The last weekend of Summer is coming in fast, and I can’t even pretend like I’m holding on to it in the least. That touch of Fall weather last week was all I needed to be reminded that harvest season is approaching.
2018 has been pretty good to me, but definitely hasn’t gone according to the plans I laid out in December/January. I wanted this year to be about really getting some key projects off the ground. I started outlining several big, dreamy things that I knew would take the majority of my creative energy, budget and time this year. Of course I wanted to focus on continuing to grow the blog, and to put some good content on my YouTube channel. But the more that I let life happen, the further back this projects fell in my mind. And many of them haven’t been touched since very early in the year.
The key factor in this slow progress was the amount of client work I took on during the first two quarters of the year. I was freelancing like crazy, which was great for my savings account, but terrible for my creativity.
By the time Summer rolled around, I was just about burnt out and knew I needed to make some adjustments. I was drowning in deadlines and assignments and didn’t have any creative stamina to put towards my own projects. I could barely focus on keeping content on the blog and Youtube. I decided in May that I wanted to scale back dramatically on the client work. I’m super grateful for people like Felicia who shares such amazing content and resources and offered great advice about ending client relationships well.
By early August I was completely client free.
I’m not just seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, I’m actually standing at the end of the tunnel.
So now that I’m moving forward a little lighter and excited to end 2018 on a high note, I wanted to share some lessons that this (so incredibly humid) summer has taught me.
01. The easy out is never easy
Easy money, easy work and easy people are never really as easy as they seem. Something may seem like a quick, low consequence decision upfront, but once you’ve started the work you’ll realize it’s way more grief than anticipated.
02. You’re still committed to the things you overcommitted too
This was a tough pill to swallow. There was definitely a point in mid June where I knew I was drowning in work but had already committed to following through. You can always plan your way out, but there isn’t typically an overnight fixed (without burning bridges). My best tip for moments like this is to push through the work you have as best as you can, while making a plan to offload tasks as soon as possible. No contract renewals or extensions!
03. Self care isn’t always pretty
One of the best things I’ve done this summer is return to therapy. It’s been the most amazing self care, and I’m so glad I was able to do it for myself. We’ve talked a lot here about the reality of self care, and how people typically think of face masks and spa trips instead of trips to a therapist. But sometimes, self care means doing the hard, heavy work of processing the tough stuff so you can move on to lighter times.
04. You’ll never regret being transparent with your tribe
I have a tendency to throw up the “I’m okay guard,” even when I’m far from being okay. There were times during the summer when I’d be averaging 3 hours of sleep per night, which is terrible. Stress usually leads to insomnia for me. Working through these things in therapy is great, but finding ways to tell the people in your corner that you’re out of commission is so important. Let the people who care about you know and understand why you can’t physically, mentally or emotionally show up for them or yourself at the moment. And ask for the help you need.
05. Multitasking is a myth
I have been so intentionally focused on single tasking and it has done wonders for my productivity. The idea that adding more plates to juggle makes us work harder or more efficiently is laughable. Distractions make it nearly impossible to get anything done. Tackling my to do lists item by item and really focusing on getting things done is key for me.
06. Being bad at something new is normal (and good for you)
This has been the year of this video, both at my 9-5 and on my Youtube channel. And video editing is an entirely new terrain for me. Words and photos have been my things forever, and I’m pretty good at those two. So I’ve been pretty hard on myself about being the best Youtuber I can be. Don’t get me wrong, I’m super proud of the content I’ve created so far on my channel. But I kept comparing myself to other creators who have been doing this far longer and with way more resources. It’s okay to be bad at something, especially if it means you’re trying new things.
How has this Summer treated you? Ready for Fall yet?