Amanda Cade

Worth It! (Things to try, read, watch, hear, and discuss)

As I mentioned in my January in review post, the first month of 2019 was crazy, stressful, and challenging, although I ended the month feeling positive and ready to take on February. It didn’t take me long, though, to realize that I needed to rethink my plan for the month.

Burnout

low-battery.pngJanuary’s insanity was ultimately overcome by massive expenditures of time and energy, with my productivity cranked up to eleven. At the beginning of February, I looked at everything I had recently accomplished and said, “Wow, look at me! I’m awesome. If I keep up this pace, I’m going to get so much done this month! I’m going to get ahead on everything, and maybe even take on some new projects.”

Then I immediately responded with, “Except that I’m so, so tired.” Not so much physically tired, but mentally and emotionally spent. Having spent several weeks trying to stay at high-octane, I suddenly found that I didn’t want to do anything. Obviously, I needed to do some reflection.

Priorities

The first thing I did was remind myself that the pace I had set for the last few weeks of January (mostly in terms of work, but also in my personal projects), was born of necessity, not desire. I am something of a workaholic, and I like to be getting things done, but in January I went way beyond my usual pace, and it turned into a total slog-fest. So while it’s true that I could have accomplished a lot more in February, I knew that in the long run it wasn’t something I wanted to do, and ultimately wouldn’t be very good for me. In the end, I knew I needed to throttle back.

My goals for February, therefore, were very simple (and very different from the way I often tend to approach my life):

  1. Self CareDo enough work (at the job, with the blog, for other commitments) to maintain the appropriate level, and then stop. For one month, resist the urge to shoot for awesomeness at every moment. Do extra work only if the idea is actually appealing.
  2. Devote extra time to leisure activities. Spend at least an hour each day reading, instead of half an hour. Have breakfast with Mom and Dad twice this month, instead of just once. Have dinner with a friend. Watch at least two movies.
  3. Rest. Go to bed earlier, and listen to an audiobook if sleep doesn’t come right away. Stay in bed. Take naps if needed. Set the alarm for a little later every time it’s possible to do so.
  4. Set aside any negative thoughts about these things. If all else fails, think of it as an experiment, because experiments are productive.

Outcomes

It was an interesting month. I struggled with some of these goals, although not as much as I had expected, because I really, desperately needed to slow down. I’m certainly feeling recharged and in better shape than I was at the end of January, so that was a success.

Overall, though, I think in February I swung a little too far in the opposite direction. I would have liked to have accomplished more than the bare minimum, and some the things I put off are probably going to make March more hectic than I would prefer. What this month showed me, I think, is that I need to focus more on staying in balance day to day and week to week. Too much time pushing myself will naturally lead to too much time recuperating, and I’m not particularly content at either extreme. For March, I’m going to work towards considering the right balance for smaller chunks of time, while keeping a few of the monthly goals (specifically, an earlier bedtime and sharing meals with family and friends) in place.

Oh, and one other outcome: I did a heck of a lot of reading.

February Books

Screenshot 2019-03-03 at 6.28.52 AM

I started by finishing King of Scars, which I had begun at the end of January, and then read another twenty books in twenty-seven days. Seven of those were re-reads, and the others were new. I read during my first cup of coffee each day, while I ate lunch, while I waited for a doctor’s appointment or a meeting to start…just about any time I had a few minutes to spare. I used Kindle’s whispersync feature to switch to audio while I did the dishes and accomplished other tasks that didn’t require my higher brain functions, and before I fell asleep at night. Last weekend, I read two entire books on Saturday. Reading has always been one of my favorite activities, and for the past four weeks I fully indulged.

High point: Finally getting around to The Collapsing Empire and The Consuming Fire, the first two books of John Scalzi’s latest sci-fi series. They were as good as I’d hoped they would be, and I’m looking forward to the third (and final) book next year.

Low point: Rachel Caine’s The Great Library series. This was another case where I wanted to like something more than I actually did. I can’t entirely put my finger on why this series didn’t work for me, but after reading the first book I almost didn’t read the second, and after reading the second I decided to move on rather than read books three through five. For whatever reason, I just wasn’t invested in the story enough to devote the time to finishing the series.

Looking Ahead

I have a really good feeling about March, with a lot to look forward to, including…

Screenshot 2019-03-03 at 1.21.45 PM

I’m so excited.

celebrate

How was your month? What are your thoughts on self-care, priorities, work-life balance? Read any good books lately? Let’s talk.

29 thoughts on “February in Review (Battling Burnout, Setting Priorities, and a lot of Reading)

  1. Alex Raizman says:

    So sorry to hear about the burnout! Good luck finding the balance in March – glad you were at least able to rest and recuperate some in February!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      It was definitely a relaxing month. Now for a happy medium in March. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The Eclectic Contrarian says:

    Slow and steady wins the race lol. Don’t get me wrong, I take my blog seriously, but it probably takes more backseat. I’ve become more of a reader and commenter than writer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I actually enjoy a periodic marathon work session (and marathon rest session), but I’m definitely going to start spacing them out a little more.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It happens, glad you recognized what was going on. Now you have to find a happy medium. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      That’s the plan. I’m keeping an eye on my schedule and trying to organize things a little more carefully.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am amazed, Amanda. What a hectic month. The plus was all the great books that you got to read. Here’s hoping March is a lot better for you. BTW, thanks for your support of my blog. It really motivates me to keep it up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      You have a lot of cool information on your blog, and I’m amazed at how much you post. I’m glad you’re staying motivated. ☺🌅

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’d been burnt out for the past two-and-a-half years, and am only now starting to recover. Since graduating in December, I’ve taken the past two months to indulge in my blog and figure out my priorities. Now, with any luck, I might be heading into another frantic period – but a very good one.

    Also, who is Captain Marvel? I keep hearing about her but I know nothing about her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      She’s a seriously cool Marvel superhero. I can’t wait to see the movie. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ooooh. What are her powers?

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Paul says:

    I find the best approach (for me) to finding a balance is to recognise that there are times when I just need to stop. And when that happens, I reschedule everything that can be rescheduled and put my feet up. This is why the only thing I did this weekend was defrost a fridge.

    I was a bit disappointed with The Collapsing Empire. It felt like it was all set-up and no story, but I will be reading The Consuming Fire as soon as I get around to it.

    And I am really looking forward to Captain Marvel 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I read both books back to back, and I honestly don’t remember where one ended and the next started. The first one probably was a little exposition heavy, now that I think about it. I’m a fan of world building, though, so it worked for me.

      Like

      1. Paul says:

        Reading them back to back is probably the best approach. Maybe I should wait for the third book to be released and read the trilogy as if it’s a single novel 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Kamber Shaffer says:

    It’s awesome to hear you got in some good self care in February, and got to read so much. I also tend to work hard on something, then rest before taking on a new project. Saying that, it’s probably not surprising that I also struggle with balancing them. My husband jokes I’m either at full throttle or just putting by. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Shell Vera says:

    I signed up for Good Reads at your recommendation. I have to remember to log what I read in hardcopy. I love self care and do it each week on good months and every other week on busy months. I’m good at boundaries and giving myself time to myself for that kind of self care but also at the type where I say no when needed and set good paces for myself. I’ve been on a creative bend lately that I’m enjoying so I’ve been sleeping less but I’ve been exercising more so it’s been okay. I hope March is really good for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      So far, so good. I’m usually pretty good at hitting the middle, but January/February threw me way off track.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Sam R says:

    I was hoping to go see Capt Marvel today🤔 but idk if I’ll be able to make it now 😭

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I hate it when life gets in the way of entertainment.

      Like

  10. I wish I had more time to see movies and read! Can’t wait to retire!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha I have no idea why the date and time posted in my comment! I don’t retire for 5 years!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Amanda Cade says:

      I have to admit that I had thought you might already be retired, because of all the time you must spend on your cooking and blog. How do you do it all?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have developmentally disabled clients I work with 3 days a week, I have my grandkids 12 days a month, have my blog and have 2 1/2 acres of land I take care of. Yep….ready to retire…lol

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Amanda Cade says:

        My 50+ hour work weeks suddenly feel much more manageable. Hats off to you!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Well done for toning it down in February. If you hadn’t, you might be telling a very different story now for what you’ll get done in the month of March! But wow! You read more quickly than my mum – and she is one fast reader! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      So far, I’m hitting the middle of the road in terms of work and rest. Haven’t been reading quite as much, but I’m taking a little time off work at the end of the month, so I can catch up then. 😀📚

      Liked by 1 person

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