Whoa! I’m WAY Off “Schedule!”

I always underestimate the time it will take me to complete a task. I’ll use the tricky formula of “time it should take me to complete in current state” – “time it used to take me in healthy state” + “time it takes the average person” = Project DoneYeah, right!  I forget to take that total and then multiply it times 3, 4, even 5, depending on my physical state, the weather, distractions, you get the picture! 

Yet, no matter how many times I plop down on the couch frustrated after a day of concentrated effort that has produced minimal results, I still hope for something different the next time.  And, that’s the key really; it’s not that I am ignorant to the current state of my physical (un)well-being.  It’s that I am always hopeful for the day when my body surpasses past abilities and surprises me with its wellness!  That’s not such bad thing, to have perpetual hope.  But, sometimes this “Pollyanna approach” gets me into trouble, because I end up physically depleted after pushing myself too hard, going beyond the limits of my chronically ill body.

But, today I want to stay in celebration mode!  Because even though what would have taken an able-bodied person ½ a day to complete has taken me 3 ½ days (rest breaks included, of course), I am feeling enormously proud of myself for seeing this particular project to completion.  What “project,” you ask?  I have finally gotten some of my art pieces and jewelry creations up on Etsy!  This is huge for me!  I decided to showcase my recent beach glass and stone creations.  You know, the ones I found when I followed my intuition (read HERE) and Mother Nature blessed us on that beautiful beach day? Not only do I think they contain all the energy and warmth of summer; the lake stones are stunning reminders of the glaciers that carved out this landscape, called Home.  I’ve also posted some of my art (as you can tell, Nature is my muse!).

After spending significant time in the creation process (not included in the 3 ½ day declaration!), I am exhausted and typically peeter out at this stage.  I’ll hold on to my cache until I have another sale.  But there are always those people who ask about a website for browsing and purchasing.  I will puff out my chest and say, “Why, yes, I do have such a webstore, through Etsy!  Here let me give me you a card. Just give me a week or two post-sale before you check it, okay?”  And the customer leaves clutching their card, awaiting this marvelous store that I have so openly boasted about.

I’m sure those of you struggling with chronic pain, illness, or even just good ol’ procrastination can relate to what typically happens next… A sale will physically drain me for weeks (another one of those “underestimation situations”).  By the time I’ve recovered, I feel chagrined that my verbally promised timeline has come and long gone.  I may try to start the process.  But somewhere along the way I lose steam.  Always thinking, “I’ll have more energy tomorrow.”  Famous last words!

Well, this time I did it differently…

  • I stopped myself before making any verbal promises.  Because once a promissory statement has left my lips, the pressure is on!  All that this (mostly internal) pressure creates is a crushing sense of shame; shame over my illness and inability to perform what are seemingly simple tasks.  I’m sure if my customers knew what a struggle this is for me physically they wouldn’t have any qualms about it.  But do I let them in? Nope.  Back to the “well, she looks okay on the outside.  So, she must be okay, right?”
  • I gave myself plenty of breathing room and recovery time before even trying to attempt re-creating my Etsy site.  And I chose to tackle this project on week I did not have a lot of other obligations (I.E.: doctor’s appointments!).
  • I was gentle with myself when it took longer than expected.  I took rest breaks in between each step and broke it up over days.  This was the luxury I gained by not putting myself under a deadline!

I was reminded how much goes into selling items online.  I am in awe of those who do it on a consistent basis, especially those I’ve come to meet through WordPress whom blog and create and sell. Miraculous!

The creation process alone is taxing, but it is also extremely rewarding.  It is meditative and takes my mind off the pain.  The rest of it is just a pain in the butt: taking several photos of each item (including setting up creative, attractive backdrops, lighting, etc.); editing each image; uploading them to the site and then making necessary adjustments (sometimes back to re-photo); completing an inventory form for each item separately; then it’s on to writing an appealing description; pricing; posting; oh, and, of course, advertising so that your customers know to go look!  There are parts of the process I enjoy but it all gets tedious after a while. And it’s crazy the ways my body will find to revolt against the project!  From a stiff sore back after a photo session to swollen, sausage fingers from typing too much, I make sure to have a constant rotation of ice packs in the freezer!

But the bottom line is…  I am excited and proud of my accomplishment!  My “stick-to-itness” even in the face of multiple physical hurdles! I am holding happiness in this moment.  Because my mind wants to go to all the items I have yet to post, and I keep bringing it back to the here and now.  In the here and now, I have a finished product to show and share.  And that’s something to smile about!

(NOTE: The above picture collages highlight some of the items for sale.  Interested in seeing more? Click HERE.)

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