Sunday, 2 February 2014

Taking time out

This is partly related to my previous post about volunteering. I briefly mentioned how I was starting to understand the importance of balance between work and other elements of my life so I thought I'd touch on that some more.

I spent Saturday evening at my friend's engagement party in Reading, and stayed the night. She was one of my housemates at uni and because we are both busy and live a couple of hours apart, we only manage to meet up occasionally, so I am really happy that I was able to celebrate her engagement with her! However, I was only gone a day but I really couldn't help feeling like I should have been working.

It's crazy to have that mindset when I was away for less than 24 hours and the last time I had more than an evening off was probably Christmas! The plain truth is I feel guilty about the time I spend away from my work, even when I'm not particularly busy. It's always a constant presence in the back of my mind.

So far, I have only been able to put this down to the fact that my working hours are not set, I will work at all hours of the day and on evening and weekends too, so my brain doesn't shut off like it would if I worked a 9-5 job. Granted, I'm sure those of you with a 9-5 job still bring your work home with you on occasion and often find your mind unable to shut off; it's a given with any working role. The difference with self-employment is that the work is at home, so there is only so much you can do to forget about it "out of hours". It's especially tricky when your studio is also your bedroom, so there's always a constant reminder of what needs to be done.

I do make the effort to see my friends when I can, I just find it REALLY hard to switch off! I can't imagine how hard it will be when I go on holiday this year. I think it's bad when I finish drawing for the evening, settle in the lounge to wind down, yet am already thinking about what stage I'm at with a piece and what still needs to be done. I wish I had some sure-fire way of disconnecting myself from it all, even for a short time. I love my work but I also know how beneficial it is to relax and recharge.

Do you have ways you help yourself disconnect from work?


  1. I can absolutely relate to this. My life is a jumble of pictures where the paint is bleeding over the edges all over the place. At work (dayjob) I think about Blue Eggs, at home at night when I should be relaxing I am doing Blue Eggs, at night I am dreaming of one or the other and when I am relaxing I am planning what I will do when I get back to one or the other jobs. I get pangs of guilt about having downtime although not too badly I have to say. I'm aware of how much I always seem to have to do, but I try not to feel bad for relaxing and just embrace iteven if it's just a few hours. I know my poor husband gets quietly frustrated that I am always on social media or email doing something, so in that way I have to be careful that engaging with media in part to keep business flowing, doesn't take over OUR life. He'd never say it out loud but I can tell he feels like there's a third person sometimes. So monitor that. My recommendation is simply that you sit back and take stock sometimes: don't neglect the thinking time to remind yourself what it's all about. And probably what it's all about it LIVING. Having experiences, knowing people, connecting with people....and if that is getting eaten away at then it's worth training yourself to find balance. After all no one ever looked back and said 'I wish I'd worked more...' xx

  2. I definitely can relate to this, like you I feel guilty not working and then when relaxing, I can't stop thinking about my work, wanting to go back in my studio and paint! I rarely find ways to recharge and relax but when I do, I usually find it effective when I do the accounts or tidying up the studio to take my mind off the "creative side" of my business and then quickly leave the studio to relax. If I was painting and then finishing it for a day, I can't switch off and will need to do something distracting before being able to relax.

    hope it helps!

    Katrina Sophia Blog

  3. I relate too. With a lil one at home too I worry about spending time with her too a balance between working and playing with daughter. However I since Christmas feel much more settled with having a night off or a weekend away. I do not have set days or times I work. Its as and when the mood takes me and workload to get through. Maybe I am more comfortable with my commission work now. I no longer paint and hope it sells I now have a steady stream of work that has been requested.