On Balancing Work, Yourself, and Life

Photo credit: woodleywonderworks on Flickr
Though I've been doing the writing thing for a while, I'm still trying to learn how to best balance work, myself, and life.

Last month I was juggling a lot of jobs: freelancing, the online portion of being an author (for me, blogging and vlogging), and a seasonal part-time job that I adored. Between the three I spent most of my days working from the time I dragged myself out of bed until late in the day; and that was without writing because I was taking a month off after NaNoWriMo. It was exhausting, and there were many days where I didn't get to finish everything on my to do list because I simply didn't have the hours in the day, but it was also really rewarding. I loved every one of my jobs, and together they helped me get through a very expensive month without stressing about the bills.

It also reminded me just how important my day off is.

This month some things have changed—I didn't get to keep the seasonal job due to an underperforming holiday season at my workplace, but I've started (trying) to work on a writing project again. I'd sort of expected I'd have an easier time getting everything I need to done without the seasonal job, but that hasn't really been the case; there have still been times when I didn't get to work on my WIP because I ran out of time—or energy—before I could get to it. On most days, I still work from when I drag myself out of bed in the morning until twelve or so hours later when I'm too tired to do anything more. I still love my jobs, but it's been a little distressing how little I've been able to work on my WIP—which has told me I'll need to rearrange my day so I can get some time in every day. And probably use Twitter less while I'm working. ;)

Probably unsurprisingly to most of you, I am undoubtedly a workaholic. While this means I get a lot done every day and enjoy doing it, it also means that because I set my own hours, if I'm not careful I can easily burn myself out. This is why I've established a single day of the week where I don't permit myself to work; without it, I'm not sure I'd ever take a break at all.

It can be tough to balance work, self-care, and life. As my responsibilities have evolved over the years, I've learned that kind of balance isn't something you ever really master—it's an endless learning process that requires figuring out the way you work best, capitalizing on it, and adjusting your schedule as needed while you take note of what works, what doesn't, and what your needs are. For me, to do lists are my saving grace—they make sure I focus on tasks I need to get done that I'd risk forgetting about or pushing off otherwise.

In the end, I don't think there's a singular answer to how you achieve the balance; it just requires being aware that a balance has to exist in a way that works for you, and reevaluating what is and isn't working from time to time so you can make necessary adjustments along the way.

Striking the balance isn't easy, but when you manage it it's really rewarding to take note of all you've accomplished while still taking care of yourself in whatever ways you need.

How do you balance your work, yourself, and life? 

Twitter-sized bite:
How do you balance work and life? @Ava_Jae shares her experience as an author, freelancer, blogger and YouTuber. (Click to tweet)

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