Sunday, 14 June 2009

Balance

A little bit of help please dear readers.

Recently I got a small, temporary, promotion at work. I've always thrown myself into my work, but since the new job started, about six weeks ago, it's become quite insane. In the past I've had the attitude that this work is never finished, therefore I should go home rather than try to finish it. And I still have that attitude. Plus I love my job. But...

I'm finding it hard to achieve much balance, especially now that there is Wriggly to think of and spend time with. I love spending time with him; yesterday we had a great day together, while Wriggly's father did his own stuff out in the world, and even though we were both under the weather and a bit grumpy with life I really treasure that time. He's a joy to be with.

And I truly enjoy writing for this blog. I haven't really been able to do it justice in the last month, in particular I haven't been out and about in Blogland much reading your thoughts. I feel like I've missed a lot. Weekends have been spent sleeping, reading, playing with my son, and trying to recover from a persistent cold that I've had for about three weeks now in varying degrees of snot and mucus inflected misery. When time gets tight it's generally The Hand Mirror that gets less attention, even though it is very important to me. I'm so glad to be doing this with a team of great, understanding people who write interesting stuff so my absence is barely noticeable.

So how do you do it? How do you find balance in your life? How do you fit in all the things you want to do and all the things you need to do?

And if you too are having trouble with balance, in hindsight what might have made things worse or better?

Any assistance much appreciated.

10 comments:

PC said...

If you have the luxury of choice, put yourself as high on the to-do list as you can. You can't do any of that other amazing stuff if you are running yourself into the ground.

Balance is good if you can get it, but another metaphor I find useful is of the tide coming in and out...

Or seasons. Have a rest now and then.

PC x

Deborah said...

Work-life balance is a myth. I know this from bitter experience, with intense jobs and small children.

And what PC said is right. Look after yourself, your baby and your partner first. Everything else can wait.

Anna said...

I've found I can't really do the career thing and be a mum in the way I want to be, so I'm not really pursuing the career. I'm not particularly unhappy about this (I've got a good job, but I can't go hard-out like some of my colleagues do to advance through the ranks) - but I still think it's a shame to have to choose. I'm amazed by women who actually manage to do both well - I don't think my mental health would cope!

stargazer said...

i agree with everyone else, particularly as i'm also suffering from a cold that i can't get rid from doing way too much. i guess i find it really hard to say no to everyone that expects things from me, but i'm starting to learn. i was definitely expecting to have a quieter year this year, but it just hasn't turned out that way. i bet part of it is because there's so much that we want to do, and we don't want to accept our own physical limitations.

Anna said...

The difficulty saying no thing really resonates with me. I've recently started doing it at work - but I've had such a long history of saying yes that that seems to be what people hear regardless! And I sympathise with the bloody never-ending cold. Children don't give you sick leave. They are harsh employers.

Cactus Kate said...

Don't think about it so much. All this "balance" talk makes a person unbalanced.

And do everything faster than you have been.

Anita said...

I used to feel like my life was out of balance most of the time. Now I have a wider range which I consider "in balance", and I feel much better, and I achieve more and feel more under control.

I know that has echoes of rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, but I realised that my sense of being out of balance was a big part of the problem – the anxiety about being out of balance got in my way of getting things done.

Julie said...

Thanks for the feedback so far. I really resonate with Anita's point about feeling out of balance. Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work I have to do at work is one of the main barriers to getting stuff done. I recognise it but I'm yet to get particularly effective at doing much about it.

A Nonny Moose said...

The only thing that's kept me sane in the last couple of years is a computer game (MMO addict, oy vey). If I didn't have monsters to kill at the end of a day, I think I'd have had a psychotic break ages ago.

Of course, this means every other outside work project/interest has really suffered and I'm angry at myself for that.

So no, I can't comment on balance. Just that I feel your pain.

Make Tea Not War said...

Honestly- I wish there was a magic answer but I don't think there is. Basically how I've dealt with having quite a demanding job and a family is prioritising family (kid, me, partner) first, work second, everything else more or less optional. It's not for everyone but that's the choice I made. So I'd say try to accept that you can't do everything or be all things to all people & make sure you don't sacrifice whatever it is that is most important to you.

Also fwiw I have found that from when my daughter was about 3 onwards it's gradually gotten somewhat easier to manage work and family life. There's still challenges, of course, but I don't feel as physically exhausted as I did through the early years of sleepless nights, nappy changes etc.