Overwhelm, Joy Lists and the Power of Doing one Thing at a Time

It's been busy over here lately and my to-do list never seems to be getting any shorter.

I've been finishing up my next painting class for Skillshare.

painting, watercolor, goldfish, Skillshare, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

(It's not quite finished. I'm aiming to have it up by the end of the week).

Working on my 2018 Art Print Calendar.

calendars, 2018 calendars, desk calendar, art print set, botanical watercolors, watercolor art prints, watercolor calendar, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

This is the latest I've gotten my calendars out. Printer issues. Trouble sourcing my favorite paper.

calendars, 2018 calendars, desk calendar, art print set, botanical watercolors, watercolor art prints, watercolor calendar, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Strings of dark days that made photography impossible.

calendars, 2018 calendars, desk calendar, art print set, botanical watercolors, watercolor art prints, watercolor calendar, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Sometimes the challenges can be hurdled and sometimes you just need patience.

On top of all the other things on my to-do list, I made the last minute decision to take an intensive online course with Arianne Foulks of Aeolidia. (Maybe you remember the interview I did with Arianne? She's so savvy and her company has worked with some very inspiring businesses. I couldn't pass up the opportunity). Holy moly it's been a lot of work. A lot of thinking. A lot of considering my business. And lots more to-dos added to my list. So while I'm trying to get other things done my brain keeps leaping from idea to idea (and I keep tinkering with my website and doing things like creating a list of FAQs).

Jumping from idea to idea and task to task is not very conducive to crossing things off my list. Multitasking in general isn't a good way to get things done. I know this. And yet... sometimes it's hard to resist.

What's the solution?

Stop. Take a deep breath. And FOCUS.

Do one thing at a time. And truly pay attention to what you're doing.

roses, gardening, Aunt Honey Rose, October, Autumn, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

That's the recipe for joy, too. When I stopped this weekend to pay attention to what I was doing, I felt a welling up of joy.

garden, nasturtiums, autumn, October, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

While I was making soup, I created a Joy List in my head, even though I could have just as easily created an anti-joy list (it's so easy to tally up our frustrations, annoyances and complaints).

pink grootendorst, roses, autumn, garden, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Doing one thing at a time is powerful. Focus is powerful. Writing Joy Lists (on paper or just in our hearts) is powerful.

garden, autumn, October, Snap Peas, Black Eyed Susan Vine, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I hope you'll take some time today to pause and look for the beauty that's surrounding you. Maybe you'll even take a moment to write a Joy List.

Here's mine:

  • baking peach scones with farm stand peaches I froze this summer
  • my garden, still blooming and fruiting and nourishing in late October
  • painting goldfish again
  • kitty snuggles
  • Sunday dinner with my parents
  • Botanica!!!!
  • soup
  • my indoor garden
houseplants, streptocarpus, flowering houseplants, indoor garden, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Wishing you a joyful week!


  1. Baking peach scones sounds wonderful Anne! I bet the smell of the kitchen whilst they were baking brought you great joy too! I've not written a joy list for a while but have been feeling more joyful since I have taken control of my life. Empowerment is a great feeling! I hope that you have a lovely week and get time to pause and focus. :)

    1. Thank you, Simone. The scones did smell (and taste) delicious. :)

      I am so glad to know that you have been feeling joyful and empowered. Such a wonderful new part of your journey you're on!

      Wishing you much joy. Have a lovely weekend!

  2. An inspiring post, as always, Anne!
    I had some time recently to reflect on my own life and decided to concentrate on the joyful moments, so I'm right there with you as you create your joy list. And your calendar is exquisite! xo

    1. Thank you, Judy.

      I am glad you're focused on the joyful moments, too.

      So glad to have you here cheering me on.


  3. I just stitched up one of your tea towels...it's on my joy list! Thanks for the beauty you bring to the world, Anne. xo

    1. Thank YOU, Karen. The tea towel looks awesome! I still haven't ordered any (waiting to order everything together), so I didn't know how it would look in person. So glad it turned out so well and that it brought you joy!!


  4. I always enjoy your posts, Anne!
    I worked very hard the last two weeks to finish the garden. We are to have our first snow Friday. The weather is changing very quickly here. The wind is coming out of the North.
    I had to dig all my gladiolus, dahlia tubers and cannas out and store them in the root cellar. I hope most make the winter. I like to dry them in the sun, but I ran out of time this year. They will have to dry in the basement. I have them all over the basement to dry, then I will put them in the cellar.
    So happy I got done. A few small projects to try to complete, we will see how the weather goes for November.

    1. Thank you, Carla. As gardeners we sure are attuned to the seasons.

      I have to finish up in my garden, but we haven't yet had our first hard frost. Waiting for it to dig up my dahlia tubers (I'm always nervous about it and haven't had much luck saving them in the past). A few more things to gather and harvest, too. Guess I'm a bit behind, having spent my energy inside instead of out lately. Do you save your seeds from your flowers, too?

      The weather sure has been weird, hasn't it. Who knows what November will be like.

      Wishing you joy, Carla. So glad to have you here!

  5. Oh my goodness focus is not something that comes naturally to me. I feel like I'm all over the place. What a nice reminder to slow down and soak up the joy in the bits of summer flowers hanging on.

    You are so right about the cloudy, darker days not mixing with photography. I've just looked at some photos I took and am shocked at how dull the colors came out. I'm already missing the sunshine!

    1. Focus is something I am ALWAYS struggling with. Even if I don't "win", at least I'm aware of it. Maybe some day I'll get the hang of it.

      This time of year is often so dreary. I am delighted that today is blue skies and sunshine (if a bit chilly). Wishing you sunny skies, my friend!


Post a Comment