not just the time commitment of cooking a complicated meal, it is the fact that when I am under stress I can't make decisions about anything else, including figuring out what to eat. Cookies for breakfast and a bowl of strawberries at 5 pm will keep me alive - no decision-making involved!
  9. If other people's blogs are magazines, mine is a newspaper. I'm not afraid to document the messy parts of life. Sometimes the most unflattering photos are the most compelling. Sometimes the most embarrassing and frustrating stories are the ones you'll laugh the hardest at later.
  10. While it's true that being self-employed allows me to go to the grocery store during business hours and occasionally to meet a friend in the middle of the day, it also means that I work at night, on weekends, etc. There is almost no separation between my working life and my personal life. I still haven't mastered balancing the two.
  11. Running an internet-based small business is a lot like tending to a newborn baby - it needs attention every two hours around the clock. Yes, it's great that my shop still makes sales while I'm asleep, but this also means that sometimes things sell out during the night and I wake up to find a slew of convos inquiring about that item.
  12. Running a small, creative business is a roller coaster. Getting used to life without a regular salary is an adjustment. There are huge motivating ups and discouraging why-am-I-doing-this downs. I can sell 100 prints in one day or I can go a week without selling anything.
  13. I wear many different shoes and many different hats. I create the work and package it. I apply to art markets. Marketing is up to me. I run my own errands, I do my own accounting, I make my own phone calls. I like knowing that this business is all mine, but it can be a lot of responsibility knowing that the only person who can help me is me.
  14. Working for yourself can be lonely. While there are deadline weeks that require hunkering down and focusing, it is important to make room for a social life and human interaction.
  15. My sleeping habits still suck.
  16. Know what else sucks? OUR BANK!
  17. This week I am looking forward to catching up on all the things that are usually a part of our normal routine, but that we missed out on due to the business and stress of last week: cooking together and trying new recipes, eating salads (I promise I usually don't live on cookies!), reading, social time, spending time outside, a weekend hike with the pups, and going out to our favorite ice cream shop for an evening treat.
To answer a few questions:
  • I don't plan to make Week in the Life into a scrapbook or album. I consider myself to be a photographer, a photojournalist, and a writer (amateur at all three!), but I am definitely not a scrapbooker. My documentation of Week in the Life is on this blog and I don't feel the need to make it into anything else. I like my photos and words to speak for themselves, so you'll never catch me adding embellishments or stickers to my pictures - that is just not my style.
  • The turquoise shoes and the green/pink patterned shoes are both Keens. I love Keens. The purple floral shoes are probably 6-7 years old and I love them and pray that they never wear out. Gravy peed in them once. I washed them off and still wear them.
  • My planner is the large Draw Your Tomorrow planner from The Hach. (They have the best stuff!) My wall calendar is The Year of Productivity calendar from NeuYear. Love them both. I am obsessed with calendars and planners and am very particular about them.
  • The vehicle log is for my business. Those miles are tax deductible!
Once I get back in the mood to edit photos again, I'll have lots more fun things to share, including a million pictures from my trip to New York. But if you're still hungry for more Week in the Life, check out Wednesday in Black & White - a post I did documenting an entire day of my life last summer.

(P.S. I was honored when Ali Edwards - the creator of Week in the Life, stopped by to check out my Saturday post. Of course she had to read the post where I used the word fart.)


Lauren McKenna said...

It was truly the world's. longest. hockey. game. Okay not really but goodness was that a nail-biter. And painful! The kid goalie did such a good job. I can't wait for the next game!

Anyway. "Life is messy and unpredictable." - Amen to that. I really enjoyed following your week in the life, and it solidifies how much I admire you. Your blog is absolutely my favorite to read because you're so interesting, and the things you bring to light about yourself teach me something about me.

Thanks for sharing your calendar resources - I love them!

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