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1) Getting organized.

Except for original art and some older non-essential paperwork, my files and current works are in very good order. Twenty years ago, I probably blew an hour a day or more shuffling papers around looking for something. If I lost a page of script, that was it. All work came to a halt. Especially when there wasn’t a copy on the computer I could call up! Now, I rarely take more than a few minutes a day to look for things. It is amazing how much of a stress relief being organized is.

I don’t get paid by the hour. I get paid for what I produce. I probably put in eight hours a week back in the day just to shuffling papers. Now those eight hours go to producing art.

2) Keeping solid personal boundaries.

I used to think I had to get along with anyone, and I subscribed to the Geek Logical Fallacy that Ostracizers are Evil. Now I don’t. If I don’t enjoy someone’s company, I simply spend time with people I like instead. That’s it. I don’t have to be friendly with everyone. It’s OK to pick and choose who you want to be in your life. It doesn’t mean the people you don’t pick are evil, they’re just not for you. And that’s OK.

Limiting relationships to people whose company I prefer is a major stress reliever.

3) Saying No.

Saying no is always hard for people pleasers, and women are socialized to be considerate and to not hurt people’s feelings. But you have to say no sometimes. You have to say no to jobs you simply don’t have time to do, playdates with friends, a movie out when you have a deadline to meet, no to things you simply can’t afford to buy.

It’s harder than it seems sometimes. I remember having friends who would always say things like “Oh, go ahead, you deserve a treat! Buy that! See that movie! Take the day off!”

Whether I deserve a treat or not is not the issue. Sometimes I can’t afford it. And it’s not just a matter of what I want for me, it’s also a matter of trying not to disappoint people by saying yes to things I really don’t want to do, only to feel taken advantage of later.

Saying no is good for you. You deprive no one of anything when you don’t give them something of you they are not entitled to in the first place.