Use Your Time Well.
A short post today- lots to do.
Every since I was very young I’ve been terrible at time management. In my earliest school reports, teachers wrote that I failed to get myself organised and ready on time for the school day (I was asthmatic, and sorting my inhaler/barrel setup was a daily nightmare). I regularly forget things, lose things, and am generally pretty poor at judging time and its contents. It’s something I’m trying very hard to get better at, because good time management is essential for any working creative to meet deadlines and have a good work/life balance.
To me, using my time well doesn’t just mean working hard during the day. It means balancing some pretty difficult aspects of my life to make sure I’m getting as much out of my time as possible both personally and professionally. I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, a condition that means that during the winter I suffer from fatigue, anxiety, and easy exhaustion. Part of using my time well means accepting that I am not going to have every hour of the day, because I need to sleep and I need to sleep well. Sometimes I don’t even get half the day. I spent the past few years hating myself for being unable to pull all nighters or early mornings like other creatives seemed to be able to do. This year, I’m trying to accept that I am never going to be able to guilt myself into making more hours in my day- it’s not the way my body and brain function, and it’s just going to hurt me more. So I’m trying to make my days have a consistent amount of hours I know how to use.
And using my hours well also means taking care of myself. I try not to start work before I’ve eaten, showered, dressed, and made sure I’m feeling good and ready to go. Normally, that means I don’t start to do anything before 10:30am. If I’m not working to a deadline, I try very hard to stop working at around 9:30pm- this gives me plenty of time to unwind before bed and give myself the best chance of a good night’s sleep. I’m still working on that one- I have a tendency to go late if I’m really invested in my work or have a lot to do.
Having a consistent framework to hang my days on means I normally have a good idea of what I can get done in a day, and I’m getting less afraid to not finish today’s work if it can’t be done and instead go and take care of myself. Sometimes I overjudge or things outside of my control will mean my days get crowded and that’s alright! There’s always tomorrow to do more work, and it’ll be better work for me having thought of self-care.
Taking care of myself, and making the best of the hours I have, not the hours I want, is making me happier, healthier, and more productive. It’s alright to accept that your days might not always be full, or long. What’s important is that you balance what you need to do, what you can do, and what you’d like to do. Always make time for yourself, and the time you spend working will feel infinitely less distracted. Eat well, sleep well, keep well, and work well.