There’s an old joke – How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
On Monday, I had a conversation with a friend about working on projects. She said she’s struggling to remember “baby steps”. I didn’t like that idea. I couldn’t put my finger on why at that moment except that baby steps didn’t feel like it gave me the opportunity to appreciate the process. I had tried to explain to her that we need to enjoy the journey as much as the destination with a project but the words were failing me.
Later, I had a conversation with my mom who mentioned that she likes the idea of “just 10 things”, meaning when there is a large mess to clean up if she focuses on just putting away 10 things, she can clean. Otherwise, the task is too daunting.
I had a moment on Tuesday when I had a bit of a revelation. For this week, I had three projects I wanted to work on – a pile of fabric circles and a painting challenge workbook. Monday, I worked on the fabric circles sewing them into yo-yos (tutorial coming soon). It was such an uninspired project. I can’t tell you how many I actually did but it was painful.
Then revelation – I could sew 10 a day. I divided them up into groups of 10. There were 90 exactly. I could do a pile a day and be finished by next Friday (leaving weekends for other projects).
Somewhere, I also decided to just paint 5 pictures (1 a day).
Here I am, the week almost over and I am down to less than 15 fabric circles and I have painted 6 mini paintings.
For the last day or so, I’ve been thinking about this concept of eating the elephant. Not sure how all the conversations I’ve had this week have lead to this moment but I know they were all stops on this revelation road.
What I like about the idea of eating the elephant over other steps is that if done right, each “meal” could be enjoyed on its own. Yes, there are messes to clean up along the way and the number of dishes could be insane. But each one is an experience. It becomes less of work and more life.
How does sewing fabric circles become something enjoyable? I use them to keep my hands busy while I watch videos or I use them as an excuse to do “nothing”. I sew a circle and let myself get lost in my thoughts. More importantly, I only have 10 to do each time I work on them. I have a count down.
When I sit to paint, I know I just need to do one but then I get caught up and paint several. I actually only painted twice this week. I make up my own rules which makes the project even more enjoyable.
I’ve moved from working on boring projects to playing or relaxing. I get to have fun. Much better than looking at the large elephant and wondering how on earth I am going to get through this.