Just Another Manic Monday

Does anyone else put their little one in the bath as something fun and entertaining for them to do? Yikes. Poor kiddo. Today has definitely been a “work day”, predominately from home. I have filled the afternoon with “fun projects” for my four-year-old to do, such as circling the toys she would like for Christmas in a target ad, copying letters and numbers I give her one at a time, “Count how many of these are in this jar”, “Oh! Now go through the Target ad and circle all the toys you want to buy OTHER people!” and now… it’s bath time! Good thing the little squirt loves taking a bath.

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The truth is, there just isn’t enough time in the day! Especially on days like today, full of thought and reflection (necessary for the artist but tricky for the working mother). Today was an emotional day for a number of reasons: my plate is full, my budget tight, my work-load is rising, a few new prospects on the horizon but not set in stone, emotions running high, the four-year-old adjusting to life.

Have you ever had one of these days?  Too much on your mind to focus on anything. Your to-do list so long you don’t know where to start. Bumps in the road around every corner. What to do? How to focus? Where to turn?

This is when my obsessive list making comes in handy.

Hi my name is Cassandra; I make lists.

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First I make large project lists. This includes things like that super long research paper with the due date at the end of the semester, or (more relevant to my life now) the program I am trying to get started next semester at school or learning and memorizing a full opera (Carmen!). This list is for the big stuff- the things that make you break out into a sweat just looking at them, trying to figure out how to get started.

My next list is a break down of each project. So- take the full opera- First, I see that there are four acts, each taking approximately 2 weeks of rehearsal time. That helps break the show into chunks already! It also helps me see that there is already a time line set to work on each section. If there isn’t, I go ahead and divide up the total rehearsal time and plug it in myself. This list breaks my major task into more manageable assignments.

Next comes the longest list, tearing apart each of those assignments.  With an opera, I will break down an act into musical numbers or pages that seem to fit together. Once you break down the numbers or sections, the list may be long, but each thing on the list is a bit easier to swallow. If I need to break things down even further, splitting things into even shorter sections, now is the time! I can then really tackle each small section and most importantly… I CAN CROSS IT OFF THE LIST!!! There is almost nothing more exciting than crossing something off a list…

With such a busy life, I find calendars and agendas just as important as lists. Making sure things are scheduled well is extremely important in managing my own business and being completely self-managed in regards to learning and memorizing music.  I will break down exact page numbers and schedule them in my agenda to make sure everything gets covered in the time allowed. Sometimes life runs hour to hour. Scheduling this way, ahead of time, and knowing all I have to do is follow my own schedule makes for much less stress and fewer last minute cram-sessions.

It might seem a bit over the top to work this way- too strict for some people. Each person has to find their own system that works for them specifically, but for me this is almost fool-proof! What can you to do make things easier for yourself? How can you avoid the stress of last minute preparations?

 

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