I am happy to announce that I was actually able to leave things behind yesterday and take a break from things. Even as I write that, I find it odd that I am rather proud of the fact that I didn’t accomplish something work-related yesterday. Like most people, we are creatures of habits and sometimes good habits are as difficult to deviate from as bad habits.
In the past couple of years, I have really programmed myself to think that taking time off of work (or slacking as some may call it) would be very detrimental to the business in general and then if it is struggling or even if it fails, I have no one to blame but myself.
I didn’t do this to myself consciously. Like any habits, this way of thinking doesn’t just happen overnight. It creeps up on you little by little when you aren’t looking and soon it becomes your way of life.
But lately I have been tired a bit and feeling pushed. It isn’t that I don’t have ideas, but rather that I have too many ideas. I try to write them down as often as I can, but I also try to do as many as I can before I lose that excitement and enthusiasm that fuels them. Other daily tasks of the business get in the way and some days I find myself all over the place, doing this for one person or company and that for another and at the end of the day I feel simply frazzled and as if I have accomplished little.
I am finding out that finding a balance between working and not working can be a difficult and daunting task. After all, it isn’t as if there is an ‘on’ or ‘off’ switch we can turn in order to feel creative. Just as there is no such switch that we can apply to the daily happenings in our lives. Our lives are very fluid, and remind me of the waves that come and crash against the sandy beach. Life has a rhythm of its own, but with each cycle, it varies slightly, introducing something slightly different into the mix. Just as no two waves are exactly the same, neither are the days of our lives.
So how do we deal with this phenomenon?
One way is to try to program ourselves to certain behaviours or react in similar ways to similar situations. This works fine for a while, but as soon as something changes, it also requires a change in our reaction. Being disciplined in what we do is fine, but only if we allow ourselves room to modify our reactions in order to accommodate what variations to those circumstances arise. If we are stringent in our behavior and reactions, this is far more difficult to do and the results aren’t always the best. We need to find a ‘happy medium’ in what we do, which will allow us to move in any direction at any given moment with as little effort as possible in order to handle incoming situations.
As time moves on and I get older, I am beginning to believe that moderation is the key to longevity and success in many aspects of our lives. Just as not working hard enough can bury a business, so can overworking and getting burned out.
I believe that the problem is that as a business owner in these tough economic times, we are so driven to being successful that sometimes we neglect to take care of the reason we are in our chosen field in the first place – our own sense of comfort and well-being. When one is struggling to survive, it is extremely difficult to take a day off and sit one out and spend the time necessary to rejuvenate one’s soul and spirit. And unfortunately, that is directly related to what drives most of us and our happiness. It is an important basic building block of our make up that most creative people need to remember to feed and care for.
I have been reminded of that by many of my friends here, and I am grateful for that reminder.
Yesterday, I had a wonderful day. I headed out to the lake in the early afternoon and I was successfully able to leave the computer and my business and yes, even my customers behind. It sounds like an easy task, but for me it is extremely difficult. My business has become such a large part of my life, that not focusing on it seems somewhat unnatural and uncomfortable. But I have been ‘tired’ lately – not in the sleepy sense of the word, but just a bit worn out from spinning too many plates and trying to make everyone happy. It was time to give it a rest – even for a short time without any degree of guilt at all.
I spent several hours on the lake. I saw some friends that I haven’t seen in a while. We talked about their lives and they asked about mine and I was able to relate news about my children and all the good things that are happening to me right now. And hearing about their own lives was refreshing too. It didn’t have to do with wholesalers and publishers and things like that. We ate a good meal and sat on the deck looking out at the lake and I thoroughly enjoyed the place I was – both literally and figuratively.
Today I feel good and refreshed. I know that I am due for some ‘real time off’ in the future, but I am taking the car in today and I will plan that after I see what the damages are on it and it is fixed. Hopefully it will be minor, but even if it isn’t, we do have beautiful autumns here in Nova Scotia and it gives me a lot of time to plan before the snow arrives.
Thank you to my friends who cheer for me on these days. Your encouragement and support help tremendously to alleviate the guilt that stirs when I walk away from things for a while. It gives me a perspective that I otherwise wouldn’t have and helps me enjoy all that I am working for in this life. Knowing that you all will be here when I come back from my short absences and also that you are happy for my well being means a great deal.
“Sometimes the most urgent thing you can possibly do is take a complete rest” – Ashleigh Brilliant
Have a wonderful Monday!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"