5elf Care


I’ve always had this idea that if “I just did these [blank] things…” everything in my life would be better: projects would be completed, I’d have more in my savings account, I’d be closer to my goal weight, etc. So, I decided, as a way to fight some creative stagnation and bring some balance to my existence, to put this theory to the test. The Idea: every day I will 1) Draw for an hour 2) write for an hour 3) go to the gym 4) read 10 pages a day and 5) not drink or spend money. There are exceptions to each one of course and I had planned for cheat days, but ultimately, I’d try stick to it for a 30 days and see where it gets me.

After six days so far, here’s what I discovered:
1) Sometimes doing the bare minimum is just fine: I racked up about 6 hours of drawing - which is pretty good considering most of those were weekdays and I tend to get a lion’s share of drawing work done on weekends - but up until the fifth day, I thought my efforts were pointless and half-assed, since I kept stopping at almost exactly 60 minutes and I didn’t think much of my progress. But then suddenly, the work clicked and while I have produced more in that time frame in the past, the quality of what was before me was better.

2) Actually wanting to do something, makes it a lot easier: On the fourth day, I had legitimate reasons to skip the gym, especially since I had gone every other day that week and had an appointment with my physical trainer the next day. But part of my brain piped up and said: “But I want to go” and then I figured out how to work a trip to the gym into another part of my day.

3) Money changes everything: Deciding not to spend money on any frivolous was probably the best decision I could’ve made as it forced me to use the resources I already had for food and entertainment. Also not going out during the week enabled me to get into bed on time early enough to go to the gym in the morning.

And here are some things I’m going to work on moving forward:
1) Get some more direction in my writing: writing is a form of procrastination for me because I can get ideas down and get my process and results fixes much more quickly than with drawing. Unfortunately, most of my writing work is not for immediate projects that I can move forward on, so the work tends to just sit there afterwards. While a percentage of that is perfectly fine, it’d be nice if some of it had more purpose.
2) I should try to make better use of my time when not completing one of these tasks: At times, I feel like I was just getting something done TO check it off the list so I could do nothing. That bare minimum thing again. Again, I’m okay with a certain amount of it, but if I have a couple extra hours left in the day, I’d probably should try to use about half of that to get ahead on something - rather than just watching an episode of Cheers for the 10th time or pacing my apartment, rearranging my bulletin boards.