Mastering the Balancing Act
Balancing writing with family life and work obligations can be difficult. No matter which activity we’re participating in, distracting thoughts and worries from the other areas seem to invade every moment. When we’re with the family, we’re distracted as we think through that great idea we just had to finish that chapter. When we’re at work, we’re overwhelmed by all the responsibilities we’ll need to do afterwards for our family. When we’re writing, we’re mentally ticking off the list of all the other things we’ve put off so we can write.
It’s enough to make anyone mad. Unless… could there be another way? Could there be a way to focus on what’s in front of us and get things done without feeling like we’re letting anything of value slip through our fingers?
I am a wife, mother, house manager, author/authorpreneur, speaker, blogger, schedule management consultant, small press publishing consultant and writing coach. I do my own marketing (mostly). I manage and update my own websites. I have a child at home who does not drive yet. I have a college age child in a nearby town. I have a husband who travels. I run one business in my home town and one across several state lines. I have a home to keep, business decisions to make and, oh yea, a life to actually live.
But, I have learned how to develop a balanced lifestyle that keeps me focused when I need to be, gives me space to relax when I need to, allows for the unexpected of family and home responsibilities, and gives me the opportunity to live my life in a way I actually love.
Here are my 5 key components to building a balanced lifestyle:
Get a healthy perspective of your life. As much as we would like to be, we are not the Energizer Bunny, and therefore cannot run endlessly without stopping. Rest is just as important as work, and so is play. Additionally, our writing projects and the other work we do are not more important than our families, and our families cannot completely fulfill us. Developing the perspective that balance between all areas is valuable is essential for our well-being
Examine your expectations. Well-balanced does not mean equal. There will be times when writing takes more of our time, just as there are times when we must let it go for a while in order to pay attention to our family. If we expect to be able to give equal time, on a set schedule, to all the areas of our lives, we will be disappointed. The perfect scenario to do it all doesn’t exist.
Identify your priorities. What is most important in your life? First, there’s your personal self-care; if you aren’t healthy everything else falls apart, right? Then, if you’re married, there’s your spouse, followed by the kids (if you have them), then your home and your work in addition to your writing project (s). That could add up to a lot in your day. Identifying them isn’t meant to cause you overwhelm, but when we don’t know what is a priority and what is not, we are liable to say yes when we shouldn’t, adding to overcrowded schedules and limited productivity.
Create Systems and Routines. Managing all those priorities doesn’t just happen, not effectively at least. Systems and routines for how to get things done gives us the freedom to focus on what’s in front of us, whether it be writing, work or kids, because we know we have a way to participate in the rest of our priorities. How you choose to use your time each day matters.
Set Goals. Life happens. If we aren’t sure what kinds of things we want to accomplish in this life, we will end up settling for less than our dreams. Goals give us a way to create routines so that we can use our time to effectively balance our priorities. When done correctly, they can actually create a blueprint for us of our actions steps, guiding us in how to most effectively use our time so that we can rest when we need to, work when we want to and enjoy our families in between.
Building a balanced lifestyle so we can write, work, play and live our lives joyfully can happen. It will take time, and it will take change, but it is possible.
For more on building a balanced lifestyle, and to schedule your FREE schedule management consultation, please visit Stephanie’s website: StephanieHaynes.net/consulting