You know how sometimes you read a good book… and then, because it’s so good, you read it again? Or you watch a favorite movie… more than once? Well, we’re trying new things here at Beloved Collective, and for the next six months our blog content will be open for all to read! Woo-hoo!! And, in celebration, we are sharing some of our favorite posts from the past, because just like that good book… we want to read them again! Today we share a Friday My Way, created for Beloved Collective by Beloved Photographer and beautiful friend, Michelle McDaid. Enjoy…
Lately I feel like I’ve been fighting myself.
I find myself sitting at my desk for 9 or 10 hours straight but yet still coming away with a list of unattended to-dos and a sense of feeling generally unfulfilled as an artist.
What did I do that was actually creative? I ask myself. Often the answer is: not much.
Every day it seems like I have the same goal: slog through the necessary tasks and find time to dream, think and create. And every day it seems like the necessary tasks take over and I’m left with scant time to do anything else.
Or is that true?
I asked myself this in my journaling the other day and so I decided to test the theory. For a couple of days, I paid specific attention to what I was doing with my time, when, and how I felt about it.
What I discovered was that:
1) in the mornings my mind was buzzing and I wanted to multi-task, socialize, and experiment.
2) but I felt an obligation, born of years in a corporate job, to sit down at my desk and put in my time or risk feeling lazy and irresponsible.
So, I promised myself that in the afternoon I would do all the fun, creative stuff – IF I could just get the to-do list cleared in the a.m.
But my energy was counter-productive to my to-do list, so I’d find myself checking social media, reading blogs, wasting time and generally procrastinating until the time dwindled down and panic set in, launching me into fevered action.
Meanwhile, in the afternoon, when I had scheduled time to get away from the desk and stoke the creative fire, I actually wanted to be at my desk working. I was focused, settled and productive and resented the now-obligation to stop and do something else (which of course I would now do half-heartedly.)
Granted, I could just write this all off as a lack of discipline. You know, just get on with it. My British roots actually make this my default setting. But I’m 40 years old and have been operating on that mind-set all my life so if all it took was “getting on with it”, I’m pretty sure I would be by now. I’m generally not someone lacking motivation.
So what I have decided to do instead is try scheduling my day to work with my energy not against it.
When I looked at what I subconsciously gravitated toward in the mornings, I noticed it was a need for varied input and connection: reading blogs, checking forums, socializing on and offline, getting out of the house and flitting back and forth between one thing and another. Meanwhile in the afternoon, I wanted to keep my own company, stay home and work on one, longer project that required singular focus.
Had I been setting my days up to cater to that ebb and flow of energy? Not really.
So, I’m going to try it. Instead of trying to force myself into being a worker bee in the morning and rewarding myself with “time out” in the afternoon that never materializes, I’m reversing the process. Looking at my calendar, I can already see it’s going to be less like flipping a switch and more of an evolution over time. This simply isn’t how I’ve viewed my day ever.
The mentality of work hard and finish early is going to take some time to let go of.
But I’m going to give it 30 days and I’ll share what I learn at the end.
Maybe you could try logging your activities and corresponding energy too? See if some tweaks here and there could make you happier and more productive? Or maybe this comes naturally for you and you have already developed some strategies that work? Either way, I’d love to hear from you.