It's probably far too late for a follow up on what was supposed to be a weekend experiment two weeks ago, but I'll do so now, finally.... As far as that weekend went, I was quite successful at keeping my wasted time on the internet to a minimum (that's what I was really trying to cut out - not being on the computer itself, but the unfocused, not knowing what to do with myself next, being sidetracked from what I really want to do, kind of time-wasting.) So as to rediscover some kind of balance. Which I think I did, as evidenced by how long it took me to come back to my own little corner of the internet. Not that I want to quit blogging in any way, just that I needed to work out the best ways to spend my time, at this particular time in my life. Which of course, is a continuous work in progress for all of us, right?
I was thinking back the other day to that first 2 or 3 years immediately following my high school graduation. About the way so many things seemed to happen in such a relatively short period of time. And the way it seems to take forever for anything to happen anymore. Or rather, not that things are slow, but time is flying by so fast that not as much has time to happen - does that make sense? I hope you understand what I mean. Sometimes I just want to put time on pause (ok, if I'm truly honest, I want to do that every morning from around, say, the time my alarm clock goes off until I get to work or wherever I'm going that day). What I want is for the time to catch up to what I want to do my life. Which takes considerable prioritizing but also understanding my own natural rhythms, motivations, how long I can stay focused on a given task, etc. So I've been paying more attention to myself and my patterns lately.
For example I notice that I'm much happier doing a little bit here & a little bit there of one thing, with lots of breaks peppered in to work on other things too, than if I just stick my nose to the grind to bust something out as quickly as possible. Like when it took me an entire weekend instead of just 3 or 4 hours to spring-clean my apartment, but at the same time I started 2 new paintings, got a bunch more practice using photoshop, reorganized my kitchen cupboards, and finally backed up a year's worth of photos to my external drive. Before I would have kept pushing myself to keep going on only one task, past my natural stopping point of ok this is tiring, maybe I should take a quick break, push myself so that by time I was done I had nothing left in me to do anything else that day. And so all those other things I got done? Wouldn't have happened....
Another thing I realized is that I paint more quickly, and get more paint on the canvas in general, when I throw on a dvd while I'm working. But when I don't turn on the tv or radio or any other external stimuli "so that I can really focus", I actually slow down and become overly cautious. Which totally gets in the way of getting any creative work done. Something about the visuals, sounds, and stories being relayed fills up my "creative well" and keeps me going.
So, I'm working on: Not fighting my natural rhythms. Being ok with taking lots of breaks if that means I come back to my original task with more energy. Getting a good stretch of work in before I allow the distractions, but understanding the importance of the "distractions" in terms of re-energizing myself.
And, now that I've gotten a couple hours of computer time in this morning, I'm off to take a break with a workout. Because a break doesn't necessarily mean rest, as I've discovered, it means a change of pace from what you were just doing. And I'm starting to think that's a much healthier way than how I was handling time before.