The Elusive Balancing Act

13 Aug

It is a well-known personal fact that I have a bit of a hard time with the whole work-life balance thing. When it comes to focusing on my work or personal life, the chips almost always fall to the former.  It’s either all work and no life, or no work and no life! I kid (sort of…), but I do find it challenging! This morning, I saw that the founder of one of my favorite blogs, Grace Bonney of DesignSponge, was giving a radio talk on this very subject! So I listened in and killed 30 minutes of my day!

Grace basically hit the nail on the head with a lot of the things that go through my head. She said the key to becoming more balanced is realizing that not everything is going to fall apart if you’re not there, and that a career isn’t ruined by saying no to one thing or making a single mistake. That last part is a huge one for me–I pretty much spent my first few months at this job in thinly-veiled terror that every mistake I made would be the be-all and end-all. Listen, my paranoia certainly hasn’t disappeared, but thankfully it’s lessened a bit, especially after I had my ulcer removed! But living with that constant stress isn’t healthy, and as I’ve been at this job longer and have become more confident, I’m learning to let things go a little more.

The other great thing about Grace’s chat was that she suggested making some lists! There is pretty much nothing I enjoy doing more than list making…I literally sometimes put “Brush your teeth” on my post-work to-dos! But she said it’s important to have both short and long-term goals, and to realize things don’t happen overnight! My impatience sometimes makes this a hard one to grasp too–I love my lists and making these goals, but the second I slip up, I scrap the whole thing and start from square one! Rather than helping, it’s only discouraging! So basically, if I don’t brush my teeth, my entire night is ruined! As are my teeth….

The bottom line is that the point of life is to find people and things that you love, and realize how those things fit. Yes, I love my job. And yes, I work hard to do well. But I also want to have good relationships in my life and invest time in other things I enjoy! …So basically, more happy hours?!

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