When Busy Isn’t Enough……
I am deviating slightly from my plan to share my planner love with you, but, I want to be as real as I can with you all, and share my journey with you as much as possible, in the hopes that it helps you too, so I hope you won’t mind that I am detouring just a little bit……..
My go to these days when I am stressed, is to be busy- and not just a little busy, or necessary busy, or even deadline busy. The busy I am talking about is the one where you create work the isn’t necessary, make stress for yourself by leaving things to the last minute, redoing things to the point of insanity, where you commit to more things than are really physically possible, those times when you have to excuse super-human strength just to get through the day because every single minute is planned and jammed with details. The unhealthy busy, the busy where your priorities have left the behind and your core values have become a pot of mush. Anybody else with me here?
Well, that had been my MO since about June. I had an unexpected loss back in June, exactly two weeks before TNNA. I was already super nervous about TNNA, because I was teaching two different classes, working in a booth and it was the longest that I had ever been away from my family. At the time, it was so much easier to throw myself into TNNA prep to keep my mind busy and my heart from dwelling on the loss, so that’s what I did. I wrote and re-wrote my class handouts, wrote and re-wrote my teaching notes, I also rushed three designs to be ready so that I would have new samples, tech edited pieces and work to share once I got home. Suffice it to say, I arrived in Cleveland tired, worn out and in need of a break! But I kept on being busy because taking a break would mean to have to feel the feelings, so I kept on busy-ing.
Eventually I had stuffed the feelings so far down that I didn’t have to stay quite so busy, but I was definitely taking on and doing more than I knew was good for me. I managed to maintain a status quo busy for long enough that it just became normal and before I knew it, I didn’t have a day off at all. It was all working nicely until the other week…….
In one weekend, the house that I had fallen in love with (what seems like the only house in this area that will house all of us, comfortably!) went on the market to unavailable with the snap of one’s fingers, the yarn store that was my “yarn home” (and goodness, it was even called Jessica Knits!) Closed, and watching those real, tangible losses happen woke something in me. I suddenly realized how cold and distant things had become because of my “busy”, and that the relationships I thought I’d had, were really only grounded in my busy and now that I just didn’t have the energy to put into them, well, at that point, I was all alone. With my feelings. Facing the loss. Facing the empty, and I just couldn’t be busy anymore because I had no more to give.
It took about a good week of reset, of going back to my “3 task a day” habit, it even took scheduling downtime and free time and playtime for myself, but writing it down, planning it out, even planning to NOT BE BUSY slowly started to work. I could get back into my work routine that works for my life in this season and I wasn’t filling it with busy. I even started to use those same. Principles in our homeschool day- I spent about two days of listening to what my children were interested in learning, reading way more picture books than they ever would have sat for when I was calling the shots and forcing it, and we made tweaks to how we did some parts of our day (I even have them all happily learning Geography now and begging to do their daily map skills! ). I’m reworking and tweaking some things, and am hoping that in the new year, I have us all, my work and their school, on a loop/batch style schedule that will work for all of us (and I’ll be sharing that process with you all as I start to implement it!).
I know that as we enter these last two months of the year, BUSY seems to be the modus operandi, the only way to get it all done. I’m hoping to try for something a bit better, I’m focusing on acquiring memories in the every day. I know that the next several months of my life have me looking towards facing another loss, one of the biggest, scariest losses I can imagine. More than ever, this is the time when we all need to make sure we are taking time to breathe, cherish and enjoy what each day brings. I’ll be kicking off our book club sometime this month (watch for that on IG!), and I’m going to commit to spending 15 minutes a day doing something NOT BUSY, for right now, that means 15 minutes a day of knitting on my non-work sweater. What does that look like for you? I’ll be kicking off a Christmas KAL on November 23, if you need an accountability system to get your 15 minutes in every day, that would be a fantastic thing to do!
Another thing that I highly suggest is to have a Just Because Day. It can sometimes be just what you need to get yourself uplifted and creating again. A Just Because Day is just that- you let go of the deadlines, the work, the fear, and do things, Just Because. You know, things like, visit that breakfast cafe you always mean to go to, spend a day at the park just because the weather is lovely, browse the local bookshop because you haven’t found a treasure for awhile, all those things that you just put off doing because you don’t have time? Spend a day immersed in them, Just Because. If you don’t have a whole day, how about the next time that little voice asks you to play Candy Land, instead of “just a minute” or ignoring it, hoping that it goes away, you say ok? Or just read a silly story together, and then another. Our littles are excellent readers at our stuffed feelings, and they sometimes know better what we need than we do ourselves. (Also, if you take the 15 minutes to play a game, or read a book, and give them all your one-on-one attention, when you pick your work back up, it goes a lot easier, and they interrupt you a lot less, trust me! I have to remind myself of this often, but it is always light a lightbulb moment when I remember and give it a go!)
If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious and like you are drowning in your work, I encourage you take a step back and identify what is going on? Have you just over committed yourself by accident or are you trying to escape something by being unnecessarily busy? Is there something else going on that is making you feel like that? Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself, and if there is something going on, or you have more days that you “can’t shake the blues” than un-blue days, I urge you to make time to see your doctor, I’m not a doctor (and I don’t play one on TV!), and your health is the most important thing of all, ok? No matter what, make sure you are taking time to breathe and find some joy in your everyday. In the New Year, I’ll be sharing my tips and tricks for how I plan and schedule my work so that when I need a Just Because Day (or the flu takes my entire family down for a week……or some other huge life shift happens unexpectedly!), it doesn’t make me quiet an anxious, and I still manage to meet my deadlines (spoiler alert: Planners play a huge role!)
Until next time,