Brain Dump: My Unhealthy Work Mindset

It’s one of those weeks. My creative sparks are fizzling out. So, I’ll just write what I know, emptying my brain onto the page, giving it an extra shimmy and shake as we do when we dump the contents from a trashcan. 😉

I’m feeling tired as I write this. It’s been mostly rainy and cloudy this week, but today, the atmosphere has remained a medium grey all day. Sitting next to a big, South-facing window usually provides the light I need to work, but a flourescent overhead light illuminates the room now. I much prefer the warm, orange-y rays of the sun to the kind of artificial lighting that hurts one’s eyes when staring directly at it. But at least it’s keeping me awake.

My phone just alerted me that we’re under a tornado watch. Whew, boy. No wonder today’s weather has been awful; it signaled impending doom…and possibly power outages…please, God, not another power outage.

All the writing I do each week is burning me out. Between video scripts, my job at a biweekly paper, a weekly blog post, bookstagram captions and a weekly devotional (in the place of Sunday school–until it’s warm enough to gather outside again), it feels like I’m being wrung dry of my creative juices. I fret that my blog posts haven’t been as good as they used to be, and I’m generally not writing out the devo until Saturday morning, though I at least meditate on it throughout the week.

I think the solution will be two-pronged: I need to improve my time management and I need to give myself grace. With the former, I’ve started creating a daily to-do list, and it’s helping me to spend less time between productive activities contemplating what to do next or goofing off on social media. Though I’m good at keeping myself busy, I really need to work smarter, not harder. I think I’d be able to churn out better writing in every area consistently if I mapped out when to do what in a way that gives my creative muscle ample downtime.

But I also have to get real. I need to prioritize working out three times a week with my trainer, even if the driving and exercising and showering and what not takes up a decent chunk of my waking hours, because my disabled body will deteriorate otherwise. I need to spend a few hours reading books and blog posts each week, though it’ll take away from the time I worked–for my mental health, for my vocabulary expansion, for my bookstagram posts, for inspiration. I need to be okay with going out with my mom or watching a couple movies with my fiance or hanging out with a friend without the persistent thought in the back of my mind that I could be accomplishing things if I were home and/or alone.

I realize when reading back the last paragraph that my mindset about work is pretty unhealthy. I’ve really got to start giving myself grace. I have to accept that I might skip weeks sometimes with blogging or get videos out late or not make a bookstagram post for weeks (okay, admittedly, I already do that last thing). I look forward to exchanging the written Sunday school lessons for less formal group discussions. C’mon spring!

It’s pouring cats and dogs outside now, but funny enough, the sun is shining brighter through the clouds. It’s coincidentally reflective of how I feel after getting things off my chest. I may just be able to cut off this dang vibe-killing overhead light.

What are your tips for time management and taking care of your creative muscle? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading!

P.S. Here is my latest video. Give it a watch if you have six minutes; I think it’s pretty funny, thanks in part to my fiance’s editing advice. Thanks a million to anyone who watches. ♥♥

P.P.S. I post videos on a weekly basis, but I don’t always share them here because some are political, and I don’t want longtime readers to feel alienated if they disagree with me. But if you’re curious, check out some of the other vids on my channel!

3 comments

  1. Lily, you have made a correct self-diagnosis, which is that you need to cut yourself some slack! Seriously, you are the most consistent blogger I know. And with a disability!

    And all that you do on social media. And now YouTube! And the church work! It’s almost a bit crazy how much you have taken on.

    I get it though, you’re committed, you’re ambitious. But my advice would be, yes — stay incredibly organised, just allow your plans involve a lot of space. And schedule lots of fun things. That’s what I try to do!

    If you ever want to talk productivity, drop me an email, as I can suggest lots of resources. Also, following the Minimalism tag here on WordPress is very inspiring, if you’re into that kind of thing.

    You’re awesome! 🙂

    Like

  2. Hi Lily, as a professional artist I have to say having 1. A fixed daily schedule for when you need to do productive, creative work, combined with 2. A starting routine (I call it a ritual but that’s me) that tells your brain it’s time to create. That can be lighting a specific scented candle, choosing a particular “work” playlist of music, lining up some coloured pencils on your desk, or whatever the actions are that are ONLY for the start of creative time. I have a routine where I thank Fear for looking out for me, but it doesn’t need to think about my artwork right now, and I put a doll’s cup of tea next to a dollhouse armchair where Fear can settle down and look out the window. I might put a newspaper next to the chair so Fear can fuss over the events of the world while I get to work. It seems corny but I’ve shared this “give Fear a comfy chair” thing with other young creatives and it seems to work pretty well. Well done you. You are doing plenty and you’re doing it brilliantly. Maybe give your Critic a chair it can settle in while you get down to business?

    Like

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