Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Ali Luke.
For the whole summer, I was operating in urgency mode. Cleaning out our flat and moving house, a trip to India, finishing a 20,000 word portfolio for my MA, our church’s kids’ Holiday Club, getting married … one thing followed the next without much space to stop and breathe.
It was intensely stressful at times, but there was also something somehow reassuring. I could focus on the most urgent things, knowing that they needed to be done. I didn’t have any tricky choices to make.
Then, everything was over. I handed in my MA portfolio at the end of the Holiday Club week. I wrote a booklet about the charity we’d been visiting in India. I got married a couple of weeks later. We went off on honeymoon, and had a wonderful time. I finished my novel. I went to Vegas.
Then it was mid-October, and suddenly, I had space in my life.
It felt weird. And uncomfortable.
Maybe you’ve had similar experiences, when all your focus was on the next demand – from family, or at work, or from a bunch of different commitments piling up. There’s a certain liberation when being productive just means getting the next thing ticked off, and the next, and the next, without needing – or wanting – to stop and think.
Readjusting to Space
After BlogWorld in Vegas, I returned home with a bunch of new thoughts and ideas (some of which I wrote about here) and with renewed enthusiasm.
I’ve been deliberately taking time to think and plan: I have a number of bigger projects I want to tackle over the next six months, now that I’ve finished my MA and have more time to spend on my biz. But I’m keen not to overdo it – I don’t want to end up packing my life full again just because I’m uncomfortable with having free time.
I’ve also been getting back into activities that got shunted aside. Watching TV shows with my husband. Exercising regularly. Baking. Travelling to Cambridge and to London to see friends. I’ve even signed up for a fencing “taster” session.
Maybe you’re in a similar place right now: with extra time that you’re not sure how best to use. (Perhaps you’ve just finished NaNo, or said goodbye to Thanksgiving guests.) Maybe you’re tempted to throw yourself headfirst into the next big task on the list – now I really must clean out the garage or I need to get more clients.
Is that really the way forward?
December is my favourite month of the year. Not just because it’s my birthday (December 12th; chocolate welcome ;-)) but because it’s a time of quiet hopefulness, a chance to think about your gifts, to look back at what’s been good and at what’s yet to come.
You might use Charlie’s planners to think about what you’re building on, and where you’re going next. You might use a notebook. You could even use the comments section below and share some of your thoughts and hopes with us. However you do it, give yourself the time and the space to think.