A few weeks ago my body sent me a billboard-sized message that I need to achieve more balance in my life. Work especially was a huge problem but family, home, and life of course all contributed to stress-filled morass that was my life because no one is an island (nod to John Dunne, I actually wanted to use no woman but opted for political correctness instead).
Balance has always been a problem for me in every sense of the word. I am a total klutz and always have been. My first real injury was when I jumped from my uncle’s barn loft and completely missed the pile of hay that was my target (and it was a pretty big pile!). My cousins still laugh about that incident but then it wasn’t their ankle that was sprained. Of course, I still laugh at their attempts to hide my injury from my father so I suppose that makes us even.
However, the real problem is that I want it all. I want to spend time with my family and friends doing fun stuff while still having time to read, write, and relax as I choose and of course succeed professionally and have a spotless home and garden. Stop laughing, a girl can dream.
I now understand that I can have it all but that doesn’t mean I have to do it all, so for a few weeks I stepped off the treadmill. I did very little work at all and focused on getting my house and life in order. I delegated like never before. Thankfully I work with some pretty awesome people so despite my doctor/husband/mother-enforced sabbatical no projects were harmed by this experiment and I was feeling pretty great. Then came Monday…
Monday marked the start of three summer programs (the Morehead Writing Project Summer Institute and Global Graffiti Writing Camp as well as an Online Summer Institute that I am leading) so I headed to campus for the first time in three weeks. After a whirlwind day at camp and on campus I then headed home for an afternoon and evening of playing catch-up online. I then repeated the process on Tuesday but I was so tired by the time I left campus I started the drive home without my 11-year-old son and had to turn around to pick him up from camp. Clearly I had, once again, taken on too much. It was just too soon to do all this.
But I am learning from my mistakes. I took the day off from a trip to campus to stay home and catch up on contacts and prep for my online class – and to do a little writing. Tomorrow I will try again and make sure to take time out during the day so I won’t wear down/out before the clock runs out – I hope.
I am still working out priorities and pacing and just plain turning off and walking away (for a break and for the day). What are your strategies? How do you manage your life balance?