those aren't bad things. It's wonderful to want to try the hardest you can and do the absolute best job that you can. But is it possible?
I've learned that for me, it's not.
Reading a book some time ago on time management, the author said something like this: "Remember that when you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else." That's scary powerful. And it's true--but as a self-described yes-woman, it's hard (really, really hard) to say no to things and people.
Lately, I've been feeling a little like that beginner uni-cyclist. Tipping too far to one side (striving to be successful as an author) means that other things in my life that are more important (family, my health--mental and physical) have been tipping the other direction. The harder I worked to keep the stupid unicycle upright, the more out of control it felt. So, I decided, it was time for a new plan.
It's easy (incredibly easy) to use tools that supposedly make our lives easier (social networking=great way to stay in touch! computers=make life easier and paper-free! *yeah, right.) and have them instead become the ones calling the shots. Have you ever been having a conversation with someone maybe over dinner or a glass of wine, only to be intruded upon by the ping of their smart phone? And who can resist taking a quick peek? Or what about when we pop onto the laptop "just for a minute" to check our email and emerge from an internet-related, dazed bunny trail an hour later?
I appreciate technology and all that it can do for us. In many ways it does make life easier and definitely more convenient. But I'm starting to see more clearly how and why I'm using technology in my day-to-day life and what its effects are. While I love the way it allows me to connect with readers and friends and other writers, I need to keep in mind that while that connection is good, it also means that there is something in my "real life" I'm disconnecting with in order for it to happen.
It's also, I've discovered, a great way to productively procrastinate (a term I learned last week while listening to a great podcast on Rocking Self Publishing. Productive procrastination (things like checking email or Facebook or Twitter, making quick phone calls, or spending a little downtime sort of researching for a writing project and sort of just piddling around) make us feel like we're really doing something. It's a great feeling to check things willy nilly off of one's to-do list. But at the end of the day, how many hours or chapters did we put into our next novel? How much time did we spend in reflection, allowing our brains time to daydream and maybe come up with our next great idea? When we're constantly "doing" we often
lose out on "being."
What do you think? Do any of the above descriptions define you? How do you productively procrastinate and what have you tried to bring more balance into your life? Please tell us about it in the comments section.