Recently I have been juggling. Well, OK, maybe I always have been (as have you I’m guessing, don’t we all?) but recently I have been trying to keep a lot of balls in the air and it doesn’t take an awful lot to drop one. For example somewhere between school runs and daily routines (you know the sort, parents evenings, children’s clubs etc, etc) I squeeze my photography and writing. Then this month there have been days out, weekends + longer trips and oh yes the leak under our kitchen floor which has meant a few visits from brilliant builders to fix it. It’s disruptive stuff though – noisy, messy and not exactly conducive to doing much in the way of creative work on my part. Though what has tipped me over the edge this month is not being able to shake a virus that has left me exhausted. I’m sure it will clear up eventually but for now I’m all about finding the balance.
We have a whole lot of building work lined up again over the next few months, a new room for Millie and a replacement flat roof to be installed, so I’m wondering how to keep creating when life is so noisy? How to keep the enthusiasm there rather than feeling the need to hibernate, or at least take a lot of naps? As with many things (it seems) I like to think through and plan even if the plan is adapted a thousand times each day, so I thought I’d write down a few simple suggestions…
on finding the balance
be realistic about the time you have & how best to use it
A rule that applies to all situations I’m sure!
For me this includes posting to my Instagram account and here less. I would much rather maintain my (self imposed) standards less often than share any old thing just to keep momentum going. I spoke about this in a slightly different context here and the same holds true in my quest for finding the balance. Take the pressure off yourself! Post another day, because that also takes the pressure off taking lovely photos a little, sometimes feeling under pressure is just not helpful when trying to create beautiful images. Now that’s not to say I don’t open the Instagram app because I do, I scroll and search and reply to comments on my photos. I also find this means I feel more on top of things because if I’m honest, some days I just haven’t enough hours to reply to comments and I feel that if someone takes the time to leave a message, the least I can do is reply to it.
I also give myself a little breathing space by using the out of office response on my emails. This is not to fob off enquiries, more to give me a little extra time to reply properly rather than rush and also it gives me time to catch up with myself.
I will confess that this months blog plans have largely gone out of the window, I was hoping to share more editing posts but they’ll have to wait for another day now.
prioritise your ‘to do’ list
OK this may sound obvious but do you actually do it? I love lists, I have so many. There’s the work one, the shopping one, the household one to name but a few. The list goes on (pun intended).
Try writing down – or if you’re truly digital like me – typing and saving lists. I use the notes app on my phone. You can then easily see just what needs doing and which of the tasks may be put on hold a day or two. Prioritising is essential for keeping your sanity! Ticking things off is like a visual confirmation of your excellence and efficiency, great affirmation-as-you-go!! I’ll give you another suggestion, start with the stuff you don’t enjoy so much because you’re more likely to get towards the bottom of your list if those jobs are out of the way.
find some quiet
Now I know this can be easier said than done, life is noisy. Switch off your phone, your computer, your connection to the virtual world, your music, your TV, your children. Oh wait, they don’t have an off button…
We’ve heard it a million times before, this thing some call ‘me time’, what on earth is that anyway? It conjures visions of spa retreats and manicures in my mind, lovely indulgent pastimes that actually don’t fit my life regularly, even if I wish they did!
So, how about this. Spend 10 minutes in a room without online connection. Stare at the wall if it helps. Look out of the window. Close your eyes and just think. Or don’t think at all, have a cat nap. I have been known to shut myself in our bathroom just to have a little headspace for a moment, laugh if you will, but it’s amazing how much easier it is to carry on with tasks when you take a moment to collect your thoughts!
embrace the busy
On the flip side of the point above, when you aren’t seeking your 10 minutes headspace, roll with it. Ride the wave. Walk the path. Just get it done and plan a breathing space a little further down the line (roll on August and a family holiday for us!!)
Remember it’s ok to say no, you don’t have to always say yes to everything as it can become a bit of a burden at times, always being busy. You can’t be superhuman about it all, most of us don’t actually have a cape under our shirt… And as hard as you try you just can’t do everything always…
And if all else fails, photograph yourself some calm and enjoy that instead.
Obviously this post relates a lot to my life, I take photos and write, that is where I earn my income. You can substitute this for any other job that is more relevant to you, you may not have a thing for Instagram, but I’m guessing you probably like social media of some sort? Facebook? Twitter? Whatever your ‘thing’, try to keep it in perspective hey?
And remember it is ALWAYS important to connect with the people in your everyday life, those that you spend time with. Always. Put your phone down, escape the online noise and be with them too.