Friday, 26 July 2013

Work-life balance and getting it right





Recently I've been pondering my seeming lack of time to be creative. I knew at the beginning of this year that it was going to be a busy one, with three major events in the first  three months and also working extra shifts at my day job to pay for our big Canada holiday. I knew in my heart of hearts that I wasn't really going to be getting as much studio time as I had this time last year but it was all in a good cause. Due to circumstances unforeseen Canada is now postponed until another time.

Being the kind of person who does believe in 'silver linings' one of the positives of this change of plan is that this means less pressure to take on extra shifts at the day job and more time for the studio and my creativity. In reality I don't seem to have done this quite yet. I'm conscious that the year is passing quickly and I keep wondering when I'm actually going to pick up a pen and make some new work. It seems every moment I have had for the studio over the past few weeks has been taken up with other jobs, such as meetings, appointments, admin, endless to-do lists and anything else you can think of in between.

It just makes wonder if anyone else feels like this? That constant battle with the work-work and work-life balance, when you feel as though the scales are tipping in the wrong direction and you are feeling creatively unfulfilled by the lack of  time you are able to dedicate to your business? Does anyone else feel as though there are just not enough hours in the day or days in the week? Or should we all just be giving ourselves a break, quit putting ourselves under so much pressure, stop being so hard on our selves and our own perceived lack of activity, enjoy what we have achieved and be more mindful of the present? Is there ever really a perfect balance or should we just be more accepting of the way things actually are and just go with the flow? I wish I knew the answers... I'd love to hear your thoughts on this as it is something I've been pondering for a few week

Aside from that, I may not have picked up a pen and made any new work for a while but I did take a few creative snaps on holiday last week. A week in the Cotswolds on the sunniest week we have had for ages has helped recharge the batteries and we are feeling rested and relaxed. I just need to make sure I plan some creative time in for the next few months to make sure I am prepared for the upcoming fairs, exhibitions and shows from now until the end of the year.

14 comments:

  1. Agreed, Sue! There's always a never-ending stream of things that need doing that aren't the creative side of running the business. Just when you think you've finished a task and breathe a sigh of relief that you can now put it to one side and forget about it for now (eg. website), something else pops up that requires you to turn your attention back to it. Or as soon as you finish one task, three more tasks roll in!
    I now think it's important to allocate certain time slots for each area of the business and also including time to create, design, and just enjoy yourself! Taking some time out to yourself is important so that you can be energised to get the boring stuff done efficiently. Don't drive yourself crazy with none-stop work, or what's the point in doing what we do if we don't take any pleasure in it?
    You're only one person, so you can only get as much done as you can. Although it would be lovely to magic up a few extra hours in the day! :)

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  2. Yes, I think planning things in in time slots is a great idea and definitely something I intend to do as soon as I get back into the studio!

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  3. I feel the same, and that's just juggling housework and a toddler, I still can't seem to get time to get my paints out. I did read somewhere that even 15 minutes here and there will be more productive than nothing at all, so I'll be trying that out in the coming days!

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  4. I feel exactly the same! I have recently found a new book that looks at the same subject...could be worth a read- The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin...about be present in every moment and living life to the full.

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    1. I'm ordering the Happiness Project, I think it's really interesting that we are all feeling the same, under pressure to do it all. I have so many ideas whizzing round my head at the moment I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed and need to focus!!

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  5. I only became a professional full time calligrapher about 3 years ago, it having been my adored hobby before that. One of my issues is that I tend to see creativity and lettering as a "treat" to be done after all chores are complete. Of course this is wrong now that it is my full time career, but I really struggle to get the balance right. (I'd like to say that at least I've always done all my chores, but that's not true either!!)

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    1. Janet, I'm falling into that trap too, and haven't picked up a pen for a long time (to draw) but I think for me going forward once I get next week (a full week of day job work) out of the way I'm going to plan my week out more and break my day into smaller tasks to make sure I get some creativity time in. I need to as I have quite a few shows coming up from now til Xmas

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  6. I took a year off on maternity leave that was funded by a large project I took on when I was pregnanr, that was completed the day I went into labour (yikes I was cutting it fine!). Since I returned to work in January this year it's been a complete battle with time and parenting and I've often wanted to just give everything up and stick to being a fulltime mum. I'm self employed as a web designer and I get one full day a week to do that now (not enough - but I'd rather stick with fulltime parenting than go back to work fulltime and stick my child in childcare which means I'm pretty skint most of the time). I also run Milomade which has been a sideline up until now. I've found that it's so much easier fitting the creating/making around childcare and naps etc that I'm thinking of switching the balance and making Milomade my main earner until my son goes to school. So I've got an interesting few months ahead as I'm hoping to make a load of changes up until the end of the year so that I can move into the wholesale arena next year. Your blog is a complete inspiration and I read it regularly - it's full tot he brim with fantastic advice, information and insight! Thank you for sharing so much!

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    1. wow, it does sound like you have a lot on your plate. My advice would be to enjoy mummyhood as long as you can, they don't stay small for long!! Hope you find a solution which works for you. And thanks for the lovely comments about the blog too. It's great that it is becoming more interactive and it's really making the whole blogging process more fulfilling

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    2. It's a battle as I want to be a fulltime mum and I love it and wouldn't change that at all, but my brain is often exploding with all the things I want to do that I get really frustrated as I don't have the time or I'm too knackered when I do! I'm trying to get some sort of mentoring sorted this year to help me focus on what I love doing and doing it well and make all my product range meld together cohesively, as I feel everything is in a bit of a mess at the moment and it's hard to move forward when the fundamentals aresn't sorted. I will keep reading as you help me keep motivated!

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  7. You might find this article useful frmo Jo Gifford who was on the blog last week
    http://dexterousdiva.co.uk/2013/07/25/10-ways-to-cope-as-a-freelance-mum-in-summer-holidays/

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    1. I've just started reading her blog and it's great!

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  8. I find I seem to be working constantly. I think when you become self employed and creative you can ALWAYS find more to add to the list. As I am quite a restless person it takes alot for me to wide down so find I can't sit still to even watch a film for an hour and a half as 'I'm sat wasting time'!! (As I speak it's 1.30am in the morning!) I find it a struggle as all the'jobs' IE marketing, social media, the website, paperwork and so on can drag you down and they all NEED to be done but DO find that they take over and am only able to squeeze a couple of hours here and there for the creative stuff!
    I am also so fidgety that in my mind my ideas are processed and done before I've finished them. I can constantly see where 'I want to be' rather than what I doing currently and simply can't work fast enough!
    Some real possible issues to work on there or just part of the job...I'm not sure!

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  9. Hi Sue,

    I completely agree!

    I have a day job, which I tend to do weekends & then overtime. But I felt as though I had no routine. So soon I will be working weekdays permanently. Plus I need the extra money. But I do freelance for a studio and will design for them in the mornings before my day job in the afternoons. But I struggle to find time to do my own designing for licensing, products etc.

    It's really important to find the right balance. But this can take time. But we do need to give ourselves credit too as we already have very busy lives. Perhaps start off small with a new design/project. Take baby steps. Even if you spend like an hour or so creating, it's better than nothing.

    But don't forget, we still need a break too. Also, don't worry, you'll get everything you want to do done :)

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