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I Took A Minute For Myself

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Ashleigh NicholsIt is the start to a new year. Another year has gone by and looking back, it feels like it went by in the blink of an eye. It’s weird how as you go through it, the days and weeks can feel long, but when you look back you may ask yourself, “How is it already January again?” I feel like I had one of those years. I feel like I had a productive, yet overextended year. It was a year filled with lots of creative projects happening, but they were squeezed into the little free time I had.

Coming home from a day of work in the world of production can make one want to flop on the couch, order take-out and go to bed. As we all know, the hours we work are crazy. They seem to be never-ending. Even when you are home, you are constantly checking emails, texts and voicemails. So… to think about doing your own projects after a day of working on others’… it is kinda crazy.

About fall of last year I started to feel it, this need for time. Some time for myself to slow down. I had already committed to several projects of which I was very proud and very happy to be a part of, but man did I need a minute.

I spend my free time working on my passion. I am lucky. I know I am lucky, but it is hard to be in that headspace sometimes. I am not always creating, I am doing a lot of research and crunching numbers and it can take a lot of focus to make a budget and pre-produce projects. I also do not have all the answers and have to call a lot of people and give them the correct info and hope they can help me get the answers I need for the particular project I am working on.  After months, maybe even years of just going, going, going I needed a breather. I needed to figure out what worked for me to get back in the right state of mind. I needed to love my passion again.

I realized that when I did have free time I was not being as productive with my own writing. I had these big ideas and I would sit down and try to write or outline and, nothing. I would sit there with my laptop and get so frustrated at myself. I did this to myself, I allowed myself to be so over extended I was ignoring my priorities…my projects.

I took time. I realized that I needed to not make another commitment for a bit. I would get through the projects I had already agreed to, including my own and then I would stop saying yes for a bit. I would even take a step back from my own projects, as me working on them was becoming more like homework then something I was passionate about. I was not happy with the progress I was making on them so I decided to hold everything until I felt rested. The minute I came to this decision, I felt better. I felt a weight lifted. Do not get me wrong, I loved everything I was doing, but I know myself, I will keep pushing myself and keep going until I completely stress myself out over the fact that I cannot do it all. This was not an easy decision to make, but once I made it, I stuck to it.

I don’t like to feel like I am not making progress on my career. I like to feel accomplished, creative and productive. So taking a step back I felt none of those things. At first I found myself just watching TV and Netflix. I caught up on a lot of On Demand programming…there is a lot of bad stuff out there ladies! I started to slowly find myself again, I hung out with a lot of friends, friends I find inspiring even if we do not work in the same industry. I started to surround myself with people who are passionate about food, schooling, traveling, education, life in general and of course creating.

I was able to travel a little bit and shut off the phone, stay away from my laptop and the daily feed of information. I went and saw live shows. I spent time with family, I started cooking a lot more and finding ways to be healthier. I am still working on fully getting back to the gym or at least finding ways to get exercise in on a regular basis. But, that is what life is, a work in progress.

I feel ready…I am rested…I am on top of my game. This is my year and I am ready to create, help others create and occasionally… I will say no, as I have learned that over extending myself is not productive.

In this article I have used the word “I” a lot. This article is about me, but I hope that you find inspiration out of it. I hope that you can relate, I know as women sometimes we overwork ourselves, because we feel we have a lot more to prove in a male dominated industry so we try to always be available and bring our “A” game. My hope for you is that you take a minute for yourself. Taking an evening and watching a cheesy comedy that you have seen 100 times is not always the worst decision you can make for yourself or career. Sometimes it is just the thing you need to feel refreshed and ready.

I hope you feel ready.

Travel, no matter where or how long always gives me that feeling of being recharged and excited for life. What kinds of things do you do to feel refreshed or what do you do for yourself when you have time?

Ashleigh Nichols

About Ashleigh Nichols

Ashleigh Nichols resides in Los Angeles with her husband, Eddie, and their Chihuahua mix, Nova. Together they work on their own projects as a wife-husband directing/producing/writing team. Through Owlet Pictures, they created the web series Coffee Shop Squatters, and the award winning short film Summer of the Zombies. Ashleigh is also working on a dramatic feature and creating a new web series, set to shoot later this year. While not working on her own projects, Ashleigh is currently an in house Production Manager at Ampersand Media. Before going in house she Production Managed several shows/Pilots for Comedy Central, HBO Go and Vh1, some of these include: The Jeselnik Offensive, The Burn, The Ben Show, Brody Stevens: Enjoy It! and Parental Discretion S2. Ashleigh is also honored to have Co-Produced the indie film The Historian, currently touring on the festival circuit.