Tuesday, February 14, 2012

my name is whitney and I'm a {recovering} workaholic

I'm a recovering workaholic.  I used to work a minimum of 10 hours a day plus weekends.  10 hours a day probably doesn't sound like much to the workaholics who work 18 hour days, but I am a very lazy person, so for me a 10 hour work day is crazy.  I cut back on my schedule when it became obvious that everyone and everything that was not clay was just annoying.  This meant that when I wasn't working, I was annoyed.  Not unlike a junkie who cannot get a fix. Hard to enjoy life with an approach like that.

Since I  became a recovering workaholic, I'm always re-jiggering my schedule.  It's a constant effort to balance meeting the obligations I have to my work while not becoming a slave to it.  There are a lot of other things I want to get done every day besides working with clay:
  • a time slot of writing in the morning
  • an hour or so of exercise
  • a brief nap (my lazy self demands extra sleep)
  • time to write in the afternoon
  • time to meditate
It occurred to me recently that the day is simply not long enough to do all I want to do.  And if it were "long enough,", then it would just be exhausting, or we would just be another kind of species that only needs 3 hours of sleep a night.  And still, I would want an even longer day.  So the struggle is to be satisfied with what I have-- a really short day-- and also be realistic about what can be accomplished in any one day.  And this is the tricky part: not beating the crap out of myself for not managing to cram 14 hours of activity into 8 hours.

Days melt away, then weeks, months,  and years.  It creates the unstoppable flow of time, and it's so easy to float and bob on the surface of it, either getting carried away by the juggernaut of daily accomplishments, or just giving up and not being driven to do much at all.  I have both kinds of days.

And then the other kind, the good kind of day where I maintain my focus and awareness,  and get about half the stuff done that my most driven self want to accomplish while doing twice as much as my most lazy self wants to do.  One thing that has been helping me a lot lately is a simple day planner.  I know a lot of you have been on to that one for years and good for you.  I bought this one last year and I like how it has a limited amount of lines for each day, and a place to cross stuff off.  I've started carefully planning each day, usually starting the day before, and I'm telling you, shit gets done. And I know that when I start cramming more than 4 or 5 things on there, I'm asking too much and shit ain't gonna get done. So it's an exercise in restraint and organization, which for a recovering workaholic, is almost as good as a 10 hour day.


  1. I'm just the opposite, a recovering lazy ass that is trying to stick to a real schedule and work more! So far so good, I'm getting shit done too haha!
    Planning is good, go girl :)

  2. I started doing SOME class at yogaglo.com about 16(? )days ago... But still want to get in an hour walk which I have tried to do every day for almost 25 years(about 90%of the days of those years)... But i have the housework and responsibilities of 2 kids a husband and a puppy...and my dad's scenario 3 hoyrs away... Trying to delegate a bit and having some succes while I continue ti strive developmentally in the studio.... When I get in there...I HATE not getting in there... I ESPECIALLY HATE when I DO get in thefe and am not sure what to do first and anxiety sets in... And sleep...OY do I need sleep(and I have about 3 organizers...)

  3. A life by design is a life worth living... It's a good thing we need less sleep as we get older.

  4. I love it! I've seriously contemplated giving up sleep since that seems to be the only way I might be able to fit in all the things that I think I should need to be able to do in a day :)

  5. Six hours of sleep is all I need, I am a semi recovering workaholic, perhaps I'll get a planner, that might help with my bobbing around slow the pace of the years, or seemingly anyway.

  6. Oh, I can so relate to you. The endless quest for balance...but my ego says I am not "good enough" if I do not get blah, blah, blah done. I don't ask how was your day-I ask- so what did you get done today? It is a sickness, for sure.

    This year, I've forced myself to go to my niece's swim meets, have coffee with a friend, talk on the phone (horrors!!!)...and you know what? I have enjoyed all of those things and been grateful I made time to do them.

    And then I walk in my studio and think~ ugh, so much to do! So, I ask the higher power/universe to help me out with all this, because left to my own devices I will run myself ragged.

    Thanks for the posting, a good reminder.

  7. Excellent post!! I can identify with so much of what you wrote!! This was just what I needed today - thank you!

  8. Great post, Whitney. Thank you for posting the link to the REDSTAR ink planner. It is a great little book to list your tasks for each day and check them off as you go, but you have to remember to list the fun stuff too!

    It has been a busy year so far so I am thinking about putting a big X through a few days on my planner this week!

  9. This is ace! People write about 'balance' and 'me' time and all that blah- but you've made the point in a much better way! This I can relate to! And only a few lines on the planner per day sounds like the most practical thing I've heard all year...and last year.

  10. holy cow, I can so relate. I'm also working on a blog post about trying to kick my workaholism problem. making big changes to my pottery business right now, trying to reduce my workload. but i won't be ready to write about it for a few months, given that I might totally fail.

  11. Ah I know that feeling, I do think its important to have realistic aims. I don't always think about 'today' but looking at the week as a whole tends to help with planning what I'm able to achieve. Good luck!

  12. Always have it in my hand. Just to be ready on abrupt notes.

    bad credit loans