Hard work, endless hours of responsibility and no down time does not work. I remember a couple of decades ago how I used to spend an entire day cleaning my house. I would go from top to bottom, dishes, laundry, dusting, vacuuming, washing floors, etc. so that after several hours, it will all be completed. I would literally dedicate an entire day to housework, each week.
Fast forward over twenty years and I am lucky if what I do for housework totals a whole day in one month! I straighten, organize, spot clean, wash clothes as needed, do dishes whenever I have few extra minutes and do deep cleaning when necessary or when we are having guests. Otherwise, I have much more important things to do with my time.
Thinking of housecleaning reminded me of how we become less and less functional every time we fail to replenish our energy, doing things we enjoy doing. I must admit that I haven’t made enough time for enjoyment activities lately and my cloudy disposition has been reflecting it. Instead of engaging in things that increase my energy, I have been plowing through all of the tasks that I am attempting to get completed, thinking that I will eventually get caught up and then be able to rest.
I have come to realize that there is no catching up. Those days are long gone. I don’t think there will ever be a time where everything is completely finished and I have nothing to do, until the next day. That is dreamland and does not reflect my current reality. I learned that I must accept this and make another plan.
Making another plan involved writing down on one side of a blank page the things that frustrate me or things that I don’t want. On the right side of the page, I wrote the opposite to each line on the left side of the page. If I am frustrated by disorganization, ‘organization’ became my word on the right. If I don’t like noise, then ‘peace and quiet’ became my words on the right side of the page. I eventually came up with my list of what I needed to be more functional and made an action plan for implementing this.
I learned this technique from Michael Losier, an author and speaker in the realm of law of attraction and his suggestions for attracting more of what we want and less of what we don’t. He calls this his ‘Clarity through Contrast’ exercise. In order for us to figure out what we want, it is easier to first identify what we don’t want. Then, we have to take action.
Getting my new, home office in place has helped me to make this transition, in the last week. I finally accepted that I have to bring work things home and I am much more productive in a dedicated and functional space. Even though I haven’t made any time for fun things, this past week, I guess you can say that my fun has been organizing, decorating and creating a work sanctuary at home.
My husband calls it my loftice, since I climb a wooden ladder to get up to the tiny loft, overlooking a beautiful view of the lake. I have dark, wood scraped looking laminate floors, tall dark walnut stained baseboards, inspiring words and quotes on my shelves and walls and spaces to file, organize, plan and work. Now that I have the space and have been working here from early morning to late at night, I now have another problem.
My issue is that I am having trouble slowing down and integrating the fun stuff into my days. I am immersed and so functional at my home office that it is hard for me to put things down or turn off the computer. As I am often ‘almost done’, there is always an excuse to keep going, just a few more minutes, to wrap up another task. After days in a row of doing this, it is not working.
Instead of feeling a sense of accomplishment, I am feeling guilty for working so much and neglecting my family. I am feeling drained, to the final drop of my energy, at the end of each day. I am completely out of steam and unable to focus on anything else and I am feeling that I am not enjoying my days. I am getting a lot done, but not feeling fulfilled. I am so productive that I am sacrificing my health, happiness and relationships. I am so busy that I am not available for anything else.
I know that some of the things I am taking care of are temporary and the pressure of completing certain things will let up; however, it is not working to give, give and give, without down time. I must be in charge of scheduling in the down time as no one else will do this for me. I must take breaks to enjoy the view or take in the healing properties of nature, integrate visits with my loved ones, slow it down at certain times and have clear boundaries for working at home. Otherwise, I will suffer and so will everyone around me.
More than ever, I am keenly aware of how my life is my responsibility. If there is anything that I don’t like about my life, I am 100% responsible for changing it, fixing it, coping with it, accepting it, adapting to it, tweaking it or solving it. This means that my health, happiness, peace of mind or sense of fulfillment is up to me. Being accountable for my state of emotional, spiritual, physical and mental health is in my hands. What pressure!https://saultonline.com/column-this-rocky-life/
As I write this morning, I feel grateful for this break from my work. Writing is usually an enjoyment activity for me and it allows me to calm my mind from other responsibilities and fully concentrate on whatever I want to write about. I get to vent, share, open up or chat about what I am feeling, thinking about, stressing about, learning about, excited about or inspired by. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Please enjoy your week ahead and remember that burning your jets, full steam ahead, will be much more effective if you take time to refuel along the way.