Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Multitasking and Leisure Time

In the last few years, I've recognized that I no longer choose to multitask. I'm not sure I consider it a disability, but I do feel the need to write about it.

For weeks now, I've been concerned about finishing the final edit of my manuscript. I had asked a number of friends and acquaintances to read it and I needed to input their recommendations, copy-edits or edits that I agreed with. Working from a few different versions of the manuscript took way more time than I had anticipated. And although I sent a version of the manuscript to the publisher 14 days ago, I suddenly felt the need to make some significant changes. I'm almost done--but not quite.

At the same time, I had been asked (or I volunteered) to write reviews of two books, to make comments on two others, and to help a friend evaluate her plan for a new website. Although I feel guilty (not a usual emotion for me), until I finish my manuscript I have put all these projects on hold.

Why? I'm not sure. What I do know is that having too many things on my plate at the same time is very stressful for me. I also know that when I work four to six hours a day rewriting and editing my own work, I can't work on other people's writing projects.

What I've learned--over time--is that once I'm done working for the day, I need to ensure that my leisure time is "truly" leisure time. And for me, since my work involves sitting in front of a computer screen and writing and editing, my leisure time must be spent outdoors, or playing an instrument, or taking photographs, or reading for pleasure (with no work attached to it).

Most of all, leisure time must be a period where I don't feel any stress or pressure.

These days I'm handling my hypomania so much better. My family and I are having a lovely summer. I feel like I finally have this illness under control on a daily basis...and I'm so happy...and relieved. Maybe it has something to do with my refusal to multitask and my understanding of the real value of leisure time. Time will tell.


Carrie said...

Kudos to you for finding and keeping the balance! It may help you truly commit to the tasks at hand with all you can muster.

Marie said...

Don't overextend yourself. No superwoman complex please!

marja said...

I know what you mean by the stress created when you have too much on your plate. I'm there right now. And the pressure to keep on doesn't lift. I feel like an octopus.

Is being an octopus a bipolar thing?

I seem to be building a taller and taller tower and sometimes I wonder when it's all going to fall down around me.

Other than that I'm doing okay. Though I've been getting up at 5am every morning for the past few months, I do get 6 1/2 hours of sleep. That's enough, isn't it? At least at the end of the day I feel tired and that's a good sign, isn't it?

Sounds like you're doing better than I am, Susan.

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Thanks Carrie, Marie, and Marja.

Carrie, over the years, I've learned that if I don't balance I crash and burn.

Marie, actually I've always understood that I'm mortal. You're right! There's no superwoman complex here!

It would be interesting to learn if being an octopus is a bipolar thing. For me 6 1/2 hours sleep wouldn't be enough. My doctors have always say I should get between 8-9 hours sleep and I do. But perhaps it's different for different people. And yes, I do think it's good to be tired at the end of the day.


JayPeeFreely said...

Yeah, you are handling way too much on your plate...Sure, you prioritize, but you do need "me" time...

Don't worry at all about my request. You need to do right by your mom (ugh, your situation there would drive me bananas) and get things you are working toward completed.

Your comment: I don't think anyone is really looking to read about that stuff. And (I) just don't see a fictional account I could carry through...But thanks for the support of it! I may think differently in 5-10 years.

Cindy said...

I despise multi-tasking. Ugh! But it's taken me a loooong time to figure out that it's just the way I'm made, and there's nothing wrong with it. The way I look at it, everyone else just has focusing problems. :)