Pages

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Did someone say "balance"?

Where is it? I think I missed the line you were supposed to stand in...

I know this partly comes from trying to catch up on several months of very-lopsided working (I was going to say 'living', but I can't really call the last while that), but I really need to get a better handle on living in a more balanced way.

When I work, *all* I seem to do is work - but when I'm done, I don't seem to pick up a pencil for days. (Part of which is from having idea-block - I want to do a new self promo for my agents in the next month, but am not liking any of the ideas I've tried sketching).

I did finish up teaching the second class of this semester. What darling students I had - talented, interested, dedicated people. Maybe I'm just compulsive - when I'm teaching, that's all I want to do as well. (And when I'm gardening, *that's* all I want to do, etc... What's up with me?)

So - when I totally get swallowed up by whatever-it-is that I'm engaged in, how do I ensure that I make time for all of it? I know this ought to just take some discipline - make sure I spend some time each day on art/teaching/garden/home/kids/etc... but there doesn't seem to ever be enough of it. I always talk myself into spending 'just a few more minutes (hours)' on whatever it is that I'm working on when I get on a roll - and therefore other things suffer. I feel like one of those plate-spinners-on-sticks, where I'm trying to keep all of these different things in the air and going, but then again I get totally engrossed with whatever plate I'm currently looking at...

Does anyone have recommendations for keeping this all in balance?

6 comments:

andrea said...

I would love to hear the responses to this as I have exactly the same problem. My doctor once told me that no one ever accomplishes anything great who isn't at least a little compulsive, so I try and take some comfort in that. For me it's not just the activity driving me, it's also about transitions. I have trouble moving from one avctivity to the next. That's why I find it hard to start a painting as much as I find it hard to stop one. If you think about it, it's very zen: the goal of mindfulness and living in the moment.

Joanna said...

I also would love to hear the responses. I'm fine when doing something, just can't put it down. I just find it so muddling going from one thing to another. Poeple say list help but thats easier said than done. a tricky one

michelle said...

Balance, it seems to be the elusive quality in life we're all struggling to find. It's the two step forward one step back dance we all do. I have yet to find that ideal space where all that I want to accomplish gets done and is satisfactory. Last night lying in bed trying to fall asleep the thought occured to me that the talk about contrasts I was giving my students applies to life. Without the darkest darks we wouldn't see the lightest lights. Although we get tired of the tug and pull of our range of emotions, without those extremes life would be all shades of gray.

lorna said...

An interesting subject 'balance'. Number one thing to remember is that you can never achieve balance if you are doing too much. I read a fab book called 'get everything done and still have time to play' by Mark Forster. The basic premise is that to say yes to something i.e. baking cakes for a school event, you need to be prepared to say no to something else in your life. Weigh up each of your commitments and be ruthless as to which ones can go.

Also, set boundaries. I've got a little alarm clock set to go off at 1pm for lunch and 6pm to finish for the day. Containing work within boundaries makes you more productive because you won't get distracted by the other thing you think you should be doing and spend your time fretting and being indecisive.

I love the saying "Choices, by their very nature, mean that you can't have everything". The first time I heard this I was gobsmacked. We are told over and over that we CAN have everything when it just isn't true. We have to decide what is most important to us and nurture those few things so as not to spread ourselves too thin.

Finally, getting swallowed up by work is a fantastic thing- to be so absorbed in what you are doing is an honour, and after working so hard for an extended period of time, of course you need a break. Why not give yourself a break whilst you are at it and I'm sure that once your body and creative soul have recovered they'll start getting inspired again.

Hope at least some of that helps.
Lorna
xx

PG said...

I juggle little things all day, but I do have a set routine, which (inevitably) involves starting with a quick house tidy up, then I 'clock into' work and out again, so I know precisely how many hours I've actually spent at the desk and I make myself go for a walk every other day weather permitting. I also try to take a complete day off, no matter what, and relax. It doesn't always work though and it took years to get any kind of structure to my day. But then, I am an old wrinkly now, so it's gotten easier. In fact, if anything I find I can't concentrate for more than an hour at a time, and have to get up do something, even it is only putting the washing out...sad but true...
;)

Gina said...

Ditto, I know what you mean. I think it's pretty normal for creative types : ) It's also a good sign that your mind is really at work!