Yesterday I was feeling lost in the myriad of details and pressures of joining the ranks of the self-employed. There were blog posts to write. An Etsy shop to update. Class lessons to create and film. Business cards to order. Half-finished art pieces languishing in the studio corner.
All these competing demands, threatening to overwhelm with their cries of “Do me first”!
So I followed the best advice of all the productivity gurus out there. I made a categorized and prioritized list of all the to-do’s…
And then promptly began playing solitaire on my computer.
Classic Avoidance Behavior, replete with all the guilt that comes from not being “productive” enough.
Or was it?
You see, yesterday I also shared this sense of overwhelm with my group of artist mentors. I’ve kind of been feeling like I shouldn’t have launched my website until I had everything in place –
Yep. That’s where my perfectionistic tendencies lead me – every time. Fortunately, I recognize these patterns now and am willing to take steps into the unknown, even without all the contingencies planned for.
So when I took a deep breath and hit the “publish” button for my new website, there was Joy! Relief! And all kinds of support and love from my family and friends. (THANK YOU!!)
But now, less than a month after launching the site, I was feeling like I had over-reached and over-promised. I hadn’t prepared enough material and my “baby” was being neglected as I tried to keep ahead of all the moving pieces.
Fortunately, one of the wise women mentors, Hali Karla (www.halikarla.com), reminded me of the natural rhythm of life and creation. There is an exhale and an inhale. A contraction and a release.
Publishing my website was a HUGE release of energy into the world. So it’s only natural (and healthy) to expect that there needs to be time to recoup and regenerate.
The bigger the expenditure, the greater the need for restoration.
Have you ever had to blow up a bunch of balloons? It’s a straightforward process. Inhale, blow air into the balloon and repeat until the balloon is the size you want. Then repeat until all balloons are filled.
The problem arises when you use all your breath to inflate the balloons.
In order to keep going, you sometimes need to stop and take a breath for yourself.
If you keep pushing through, you get light-headed and dizzy. You may have finished the task quickly, but you don’t feel very good afterwards.
What happens if you pace yourself instead? Sure, it takes a little longer, but taking time to provide oxygen for yourself is healthy and more sustainable.
So now with Hali’s wise words, I find myself in a more forgiving space.
I know I could seem more productive if I followed the gurus’ rules. For a while.
But if I want to create a healthy and sustainable business, I need to recognize that self-care is a huge part of it.
That may look like three or four rounds of computer solitaire after writing a (huge!) to-do list. Or it might need to look like a day-trip to the beach after a product launch.
These ups and downs of daily energy and accomplishments become an integral part of who we are as healthy and thriving creative entrepreneurs. Because it is vital to remember that every expansion, every exhale, needs a life-sustaining inhale to compliment it.
And now that this blog post is done, I hope you’ll excuse me. I’m off to fix myself a cup of tea, curl up under a blanket with my kitties and enjoy watching the rain.
How do you take time to recharge yourself? Do you find that your recharge is in proportion to your energy expenditures? Take a moment to share in the comments.