Friday, April 30, 2010

Getting stuff done

Sometimes, if you're like this little red-haired dude above, you feel trapped, stuck in a rut, creatively drained, tired, and a bit hopeless that you're ever going to finish/succeed/reach goal X/etc., etc.

We know that we can certainly relate. Monkey and Seal are both managers for two different retail stores, and after being on your feet for 6-9 hours per day dealing with sometimes irate (but usually awesome) customers, the last thing we feel like doing is working more when we get home. Besides running errands, cooking dinner, doing other household chores, and trying to spend time with one another, the Monkey + Seal team is usually pretty pooped out by the end of the day.

However, we find the motivation to continue working, to continue painting, to continue creating into the wee hours of the morning (usual bedtime is around 3am) because we have to hold ourselves accountable.

Whether it is to clients, customers, or ourselves, when something needs to get done, it is not a matter of "if," it's a matter of "how." Yes, we do admit that sometimes it might be worth it to get some rest and put a project off for a day, but we find that most of the time that leads you to a space where all you're doing is playing catch-up, and we end up sacrificing (or at least not starting) on projects that we would like to do since we're so backed up.

It all really comes down to integrity. In our retail jobs, we've seen a good number of people quit over email, or just stop showing up to work. Regardless of how much you hate your job or your boss or if you've just won the lottery, by bailing on your job, someone else has to pick up your shifts and your workload so things keep going smoothly. Nothing frustrates us more than flakes, so we strive to make sure that we follow through.

Our friends will attest - we admit, it is sometimes hard for us to commit to parties, or checking out friends' gallery shows, or just anything that pulls us out of our little urban cave. But if we say we're gonna be there, we show up, no matter how tired we are or how backlogged we are in our work (we might not stay for too long, but we'll be there).

Honestly, Monkey has a ton of work to do, and he's been going on about 4 hours of sleep a day for the past week, and to meet his deadline of launching the wedding guide by Sunday, there are a lot of fine-tuning that he still needs to do. But, he told the mailing list that it was going to be up for download, (and now you know about the release date) so now he's got to suck it up and follow through.

Planning something, having great ideas or tons of talent, all that is great, and makes lots of parts of life easier, but the thing that really gets stuff done is action. Following through is perhaps the hardest thing to do, but it's the most important. Whether it's about integrity or chasing a dream, following through is what turns the world 'round.

What do you do to motivate yourself to get business taken care of? How do you follow through?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Art Of the Day / Coincidence

Monkey has decided to create some sort of art every day, for at LEAST the rest of 2010. He is going to put these pieces of art up on his blog, Politics=Art=Culture, daily for the rest of 2010. He's starting today, so be sure to check it out!

Also, Monkey has to relate two incidents that occurred recently on our trip down to Long Beach/San Diego for our friends' wedding which is strong evidence (yes, we know about the principle of self-proving-ness, or whatever it's called in social psychology) in the idea of the Law of Attraction:

1) Seal is looking for a bagel shop she used to frequent when she lived back in Long Beach. We're driving down the road she thinks it was on, and we turn into a shopping center. I point out a bagel shop, and she knows that it's the wrong one, but she remembers it being in a shopping center with another cafe/bagel place in it. I then see a sign that says "The Bagelry" that's been removed (thus the shop left the plaza). I get on my phone and look up the bagelry, as Eve thinks that might be the place. We find an address, and we drive over.

When we get to our destination, we drive around the lot, and cannot find the listed address. Out of luck, we decide, on a whim, to see what's in the other large shopping center across the street. As we're driving, I sees a place called "Grounds" and I ask her if that's it. She remembers the place being much smaller, but we decide to get out of the car to check the menu anyway - and we've found it!

Grounds actually just expanded a few years back, misleading us as we were looking for a tiny, hole-in-the-wall place, as opposed to the diner-sized restaurant it is now. Eve got her childhood bagel sandwich, and we somehow found the place she was looking for.

The strangest thing is that we would have never found Grounds if we weren't looking for the Bagelry, a place that Eve probably has never eaten at.

2) It turns out that our friend Kevin is also in Long Beach due to a business training event. We try to meet up, but he tells me his phone is dying, so he might not be able to get a hold of us on our one free day down in LB. We decide that Eve and her family might take me to a nearby park for some nice naturetime, and I let Kevin know about our plans to head out over to the park. He says he might not be able to make it, but if he is available, he should call us.

Instead of going to the park, however, because it looks like it's going to rain, we decide to make a trip to the only store that sells Indonesian food in the greater Long Beach area. It's this little tiny shop, which is generally only frequented by people specifically looking for Indonesian food.

As we go in, Eve is showing me around, and I look up to see Kevin walking in. Randomly, he happened to eat lunch nearby (and he charged his phone in the restaurant), and got thirsty so he followed a large group of people into the Indo store, thinking if so many people were going in, they must have some good food/drinks/snacks/whatever.

Of all the places in all of the surrounding Long Beach area, the one guy we're looking for happens to stroll into the one shop we're in thanks to him wanting a soda. Crazy.

Another example that just happened two days ago:
My dad leaves me a message that he found out that my great-grandfather carved a wood block while in the Japanese American internment camps and the relief is now in the Smithsonian museum in Washington, D.C. On a business trip, my dad was going to go to the Smithsonian and see his grandfather's work in person.

Since I missed his call due to work, and I didn't want to chance waking him up (due to the time difference between California and D.C., I wait until the next day thinking "well, he's probably in a meeting, so I'll just leave a message." Imagine my surprise when he picks up WHILE HE IS STANDING IN FRONT OF THE WOOD BLOCK IN THE SMITHSONIAN. He told me he literally had just found the piece, and walked up to it when he got my call. Crazy, right?

Anyway, although this has definitely helped to sell this little Monkey on the Law of Attraction, I'm not going to bank on just positive thinking to help me reach my goals. Hard work, determination, and action are what's going to do the heavy lifting, but if this Law of Attraction stuff helps out, I'm totally down.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Monkey's Mini Guide to Wedding Invitations

Hi everyone! Monkey here, with a quick little self-promotional piece today. I've been working on a little itty-bitty guide for all those recently engaged couples out there who are just starting on choosing their wedding invitations.

After selling wedding invitations for the past three/four years, I've noticed that since most couples are getting married for the first time, they do not have a whole lot of experience in choosing wedding invitations. Many times this leads to me (as the person helping the couple order the invitations) asking the same questions again and again, which lead to couples spending anywhere between 2-6 hours with me working on their invitations, sometimes spread out over multiple weeks. While I am more than happy to spend this time with people, I often hear about how many other aspects of the wedding they have to deal with, so I figure if I could help speed up the ordering process, they'd be less stressed, my job would be easier, and everyone wins!

Thus, I've decided to write a short little downloadable guide titled and checklist for people to read before they even step foot in a stationery store. This way, they can deal with some stumbling points early on, so they don't waste precious quarters feeding parking meters (at least, that's what a lot of my customers have to deal with).

Anyway, I'll be launching the guide this coming weekend, although I guess it's not really a true "product launch" because it'll be free, but just mark your calendars! Woo woo!