Friday, September 16, 2011


If there is one thing that I thought having CFS/ME had taught me, it is how to prioritise.

And in some ways it has.

Having been out of the workforce for a long time, I only recently learnt the modern approach to prioritising. You know, the old “urgent & important”, “non-urgent but important” etc paradigm.



I know, I’m probably the last person on the planet to hear about this, but now I know.

The thing is, when your energy is low, often it is only the “Important and Urgent” things that get done.

And that’s not how it’s supposed to work. The ones that theoretically fall off your “to do” list are both not important and not urgent. You manage to plant those seedlings before they die and to clean the windows before it becomes embarrassing that you haven’t!

But it is amazing how far and how long you can stretch you definition of “unimportant”. Really!

However, there is another factor that comes into play when you haven’t been in the workforce for a long time. I look around my home and I can see that I have developed a pattern of always trying to choose the most functional option (I wasn’t an occupational therapist for nothing). It feels as if I can’t allow myself to have the beautiful bookcase, if the cheaper (and uglier) one will do the job.

Silent conversation in my head

Will this fit in the space? Tick.

Is it affordable? Tick

Pause. Looks.

God, it’s ugly!

Oh well, never mind. At least it’s here right now (as opposed to some beautiful but cheap version which may or may not exist somewhere.) It’s good enough.

And often it may be. It’s true that not every item you own has to be a design classic. Lots of stuff just has to do a job.


The trouble is that I think I may have trained myself a little too well. It’s become a challenge to allow myself to choose something I like, rather than settle for the most economical option. And you can’t surround yourself with stuff you’ve “settled” for, without it having an effect on you.

The other side of that is that sometimes, with a bit of work and elbow grease, you can make something very inexpensive into a treasure. But extra work and elbow grease aren’t plentiful around this house, so that’s not usually a realistic option (think about those poor seedlings I’m trying to get planted before I head to Melbourne).


All of this of course is pertinent right now because I’m planning to do up my studio. Even though this needs to be a functional space, I do want it to be somewhere I love to go. I spend a lot of time in this room, and I want it to  draw me in. So I’m saying here, out loud, for you all to hear: I’m going to try to choose comfort and beauty. Oh, and function!


    (And a little tip: your #1 priority should always be yourself.)

    I know it can be a terrible slog when energy is almost nil, but if you make the decision in your head you can ride out the low ebb and tackle the task(s) when you feel better.
    Oh, yeah, we want photographic evidence of the "pretty" studio, ok?

    shuffles off guiltily to finish reclaiming the dining table...

  2. Right on baby! (as we children of the 60s would say) :O)

  3. I couldn't agree with you more! I require my spaces to be beautiful. Cost in money is not the only issue for me. An unattractive or uninspired space also costs me greatly in an emotional and practical way. I have a hard time working, feeling motivated or getting my tasks completed if my surroundings do not nurture my artistic soul (and eyes)! Treat yourself well and the results of your work there will make a small extra expenses feel well worth it.

  4. Love it! Looking forward to updates on your beautiful, comfy (and functional) space.

  5. Aww, I really appreciate your words of support.

    Although I KNOW that beauty and the joy it gives is the stuff that makes life worthwhile, giving it to *myself* is not how I was raised. It is a habit I will have to work on - perhaps I need to give myself something beautiful every day for 40 days...hmmm, there's a project in that (and maybe a book too!)

    And OK! I promise photographic proof! Same bat-channel etc.

  6. Good luck with the studio! It is SO difficult to do anything other than the easiest/just adequate option when you have no energy and feel like dirt.

    This is timely. I was very happy with myself today. My main work table is practically unusable at the moment. I actually managed to go to a store and (accidentally) found something (that looks nice!) that will get some of the pencils and junk off the table and onto the wall, which will help a lot. And, instead of bringing it home and piling it in a corner with the other "studio improvements" for someday, I hung it up! And it worked! It turned out, mercifully, it only took 15 minutes or so once I decided I could do it. Sometimes just doing one relatively small thing at a time can make a difference, even if what I really want is to clean out and organize the whole @#$%$ thing. I'm trying to learn that.

    However you manage it, I hope you wind up with a space you love.

  7. What a great post. I needed to hear this today :)