Like so many others, I’ve been finding it more and more difficult to balance all the balls I have in the air at any one time: work, church, community, family, friends, writing, reading, crafting, golfing, etc…not necessarily in that order. It’s a hectic fast-paced world we live in and we are all, including children, wearing ourselves out.
I’ve been trying a number of ways to control my time. Some work better than others. Just saying no would seem the most logical solution, but for me that’s not so easy. I generally try not to put myself in a position where I’ll be asked to do something I don’t particularly want to do, but when they find me anyways, I inevitably say yes. Why? I don’t know. I tell myself if I don’t do it no one will, but we all know that’s not true. There’s always someone who will step forward, if they look hard enough, although it’s often the same person. I just generally find it difficult to say no. And then there are the times when, sadly, I have to say no when I really want to say yes.
Most of the things I’m involved with I do by choice. The problem is, I “choose” too many things. So the question became, how to balance them all so nothing is forgotten or late and I’m still left with “me time”. While some people will tell you anything done purely for your own pleasure is selfish, I’d argue it’s healthy. We all need “me time” for relaxation, reflection, to recharge, to be happy.
Back in March I started keeping a list journal. Every day I have a to-do list and I check things off as I complete them. By assigning each task to a day I find I don’t forget to do something until the last minute. There are times I am so busy I don’t get a chance to do things until last minute, but it’s not because I forgot. For example, this week’s blog. You’ll be reading this tomorrow. I don’t normally like to wait until the day before. My list journal has helped me tremendously. However, it hasn’t proven to be enough. My chores are getting done, but my pleasures can still be difficult to fit in.
The next logical step was to evaluate my responsibilities and decide which, if any, could go. That decision came easier than I expected. As of August 31st I will be retired. My day job was part-time and I took it to get out of the house and meet people. The writer’s life is generally a solitary one. I like my job, I like the people I work with and will miss them, but I treasure other things more. (No offense meant if any of you are reading this.) So it’s time. It’s time to free up more time to write, to pursue my dream of becoming a published novelist. I want to spend more time with my parents, be free to visit my children, go to the cabin, be with my husband, travel.
What do you do to balance your life? Have you had to give up anything? Or are you one of those people seriously out of balance? Maybe you even thrive on that wild pace. Share your ideas in the comments section and who knows; maybe you’ll help someone else out there searching for a more balanced life.