Monday, June 17, 2013

Challenge #11: Help! My Creativity Is Taking Over My Life!

Challenge Badge Swag
If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know that we normally post five days a week, rain or shine -- except for last week. On a related note, I have a confession to make:

It was my fault.

If you've ever tried to run a blog with a regular posting schedule, you know that it can quickly turn into a looming, anxiety-inducing deadline -- especially if you start to get extra-busy in your non-blog-related life. Once this happens, you have a choice: you can either sacrifice your blog and take care of the rest of your life, or you can shake your head at life and insist on sticking to your publishing schedule, or you can run yourself ragged trying to accomplish everything.

Generally, I swing between the first and the third options -- and thus, when last week I celebrated my anniversary by attempting to create a sublime, eat-your-heart-out-Martha-Stewart -worthy feast, then received news of a family emergency that just piled on the pressure (don't worry, everyone's okay now), then realized that there was no way I was going to be able to meet all my obligations in time for the weekend -- I decided that I would have to forget about the blog for the moment.

And thus I was once again foiled in my pursuit of "work-life balance." Usually I see that phrase used to reference the challenges that come with trying to be there for kids and pursue a fulfilling career -- but I think it's applicable in any situation where social/familial desires come into conflict with work desires. Even obligations fall under the heading of desires, since you only "have" to do it because you desire to avoid the fallout from not doing it. In fact, let's lose the term "work-life balance" -- instead, let's go with desire balance.

Suck it, wordsmiths.
Anyway, attempting to balance out desires as a creative person can be extra challenging -- it certainly is for me -- because there is SO MUCH STUFF you want to do. Let's start with public creativity goals - such as writing a book or a blog (hi), completing a photo series, learning a new dance routine, etc. And then let's add the creative stuff you want to do for yourself -- in my case, this means making a new retro dress, decorating my house, trying new recipes. Then add the stuff that fuels your spirit outside of your creative pursuits -- spending time with friends and family, going to check out a new movie or cool art show, and of course getting enough rest, getting enough food, and doing whatever it is that connects you with your creative inspiration.

Notice anything missing from that list? Oh yeah -- all the stuff you have to do. Whether it's working the job that pays the bills, helping out a friend in need, applying for a grant, attending classes, getting in a run, or just keeping up with day-to-day chores around the house, it's easy to find most of your time filled up with the day-to-day tasks of living, or end up neglecting the more basic stuff in favor of meeting your creative goals (aka, why my sink is full of dishes and I swear I'll get around to vacuuming . . . sometime in the next month).

That brings us to this week's challenge. Although it may be impossible to get everything done, perhaps it's possible to find a balance. This week, keep track of how you spend your time. Write it down. Make to-do lists. Make sure to schedule downtime -- and don't feel guilty about it! Personally, I'm going to try applying productivity tactics like the Pomodoro Technique to my entire week's schedule (and I'll be using this little timer to help me out with that). Starting tomorrow, I'll be keeping a log on our Facebook of what I do, versus how long I thought it would take me, versus what I want to get done.

Want to see how you stack up? Email your daily logs to, and we'll post them alongside mine on our Facebook page. We might even feature a couple here on the blog! Now go off and find that desire balance -- and don't forget to take our trusty challenge badge with you.

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