There is a constant struggle to maintain a “healthy” work life balance. You have to work to live, that’s a given; but how much work is too much? Where do you draw the line? How do you maintain the balance?
Starting a new career as an author and freelancer is hard. You still need to have an income so you can live, and unless you are blessed with having great financial backing so you can write full time until your work pays for itself, then you have to try and balance employment, writing and life! I have found this is the most difficult aspect of my writing journey. My husband brings in money from his job, however I still need to be earning some money so we don’t go backwards. Technically I am trying to balance two jobs (three if you count being a mum) with every other aspect of living. And I know I am not the only one.
There are so many articles and blogs out there touting the benefits of work life balance. We all know why it is important to maintain this balance, but how do we do that? At the moment until I am earning enough from my writing career to give up my day job, then I have to continue working two jobs. The great thing about writing is you can do it anywhere! Down by the river whilst having a picnic, at the coffee shop, out in the backyard, anywhere! The important thing to try and remember is to seize any downtime I have and use that to write. So amongst the housework, the mothering, nursing, and being a wife, I write.
There is no “right” way of achieving work life balance. It is a very individual thing. Having said that, I believe it is unrealistic to max out in all aspects of your work and life at once. There simply isn’t enough hours in the day, week, month or year for everything. The key I found is to prioritise. To help me prioritise and ensure I have some fun during the week, not just work, I write out a list of what I need to achieve for that week in my ever present diary. Then I break it down into what I HAVE to do each day. At the moment, I usually only have an hour to write a day, sometimes more at night. So all the things on my list need to be able to be completed in a timely manner. Around what I absolutley have to do, including housework, cooking and my nursing shifts, I schedule in “family time”. To me family is my number one priority, so I have to make sure I spend quality time with them. My diary is scribbled on and highlighted, wrinkled and torn. I would be completely lost without it.
I am a bit of an organisational control freak, so I have to-do lists for absolutely everything. With how crazy busy my life is at the moment, I rely on these lists to ensure I get all my daily tasks done. I have to work hard to stay motivated, and not procrastinate. If I waste time getting things done, then it cuts into the time I get to spend with my family.
The most important thing I hope you take away from this, is it is important to schedule in family or down time. You have to take care of yourself, and that is the secret to a health work life balance.