Are You Under The Thumb of This Evil Taskmaster?

I don’t know about you, but I live at the mercy of an evil task-master.

I work and I slave and whenever I dare step away, it follows me. I feel guilty, anxious, because no matter how much I do, it always piles on more.

And its name is TO DO LIST.

Don’t get me wrong, TO DO LIST has gotten me where I am today.

It’s guided me through all sorts of challenges. From selling all of my belongings to start a new life in Europe, to crafting my workshop for artists, and TO DO LIST certainly helped me win my crowd-funding campaign to bring The Working Artist online.

People often look at the business that I’ve built and the international life I’ve created and they tell me that I’m “lucky.” Nothing makes me laugh harder.

Because all of those years that I spent head down, toiling until I felt absolutely wrung out, sure didn’t feel like luck. It felt like bloody hard work.

And my only friend during those lean times was TO DO LIST.

Now I’m setting my sights even higher. And I still believe that the key to success is TO DO LIST.

But somewhere along the way, we’ve fallen out of love.

TO DO LIST is too demanding. Yet when I complain, it threatens that I’ll never accomplish anything without it.

I’ve created a monster!

Has your TO DO LIST taken over your peace of mind?

It’s not that I don’t want us to be together anymore, it’s just that I’m no longer interested in working maniacally.

I want to work gracefully.

At the end of the day, I want to own what I’ve accomplished. I want to work at my best - rather than just work.

Unable to divorce, TO DO LIST and I are in need of some sort of couple’s counseling to learn how we can get along better.

So I turned to my community.

You’ve heard me talk about the importance of community in the past. I belong to a small group of art professionals who engage in the same sort of work I do, coaching artists. Many people might call them my competition, but we prefer to think of ourselves as colleagues.

Once each month we have a Skype meeting to discuss our professional challenges with one another.

“Help!” I cried out at our last meeting, “TO DO LIST is ruining my life!”

Their wisdom was right on point. And I think it may speak to you as well.

They said that when you engage with work you love, you’re engaging with the most authentic and important part of who you are.

How can you take time off from who you are? You can't.

But at the same time, when you work like a fiend, you’re cutting yourself off from your deepest source of creativity. It’s important to find ways to weave your work with your life.

My colleagues suggested that the heart of the problem is that old song that we all sing, “I’m not enough.”

Do you know that tune?

Well, it’s time to take the needle off the record and play some new music. “I am enough. I have enough. I’m doing enough.”

It’s time to change our beliefs that our dreams are out of our reach because it takes too much work, too much money, too much time.

I am enough. I have enough. I’m doing enough.

It’s time for you and I to celebrate how far we’ve come, all that we have, and all that we are.

I am enough. I have enough. I’m doing enough.

In fact, I’m going to put that mantra on my TO DO LIST!