This last fortnight has been a little bit of a downer – after realising I needed to focus more on a couple of large projects, I had to make the difficult decision to stop working on something I was really excited about. It was tough and I feel pretty bummed out about it, but I know I made the right choice.
Now this isn’t the first time this has happened. And I think this is a problem a lot of creative people have. We get excited about all our different ideas, overestimate how much we can take on, then try to tackle them all at once. It’s not always a bad thing – it’s great being busy! – but it can take its toll on the quality of work we produce and, more importantly, our wellbeing.
So, if you also find yourselves feeling snowed under from time to time, here are my tips for maintaining balance in your busy schedule and avoiding stress as much as possible:
1. Make a to-do list
Lists might not be your thing, but visualising your workload is a powerful first step towards streamlining it. Write down all the projects you’re currently working on – even the small ones – in whatever format works for you.
2. Prioritise your most pressing work
If any of your projects have a deadline, bump ’em to the top of your list. Don’t be afraid to stick anything else on the backburner in the meantime. Not only is it easier to focus on a smaller number of tasks, but by devoting more of your time and attention to fewer projects you’ll see more progress, which, in turn, helps you to stay motivated.
3. Give yourself time to switch from one project to another
Ever want to get cracking on that novel/craft project/painting… but then you can’t quite get into the flow of things? If you’ve been hard at work on something else, it can take time to settle into a different activity, so be honest with yourself and factor this changeover time into your schedule.
4. Don’t forget “downtime”
Just be nice to yourself! Don’t work all the way up to bedtime, and take a day off whenever you begin to feel frazzled. Getting burned out just diverts even more time away from your work, which is the opposite of what you want!
I hope this helps guys. I’m still learning to take some of this stuff on board, but I’m doing better at staying on the right side of busy!
Stay healthy pals,