Being this busy has had an interesting effect on my practice. When I was blesssed with more time on my hands, my practice felt like a choice. Significant and defining - but a choice. Now that I am spread so thin, my practice has become non-negotiable. It isn't so much an elected use of time as it is sustenance. It may be a simple equation of less time on the mat equaling a more meaningful practice, but I think it runs more in line with your musings on drishti and softening.
One of my teachers used to say "Just. Soften. Somewhere." and I finally understand what he meant. Ultimately, the softening isn't gaze specific (or trapezius specific for that matter), but is a receptivity. An energetic shift. I'm sure you know that sweet, delicate zone of permeability, where you feel like you are opening to the osmosis of prana.... (which sounds way more cosmic and wacky than it actually is). That zone that you are lucky to slither into and reluctant to leave... Running around like a madwoman, I need it now more than ever. Even if I'm not in it, I can happily settle for the knowledge of that diffusive state existing. For whatever reason, it help me get through the day. Especially days like today when I taught 5 classes and don't know my left from my right.
Speaking of getting through the day, are you still meditating by morning and practicing in the afternoon?