This past summer I went home and spent time with my family. We managed a trip to Magnolia Plantation and I was able to take this photograph (All rights reserved Carrie Brummer). Last summer was about reflection, relaxation and photography. And a little yoga. Keeping my goals limited helped me direct my summer. How do you manage your “freedom?”

This past Thursday was my last day of work. SUMMER!!!! It is a freedom cry for students and teachers the world over. On that Thursday we shared a goodbye breakfast and then I ran some errands and came home. I ate lunch. I took a nap. When I woke up it was with a bit of a start: “Where should I be?! What should I be working on?!” I sat up, looked around my apartment and began listing a thousand different tasks (maybe I’m slightly exaggerating here) that I wish to complete. I was immediately cooking up projects for myself as well: start packing, finish my Save the Dates, bake, do laundry… and all of a sudden the enormity of summer hit me. Whoa, a whole summer of determining what to do? My heart skipped out of fear rather than anticipation.

I made a summer goals mind map because there are a lot of projects I hope to accomplish or begin. What scares me? Exactly that. I don’t want to waste this precious time, and I want to allow myself that important down time that my body needs. Not wants, but needs. This woman deserves a break!

I am seriously structured individual (I’m sure some of you had a smirk or thought I was crazy at worrying about all of this free time) and I need to create a structure to help me both enjoy my time off and relax as well as complete a few of the projects I wish to work on. Google Calendar has become my new best friend. I love how it syncs to my iPhone with the right ap and I can get reminders of appointments or tasks I set for myself.

So how do I plan to create structure? For me, its going to be around fitness. I’m going to do yoga every day of the work week. I’m contemplating a couch-5K training. And I’m hoping between these two activities (which are healthy and stress relieving) that I can make more room to commit to and follow through on my creative endeavors. Maybe a morning routine will help me arrive at the balance I’m hoping for.

I acknowledge in many ways this is a high grade problem that I am lucky to have, yet it is still something many creatives encounter. Art can come in an ebb and flow, not always when the timing is most convenient or productive. So how do you manage it?

How do creatives manage their free time? Does anyone else struggle with the freedom that comes from working freelance, for yourself, or with a job that has long holidays? Teachers, how do you use your summers?

BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: How can you use your time meaningfully and with balance? Write down what you believe balance looks like. How does your life fit this vision?

An article of interest, definitely from a woman’s perspective about balance in one’s life from The Atlantic: Why Women Still Can’t Have it All. Thanks Beth for sharing as it definitely is something I am thinking about for my own future and many creatives share this same concern and consideration.