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.