My conflict recently is whether to spend my time on exercises and studies, or to try to create finished paintings to the best of my current ability.
The conflict is that working on exercises makes me feel like time is rushing by me while I piddle around and have little to show or sell. But then, painting "finished" pieces always makes me realize how much better I would be if I had spent more time studying drawing, or value, or color, or form as a discrete problems instead of tackling everything at once in a painting.
I have a feeling this is something I will struggle with my whole life.
I want a more direct, artificial light to fall on my still life so I can see stronger shadows. So I tacked a big piece of white foamcore to hang down from my skylight. The white, general light still falls on my easel, while the the still life is shaded from the skylight, and lit by a little incandescent light on a flexible arm.
I also was struggling to hold up a cardboard viewfinder while I am blocking in the composition. So I set up an extra easel and clamped my viewfinder to it. If I position everything perfectly, I can see my still life setup framed perfectly in the viewfinder, and without turning my head significantly I can also see my easel, and even reach it with my pencil if I am lucky.
It takes a lot of shifting around to get the right position of the viewer, the easel, and my own head, but once it's set up it makes everything so much easier.