Recently I’ve noticed a common theme across the blogosphere - being burnt out, wanting to change directions but not exactly sure how or what to do next, being so busy that you practically have to schedule time to breathe, being over it.
Some people ask me how I do all of the things I do. They want to know how I run this blog, have a full-time day job, have a (very) part-time marketing consultant job, be a mom, be a wife, and be me. Well, guess what? Sometimes it sucks, and something always suffers.
Here’s an example of what it can feel like sometimes. Note: This is an excerpt of a long-winded comment I left on a blog post recently.
Last Sunday night when I left my son’s room I broke down in tears. I felt like the weekend had passed and I hadn’t spent enough time with him, and when I was with him, I was just thinking about all of the stuff I had to get done by Monday morning. It’s a sucky feeling.
That night I decided that I had to do something. It’s hard trying to juggle so much stuff. I struggle to find balance with being a wife and mom, my blog, my day job, my marketing consulting/blogging/social media gig…and hey, what about ME and my own interests?!
I’m in an in-between place right now. I can’t afford to leave my day job until I have more consulting work lined up. I don’t even think I’ve mentioned my plan to become Inward Facing Girl, Inc.! I haven’t yet tried to get more consulting work, because I’ve been so busy juggling everything I have to do on a daily basis that I haven’t had a chance to work on anything that can really impact my life in the long run. Most of the time I feel like I’m treading water - bobbing above the surface, making it work for now, but not getting anywhere and feeling tired.
By this time you’re probably thinking, “I thought this post was about time management, and you don’t seem to have any comprehension of that at all, crazy lady!” It’s coming, I swear.
I spent the last couple of weeks in April thinking of some things I could do in the meantime to help me achieve some sort of imbalanced balance in this crazy life. Here are the things I’m doing, or planning on doing, to help.
Scheduling time for myself. Without my computer. Without my camera. Without my iPhone
I have to admit that I haven’t really succeeded at this yet. I did manage to flip through one of the awesome vintage magazines I got at Pike Place Market a couple of weeks ago, but that’s really it so far.
Here’s my plan. At least twice a week I want to schedule one hour for myself. Maybe I’ll bring a magazine or book to a coffee shop before going to the office. Maybe I’ll take out my art supplies really early on a weekend morning. It’s on my schedule today. Sometime today I’m supposed to take one hour for me, and today I’m really going to do it.
Be where you are, when you are
The fact of the matter is when you have lots of responsibilites, there are some that you’re going to have to take care of simultaneouslyish. When I eat breakfast and lunch at my day job, it’s time for me to work on social media for my marketing gig. When I do chalk drawings with Nathaniel, I need to photograph some of it for a guest blog post.
It’s awesome when your creative interests mesh with your work. Unfortunately, that also makes it harder to create boundaries between work time and personal time. Since I also blog about my life, I need to create rules and force the boundaries sometimes.
Some of this is about mindset, and being fully present in whatever you’re doing at that moment. I’ve been leaving my camera at home more often on family outings. I’m limiting my iPhone checking on weekends. I’m trying to be more mindful of being where I actually am versus thinking about what I have to do later. It’s going to take a lot of practice, but I’m working on it.
Scheduling time with my husband
What they say is true. When you have a baby, things change. Every night isn’t date night. You can’t just go to a movie. You have to schedule these things. Drew and I try really hard to have at least one “date night” a month. Note to Drew: We need to schedule one soon! I want to see The Avengers!
Last week, Drew came up with an awesome idea of having a weekly breakfast date before I go in to the office. It gives us some time to just sit and talk without the distractions of everything else going on around us. It’s only an hour a week, but it makes a HUGE difference. So far we’ve been to Serious Biscuit and Serious Biscuit. Maybe next week we’ll get a little more adventurous. Or maybe not. Yum!
Scheduling time for Inward Facing Girl, Inc.
If I want to make blogging and social media a full-time career, I’ve got to schedule and organize the time I need to make it happen. I still haven’t quite figured out the best way to do this. I’ve been talking with people about their organizing systems and am planning to test a few out soon to see what works best for me.
Here are some things I’m considering:
- Across all my responsibilites, not just Inward Facing Girl, write out tasks in smaller steps (or with substeps) rather than the big idea. For example, instead of take over blogging world, I would write research blogging world, list top 10 best strategies for taking over blogging world, buy more striped shirts, etc.
- Do a better job of organizing my tasks by priority and be more realistic about what is actually possible to achieve each day.
- Between my own blog/social media, the Bella Umbrella blog/social media, and my day job, I have a lot of responsibilities each week. It’s a lot harder than usual right now because we’ve just launched a brand new research study at work, and ramping up/working out all the kinks at the beginning of the study takes a lot of time. To make any progress on building my own business, I HAVE to spend some time exploring opportunities. I’m going to find a way to schedule in one to two hours of that kind of activity per week.
Step away from the social media.
Not entirely, of course. Social media is how bloggers make new friends, find new business opportunities, and get inspiration for new posts. And…it’s fun. However, I spend a LOT of time on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. I just get sucked in and can’t get out. I need to figure out better ways to limit it, and I need to cut down on the number of people/businesses that I follow. There’s so much stuff coming at me all of the time that I almost feel like I’m at Universal CityWalk. Seriously, have any of you guys been to this place? It is so overwhelming and completely freaks me out.
Last night I had a dream that someone yelled at me and called me a workaholic. Like it was a bad thing. So, obviously, my time management tricks need more tweaking. I’m really curious about you guys. I know that so many of you juggle all kinds of roles and responsibilites and selves. I’d love to know any tips or tricks you might have. Please? xo
P.S. Two of these prints are available in my Society6 shop. Not the CityWalk photo. :)