Work/Life balance is something I used to struggle with all the time. I always felt an impending doom that I couldn’t get it all done. It was true. It wasn’t an illusion. I had too many projects on my plate from working full-time as an instructional designer, running 3 blogs, and doing client work/consultations in all of my “spare” time. Oh, let’s not forget to sprinkle in time for myself, my family, and of course Chuy. It was chaotic to say the least.
Over the years as I’ve gotten really clear on who I am and what I want out of life, the work/life balance thing has become easier.
I hear all the time how work/life balance is just a myth and that it doesn’t exist. I call BS on that. Work/life balance is NOT a myth but it only comes in waves and seasons. It doesn’t exist every single day. Finding a healthy balance is part of creating an irresistible life.
Identify the Seasons of Sacrifice
There WILL be times when there is no such thing as work/life balance. I call these “seasons of sacrifice.” Let me explain because I’m going through 2 HUGE seasons of sacrifice right now!
During my “day job”, I work as the Director of Community Education for BlogPaws. BlogPaws is a network and community for pet influencers. Part of the reason I was hired was to launch the Social Learning Community. This is going to be an online community where our influencers can interact and learn online 24/7. The official launch is happening next week! This is something I’ve been working on since I was hired last fall so it’s pretty amazing to see everything finally coming together.
There’s a lot going on in my personal life too. I found out in February that I’m pregnant and due in late October/early November. Working on one of the biggest projects of my career in addition to being 8 months pregnant has been a challenge to say the least! These two things have become my main priorities over the past few months.
This doesn’t mean everything else gets thrown out the window and forgotten. It just means that everything else doesn’t get my undivided attention.
For example, this is the last week before launch so it’s “all hands on deck” mode. My priority over everything else right now is making sure the SLC launch is successful. That means putting in extra hours, working late nights, and letting things go in other areas. My house will not get cleaned this week. I probably won’t cook many dinners at home, and there won’t be much time for “self care.” I’m ok with that because I’ve accepted this is a season of sacrifice and it’s the priority RIGHT now. It won’t be the priority a few weeks from now and things will start to balance out again. It’s just like the ebb and flow of the tides.
Prioritize What’s Most Important, Right Now
In order to have some kind of work/life balance you need to prioritize your life. What is the current priority? What can wait?
Once I get through the the SLC launch, I’ll have a few weeks of balance and then BOOM, my daughter will be born and I’ll be on maternity leave for 3 months. This will be another season of sacrifice because it’s a life changing event that doesn’t come with my famous project plan to keep it all organized and on track!
It’s going to be tough to be away from BlogPaws during maternity leave. I love my job and I take great pride in the work I do. But the priority during this time isn’t BlogPaws or the SLC. It’s going to be my daughter and myself. It’s going to be about getting to know her and spending those precious first months bonding. It’s going to be learning and accepting how much my life is going to change . . . for the better. It’s going to prepare me for how I’ll balance it all as a working mother so that when I come back, I’m ready to kick ass again.
Don’t Be a Loner! Ask for Help!
I used to have such a ridiculous ego that I thought I could do it by myself without help. I prided myself on this and that’s when the chaos sets in. Having a support system in place is crucial to finding some kind of balance in your life.This can be a spouse, a family member, co-worker, a friend, etc.
My husband is well aware of everything on my plate and he is pitching in to help so that I don’t feel so overwhelmed. We’ve even talked about this for when the baby arrives. He is an incredible husband I’m blessed to have a true PARTNER in life. We help each other out in seasons of sacrifice and we pitch in with the housework and taking care of the family.
I also could not pull off the SLC launch without my incredible team at BlogPaws! Team work really does make the dream work. #CornyButTrue
In those seasons of sacrifice, organization and calendars probably won’t mean much because you’re lazer focused on one big project. However, in the “off seasons”, get organized. Block time on your calendar and protect it! Use productivity apps like Trello to make to-do lists. I use Trello and a good ole fashioned notebook to brain dump and keep myself organized. I’m telling you it’s a life saver! Especially with baby brain where I forget everything unless it’s written down.
On the days that I have that zen-like balance, it’s because I set really strong boundaries and protect my time at all costs. I don’t answer emails or interact on social media at certain times of the day and night. We have never been more connected than we are in 2016 and it’s only going to get worse. People have come to expect for you to answer pings and dings at all hours of the night.
Guess what? You don’t have to! Set clear boundaries for yourself. If you start answering emails at 3am all the time then that’s the expectation you’re setting for others. Then it’s going to get to be too much and you’ll resent everyone that’s “bothering” you. Here’s some tough love . . . at the end of the day you can only blame yourself for that. Set boundaries and stick to them!
Putting It All Together
The main takeaway from this blog post is this: Life CAN be balanced but it won’t feel that way all the time. There are days when everything is going to go great and then you’ll have days like I’m having today. It’s after 5pm, I haven’t showered, haven’t changed out of pajamas, I’m eating fast food, and my house is a disaster, and I’ve been sitting way too long in this office chair. BUT, I’ve kicked ass at my project plan and to-do list and that was the goal for today.
Accept that there will be days and weeks like this. Those are the seasons of sacrifice. If you’re going through this for months at a time, you need to take a step back and figure out how you can better adjust things in your life. Whether that means dropping something, re-prioritizing, getting organized, or asking for help.
Join the Conversation
What has helped you to create a work/life balance? Is this something that you struggle with? Let’s talk about it!
Like This Post?
Be sure to stay connected by subscribing to my newsletter or connecting with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. I also invite you to get inspired with my#IrresistibleYou Quote Gallery.
Love pets? Be sure to stop by Irresistible Pets, my pet lifestyle blog where I blog with my Chihuahua, Chuy