I over focus. There, I admit it. I hit my stride in the eleventh hour and don't let up until I have achieved something. When I am zoned-in, I don't hear others talking, I look up and find myself staring at a clock that says 3:00 AM, I forget to eat more than a piece of toast until 5:30 in the evening when suddenly I get jittery and shaky and can't seem to figure out why.
This doesn't happen every day but, in truth, I can't seem to focus most of the time. My inner world takes over and I'm not really seeing what's in front of me because I just planned 4 moves ahead. An application is due, I need to check grant deadlines, I heard about some residency and must look it up before I forget, or maybe I just have to spend hours of finicky editing in photoshop to make sure my images are small enough to email, yet large enough to print. When it comes down to it, I lack peace. The problem is that, for most mere humans like myself, hyper-productivity isn't sustainable. Worse, when I inevitably burn out, my desire to make work does too. I am learning to pace myself and it comes with growing pains. In the last week I have deeply undervalued the little things, like how nice it is to go to bed at the same time as my spouse or the importance of human contact. After a long week, I start to tweak my schedule because I catch myself muttering, "this is ridiculous". For an over-focusing machine, it's a challenge of awareness. I learn to notice what my inner-self is yelling at the rest of me, who is far too busy to pay attention.
It goes something like this: Every hour or so, check in. If hungry, eat. If exhausted, go nap. If back hurts from hunching, don't "push through". Get up, walk around, do yoga. If week becomes too long, go work out. Break it up. I mustn't forget my spiritual side, it needs food too. Breathe a little deeper. Feel what that does. If there is anxiety and stress, find the source and deal with it. When I start to do these things, I notice a natural rhythm forms in my day. I learn when I need a break and I actually get to enjoy it. No part of me is emptying out all the way. Peace becomes part of the practice.