Several times a year I go into panic production mode = WORK LIKE THERE’S NO TOMORROW AND DO MUCH AS YOU CAN! DEADLINES, AHHHH!
It’s a slippery slope – the takeout food boxes pile up, the gym calls about how long it’s been since you were last there (because they’re worried they won’t get a payment next month if you’re not alive) and you only see friends or family if they’re willing to help because they’re concerned. Ultimately, this ends in some debilitating infection or complete fatigue. Right now it’s the latter + some bio freeze pain gel, an ice pack and $$$ to the chiropractor.
During these episodes I start questioning myself – was the corporate overlord job possibly the better deal? Then I snap out of my bio freeze fever dream. Hell No. Work and life balance has always been a struggle.
I think for a lot of artistic people it’s even more of a struggle, especially if you’re a one person show. Work hours are spent running the business and not in the fulfilling art flow. Wouldn’t we all want to only do the things we like to do? I’m sure people in medicine would like to spend their time healing people instead of dealing with health insurance policies. Alas, those administrative tasks are oh so necessary. So we caffeinate ourselves in order to manage orders, expense receipts, detail estimates, deal with damaged items, wrangle inventory, book equipment time, organize supplies, etc etc etc. With day time business hours tied up in admin land, the artistic endeavors get pushed back. Those late nights, when the notifications stop flashing and your glowing rectangles stop buzzing, is the only peaceful time to get back to the sketch from the other day and take it as far as you can to physically see it realized.
One of my biggest struggles is finding a routine that accounts for these moments of fabrication and play, because this time is essential in helping me grow in my craft.
I certainly don’t want to complain. I have the great privilege of getting paid to make jewelry and I am beyond grateful that people want to adopt it into their daily lives. However, both personally and professionally, my current work and life situation is not sustainable. So, what to do?
There are many possibilities to a solution: hiring help, taking on different kinds of work and clients.. but before diving deeper into those areas… it seems that a clear, open mind to assess this broken repetitive thought and action cycle would be beneficial.
Maybe getting back to basics is the first step. Why have I been in denial of eating 3 healthy meals a day, getting 8 hours of sleep and having set work time boundaries? How can I expect to not experience some kind of cognitive dissonance if I’m sprinting head down on auto-hustle?
The answer I’ve landed on is aligning my mind, body and spirit in order to get clear on what my own definition of balance, success and happiness looks like. From there, I can work backwards and set specific attainable goals. Maybe the most important thing to do is plan for hiccups. When we adopt a new flow it’s easy to envision ourselves meditating on a cloud, happily producing our work in perfect harmony. Perhaps a change in attitude to see our mistakes as an opportunity to make improvements is a healthy iterative approach.
I’m so interested to know how other people manage their time. Please tell me! Share! But seriously, someone please slap me if I pull another all nighter, eat pizza more than once a week and send a yoga search party if my asana is missing from the studio for more than a week!
Breathe and innovate as you go.
Here’s to getting a head start on New Years resolutions. Slay.