I was recently asked by a friend of mine, how I balance work/life? I’ve been thinking about the real details and depths of that question. Balance. We need it in everything.
I have 4 kids, a husband, a dog, a house to run, mentor teenage girls, serve as the President of the Board of a local preschool, run my photography career, and my husband and I recently started a separate business helping families to reconnect and enjoy more quality together.
I’m going to guess that by you reading this, you also have an endless list of responsibilities and are frequently feeling like you are always playing ‘catch up.’ I’ve come to realize that there is no one ‘perfect balance’ everyone needs different things in their lives. Everyone’s balance looks different.
I’ve thought a lot about her question of balance, and I came up with 5 things I realized that I do to help me reach my balance.
Priorities– This isn’t as easy at it seems. But, I find it’s necessary for me. I can get distracted easily. When I am focused on something, I do my best to only do that. Example: I have a time set each week to do the bulk of my editing. I go to one of my favorite local coffee shops and I am there to work. I do work from home daily, but this specific time is always set aside as well. Working at the coffee shop allows me to put my headphones in and avoid distractions like kids needing snacks, diaper changes, changing over laundry, seeing something that needs to be cleaned, etc . . . Also, having that time set aside makes me feel better during the week when I cant squeeze as much time as I need to.
Organize – I have the most amazing planner, it’s from plum paper and I customized it specific to my life. Each day is broken up into categories; kids, photography, meals, etc . . . On Sunday afternoons I sit down and write down what needs to get done each day, as well as meal plan for the upcoming week. It helps me not forget meetings, shoots, and pull out whatever I need from the freezer the night before, ha!
Help – My kids know what is expected of them. They know their daily and weekly chores. They know they need to clean up after themselves, and put their own dirty dishes in the dishwasher. This wouldn’t work if I had to DO IT ALL. Plus, I’d be frustrated ALL THE TIME.
Self Care – This looks different for everyone. For me, I’ve learned where and when I need a hot minute. I go to the gym 4-5 days a week, and spend about an 1.5 hours working out all my stress. I also love reading non-fiction books, and cooking magazines. So, I carve out time to do that. Spotify has been an awesome resource for me, and I’ve built specific playlists for my editing time that helps me relax and focus. (Good music speaks to my soul).
Family time – Friday and Saturday nights are family nights. Period. We play games, have fun dinners, movie nights, run around the backyard, do seasonal activities, whatever. We are together. I love my ‘job’ but my babies are not going to be little forever, and it is important to me that I am present for them. (Of course, the occasional Friday/Saturday photo session or wedding is the exception).
So, there ya go. That’s how I balance. More than anything, I’ve learned that not only is it OKAY to do things that feed me but it’s necessary . . . because it is really hard to pour from an empty cup, (and sometimes, that literally means a little more coffee in one day than my normal).
What helps keep you balanced? Share your thoughts and tips in the comments!