I couldn’t believe it when I checked the date of my last entry on this blog. A full year, almost! Only a couple weeks shy. I don’t really know what happened, to be honest. I think that I just got overwhelmed, that I felt like every entry was the same old tired series of frustrations about not staying focused, about not managing my time well, about struggling with self-loathing. I guess I figured nobody wanted to hear it, and I kinda didn’t want to write it.
Things have changed somewhat since, however. Well, not so much that as I have changed. I realized that the source of a lot of my problems wasn’t that I wasn’t managing my time well, but that I had totally unrealistic standards for myself. I didn’t let myself say “no” to anything, I took on every project I could think of, I expected to spend all my downtime multitasking, and in general I was really not allowing myself to even imagine a balanced, happy life. I think my belief was, “Time enough for balanced later, I have to be successful first.”
Not so. Not so at all, grasshopper.
So I’ve been working on saying “no”. I’ve been working on setting boundaries. I’ve been working on addressing my overscheduled days and not immediately replacing podcasts that have wrapped up with another new one. And while I’m enjoying having more time to practice self-care and take walks and whatnot, it’s not easy. I’m an American, and we know how much this country likes to judge people on their productivity. Not only that, I had a compulsive workaholic father, who made me feel like sleeping in was a sin that could only be atoned for with the backbreaking labor of building a deck, or something like that. I hear his voice in my head a lot, when I’m “slacking”. Ironically, he was also the person who used to tell me, “You don’t know how to relax”.
It’s sort of hilarious to think that I, basically a professional couch potato, don’t know how to relax. But once I started paying attention, I realized it was true. I cannot just chill at the end of the day wrapped up in a blanket and watch TV; I have to be working on my planner, too. Or I need to be editing. Or replying to emails. Or finishing up my weight exercises. Or cleaning up in the kitchen and packing lunch. I cannot relax.
So this is something that I’m going to really start working on. I want to stop constantly multitasking, and I want to establish a sort of evening cool-down routine, a hard boundary where work is no longer allowed and I’m only permitted to watch TV/movies or read or whatever, with no attempt to finish up on other tasks.
This is going to be an enormous challenge for me. I will let you know what my plan is, as soon as I figure it out!