Last Saturday was a postcard perfect New England fall day, but the Housewife wasn’t hiking or biking or picking apples. Nah, lil’ ol’ me ditched my guys yet again to attend yet another bloggers’ conference.
This time it was the first-ever Springboard Conference, right here in Boston — and boy was it worth the day indoors!
The conference was intimate and relaxed — a refreshing change after the masses of humanity and the unexpected encounter with a 12″ long, double-ended “toy” that was my first Blogher experience.
More workshop than conference — the chairs were filled with talented, passionate and generous social media, marketing and PR professionals and bloggers sharing insights, knowledge and advice in a wonderful, free-flowing exchange.
The pages of my trusty spiral notebook quickly filled. (Yes, that’s right, I still love the feel of pen to paper!).
New bloggy friends were made, laughs were shared and my head was abuzz with information and inspiration. I was so ready to get back to my quiet little cubbyhole of an office and get to work.
I gave the Housewife the day off last Sunday to decompress, reconnect (with my guys) and rejuvenate (ok, I admit it — nap). The list making, follow up emails and post writing could wait. I would get back to being productive come Monday morning, I told myself.
So what happened to the Housewife last week? Why so long getting that post-conference blog post published?
There was some fun stuff last week — my first-ever aerial yoga class (courtesy of TD Bank and South Boston Yoga) . . .
and a day of climbing with the mini-men and a pack of pals (courtesy of the Yom Kippur school holiday and Rock Spot) . . .
— but focus and productivity were elusive.
The lists had gotten too long, the piles too high, the chores and errands too numerous. Everywhere I looked was something I hadn’t accomplished yet.
The static in my head was deafening. I literally knew not where to begin. My blood pressure raced as I half-heartedly searched for the entry point into the maze.
A good long hot yoga sweat helped, but only briefly.
I sat down to write, which normally helps slow my mind, but the cliches ricocheted around in my head and tumbled out, filling screens and pages, ultimately creating nothing worth sharing. (You have no idea how many words, sentences and paragraphs I have typed and deleted for this post!)
My mind was spinning. I felt like Dorothy trapped in an ADD tornado.
I had reached my ADD tipping point, and the brain overload systems had launched safety shut down protocols.
I told myself it was going to be OK. The whirlwind would slow down. I would eventually find the reboot button on this system.
So I took a ragged deep breath, stepped back from the ledge, put on my invisible blinders and focused on enjoying a bike ride with the Baron & Master, a walk with my dog, catching up on DVRed Daily Shows, making a nice supper for my men folk and getting caught up on Mama chores.
Then I read Frugal Mama’s post “Why I’m Dropping the Business Side of Blogging“. (Thanks for posting the link, umommy!)
Frugal Mama’s heartfelt and candid post was the reset I’d been seeking.
I realized that the mental static storm wasn’t the result of one busy week. This storm had been brewing for months. My ADD had gotten the better of me once again.
You see, for me, the only way to stay ahead of my ADD is to keep my life and surroundings as organized, uncluttered and simple as possible. (Yeah, right, good luck with that one, lady!) I must continually and consciously remind myself what my priorities are — family and friends, and writing — turning my back on things that don’t add value to or distracts me from my triad.
I was getting all wrapped up in posting and pinning, widgets and analytics, networking and monetizing. I enthusiastically applaud my friends and colleagues’ triumphs, but secretly their successes seemed to also highlight my lack of progress.
Every waking hour was being consumed by what I needed to get done, what wasn’t getting done, and what I wanted to do was getting buried. Family, friends, fun and relaxation had become pesky distractions.
My poor bike longed to cover some serious miles. I hadn’t finished a book in months. (Too many blogs to keep up with!) My knitting basket was overflowing with unfinished projects, collecting dust in a corner. And I was regularly skipping workouts and yoga classes — I would get caught up today and sweat tomorrow, but that wasn’t happening.
For me, ADD draws a very fine line between productivity and lethargy, success and struggle.
I cannot keep cutting my pie into ever-smaller slices — those slivers will only crumble and fail to nourish.
I love this blogging adventure I embarked on almost two years ago, but I cannot attempt to follow someone else’s path. When I started this trek, I did not know where it might take me, and I will not pin a plan to it now. I will stop trying to conquer it all, and will instead focus on the words and my goals and priorities. I will stay true to myself — the daughter, friend, wife, mother, seeker and writer.
Maybe that’s the point of this blogging odessey I’m on — to learn the art of staying my course, staying true to me.
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I too left really inspired to get things done , and yet have felt like I can't do enough. I figure what's most important will be the things we get to first, and somehow things will work out.
Wise words, Cheryl.
But first things first, when shall we slow it down, grab a cup o’ joe and talk blogging & to dos? Us “writers” gotta stick together!
Lovely, honest post Lollie. Thanks for sharing.
I'm so sorry I missed the conference and missed meeting you!
I'm sure our paths will cross one of these days. In the mean time, thanks for stopping by my little corner of the blogosphere.
A great post and a reminder to follow our own path, not anyone else's… thank you!
I know I’m often in need of a reminder to stop & smell the stinky sneakers, ’cause in my household they outnumber the roses.
I think I’m gonna make signs – Your own Path, Your own Speed – and hang ’em around my house.
I attended my first blogging conference in February and when I got home I remembered thinking that my biggest takeaway from it was that maybe I should stop blogging! There was so much to do. so much to learn, so much to research, so many connections to make, so many posts to write, just SO MUCH. It is so easy to get wrapped up in it all and I think it’s very common to feel overwhelmed. You’re smart to take a step back to prioritize and energize.
Thanks for sharing your first conference post-partum experience. Good to know I’m not the only one that loves hanging out with other bloggers, but then goes home and frets over how much there is to do.
Maybe we should start a post-conference support group? We could help each other sift thru all the “stuff” and whittle it down to priorities and manageable actions, and set realistic timetables.
I think that’s a curse many Moms, heck, adults in general, struggle with – we think we can get a lot more done in the limited splinters of time we have, then we beat ourselves up for not doing enough. And when you mix in the emotional baggage many adult ADDers carry around – well, let’s just say, we can be pretty rough on ourselves.
Lovely post girlfriend 🙂 I too read that post about slowing down — somedays it almost feels like drowning… Bike rides and apples and books and pumpkins — that is what fall is for, so THAT is what we will be doing this week – screw blogging 🙂
You what amazes me is, after stepping back for just a few days, when I came back to my desk/lists/keyboard, I was so much more relaxed & able to focus.
I’m not plowing thru the list, but I’m chipping away at it, and I’m feeling more comfortable about closing the “office” at a set time and allowing myself to enjoy more me & family time.
I love this post Lollie! This has been me the past week especially. I realized I've been smiling more, happier and more relaxed. Why? I shifted my focus back on my kids, laughing with them, doing what makes them happy and it has made me so much happier. My stats went down, my blog has been dipping, but whatever. You only get one shot at parenting, I don't want to mess it up. 🙂
I agree completely — it's so easy to get wrapped up in this blogging passion (I admit I sometimes use it as an escape when the little monsters are driving me nuts), but I don't want to miss out on the little moments that make family memories.