The Balance of EVERYTHING - Or, my tendency to "Ooo, do all the things!"
You know how waitresses can balance five entrees, plus drinks, and somehow, a persistent smile despite the bangs in their eyes? That's essentially how I feel on a daily basis, except that I definitely do not have that kind of admirable arm strength.
(And also, I don't always persistently smile when I'm concentrating--don't worry, gents, I'm not mad though. #sorry #not sorry)
The facts are I find myself extraordinarily occupied most of the time because I have, of my own volition, chosen to commit to an abundance of creative projects. I have this tendency to do ALL THE THINGS that is almost inexplicable. Why would I want to be bursting at the mental seams, with a list of to-dos that constantly grows with each new "fun idea!" I can't resist?
I'm fueled by variety. Granted, at times I do find myself feeling the stress and wondering, Who am I??? I stumbled across a Newspaper Blackout Poem by one of my aforementioned favorites, Austin Kleon, that perfectly illustrates the radical-orbit-version of myself that sometimes results from busyness:
Kind of haunting, right?
Regardless and weirdly, I just really love being busy with creative things! Even when in a tizzy. I've been like this since childhood, as evidenced by the boxes my mom brought me a few summers ago. These boxes had been taking up space in her garage for too many years, so they found a new home with me. Breaking those seals released a litany of crafts, drawings, stories, journals, and even old video tapes of my brother's and my film directing stint (Clark Cult Film Shorts, a future anthology, no doubt).
The piles of projects proved my kiddy appetite for EVERYTHING artsy and literary. My rediscovery of little Anika was awash with hilarious nostalgia--and I realized that not much about this aspect of my personality has really changed!
Sure, my taste level has evolved (I hope!), but I'm still the wild child ready to pounce on the next exciting idea. I was reminded of this when I posted a "Friday Introduction" on Instagram last week; my caption was a mini bio where I included an run-down of what I'm currently up to--and it was kind of a lot.
Umm...OK, ANIKA. Really? Yes, guys, this is actually me. Maybe ill-advised, up to too much, but yes, truly me. So how do I begin to make all this happen? Are you like me and trying to make everything work at once? I'm definitely in the balancing phase still, however, I have found some methods that work for me and might strike a chord with you too:
Scheduling My Time: There's nothing quite as helpful as structure for us free spirits, who can suddenly do soooo much when there are time slots for the things. Can you identify? I tend to do best with time constraints, so this technique has helped me remain better focused and less likely to grow bored with unplanned time.
Not everyone functions well this way, of course. My simplest advice is to see what works for you--when do you do your best work? Are you more energetic at certain times of the day? Do you need freedom of time & headspace to create or do you like deadlines? In the past, my temptation was to mimic the styles of others, which can be a good way to experiment, but I've grown less fearful of personalizing my approach and that's made a positive difference for me.
Defining My Project's Logistics Beforehand: I've realized that goals and their terms are essential for me to establish--what is the plan and how specific can I make it right now in order to ensure success? It's true that creativity is often a process more than a set plan; still, I find I benefit from getting the logistics in perspective to see if a project is feasible and worth the effort. If so, this mapping helps me see how best to start.
The Right Environment: Another common assumption that prevails about creatives is that we are all madmen & madwomen surrounded by haphazard stacks of frayed paper, forgotten projects, encoded notes, and crumbs from lunches past. I'm sure this beautiful insanity does decorate the studios of some, but not of all.
I for one need a clean, organized environment, free of clutter. Why is that case? I strongly suspect it has to do with the fact that I have so much going on in my head that if there is also extraneous stuff everywhere, it's really just too much. Does that make sense? This has been a recent epiphany, making me feel less fussy and more pragmatic when it comes to my need for neatness.
You might also feel this way or you might prefer your creative space to be much more relaxed. I think it's super important to observe how our environments affect our creativity and then make the best space for ourselves.
Keeping Track of All the Things: Lastly, because I have a number of things going on, it's not surprising that organizing the NOTES is essential to remember everything. I've always been a notebook person, and I find a personalized approach to agenda-ing is best for me. Enter Bullet Journaling! This method is definitely on trend right now, and I appreciate that "personalization" is basically the whole point. You can find "bullet journal" tutorials and content tours galore online to explore, so I'll end with sharing a peek at my trusty moleskin journal of #goals!
Thanks for reading and feel free to comment below with your own magical ways of balancing everything!
*Newspaper Blackout Poem by Austin Kleon
© 2017, Anika Zebron Design