Every six months or so, I seem to have a need to put myself on a schedule. Mostly, I think, it is an attempt to control my creative pursuits, marginalize them, in order to make time for the to-do list tasks and caring for my family.
I seem to never be fully on top of those, some I think of only at the wrong times, and then there are the tasks that I simply dread--phone calls to people I would rather not deal with, situations I cannot resolve, plans I am conflicted about. I don't forget about these, I just avoid them until they become heavy, enormous and weigh me down with anxiety.
The hours while Olivia is at school pass quickly, and there is also the grief, the elephant in the room, that takes up considerable space and energy. It's not yet been a year and a half. What am I thinking, even worrying about schedules? In my mind and heart I still have two to take care of.
The schedules I try out for a few weeks now and then don't stick. They are too restrictive and I can't help but keep writing, or photographing the light as it falls just so on my kitchen table. Then I look up at the clock, gasp, grab my tote bags and run off to the Co-Op.
This week it began to dawn on me that I am chafing against imposed limitations, that I am bursting beyond my schedule. I want to write, photograph, bake, play in the garden, arrange color all day long. This part of me is screaming to be taken seriously.
On one level, this is about time management both creative and personal. However, it is also about the guilt I feel for the hours I spend writing or reading for an e-course. The photo outing I took I consider a luxury, as I think of Mr. Savory at work.
I'm at a bit of an impasse currently, wrestling, even as I write this. A few solutions have come to mind in the past days as I've read about time management and gained a few tips from interviews with "successful people".
I've read about Eat That Frog, and gave it a try this week. What a relief! I contacted a few people that I've been meaning to reach out to for a long time, and confronted some tasks that I was worrying about.
The premise of "Eat That Frog", originating from Mark Twain, is that you start your work day with the hardest, most dreaded, the likeliest item on your list to be procrastinated on, and do it first. The rest of the day will seem easier and there will be a sense of accomplishment no matter what direction the remainder of the day takes. You can even set up what you need for your frog the night before so you are ready in the morning.
I write after eating breakfast, but having picked out my frog to confront afterwards, is a good strategy for me that feels satisfying but not overwhelming.
When I put some questions out to my blogging mates about how they address their creativity time, one responded that for personal health reasons, she lets the creativity flow and doesn't hold back. The word, flow, has run through me since.
For now, taking myself seriously means to keep writing and growing creatively. It means taking care of my family, enjoying each other, and gulping down a daily frog.
Let it flow.