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Maintaining Balance for a Meaningful Work and Life
-Schedule, schedule, schedule
It took me awhile to realize that for me, if I wanted for something to get done, I needed to write it down. So I keep post it notes and small notebooks everywhere, because I need to write down an idea as soon as I have it in order to keep things flowing (and not get upset with myself later for forgetting things). I’ll use the notes function on my phone in a pinch and just transcribe it to a notebook later.
I have two main notebooks that I use, and two planners. This may seem a lot to you, but the way my system is structured it works pretty well. The two notebooks live in my studio. One is used for jewelry ideas and plans, while the second contains all my candle ideas and recipes.
I fell in love with Bullet Journaling last year, and one of my planners is a Leuchtturm 1917 A5 notebook that I use mainly to stay on weekly tasks. I have a Orange Circle Studio Woodland Planner for more long range plans and dates that I need to keep track of, and they get transcribed into my bullet journal as needed. But why have both? Honestly, I have yet to find a planner that has enough space for each day for me to list all the things I need to get done each day, so I like how I can use as much room as I need for daily tasks in my bullet journal. And like I previously mentioned, if I don’t list everything out, something will inevitably be forgotten, so my lists can get fairy long.
I even write down my social media schedule in my weekly bullet journal spread. Even though it’s already ‘written’ down in my social media scheduler (I use Hootsuite), I find it’s helpful to see it as I’m moving through my week in my bullet journal.
-Schedule your time/plan ahead or schedule, schedule, schedule part 2
So not only do I keep track of what needs to be done, but also when it’s going to get done. I run multiple small businesses and the only way I can stay on top of them is to schedule blocks of time to focus on each one. For example, Wednesday and Friday afternoons are dedicated time I spend on McCormick & Moore Photography, while Tuesday and Thursday is set aside for Bella deLuna Designs.
I’ve also found it’s helpful to plan ahead of time. Most of my social media is scheduled two weeks in advance, and my blog posts are written about three weeks before they’re published. Working ahead like this means if something comes up in life that I have to deal with or take time off for, my online presence doesn’t suddenly come to a stand still. This leaves me worrying less and working from the heart more.
-Make time for you
The biggest thing, and probably the most difficult for a lot of us, is scheduling time for yourself. For me this means quiet time in the mornings with some tea and free writing in my Doctor Who journal. It also means my workday ends at 4pm so I can go for a short hike or make time for yoga and meditation before I have to get dinner going.
This means checking in and making sure what I’m doing is something that I want to be doing, that it’s something that lights my creative fire. If I find myself dreading something or consistently putting it off, I re-examine it and ask myself if it’s something that I really have to get done or if I’m doing it just for the sake of being ‘busy’. If it’s needed, I look into if I can hire someone to do it for me or find a way of re-framing it so it doesn’t drag me down. For example, answering emails isn’t my favorite task, because generally I’m answering the same questions over and over. So I’ve learned to re-frame my way of looking at it so that instead of focusing on how it’s something I dread doing, I look at how I’m helping folks by providing the knowledge that they need. Looking at the task from the angle that I’m helping someone completely changes my feelings about it.
-Make time for friends and family
As the owner of a photography business, there was a time when I worked every single weekend. Every. Single. One.
But this year I realized what a drain that was on me and my family, and now I only take a certain number of sessions a month. Our family even sits down together and blocks off time in our schedules that we dedicate to spending together. No work or chores or errands, just spending time with each other. Some days that’s lounging in front the of the TV with Netflix on, and other times it means a day long hike and a scrumptious lunch at one of our favorite local places. I’ve discovered that at the end of the day, it’s more important that I spend my weekend time with friends and family than working.
What about you? How do you maintain the balance? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks, just leave a note in the comments!