busy · chaos · mental health · running

How Read For Pleasure (And Other Impossible Tasks)

Lately I have been thinking a lot about free time. I think it is due largely to the fact that I don’t really have any.
One of the first thoughts I had upon graduating university was that of the sprawling amounts of time I would have to tackle the enormous stack of unread books that I accumulated over my undergrad or the Sunday morning long runs that would no longer be hampered by papers and research.
Sadly, it didn’t take long to realize that those books would remain shut and my long runs would remain unrun as the stack of research and writing assignments on my desk grew. To be honest, when I have an important project on the go, I find it difficult to find time to take a proper breath, much less indulge myself in something I enjoy.
It appears that busyness and academia go hand in hand which would explain why I was so empowered by my female professors during my undergrad. They were organized powerhouses who somehow balanced children, academia, research and a host of other responsibilities and I loved them for it. I thrive on being busy but operating at full speed for weeks on end sets me on a fast track for burnout, usually resulting in an unjustified emotional response to a mundane daily situation or blindsided by whatever illness my compromised immune system is unable to stave off.  
Knowing this, I have tried to sneak things I enjoy while rushing from place to place.  I listen to audio books while I commute and keep a book in my purse for brief moments of quiet during the day where I am riding the bus or waiting in lines. I no longer run during normal waking hours, but find myself setting my alarm clock earlier and earlier in order to fit it in.
Overambitious? Probably. Common for a woman in academia? Yes.
So I ask you, Reader, (knowing you probably are reading this in between meetings, or on your iPhone or eating at your desk while you work on a project) how do you sort through the chaos and find time to do things that you enjoy?
Or do you? 

One thought on “How Read For Pleasure (And Other Impossible Tasks)

  1. I also struggle with the temptation to shackle myself to the desk when I'm working on a project. No running, no knitting, no planning “real” meals and cooking them–just the whip cracking about my ears. But then I get cranky.
    So, if I am being disciplined (and not, say, going through my feed reader to catch up on blogs), I try to make the time at my desk REALLY count and then give myself “off hours” when I am at home.
    Some of the time it actually works. Some of the time.


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