Work versus family perspective

Goodness gracious me … how long it’s been since I uploaded a new post! The spirit has been more than willing – but the schedule has been hectic. Not that I am complaining mind you – I am delighted to be busy – and I have always been a little bit of a workaholic truth be told – and I’ve always enjoyed being politically engaged and active. 

This busier than usual recording schedule, along with all the horrible things that seem to be happening all around us made me consider what pressure I might be putting on myself and my personal relationships by taking on all this work. 

I thought I had the balance about right – but I suspect that my friends and family didn’t feel the same!

I like to think that I am pretty well organised – I have a timetable in my head, I know my deadlines and what I need to complete each day to meet those demands; but my schedule over the past six months has been pretty punishing. I have been working more hours than were good for me, and my weekends and eveningswere being sacrificed. Some things have slipped under the radar … housework and gardening being just two of them – and my poor long suffering husband has had to put up with some pretty uninspiring meals!

I love my work – and I love working. Doing what I love is extremely rewarding and I am immensely grateful for the opportunities that comes my way … but I also love my family, my friends and my dog and I don’t want them to feel neglected, or to resent the fact that I am working so consistently because it reduces the quality of my time with them. 

I think this is an issue that effects many people – especially those working in the arts where work is irregular and where there so many people chasing the few jobs that are available. I know so many colleagues feel unable to say no when work offers come in, so they are adding more work to an already full schedule – and though financial uncertainty is sometimes a factor, in many cases it is more to do with fear. If you turn down a job, you’ll never be asked to work again! I know that I have gone through that scenario in my head many times – so I have spent quite a lot of time over the past few months trying to put things into a clearer perspective, enabling me to work as much as I want to … but to not overload my schedule to the point where I am no longer enjoying what I do. You do your best to build in ‘downtime’, take time off for holidays and special occasions but then – because you’re tired and stressed, when you do take a break, some lurgy or other strikes and leaves you feeling more exhausted, more stressed – and more behind than ever.

So … my New Year Resolution (only three months behind its deadline – the only deadline I have ever missed) is to take time for myself – to be kinder to myself and to be more productive when I am actually working. So to this end … I have disabled the internet in my studio when I am recording, thus removing the temptation during a long session to just pop onto Twitter or Facebook for a quick look at what’s happening in the world!

Goodness … I get so much more done in far less time and feel much happier too.

I realised that at least half of the stress I was feeling was actually down to fury and frustration about things going on in the wider world – things that I can do absolutely nothing more about. I have voted, I have protested, I have supported, I have written letters and achieved? Nothing! Terribly things still happened and go on happening – and I am still angry, but I am also more pragmatic than I have been for the past four years. I no longer read newspapers or articles or blogs, I no longer watch the news or listen to it on the radio.

This is for the sake of sanity rather than being overcome by apathy all of a sudden – it’s a case of recognising what I have no power to change – and letting it go. Perhaps for the first time in the last four years, I am seeing what is really important.