Every Day is Saturday

Finding Joy in the Here and Now

Give it a Rest

on May 13, 2014

Joey Sleeping

When I worked as a stage manager one of the things I did was to help actors memorize their lines. Mostly I threatened them with bodily harm if they weren’t off book by tech week, and that usually did the trick (I’m only half kidding). But through working with actors I learned a lot about how people learn, and absorb information, and make connections with words and ideas. I discovered that there was one surefire way to help someone struggling to come up with the right words at the right time: put down the script and walk away. Go to a movie. Read a book. Go to dinner with your best friend. Sleep on it. Do anything to take your mind completely off of the words you’re desperately trying to memorize. Give your brain a rest. If you do that, it’s amazing what happens – in a few hours and with no strain the lines will appear in your mind (well, usually anyway).

This working from home thing is a constant struggle for me in some ways. Mostly I get paralyzed when I don’t have a grip on what needs to be done in what order, because working for myself gives me more choices about what I do and when than I’ve ever had before. This is a good thing when I need to go to the grocery store, or do some laundry, or help my husband with his computer in the middle of the day. It’s bad when I’m trying to do things that aren’t necessarily connected to a deadline; I tend to put things off if I don’t feel that they are pressing. So those things start to pile up, and I begin the downward spiral of inactivity breeding guilt, which results in more procrastination, until all forward motion comes to a screeching halt.

That’s when I need to get the hell out of Dodge.

I know that walking away from my laptop is sometimes the most effective thing I can do to get me going again. Sometimes I get to actually go out of town. Sometimes I can find other ways to distract myself, but it’s hard to do when I know the thing is just sitting here, making me feel guilty for not checking my email every five minutes. It’s a vicious cycle.

But I did get a break this weekend (my sister and I went to visit my mother for Mother’s Day), and I’ve come back re-focused and ready to go. I’ve gotten more done in the last two days than I managed to accomplish all of last week (at least that’s what it feels like). And the marketing initiative for the event planning business that I’ve been toying with finally became clear, and I’ve actually written some things down.

Other stuff happened, too. I got a message last week from a long-lost connection, a friend really, looking to touch base. We had an amazing conversation, and when I got off the phone I felt like I could leap tall buildings again. When I get un-stuck it seems as if the energy I lost all comes back to me bearing gifts.

Y’all don’t know this, but this is my 50th blog post. I am very proud to have hit this milestone; when I started the blog I thought it would be a miracle if I managed to post anything at all after the first few. But here we are. I might post 50 more. I just need to make sure I walk away every now and then.



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