Dolly Parton said it best: “Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”
I admit it. My life isn’t exactly in balance these days. I’m focusing way more time on work than I am on play. And working mostly from home means that I’ve been known to hop out of bed at midnight, pad across the house to my dedicated home office and write an email, or even worse, read one. And then I ask myself, if I’m helping people and I’m happy, is that so wrong?
Experts say to unplug. To that I say, good luck. I rationalize my devotion to my phone by telling myself that I need to be available to my clients.
Experts say to exercise and meditate. I somehow manage to fit in 30 minutes of yoga most days, but meditation is foreign to me. So that’s going to be a no.
Experts say to beware of people and things that waste my time. My question is, who decides what’s a waste? If I spend 15 minutes in the morning solving the day’s Wordle puzzle, is that a waste of time? If I chat for a moment or two with a neighbor at the mailbox, what’s the harm?
Experts say to avoid perfectionism. Again, that’s subjective. I will spend extra time proofreading a document, or an email, or even a text before it goes out. Am I a perfectionist, or simply careful about what gets disseminated over my signature?
Experts say to restructure the way we spend our time. What does that even mean? Should I eat dinner at 6 in the morning? Should I return phone calls after 9 p.m.?
I think we could all teach the so-called experts a thing or two. Who do they think they are? Just because I’m not doing things their way doesn’t mean I’m wrong!
It also doesn’t mean I’m in balance.
I decided to ask some of my wise friends and colleagues how they keep their lives in balance. (Note, names have been changed to protect confidentiality.)
Andrea, a doctor, wife, mother, and daughter, admitted to me that she’s also striving for balance in her life. She is currently waking up an hour earlier than necessary so that she can have some “me time” before her kids and her work take over.
Steven, a realtor, suggests that the hours he spends volunteering as a Big Brother serve to keep his life in balance.
Donna, who’s retired, told me that her life is not in balance and, in fact, her scale tips in the opposite direction. She wants to be more productive and feels guilty because her days drift by in a Netflix haze (her words, not mine).
Howard, an attorney who golfs every Wednesday afternoon and Saturday morning, emphatically states that’s what keeps his life in balance.
None of my friends had constructive advice for me. Do you? How do you keep your life in balance?
This is a good thought-provoking article, Nancy.
Speaking only for myself, I find that setting a schedule and ground rules with myself helps keep me pretty balanced.
I’m currently in the 5th week of unemployment, being that my temp contract expired and the company is on a hiring freeze (much to both my and my manager’s dismay). I absolutely loved that job! However, I am keeping very close to my usual schedule (other than going to sleep and waking up about 30-60 minutes later).
* Go to bed and wake up at about the same time each day (getting about 8 hours of sleep).
* Walk and feed Benjie & Bernie, exercise 20 minutes (except on Saturdays), and have coffee while checking emails and photos on Facebook.
* At my work station about the same time each morning and stay there until mid-afternoon to early evening. Of course, there are intermittent short meal breaks, dog walks, and laundry!
* Some of my rules include NO coffee until after exercise and water, no eating before 10:30am, and no work on Saturdays and Sundays.
Without setting these parameters for myself, I would easily slip into various “hazes”…gardening on my patio, house cleaning, sewing, reading, Netflix…!
Good luck to Everyone with you own balancing acts. 🙂
P.S. ~ If any of you know of any available remote data entry or administrative assistant roles, please let me know! Thank you!
Shari, your schedule is impressive! Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring tips!