Busy vs. Better

Last week was a busy one. I was determined to tackle a few things that had just been sitting on my to-do list, taunting me, nagging me. Some check boxes had been left blank for too long because they were the most horrendous tasks you could think of (hello, organizing my taxes), and others were ignored simply because from a distance they looked like huge mountains to climb. In reality, they were nothing but little mounds that I could easily walk over once I let myself get close enough.

And while I focused on these things, my inbox got backed up, I failed to blog, and I think I might have forgotten to shower. But on this lovely Monday afternoon, I can gladly say that those nagging to-do’s are checked off, I’ve returned the emails of those who were patiently waiting to hear from me, and here I am blogging with a clean head of hair and no body odor. (TMI?) What was chaotic at the beginning of last week is now well organized, and when I take a minute to realize that I can’t help but be incredibly thankful to be able to work this job full-time.

Last December I sat in a small Greek diner in New York City with my friend Elena, sipping coffee and indulging in a fresh plate of french toast as we discussed our non-traditional work lives. Me, working a part-time “real job” in design and marketing while growing my photography business in every other spare moment, and Elena, studying acting full-time in the city while working as an incredible personal trainer with a schedule full of clients. We were both so happy to be chasing our dreams, running full-speed after them. We were also both so tired from chasing our dreams, running full-speed after them. I had just finished sharing how empty and hollow my tank felt following last fall’s wedding season when Elena looked at me with eyes full of understanding and said, “For me, I came to a point where I realized that giving my best doesn’t necessarily mean working my hardest. It means allowing myself to be in a condition where my best work can be done.”

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The idea hit me hard then and it comforts me now. I’m a girl who revels in busyness. I kind of love it when I can tell you exactly where I have to be and all that I have to accomplish in the next 10 hours, but can’t tell you what day of the week it is because my mind doesn’t have room for that information. If I’m not constantly on the move, I start to feel a little useless. But I’ve learned from experience that that kind of life isn’t sustainable. It’s fun to move so quickly but eventually your tires start to wear—and I’ve yet to meet someone who can change a tire going 80 miles an hour. The truth is more often than not that working your hardest constantly and endlessly means something somewhere is being neglected, and eventually the whole vehicle will start to fall apart. Last week was busy, and it kind of felt wonderful. But now I’m back in the calm-before-the-storm of slow season. In just a few weeks with the start of wedding season, life will rev back into high gear, but right now I have a few spare hours in my days and sometimes I’m still not sure what to do with my hands. Instead of worrying that I’m being lazy or not working hard enough, I’m choosing to enjoy the fact that I don’t have eight places to be at once. When the weather is less than ideal outside, yup, you might be able to find me under my covers indulging in a Netflix binge. And you better believe that I’ve been soaking in the (few) warm days that we’ve had, walking and running and finding all kinds of inspiration around me. It still sounds a little crazy to my busy-loving ears but I know that in the coming months, this time of rest will make me a better creative business woman, better equipped to serve my clients. And isn’t that always the goal?

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