I read a blog post this morning, and it really struck a note with me on what I wanted to tell you guys anyways. Even if you don’t have a family, I think this all applies to work/life balance. Or, in my case, work/passion/life balance.
People often ask me how much sleep I get at night, because I do so much. In the lovely words of Liv Tyler in Empire Records, “My dad always said that there’s 24 usable hours in every day.” However, for me, if you’ve known me any length of time, you know I need eight hours (really nine) of sleep or I am a cranky kid.
Because of this, I have priorities that are maybe different than the average six hour a night person. I can’t stay up late, or I absolutely pay the consequences the next day, and the day after that, and the day…you get the idea.
So what does this mean? If I am sleeping from 11 to 7:30 every day, when do I have time to do anything? First off all, I know my priorities, and accept them as absolute. I am always willing to reassess and negotiate, but they keep me in line when making hard choices. They are as such:
My self. Am I happy? Are my basic needs being met? Into this goes working out, relaxing, and making sure Jeff and I are eating healthy.
Jeff. As my partner-in-crime, I need to make sure that I am spending time with him, keeping my end of the bargain at home (chores, dinner, social commitments, etc.), and making sure that we’re keeping each other in the loop.
My job. Luckily I love where I work, love my coworkers, and love my day to day. My company is committed to me, so I am committed to them, and make sure to put work first as often as possible.
The blog. After making dinner, which I deem most important (and which I sometimes can double for the blog) the next thing I do most nights is edit photos, write posts, check guest posts, schedule social media channels using HootSuite, or submitting photos to FoodGawker, Tastespotting. There is always more I can be doing for Garlic, My Soul, and because it’s so important to me, I make sure to give it the attention it needs to thrive.
Friends, family, and the like. Sometimes I struggle with this one, because the blog is my passion and because it’s so important to me. Have I left work early to do something important to friends? Yes. Have I stayed late at work to finish something and missed a friend’s event? Yes. But usually it’s someone else prioritizing at work (a client, boss, coworker, etc.) For me, telling a friend that blogging is more important than them is hard, but sometimes it needs to be done. I may miss a dinner or a movie or an event, but at the end of the day, the blog is what makes me happy, and so it’s part of the priority of “my self,” too.
This means my day looks something like this: up at 7 or 7:30, work out, get ready for work, work until 6. Home by 6:30 or 7, then make dinner. Jeff and I catch up while we cook usually, and sometimes sneak in an episode of TV while we eat. After dinner, I blog for the next day if it hasn’t been completed over the weekend, trying to get ahead a few days. Then, usually around 10:30-11, I get ready for bed and spend a few minutes reading before heading to bed.
It doesn’t always work this way: there are birthdays, and book clubs, and dinners, and drinks, friends to see, coworkers to celebrate, family visiting, and the like. And I accept those things into my schedule, minding my priorities and saying “no” when I need to. Jeff keeps me in check on my stress levels, making sure I am spending down time and having fun, and I remind myself I am not hard on myself all the time for not spending more time on the blog.
For now, this works for me. It may mean I don’t have as much down time as I like, but it means that I get to work on something I am passionate about every day. And for that, I am absolutely appreciative. And absolutely happy.
How do you prioritize your life? Do you have trouble keeping a balance between self and friends and family? How about a balance between home and work?