Finding the Balance

Like a lot of people, I’ve been struggling with balance in my life for quite a while now…balance between my work life, my writing life, my reading life, my blogging life (which is still new to me), and my personal life. I’ve got so much going on, that I’ve lovingly referred to my life (as I know it) as chaotic.
Fellow blogger, Lisa Gail Green, actually posted an article, Balancing Act, that has stuck a chord with me since the day I read it. I’ve thought long and hard for the past several weeks about time/energy management. 
Just to break down the chaos for you:

  • I work 40+ hours a week at a job that I absolutely love and enjoy. Everyone I work with has become family, and the company’s absolutely amazing to work for.
  • I’ve completed the first draft of my WIP and am currently 70% through my first round of edits. I’m still overwhelmed by the amount of work I’ve got ahead of me: 2nd and 3rd drafts and line edits (to name a few). 
  • I love to read, and in order to be a writer – at least a good writer – you have to read; mainly books in your genre. This is a much needed escape for me and without it, I’d be completely lost — no GPS system on earth would be able to locate me.
  • I enjoy connecting with other readers and writers via Twitter, Blogger and Facebook. I often find myself on there for at least an hour every night (C’mon, it’s really really easy to pass that 1-hr mark on the clock!). I learned quickly from my FT job that networking is important in business and I’ve actually grown to love it.
  • I have a blog and I thoroughly enjoy sharing my life with other readers/writers…especially my personal favorites from the week! I like to put myself out there, say what I need/want to say – whether it’s wrong or right – and share my fears, hopes and dreams.  I also enjoy spending time on other people’s blogs, reading their fears, hopes, dreams, and all of the wonderful writing tips they each have to offer. Everyone is so amazing that it’s hard to keep up with it all!
  • I have a wonderful husband and small circle of friends that I absolutely love and adore. While my husband is extremely supportive of my craft, I often feel guilty since we don’t spend too much time together during the week. I also couldn’t imagine not going a week without seeing our dear friends.

Now, when you think about, that doesn’t seem like a lot. But when you dive into it, there’s only so many hours in the day to do it all (Side note: I am a little OCD and a complete Type-A personality. Call me crazy and it won’t hurt my feelings whatsoever.). The only constant that I know I must do to keep my ‘mojo’ is writing and/or editing. With the exception of one day a week, I have to spend time (even the smallest amount) with my current WIP. Whether it’s writing or editing, it’s an absolute must. The worlds I create are mine and I looove spending time in them. My muse and those worlds keep me sane (at least by my definition of the word).

Sooo………

Here’s my solution/plan for Finding the Balance in this chaotic, surprising, exciting, lovely life:

  • Taking it one day at a time: I was given a motto by an old boss several years ago: IOOP = I’m Only One Person. I try to do as much as I possibly can. I’m a passionate and selfless person, and as such, I push hard and strive for my dreams. But…..
  • Remember: Stress = Illness. The more you stress, the more your body wears down (notice I didn’t work fitness into my chaos – I should probably re-evaluate that). You lose sleep the more you stress, thus, the more your body begins to beg for you to sloooow the hell down! *One day at a time*
  • Several passions = several days a week to slowly spend time with them all…without feeling guilty. As much as it pains me to not be able to write for three hours every single night, I’ve come to realize that ‘slow and steady’ can be best (more to come on this one). Beginning Monday, I’ll begin following a strict schedule:
    • Monday & Tuesday evenings: 30-minutes working out, 1 hour for blogging – and not just my own, but reading and catching up on some of my favorite blogs! Follow up with an hour of editing and an hour of reading (depending on what the hubby and I have planned).
    • Wednesday evenings: 30-minutes working out followed by quality time with my lil’ sis, then quality time with the hubs. <—this entire night provides what can be a much-needed break from writing and editing! 
    • Thursday Evenings: 30-minutes working out, 1 hour of Twitter/Facebook, 1 hour of blog time (personal blog this time) then an hour of quality time with my WIP.
    • Friday Nights: This was a tough one to plan out, but I’m leaving Friday nights open to do whatever my little heart desires: hanging out with friends, editing, spending time with the hubs, watching a movie, reading a book….. the possibilities are endless!
    • Saturday Mornings: More time (maybe 2-4 hours) with the WIP (or spending time editing my CP’s MS or researching a new project). Maybe I can squeeze in another 30-minute session of working out???
    • Saturday nights: much-needed quality friends and family time! <---and maybe a little brainstorming on my WIP with my best friend (who is also an avid reader & tells me if I’m falling off the tracks).
    • Sundays: Twitter, blogs, laundry, alone time with the hubby, TV show catch-up…maybe a little reading as well, but only after spending more time with the current WIP. 

Notice I didn’t include blog surfing in there? Well… I consider the blogs I ‘follow’ as favorites. I tend to come across other blogs by following the hashtags on Twitter and I plan on reading through those during my breaks/lunches at work (thank goodness for my android phone!).

We’ll see where this new outlook and plan will take me. Who knows…I may find enough time to  add another item to my list.

What balance are you struggling to find? Is it between work and personal/family life? Work, personal and reading and writing? Or maybe it’s just a professional balance: you spend to much time on emails, and not enough time on reporting or talking with your clients?

Please share your thoughts, fears, and insights on Finding the Balance in your life.

6 thoughts on “Finding the Balance

  1. I am in almost exactly the same situation. Full time job a love, great supportive husband, blog, writing, reading. Plus I have other interests like video games, gardening and so on. It is really hard to balance but I am just taking it one day at a time and hoping to be able to juggle everything.

    I think your plan is great – and good luck!

  2. Wow, I’m honored that I inspired you so much. 😀 Sorry I didn’t get a chance to comment on Friday’s post. I appreciate the link there too! It’s been a little crazy here as well. The summer is tough while the kiddos are around to do as much as I’d like. Guess I need more balance too.

  3. Krista: Thank you! I felt I wasn’t the only one in that complicated gray-area of needing and wanting to ‘do it all’. With a plan in place, I’m definitely going to be taking it one day at a time. Sometimes the writing and editing will override other things, and that’s okay. But with a plan in place, I at least feel better and not as anxious. Thanks for the comment!

    Lisa: I’m grateful to have fellow writers out there like you that inspire my own writing, both on and off the blog! Everyone is so open and honest, and I feel better knowing that none of us are alone in our thoughts and feelings. Hope you’re having a wonderful summer with the kiddies. Can’t believe that summer’s almost over!
    Thanks for the comment. 🙂

  4. I’m definitely struggling with balance right now, including trying to find time to exercise and eat healthy, as well as spend time with my family. I’ve pursued writing so aggressively the last few years, I feel a bit burned out, so I also need to get re-energized creatively. I really admire your schedule and motivation – that Type-A personality sure helps!!

  5. Good luck with your new schedule! I am in the exact same state right now. I even plan on doing a post similar to this next week. I think it’s important that we evaluate where we’re spending our time on a regular basis because it’s too easy to get sucked into one or two things and lose sight of the rest.

  6. Virna: Thank you so much! Yes, the Type-A personality definitely helps…but it can also hinder sometimes *side glances at husband ’cause he just snorted* I do hope that you’re able to take the time to stop and re-boot/re-energize. We just got back from the beach, and I feel soooo much better after being away from the computer for 4 days. 🙂

    Roni: Exactly! It really *is* too easy to get sucked into one thing (or two) over the rest. Writing should definitely be done every day, but not the *entire* time. An hour or two will suffice every now and then. We just gotta get reminding oursevles of that! 🙂

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