balance #17

balance 17

So I broke my sleep.

In the last couple of years I’d been putting some serious cracks in it, stress waking me up in the middle of the night. Over time it turned into reverse insomnia, falling asleep within minutes at the start of the night, but waking up and not being able to get back to sleep. 5am was workable, grinds you down but you can function. As it crept earlier, to 4am, to 3am, it got harder.

In contrast, my work life just got better and better. I built good relationships, particularly with my boss, was working on some interesting projects. Over the Christmas break I caught up on sleep, really unwound, was looking forward to going back to the quietest time of the working year.

Second night after going back I woke up at 1am after an hour or so of sleep. And went to work. And knew I had to do something about it.

Temazepan. In the end I think it was a great placebo, was a security blanket to help me get over the anxiety about sleep itself. The directions said to make sure to be in bed within ten minutes after taking it… I was often awake reading for an hour or so afterwards.

The good news is I’m mostly over it. Exhaustion was one of the reasons for the lack of drawings. The other is teaching myself javascript to build a website mapping beer flavours. It’s still a bit buggy in parts, but aren’t we all.

balance #17 - bonus drawing

Tucked in

2018 goals

The last one was a great visualisation, so this is a bit of a reboot with a reason, with a central goal to tie it together.

Leaving off the obvious, like being a good husband and father(!), and passing all my tests…


An overdue reminder to myself that there is no tail to catch.

Back in the day, in work and sometimes in life, there were times when I would catch up. Finish all my jobs and reflect. Maybe even prepare and look ahead. I need to stop looking for that end, that pause. Need to work the process not the task, like that old cliche, the journey not the destination.

Just have to make sure there are rest breaks along the way, if not toilet breaks overnight.

“managing for performance”

managing for performance

I tried working on something frivolous… I really did. Somehow it seemed a little pointless.

It’s mostly the negative stuff that gets its claws into me, that feels meaningful enough to work on till it’s done. The paradox is that the drawing of it often makes me happy. As a blog it may seem a bit of a downer, but as therapy it’s working so far!

We’ve been getting freelancers in to cover some gaps at work, and the two great designers I kept chasing both ended up getting senior roles at the biggest agency in town. The agency I had been eyeing off a couple of years back as a creative career path. As opposed to the managerial path I’m on now. So I had a few moments of angst.

But the therapy worked. Management isn’t quite the dark side, and embracing it sounds melodramatic, but I can be a good boss.

And that will be good enough.


I’m flicking the switch. Turning over a new leaf. Beginning as I mean to continue.

Moved to a new floor at work today, got some staff changes coming, caring less to sleep more, getting back on the exercise bike, and pumping some juice back into my creativity. Frankensteining some of the old avatars, good and bad, to add some colour back to the greyness of my managerial life.

They might be a bit rough but more drawings are coming.

“balance #16”

This is probably a little aspirational. After a bruising few weeks I came home from work last night, before a day off, feeling like I’d done everything I could. And that I could leave it behind.

All of the balance pictures have been about keeping the difficult things in my life up in the air, with varying degrees of success. I was the boss for a couple of weeks, and could easily have drawn some convoluted sprint through hoops and over obstacles, carrying the weight of confidences, the grind of insomnia and long hours, the pressure of my own expectations.

This isn’t meant to represent failure, but the idea of stopping to give myself a break, of the fallacy of crashing though by effort and momentum alone.

I wish this had been more eloquent, and the drawing more polished, but for tonight it will do.



A quick and colourful drawing to christen the next notebook. Nothing too dire, powerwalking through town on my lunchbreak with a headache… feeling light on my feet but brain encased.

The flower/faery man often has a chrysalis layered renewal thing going on, emerging from dirt and negativity. This can close the loop and return the favour.