This has been a problem since high school, when I was simultaneously editor-in-chief of the newspaper and president of the drama club... and in all the shows, while also producing them.... and a writer on staff, plus a layout designer. Add frequent babysitting jobs (which I never passed up - of course), my full course load, and applying to college - I was a mess. But I loved every minute of it.
Things didn't change when I went to college. Drama, newspaper, drama, co-founding a magazine, work study job, more drama... producing/acting/costume designing/writing plays....Oh, and I also took classes. I frequently ended up sick, probably because I never let me body rest. Again, loved it. I didn't know how else to live my life. I had to be busy.
But what was I afraid of?
In the years since college, I've learned the value of a good "day off." In fact, I think I got so burnt out by 8 years of cumulative "busy" that I needed a break. I laid low on the drama front, gave myself some space. I focused on working, took extra hours at my retail jobs on the weekends, then left my nights free. I started writing again, when I finally found a job where I could relax a bit.
My shoulders felt lighter. My world was a little easier to digest.
So I was writing... and then I started to fall back into my old patterns. I was rabbid for new writing jobs, signing up left and right, searching Craigslist, scanning Freelance message boards... anywhere there was content that needed writing, I wanted to write it. I started going back to school too. And poof! There went my free-time.
But this weekend, I was proud of myself. I took a minute to think about what was important. Did my short-term goals match my long-term? Was I headed in the right direction? If not, what did I need to do to get there? And I let some of the deadlines go, relaxed my grip a bit, said "no" to a few new projects.
It felt really good.
So then I spent the weekend away from the computer. I read a couple of romance novels, spent some time with my family. It feels good not to be overloaded again.
Maybe I can spare some time for that book I'm writing, one of these days.