Monday, September 27, 2010

Black and White Traveling, or Breathe

Black and White Traveling, or Breathe
9/24/10 ink and repurposed menus, acrylic gel medium
4"x4"

I took Saturday and Sunday off of writing and blogging because I felt myself getting more and more anxious over everything undone and everything still to do.

Taking the writing break meant I could take care of some other business and it meant I could relax a little.

When I went to work, I found myself happy, instead of stressed.

I realized that my goals of revising 100 pages a week, 20 pages a day (not including weekends) was unrealistic. Especially since I was totally planning on working through the weekends which I had actually planned to use as a break. (Did you catch that? I planned a break for myself, and then I was going to ignore that wisdom, and push myself to keep going without a break.)

Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect, to be productive, to do it all, to conquer the world (whatever world it is we want to conquer)?

I'm being crazy productive, but I still see all the things I am not doing and how far I am from my long term and short term goals.

Oh.

You know what this means for me?

I have to start doing my To Do/Did Done lists again.

That's where I keep a normal To Do list, breaking things down into small tasks, and then I also keep track of everything I have taken care of, done, achieved or gotten through in any given day.

When I start paying attention to what I have actually done, whether it was on my To Do list or not, I start to realize that I am doing more than I thought I was doing.

When I had babies, my Did Done list often had things like, "showered, fed everyone breakfast, got dressed, checked email, nursed 6 times."

Now however, perhaps I might have, "got everyone dressed, made lunch for boy, walked boy to school, blogged, made xx$ at work, drew bookmark, had meeting, revised 10pp, made dinner, watched Mad Men."

It's good to put things on your list that you look forward to or that are about taking care of yourself, not just things that are weighing you down. I know that when I am busy, I quite often forget to take care of myself.

That, my friends, leads to burn out.

So take care of yourself. Take some (limited) time off of all you want to have done. Pay attention to all you do accomplish, even little things, even things that are not on your list, even things that are about having fun.

4 comments:

marina said...

wise words, wise words!
and lovely sketch!!!

Beverley Baird said...

A very wise prescription for everyone! After I got back from holidays I realized I just could not do it all and I always felt rushed and behind. Now I do what I enjoy as much as possible - instead of what I have to (or what I decieded I had to!)
Love your sketch by the way!

EVA said...

Great sketch!! So simple and yet such depth!

I agree, breaking things down into small tasks and tracking your accomplishments large and small is VERY helpful!

Evelyn said...

Agree. lists are helpful. When I get stressed, I make a list too. That help me stay focused. When I tick off the items one by one, I feel better and more in control.

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