Finding that balance point between studies, work, and life is challenging, but important to prevent burning out. I tend to want to get things done now. I feel like I should always be working on something or toward something. What is pleasure reading when there is reading for work or school to be done? In terms of a “bookish” life, it is important to read for pleasure to keep on top of what is happening in publishing: what is selling, what is a big seller, and seeing what works in writing style (or what doesn’t). There are so many things you can learn from reading, even more so when your desired profession is in publishing. But it can be hard to carve that time out in a day, or week, when there are other things that I could be working on. Why read this book when I have a manuscript sitting there I could get through instead?
It can be hard to keep everything in perspective. Even beyond reading, it is okay—important—to take some days off just to do nothing, to get out into the bush, or to bake some cookies and turn your mind off everything else. I have been working steadily on my internship and enjoying every moment of it; I have my course start date looming and I am excited to get started on it and trying to prepare for it, but this Sunday I took the day off. I finished up a manuscript I was reading on Saturday, I scheduled out my next week and I put everything away. On Sunday I had some coffee and baked cookies. It was relaxing. And I have wondered if it isn’t something I should try to carve out every Sunday: to just take that day off and do something completely unrelated, be it baking or getting out into the bush.
Finding balance is hard, especially when you are completing your studies, or work, from home. Because there is always something else you could be doing. School is a little different as, even at a bricks and mortar school. there is always something you could be doing, but having it laid out the way it is creates some structure and you can find your time away within it. Whereas with the self-paced (or self-employed) it can be hard to turn that side off.
A person can only push so hard before they are either no longer productive or just barely pushing through. I feel myself already getting excited to start my course, my foot twitching over the clutch waiting to jump off that start line, and I am practicing now, telling myself to take it easy. To include in my plan a scheduled catch up day for those days that just don’t go my way, because otherwise I will go full speed ahead with everything I have going on and I know it is a pace that will not be sustainable.
I have always found that the holidays were the perfect reset. Schedules take a backseat to functions and everything slows down a bit. Then, when January hits everyone is feeling ready to get back on track to fall into a routine and refocus. So, I am going to take this holiday season to work on some scheduling to determine a pace that is going to be sustainable come the new year, and I’ll attack everything with a calculated pace rather than running full speed ahead with only the plan of completion in my sights.