17 September 2014

The signs

All the signs have been there: fatigue, impatience with the dogs and other drivers, lack of ability to focus, a mild but persistent sense of panic, low productivity despite feeling like I'm busy all the time. 

Burnout. (Check out this great post on writer burnout by Dawn Montgomery over on the ROW80 site.)

Artwork by Cara Christine Hubbell

It didn't even occur to me I could be experiencing burnout until a conversation today with my friend Diane. How could I be burned out when I just got back from spending the summer in Europe? When I haven't done much writing in the last couple of months, haven't paid attention to marketing or social media except to post photos of my travels? How could I be burned out when I've spent so much time recently just sitting on planes or in cars, zoning out?

But the fact remains that my levels of physical and psychological energy are incredibly low. I've had maybe three good hours in me a day, and because I'm feeling pressured to build my business back up after a couple months of neglect, I was trying to squeeze more out of myself than I have in me right now. The panic that has resulted - from the combination of (a) low productivity, and (b) the need to produce in order to survive - has not helped. Panic, too, drains energy.

So today as I was talking with Diane, I made a decision to stop pressuring myself. I have a couple of commitments to coaching clients this week that I'm going to keep, but otherwise I'm giving myself permission to take time off.

I mean really take time off. To me, this means paying attention to how I feel in the moment. Asking myself, "What do I feel like doing now?" Forgetting about the majority of my to-do list. Spending the majority of my day away from the computer. Giving myself permission to do nothing. Because I desperately need to recharge. And if I end up sitting on my bed staring at the wall for several hours at a time, so be it.

And that's this week's ROW80 update. I did make progress on the tasks I set for myself last week, but I'm giving myself permission to not tell you all about it. Instead I'm going to go stare at the wall for a while.

This is a blog hop! Click here to see other ROW80 participants' check-ins from this week.


  1. Oh, I have been the staring at the wall thing, plenty of times. It usually happens after a show, particularly an intense one, whether acting or backstage stuff. I have stared at my sky light, in lieu of wall staring (which I have also done). Enjoy the wall, Sione. :-)

    Take time, all will be there when you are ready to return! ~sending you love~

  2. Sometimes staring at the wall is intensely productive. And I'm certain a summer of travel was exhausting in many ways, even while it was exhilarating!

    See you when you've recharged and renewed!

  3. Taking time out is a good thing! We all need to recharge. Being in the present moment and only that moment is a good thing. Staring at a wall is good -- I like to sit in my garden and stare at the birds playing in the fountain.