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Getting the to-do list done and a Presidents’ Day coloring page

How do you get all that stuff done?

I get asked this question a lot. Last week I asked people on my friends list what kind of information they’d like to see on an illustrator’s blog and time management had to be the most often mentioned topic.

I have a dirty secret. I’m terrible with procrastination. I have a to-do list a mile long and I just keep adding to it. There are so many shiny objects clamoring for my attention, I can’t just ignore any of them. So I have several dozen “absolutely, positively” projects I want to get done now. The trouble with this is I can’t decide which ONE to work on at the moment. And I jump from project to project as often as the weather changes in Missouri. To give you an idea on that, just today, we’ve had sun, clouds, drizzle, high winds and below freezing temperatures. It’s a balmy 56° now. We’re supposed to have both rain and snow later in the week. Yeah, that’s a lot of weather in just the last 7 hours.

In that 7 hours I have also checked my email, finalized a mechanical for my Spring postcard mailer, finished a tight pencil for one of the picture book dummies I’m working on, washed the dinner dishes and created the coloring page below. Today is a slow day.

What’s the secret? I know that’s about to burst out of your mouth. I have lists. Lots and lots of lists. I have a project list, and each project has its own step-by-step list. I have deadline lists and events lists. And at some point I even managed to start a list on my phone that I promptly forgot about. I’m still a bit of a techno-dinosaur. I use my phone for *gasp* phone calls. I do have an iPhone, but it’s not even a year old yet, it’s my first one and while I did download an app or two, I haven’t actually used any of them yet.

I love crossing off things from my to-do list. Also, actually having a list keeps me from running off chasing rainbows each time a new shiny comes along.

But the most important thing for getting things done is parking my rear end in the studio chair at 7:30 am every morning during the week. On Saturday and Sunday I do give myself a break to do family and personal things, but there is studio time even on the weekends.

This year I decided to get even more organized. I made a monthly calendar and designated certain days of the week for certain tasks. The main reason for this is the things that I want to get done, but because they don’t have an immediate end result, I put them off because I feel “guilty” doing them. Things like learning the new programs I have downloaded to make my life more streamlined. And keeping my web sites up-to-date. And actually having personal life goals. I started with the calendar idea this month.

So far, I’ve allowed myself several, uninterrupted, guilt-free evenings learn Sculptis – a 3D modeling program. I’m actually getting better at it. And before you go off wondering why a picture book artist needs a 3D modeling program, consider this. How many of you have models for anthropomorphic animals? Yep, I thought so. I have actual clay for modeling, but unless I fire the clay, it crumbles and breaks and if (Gods forbid) I knock it off the table or counter, it ends up a pile of dust on the floor. A computer program just is so much cleaner!

I still have another item on my to-do list for today. A new portfolio piece I abandoned last summer because it wasn’t working. Today’s step in that process is the value thumbnails!

Enjoy the coloring page and please share with anyone you think might like it as well.


Click on the image to get your 8.5X11 coloring page download.

I love to hear from you. Emails, comments and your colored pages make my day. Email your colored image (less than 1mb) to coloringpage (at) handcraftedpagan (dot) com and I’ll post it to my blog!

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2 thoughts on “Getting the to-do list done and a Presidents’ Day coloring page”

  1. Hi Wendy – I am sure that you know there are alot of us in the same club but I wanted to reassure you that you have good company. It’s a poplular place and I wanted to let you know that I am right there with you! I have the long to-do list which I keep adding to and all the “other” lists. I thought I was reading about myself here, especially about the phone, and it is so good to know that I am not alone in this craziness. I don’t know about you but sometimes I get overwhelmed and sometimes I kind of enjoy it. Anyway, just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed reading this!

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