My Life

Working, Feeling Disjointed

I feel like I’m going in a million different directions sometimes.

Around the house, I have my garden that needs daily watering. I want to reupholster the dining chairs, paint the dining room ceiling, and hang wallpaper. I might move the rug that’s in the living room to the dining room, or maybe into the bedroom. And I want new bedding, all white, but I’m feeling too miserly to spring for it.


Right now for the shop, I’m filling orders (along with my assistant who’s here on Thursdays), ordering labels for packaging, finishing up some new bookplates so that I can have them printed, ordering more paper suitcases, and developing a business plan for a loan. For the blog, I have a dining room mockup that I did for fun, a living room that I’m working on for Jules, and the beginning of my business posts that I’ve been planning for months. And I’m going to start scheduling and taking on just a few new clients over at Smart & Lovely now too. I have a lot of inquiries that I have yet to respond to, so I really need to get on that.

Am I the only one that feels overwhelmed by a constant daily stream of email? I love hearing from people – I really do – but my inbox is overflowing.

I’m not one for clichés and quotes, but there is a trio of them that I try to remember and act on.

A good idea today is better than a perfect idea tomorrow.

Don’t let best get in the way of better.

Done is better than perfect.

Easier said than done for this perfectionist.

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  • amy purple
    July 17, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    When I have a ton of work to do, I like to tell myself I have to do this and this before i do this. The last this being something fun. It’s like a reward system for yourself.

    Like I can’t eat my tasty lunch until I finish answering 5 e-mails. I can’t play with Murray until I pack up 10 more orders.

  • Melissa
    July 17, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Thank you so much for this post…I needed it! And Amy’s suggestion is a good one. I might need to implement that one…

  • Jules
    July 17, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    Part of my problem is the internet. It’s a huge time suck. The other part of my problem is my personality. I take on too much. I need to work on that. I can’t give much advice b/c I’m in the same perfectionist boat. And I happen to love cliches and quotes.

  • Fiona
    July 17, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    Hey I know how you feel Nicole – every time things seem to calm down a bit I voluntarily sign up for something new. And every thing has to be done to perfection – its crazy – but that’s life – I would be bored if I wasn’t frazzled!

  • Melissa M.
    July 17, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    I hear ya, sista! I absolutely cannot keep up with my emails. In my work Inbox, I have 632 messages. In my personal one, I have 592. Every time I clean ’em out, they grow even more gargantuan. It’s like that old wives tale that shaving will make the hair grow back thicker. Deleting my emails makes my inbox get fatter!

    Can your next blog post be titled, “How to prevent a nervous breakdown”?

  • Nichole
    July 17, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    Within the past two/three weeks I started a new position at work that requires a few of the same skills as my last, but has a different dynamic. Instead of a constant stream of work that feels will never end, the new one is sort of like, “Okay, here’s a sponsor and study, send this off” DONE “Now copy this and file it” DONE So it’s more satisfying in that there are miniature milestones with everything I do. The hardest part – managing all these miniature milestones so I don’t let one slip.

    So the idea of having this this this and THIS to do I can totally relate. But once you’ve finished something, regardless how small or un-important you think it is, atleast it’s something off your list.

    But if you’re like me, you usually replace that one thing with something else…or maybe three or ten something elses. :)

  • katie
    July 17, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    you made a few sets of stationary for my bridesmaids… thought I should let you know that they LOVED them :) So keep doing what you’re doing, because its fabulous.

  • rachel
    July 17, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    Right now is the perfect moment. It is all you need.

    Trust the process, it will work.

    Two really great “OMG I’m overwhelmed!!!” mantras. =)

  • Nicole
    July 17, 2008 at 5:23 pm


    Your little trio of wisdom was exactly what I needed to hear today!

    Instead of just updating my little Web site (self-designed over a year ago and would have done it so differently knowing what I know today!) with the new designs I have recently made for clients, I have been holding off for weeks. Why? Because I am toying with the idea of re-doing the whole site (which would take weeks) or paying a professional to re-design the site (which would require a loan, which I am also preparing a business plan for!). So, instead of having a freshly updated site, I am stressed because I have done nothing with my product photos for weeks and think the site content is stale! Oy vey :)

    Sorry for the long-windedness; and thank you for your post, because it is reassuring to know other small business owners are in the same boat. You do the best you can do, today and every day. That’s all we can ask of ourselves :)

  • patricia
    July 17, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    Idea, perhaps you need to add to your million things;
    having a child or two!
    Having twins (now 15) gave me a great perspective.

  • Carrie S.
    July 17, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    Sounds all too familiar. Good luck! As for the loan, check with smaller banks. I got an unsecured loan at my (small) business bank recently. No biz plan needed…

  • Tatyana
    July 17, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    I was wondering how you do all this. I feel your pain, though.
    It could be worse: you could not have ANY e-mails personal or business, you could not have a house and a yard, and you could not have an assistant. Just hang in there. Tomorrow (or the day after) will be better. Or you can just have a margarita and pretend that it’s better. :)

  • Dustin
    July 17, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    I’m in the same boat. At the risk of revealing my secret (ha!) inner geek, I find solace in this page from one of my favorite tech authors…

    Voltaire: “Better is the enemy of good.” It’s a fourth quote that ties right in with yours.

    For what little solace you might draw from this: I’m totally impressed by your follow-through (like with that awesome patio garden, already PLANTED!) and your organization, such that I can see it here on the blog. Despite feeling overwhelmed, you are still awesome in what you are producing on a daily basis.

    I wonder, too, if this might help…


  • katelynjane
    July 17, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    I completely understand! I work full time as well as Etsy and sell my bags at the Farmers Market…at work I have a full page of “To-Do’s” and then I come home to my blog “To-Do’s” and my household “To-Do’s”. It really ads up!

    Having an assistant sounds like fun! I know I’d be super picky about mine though…I might not be the best boss because I expect nothing less than perfect. Even though I’m nice about it, I have no problem asking people to re-do something again and again until I’m satisfied.

  • katelynjane
    July 17, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    Oooo! And I agree with Tatyana! Have a Margarita and sooth the pain! (: YUM!

  • Laurie
    July 18, 2008 at 9:01 am

    mini goal, list, reward, breath. TCBY. repeat.

    oh and I read your blog, but I doubt that would help you much. ;)

    ps – This post made me laugh because my husband would have a canary if I had that many icons on my desktop. He is a clean desktop Nazi.

  • Jennifer
    July 18, 2008 at 9:37 am

    also some perspective – try all this & a two-year-old!

    good luck with it all – it will all work out. deep breaths….

  • sunny
    July 18, 2008 at 11:12 am

    I sooo needed that reminder today!
    Done is better than perfect.
    For instance, I went to China for three weeks in 1998. The photos are still in a box. Then I went with a group from church to NYC post-9/11 and the photos from that trip were ones I put in an album within 48 hours of my return to SF, and were shared with anyone who asked about the trip.

    The album was imperfect but it was done. And it helped others get a glimpse of NYC post-9/11.

    Yet I still get overwhelmed. Glad I’m not the only one.


    PS: I love for reminding me that “housework done imperfectly still blesses my family”. I’m single but it still helps me to do a little bit of something – which is better than nothing.

  • Laura
    July 18, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    Thank you for your post! It’s refreshing to know that I’m not the only one who feels this way (but are you like me and answer the question “what’s new/what’ve you been up to?” with “oh, nothing. You know, the usual?”).

    You are one of my inspirations with all that you accomplish!

  • Sara
    July 18, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    You might not want to reprimand your assistant on your website… kinda harsh that ALL your readers know she was late and you were upset about it. Not very motivating for someone and it’s highly embarrassing if she reads it.

  • Shannon
    July 18, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    Get thee to Home Depot or Lowes and pick up a sprinkler and a timer. Let the flowers water themselves. One less thing for you to worry about!

  • Seleta
    July 18, 2008 at 11:59 pm

    I think the internet can be like a crystal meth addiction. There’s so much fun stuff to read and look at and it can eat up so much of your time! Right now is a classic example, I should be getting to bed and instead I’m right here. Oops.

    I find that if I turn off my email alert sound on my mac, then I don’t get distracted while I’m working on a task. Emails can really slow you down!

    Just be glad you don’t have kids yet. Whew, then it REALLY gets tricky!

  • Violet Craft
    July 19, 2008 at 1:59 am

    That’s my doppelganger post! I read it to my husband just to prove that it’s a common affliction to be overbooked by twenty projects. I agree with the sprinkler timer, although watering my garden is kind of my reward. Is there a timer that will feed my kids lunch and do our laundry?

  • puglyfeet
    July 19, 2008 at 10:38 am

    I KNOW EXACTLY HOW YOU FEEL. Your post really resonates with me because I’ve been having similar thoughts and emotions about my own projects. But, one step at a time, one project at a time, and we’ll get to our destination in time. I’ve resorted with To-Do lists. They’re making my life a little less insane.

    For what it’s worth, I think you’re doing a fantastic job. I’m a fan of ALL your websites and you’re quite the Wonder Woman in my eyes.

  • Ava
    July 19, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    “also some perspective – try all this & a two-year-old!”
    “Having twins (now 15) gave me a great perspective.”

    Wow, is it just me or do those comments strike anyone else as condescending?

    You – internet strangers – made the choice to have children. You found out (big surprise) that they’re a lot of work. And yet, things keep ticking along. Would you like a medal? Having children is commonplace. Having children, raising them well, and still managing to excel at career and achieve other personal goals is exceptional. When you manage the latter, feel free to toot your own horn.

  • Jules
    July 19, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    Ava–I can see where you would get that impression. I thought so, too, but I think it just came off sounding worse than intended. It’s never really helpful to tell someone they have nothing to complain about. But, having two kids, I know what they are trying to say.

    Now, Sara @ 2:36pm? She’s just plain rude. If reprimanding an assistant online is harsh, is chastising the blog owner arrogant? Just curious.

  • Jen
    July 19, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    I love your desktop wallpaper! Well, what I can see of it, anyway. Did you make it?

  • Julie
    July 21, 2008 at 6:30 am

    Great quote Nichole – I think it’s going on my bulletin board today. :-)

  • Tracey
    July 21, 2008 at 10:43 am

    Love the quote- and very appropriate in today’s crazy world! Take some time to enjoy life, there is always tomorrow!

  • Making it Lovely
    July 21, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    Wow. I’m not sure what to say… So many people can relate to feeling overwhelmed. It’s actually really encouraging to feel less alone in my stress. I appreciate the support.

    I’m glad the quotes were helpful for a lot of you. And now I have some new ones to remember, so thank you.

    I feel a lot better today. I still have a lot of work left, but I took the weekend off. You know… like normal people do. It was so nice to putter around the house, do a little garden work, read magazines, and just relax.

  • Making it Lovely » Blog Archive » Wordle
    July 21, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    […] « Working, Feeling Disjointed […]

  • sue
    July 22, 2008 at 9:18 am

    as for the watering – soaker hoses have saved me a LOT of time so far this summer – I used to have to get up an hour and a half early a few days a week to water, but now I just hook the hose up while I’m working or cooking, everything gets watered, and you actually SAVE water in the process. brilliant!