The Art of the Business

A blog dedicated to artists who are serious about their business.

On getting away from it all… January 9, 2009

Filed under: Attitude,Life — Rebecca Coleman @ 7:46 am

Hoo boy. You should have seen me in mid-December. I was a mess–making dumb mistakes, being forgetful, generally quite useless. I’m a little embarrassed to admit, it actually.

Truth was, I was suffering from burnout. The last three very busy months were taking their toll. All that work stress was compounded by the pressures of Christmas, and the inability, due to the worst winter Vancouver has seen in 30-some-odd years, to get around.
So I was understandably eager to get away from it all for a few days. My significant something-or-other and I rented a

The Wind in the Alders

The Wind in the Arbutus

cabin on Mayne Island for four days. My greatest aspirations for these days consisted of drinking wine and eating cheese.  You’ll be happy to know, I was successful. I also read, wrote, listened to music, re-watched old favorite movies, went for walks on the beach, fooled around with my camera, napped, cooked great food and ate it. I did bring my computer, and I had internet access, but I managed to keep my online activities to a minimum.
There were no schedules, no daytimer, no meetings. My time was my own, and it was so great.

A second goal I had for these days was to take some time to reflect on where I was going in the coming year. I’m not much for making resolutions, I never really have been, but I do like to set goals for myself, and Mayne was the perfect place for not working on them. I know, it sounds crazy, right? Make goals and plans by not working on them? Puzzling things through rarely works for me. I don’t make decisions lightly–I often do a lot of research–and then end up feeling overwhelmed by the results, too paralyzed to make a decision. The answers come when I stop looking for them.
I did get some answers during my quiet time, and that was great. But I also realized that I need to make a few lifestyle changes to keep myself from getting burnt out. Working like crazy, and then taking time off may not be the right soloution. Instead, I’m looking for ways to create that ‘just came back from four days on Mayne Island’ feeling. If I could bottle it, I’d be rich…

Do I look relaxed? Check out that background!

Do I look relaxed? Check out that background!

So, I’ll keep you updated on my progress, but in the mean time, I’d love to hear any suggestions from you. How do you keep the burnout at bay?

To see more of my Mayne photos, click here.

To find out more about Wind in the Arbutus, click here.

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2 Responses to “On getting away from it all…”

  1. Nick keenan Says:

    I’ve been thinking about burnout in the context of small arts organizations for a while. While I may be a little cracked, I’m a person who is renewed by a sense of strong community. I think focusing in the small successes of building a community – which could be partially online but I think at least 60% local. What you need as you approach burnout is a) to identify your own impending burnout before it happens and then b) have a strong network of friends who you can rely on to help you through the time of burnout by providing trusted, objective feedback or even just physical assis

    Vacations are definitely necessary, buy I think avoiding burnout is an excercise in self knowledge. Were all complexly flawed and skilled humans and our goals for ourselves can work with those traits or they can ignore them and create great amounts of wearisome friction.

    I’ve never seen a common sense solution to this daily grind – especially with bloggers and freelancers
    who maintain commitments that compete for our time – than David Allen’s book Getting Things Done. It’s a really elegant exploration of what causes burnout in our daily routines and proposes a simple and structured way of looking at our commitments. Have you read?

  2. […] Coleman @ 5:09 am Tags: business, Finances, first quarter check-in Over Christmas, I went away to Mayne Island for a couple of days for rest, relaxation, and recharging. While there, I read Timothy […]


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