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Posted by on Nov 5, 2013 in Blog, Inspiration & Thoughts, Mixed Media, Thoughts, Videos | 19 comments

Making Things Happen.

Making Things Happen.

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Dear friend,

Yesterday was such an exciting day! Seeing the new blog and shop up and running made me feel a great sense of accomplishment. Now that I finished the work that started several months ago, it is the perfect time to share some ideas about productivity that you might find helpful. Let’s start with an e-mail that I got from a Facebook friend:

“Dear Elsa, I always look at your fb, pinterest, blogs, etc.I wonder: how do you manage to have time for everything and besides make so much art? I need some advice…I find it hard sometimes to put my art life, wife life, all the lives women have, together. Love! G.”

My answer to G. was a short email. But her question inspired me to write and illustrate this post. Here is how I do:

xultima 960.png.pagespeed.ic .qUDt WqRsO 600x222 Making Things Happen.

1. THINK

The first thing that I do before I start anything, is think. This means to stop everything, sit down with a piece of paper, a pen, and think about  what I want to do and why. I am  naturally impulsive, so I have to push myself to slow down and use my head before I start going anywhere. Why should we think before we start anything? The answer is because it clarifies your mind and it gives you focus and purpose. It also helps you separate yourself from everyone else so you can figure out what you want and what you need.

It is OK to use other people’s lives/careers as an inspiration, but as Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “Insist on yourself. Never imitate”. Go to the bottom of your situation, of who you are, of how your life is like at the moment… and come out with a personal definition for what you really want to do.

get attachment 11 Making Things Happen.

2. MAKE A PLAN

The second step is to write a plan. This plan is the map to get to the destination. I do it in two parts. Part one is the general map, the big picture of what I want. The second part is the big picture broken down is small steps. It is like when I create an intricate papercut. I draw the general picture first, and then I divide it in as many small areas as possible so I can focus on cutting one small area at a time without feeling overwhelmed. This works great, every time.

get attachment 22 Making Things Happen.

4. START

It is so easy to abandon a plan once we have it in writing. Step number four is all about taking action. One task at a time. It is like walking. One leg first, then the other leg and so on. There is nothing more exciting than moving forward with a purpose.

get attachment3 Making Things Happen.

5. MANAGE YOUR TIME

I experience more progress when I go through periods of intense work, followed by short breaks. Let’s say that I have a few hours in the morning.  I work for  2 hours or 3 completely focused (no Internet, no answering the phone) and then I take a 20 minute break, and so on.

get attachment 3 Making Things Happen.

6. DISCIPLINE

Discipline “is the control that is gained by requiring that rules or orders be obeyed” (merriam-webster.com). Discipline is important because it allows us to stay on track. Setting deadlines is great. If you say that a certain work should be finished in a week, you are more likely to complete the task than if you have no clarity about the deadline.

get attachment 42 Making Things Happen.

7. HAVE FUN!

In the past, when I ended up abandoning a project, it was because it stopped being fun. My finding is that things stop being fun when I don’t do step one right. Step one is like the basement for a building. If the basement is not strong, the building will collapse. But to keep the fun going  we also need to stop taking ourselves too seriously. What I mean is, don’t over think and over complicate your life. That will only get you paralyzed. Simplify, simplify, simplify. Let your brain take a break and  use your intuition more.

Something else that works great for keeping things in perspective is to play, literally. Play with your children or pet, or anything that is fun. And don’t forget to laugh and be positive. A positive mind is key in anything we do.

get attachment 51 Making Things Happen.

19 Comments

  1. Dear Elsita! Thank you so much for sharing this. Actually I have had the same question to you for quite a long time, and now I am so glad to find the answer! It looks easy and complicated at the same time. But lately more and more I am getting confident that everything is possible! :) All the best, Kaiva

    • Hi Kaiva! Getting things done is basically easy, just a mix of clarity and concrete actions. If we focus on those two things, we will definitely get results. Have a great day!
      Elsita :)
      Elsa Mora recently posted..Making Things Happen.My Profile

  2. Hello Elsita,
    thank you for your great tips! Keep up the amazing work!!

  3. Hola Elsa,

    ¡muchas gracias por este post porque es oro puro! Ten la seguridad de que va a ayudar a mucha gente.

    Yo tuve un “problemilla” llamado depresión posparto y he estado seis años sin hacer apenas nada. Cuanto menos hacía, más rápidamente se agotaban las ideas y la creatividad. Creo que me quedé literalmente “seca”.

    Con mucho esfuerzo conseguí salir, y ahora me “obligo” a hacer cosas a diario, y es increíble cómo las ideas se van ramificando y dando lugar a otras nuevas. Hay ocasiones en que llego a angustiarme por la cantidad de ideas que llegan de pronto, sin previo aviso, sin darme tiempo siquiera a anotarlas.

    Me falla la etapa de la planificación,así que tomo buena nota de tus consejos. Gracias de nuevo. Después de tantos años leyéndote que es como si te conociera un poco :)

    Besos
    Conchi.
    Conchi recently posted..Reto de los 122 días: Día 66My Profile

    • Conchi,

      Te endiendo perfectamente porque yo tambien pase por una etapa de depresion postparto despues que tuve a Natalie. Fue muy dificil pero por suerte pude salir de ella. Como puedes ver, todo esta en empezar a hacer cositas, poco a poco. Luego que una empieza, todo avanza fluidamente, paso a paso. La planificacion ayuda mucho porque te da mas claridad. Cuanta alegria saber que este post ha sido util.
      Te mando un abrazo grande!
      Elsita :)
      (disculpa la falta de acentos!)
      Elsa Mora recently posted..Making Things Happen.My Profile

  4. :-D thank you for this wisdom I am going to save it to work through very soon.
    Hazel Terry recently posted..Tomomi Irago IMy Profile

  5. I just tried to leave a comment, so I apologize if it went through and this is a duplicate. Anyway, congrats on the new shop and blog, Elsa. I’m excited to see everything! Also, I just saw your work on colossal.com. Here’s the link if you haven’t already seen it today:

    http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2013/11/cut-paper-sculptures-and-illustrations-by-elsa-mora/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+colossal+%28Colossal%29
    Mary recently posted..Today’s FindsMy Profile

    • Thanks a lot, Mary! Yay!!!! I was so excited when Christopher Jobson contacted me about the feature on his blog! What an honor! I love THIS IS COLOSSAL, I check it all the time for inspiration. Thanks a lot for the link!
      Elsa Mora recently posted..3D Printing for Creative People.My Profile

  6. oh, yes! as a wife, mama, artist & author I cannot agree more with the way you have organized and articulated this process. Thank you for putting it all so eloquently into images and words.

    with love,
    mb
    Margaret Bloom recently posted..ThanksgivukkahMy Profile

  7. Without knowing it or planning it, this is what I do at work, at home and in all the many projects I do in both places. The KEY THING for me is the FUN part. I can work through the not-so-fun bits, as long as the project on the whole is fun and rewarding.
    Creative thinking goes a long way.

  8. Hello Elsa,
    Very nice and beautiful post! I a an admirer of your work!
    Best,
    Maria

  9. Comment Eu amo o seu site, sempre com postagens super especiais, de alto nível, inspiradoras e deliciosas de olhar. E agradeço por esse artigo esclarecedor, porque conseguir tempo para a arte na luta diária, é um desafio constante. Obrigada, MKrone

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