I keep track of all my product, projects, commissions, goals, and creative aspirations in a daily planner. Managing expectations has not gotten much easier for me over the past 2 years of diligently keeping track of tasks and time allotments. What has changed is the attitude I have about it. I am no longer angry at myself for not completing all the to-do items on a list on a given day. I am slowly learning that projects often, if not always take longer than expected, always have surprises to work out, and new ideas often get put on hold for long periods of time while I figure out some aspect of the creation process. There is lots of trial and error that lead to finished projects, wins, and moving forward. Looking back on 2023, I can say there are many unfinished projects that will be absorbed into 2024, and that is okay. I can also claim that I accomplished a lot! Looking through my planner, I can see some of the projects taking longer than I had outlined but even if it was months later, the goals were reached!
As the new year begins, I am not focused on what I did not get accomplished in the pervious 12 months, that is an accomplishment in itself. For instance, my vintage couch is still not complete, and I am ok with it. The journey of reupholstering my old couch commenced in 2022. I started weaving the fabric in March, and had some issues with the pattern floats. It took months and months longer to get the cloth woven and to choose a new pattern and weave new fabric. Adding more padding to the couch seat created some obstacles, as the basic shape of the bottom of the couch changed. I took this into account and adapted the back piece. A couple of months ago, I thought I had flushed out all the issues and was finished. The couch ended up in the living room, but I quickly realized there were still a few kinks to work out. Back to the garage it went, and sits. Creative solutions take time. I'm at the point that when there is a problem in my original plan for something, I sit with it. I contemplate without anxiety, and figure out what exactly needs to happen. Sometimes, I even learn skills along the journey to solving the issues. I have gathered what I hope to be the last of the materials I need to make the couch into its final version. I have figured out what physically has to change. I just need to make it happen.
One of the things that has helped change my attitude towards my to-do list, other projects, and aspirations is being conscious of my use of the word 'should'. I try very hard not to use it at all. It sneaks into my vocabulary once in a while and when it does I try to reframe the sentiment or task by using a more constructive verb. 'Should' is often used to criticize, either oneself or someone else. That kind of pressure is unneeded by anyone.
My couch is in its final stages and will be in the living room soon! Along the way I have to remember that in the end, it is about the journey as much as it is about the result.