Katelyn Holub

blogging about music, art, and creativity

When You’re Overwhelmed and Don’t Have Time for a Hobby


I’m nearing the end of my final semester of graduate school.  Only a few more weeks left until finals. I’m wrapping up my externship, staying on top of homework demands, hunting and applying for jobs, squeezing in time to start outlining for said finals, and . . . well, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed!

Life is so busy I honestly haven’t had much time to spend on music or my songwriting hobby, and that’s making me feel even worse.  Music is what makes me happy.  It helps me escape from the craziness of life and become fully present, lost in the sound.

So what do you do when your workload is overwhelming and preventing you from spending time doing that hobby which you enjoy most (in my case, that’d be music)?

You find time for music anyway.  Some people might say you should prioritize it as important work you must get done, but I don’t like thinking about it that way.  I like the idea that at a set time, I will declare myself done working for the day.  The rest of the day is “me” time.  A line in the sand.

*Photo Credit: Keith Hall, Creative Commons

*Photo Credit: Keith Hall, Creative Commons

  • Don’t feel guilty about spending some time, even just a little bit, on your music hobby.  In the long run, spending that time playing or writing music will make you happier (which, coincidentally, will ultimately also make you more productive).  Acknowledge the fact that you can’t be a work horse constantly, and even if you tried to always work your effectiveness and level of productivity would at some point become so low that your work won’t be of any use.


  • Spending time absorbed in music will re-energize you.  Music is healing.  I don’t fully understand music’s healing power on the listener, performer, or composer, but I know from experience that it works.


  • Allow yourself to “play” with childlike wonder each day.  Whether you like to paint, write songs, or dance—allowing yourself to play and use your creativity everyday can help you see your work tasks in a different light.  Time spent engaging your imagination—playing the artist—can open your eyes to new solutions to problems or help put struggles into context, often making them smaller than we might originally envision them.


*Photo Credit: Kelly Rowland, Creative Commons

*Photo Credit: Kelly Rowland, Creative Commons

Here are some other helpful resources I’ve found in dealing with overwhelm in general:

Are you currently overwhelmed and neglecting a favorite hobby of yours?  How might you be able to change that?




Author: katelynholub

I'm a law school graduate, singer-songwriter, believer, blogger, and general adventurer.

5 thoughts on “When You’re Overwhelmed and Don’t Have Time for a Hobby

  1. This was excellent! I agree. I will praying for you.

  2. I understand where you are coming from Kate. I have found myself absorbed by outside influences at various stages in my life, be it from work, friends or just life twist and turns that move you away from your passions, mine being music as well.

    I always tried my best to grab an hour of play time, “so to speak” either first thing in the morning or at night, where ever I could find it, sometimes, even just 10 minutes here and there during the day, but I always found that time. Know I have it in my daily routine, regardless of what changes are going on around me. It[playtime] is always there, with me.

    My thinkin today is I work, do family activities, socialize, spend time with my girlfriend as apart of my whole self with my music being the one thing that stays in the middle of everything else. I make sure those important things[ work etc.]get done as a priority, so I can then poor myself into my music, when that time arrives.

    It something you have to constantly watch and keep an eye on as your life changes, or as with some of my former band-mates. They let there passions slip by them and get caught up with life’s changes and the priorities then change and they forget what it was they once loved doing in there life.

    Last I heard, of some ex band mates was there sitting around playing video games. These are talented people that have everything going for them, but waist it on a game.

    Always remember what’s important to you and allow yourself to put that at the front of your decision making.

    good luck with your exams and all else that comes your way, I’m sure you’ll be fine.
    Cheers Darryl.

    • Great to hear from you, Darryl. There are definitely so many things in life trying to get our attention, but it is great you’ve managed to find time to keep up with your music. 🙂 Music first thing in the morning can also be a great way to put yourself in a good mood for the rest of the day!

      Sad that some of your former band mates have slipped away from music. It seems like once you let too much time pass, it’s harder to pick up the instrument again where you left off before. I know just taking a week or two off can set me back quite a bit, particularly technique-wise.

  3. There was a time when I would get up about 3.am to practice, the drive behind it was enormous, but sometimes that drive makes you do crazy things like that.

    I seemed to have a good balance in life at this stage, but that has taken years of chipping away at my life to place my priorities in order. I feel I have more control over things these days. But I don’t want to take life for granted, I know how quickly things can change and how steep the change can be.

    I have been able to reconcile with a former band mate who I did a lot of writing with in my early days. that’s going back some 25 years now. We are going through the process of soughting out % ratio’s for the songs we have written. Most will be a 50% ratio, but I started doing songs on my own which he then became involved in here and there, so there’s a bit of soughting to do there as well, but we are both determined to get those important areas taken care of before we can move onto the next stage of finishing what we started all those years ago.

    I truly believe breaking down your life into section E.G. MUSIC,WORK,FAMILY,FRIENDS. You then have to break each part of those areas into smaller section again and again until you can find a small enough part of each section that you can handle without it compromising how you want the end result to be. It does take a life time to do and depending on hoe many years we have, then a life time is what we’ve got.

    Not everyone will fit in with this way of thinking, but it means you are keeping enough balance within, where one thing isn’t taking up more of your time than another and causing unrest in your life. It’s a juggling act and it takes a lot of practice. We all know about getting back up when we have a fall, but should we try and get back up straight away or maybe stay down for a while and rest?

    The one thing that still gives me stress and makes me physically ill, E.G. [hay-fever attacks, etc] is when people rush me to do things for them. This is an area in my life that I am still chipping away at, but I’ve had to pull myself away from a lot of people, to be able to achieve the result that I want, which I can say I have more good balance than bad these days. But it has taken years of inner thinking to get it right in my head.

    Then opportunities come along to put your new way of thinking into practice and build confidence in areas of your life where there was none. These are the moments where you feel like life is just beginning and everything becomes exciting again.

    Have a good day Katyln

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