What to do when "balance" is not an option
Balance is overrated. Obsessing over your work gives you an edge and makes life an adventure. Sometimes the "flow" state catches us out of nowhere and it's all but impossible to drag ourselves away from what we're working on. We're not going to force ourselves to go for a run or take time to eat a whole meal. So do these five things that will keep your mind and body fresh while you work.
I was afraid to put this one first but no writing can go without risk, no? Plus, it actually helps.
Horniness is an urge that can't be suppressed, so don't try to suppress it. But don't phone or text your ex (especially on whiskey). You will regret it. Don't send a weird/creepy confessional to your crush, the embarrassment will destroy your motivation for a week at least. Don't get into your head about all the people you wish you could fuck or be fucked by. And for goodnesakes don't go on and look at porn. At all.
Just turn out the lights, relax and enjoy yourself. Clear your head. You'll be amazed at how productive you are afterwards--especially if you simply rely on your own body and imagination rather than external stimuli.
Granted, I am speaking as a person with a penis. You know that painfully overused edict about writing? "I love having written?" It's the same with having a penis and masturbating.
But most of us don't have penises.
If it requires more time, effort, and/or ceremony for you then don't rush it and enjoy yourself.
The real crime is trying to repress your needs.
Get rid of everything that gets in the way of the work.
I am assuming you're single. I assume all brilliant minds, on some level, are single--even if there is someone(s) hovering around in the background. No offense. But hey, I called you a brilliant mind.
DON'T ORDER IN
I cringe when I watch movies and the sexy scientists/special agents are pulling all-nighters with boxes of Chinese take-out littered all over the office.
I can't tell you how satisfying a handful of almonds or a bowl of fresh blueberries is. How much it neutralizes my desire for something fried or processed or sugary.
Delete your GrubHub and your UberEats and keep snacks like this around. They keep you going and are 1000000% better for you in the long term.
WORK WHILE STANDING
This is a boring one, I know. But it's just worth repeating.
I don't have a standing desk. I don't have any kind of desk. I live in a box and use rocks to carve out my first drafts. No just kidding--I don't actually live in a box (anymore).
Point is, I just walk around while I think or read or write or memorize lines. The increased blood flow keeps me from getting bored. I only allow myself to sit down if I am snacking or drinking something like a cup of green tea (who am I kidding, I'm probably drinking coffee or whiskey). In that case, it's better not to override my metabolism or risk spilling my drink or choking. Granted, I end up drinking a lot while I work--but that burns calories too!
DROP AND GIVE ME 20
or fifty jumping jacks, or run around the block, or dance. It has to take less than a minute and it has to be a challenge. Move your body in a violent way. You'll feel more alive after.
MAKE EXTRA EFFORT TO BE NICE TO PEOPLE
This was my subtitle because it is very important. It's also the last on the list because if you walk away with nothing else from this post, walk away with this.
Use whatever down time you have to really spend time with loved ones.
If a project is kicking my ass I am usually very cranky. I can easily snap and say something harsh and cold to someone I care about for no good reason other than I was caught in a bad mood.
Your relationships are a lifeline. Treat people with respect. Call someone just to say hello and not to gain anything from them. Send a lovely email or a silly meme. Your friends and loved ones are just as vital and unique as you are despite your ego. If you're working all day and have to see people later do something in the interim that will take your mind off the project like showering, working out, eating ice cream, or watching cartoons. Anything. The important thing is that it makes you stop thinking about your work.
Make sure you're in a mood that makes people you like want to be around you.
There is more to life than what you put in for your art or business.