As writers, we all have to learn the term balance, and I'm beginning to learn just what that term means. I am a recent college graduate who is balancing working my original part-time job, working a freelance job, writing/editing my novel, prepping for contest submissions, maintaining my author platform, as well as balancing my family life and social life. It is most certainly a struggle trying to keep all of them a balance, but it's something I'm currently working to strive for at the moment.
My first goal right now is to balance my personal life with working my freelance job and the writing. Those are the easiest because I have a larger chunk of time to dedicate to those jobs. However, there are only 24 hours in a day, and I'm awake for about 16 of those hours. I have 11 1/2 hours to figure out how to balance everything apart from my working job. I've found it difficult, and a lot of things have been pushed to the back burner to balance everything out.
I admit, some days I feel completely burnt out, and I don't think it's all my fault. I essentially have a plethora of jobs, and I'm trying to stay sane. It's okay to say no to social things, and when I do say yes to them, I have to incorporate work into those gatherings. My two close friends and I get together a few times a month, and we always bring our laptops with us (benefits of having writer friends). We have something we call a LAN (Local Area Network) Day. This is a day where the three of us gather at one of our friend's houses with our computers and do whatever. It initially started as a day to all binge play The Sims, but the last few times we gathered, it was more about just hanging out and doing whatever. I typically play Sims for about an hour or so, and then write/do work the rest of the time.
I think the biggest thing to strive balance is for us to prioritize. Without prioritization, we would all be flailing messes. To prioritize, I have two bullet journals. One for personal planning and the other is for writing to-do lists and notes I've taken from online classes (such as Tomi Adeyemi's free 45 minute class).
The bullet journal is one of those things I didn't know I would love until I began doing it. It not only allows me to plan my days however I want, but it also gives me the opportunity to create in a different way.
I like breaking up my planner, and doing only one week at a time. So the page you're seeing to the left is the last page I have in my personal planner this month (which is a Sleeping at Last/Space theme). I love doing these because it helps me be productive. i also don't fill out days in advance. I put down what I'm doing each day before I begin my work. That way, I'm not stressing out about what needs to be done on Friday on Monday. This helps me have a clearer mind, and be as productive as I possibly can.
I've also come to the realization that I won't be able to work on one thing until I finish another. It's okay that I'm not applying for jobs right now. I have it on my to-do list, but it doesn't mean it will get done. I'm okay with that! I write out a list of things I want to complete in a day/week, but if they don't get done, it's not the end of the world.
Another thing that helps me out is that I have a list in my journal of Quarterly Goals. What are these, you ask? They're a list of goals that I want to complete in a particular quarter (January-March, April-June, July-September, and October-December). I've been incorporating these goals into my life to do things that I always put off until later.
These goals are ones I know I won't be able to finish in one month, but I know it's possible that I could finish them in three. It's amazing how much you can accomplish if you put your mind to it.
Balancing these lives isn't easy, but when is it supposed to be? I strive to live a stress-free life because I have personally seen what a stressful life can do to my family members. My mom has stressed over things for years and she has psoriasis and arthritis. My eighteen-year-old sister, who has severe anxiety and autism, developed Stage IV Lupus and Anemia due to the high levels of stress. I don't want either of these in my life, and that's why I aim to live the most balanced life I can. I want to do more of what makes me happy, and I do that by taking my days one at a time, and doing more of what I love. You don't have to have a busy life like I do, but having a life like this keeps me motivated and feeling centered.
I don't know if this helps in any way, shape, or form, but I hope it at least gives you some insight into my life as I balance writing life with everything else (and it's a lot). Please drop a comment if you have something you want to add to the conversation!