Procrastination has been on my mind recently. Also, novels are the most addictive substance on Earth. For months now, I’ve been planning some really exciting stuff – new Intentional Creativity workshops, more regular blog posts, and most importantly, daily painting and drawing.
I know how important a daily creative practice is. Art journaling and painting are some of the few things I’ve found that actually help ease my anxiety. They’re so good for me that I am literally turning my life around (and turning my house upside down!) to make space for them.
I paint on weekend mornings. That’s been it, lately.
But I’m devouring, on average, a novel every 24 hours.
To be honest, the only reason I’m not curled up under a blanket with my phone right now is because it’s doing a software update. And I feel a little lost.
And I’ve been thinking about this…why is it that I’ll whip out the Kindle app on my phone every time I have a minute to spare (and often, even when I don’t have the time to read), but when I think “I ought to pull out my sketchbook or my art journal…” it seems like the entire force of the Universe shows up to resist? Suddenly, I’m tired. I feel the anxiety mount, and there’s my current novel, offering instant relief.
I swear, novels are like a drug.
But there’s a reason behind all this. When I settle in to read, I’m warm, comfortable, and relaxed. There are no demands, no expectations. It’s just downtime. And I think that’s the key: I haven’t built downtime into my life in any regular way since college. I’ve been so busy with career, kids, projects, life…that I’ve only slowed down when I’ve been sick or so exhausted that I just could not keep going. So when I’ve indulged in the ultimate luxury of “wasting” an hour with a good book, it’s become an addiction. It feels so good to take those prime work hours and spend them doing something relaxing, when I know the kids are at school and I won’t be interrupted.
But all those hours add up, and I’m not doing the things that are actually important to me – like building a creative practice, blogging, and creating workshops. And in the long run, that’s not how I want to spend my life. I don’t want to look back on this time of my life and know that I spent these years hiding out in a fantasy rather than building something I am proud of.
So the first step is to do some rearranging. I’ve listed out my major commitments in four categories:
- Responsibilities (Life, Kids, Work)
- Aspirations (Blogging, Workshops)
- Creativity (Art, Study)
- Self-Care (Rest, Play, Health)
I know that if I try to plan out my days too specifically, the whole thing will go out the window, so I’m leaving it loose and making a commitment to focus on something from at least two of these areas every day. Some days life is going to have to take a step back because I’m in crunch time at work, but I will still take the time for Self Care. Other days, I’ll paint but won’t work on the blog, but will still take care of my work and home responsibilities, with intentional time set aside for Self Care. You get the idea.
I suspect each day will have a major focus on one category, with minor focuses on one or two of the others, and that’s fine as long as they rotate regularly. I’m hoping that I can earn my own trust, that I don’t have to steal downtime away from my creative time because it will be a regular part of every day.
So that’s my story today…what about you?
How do you negotiate the argument between the part of you that wants to do nothing but play all day, and the part that insists that there are important things to do?