I have been away from this blog for far too long. I let life, mostly work-life, get in the way of this. I have struggled with finding a “balance” between family, work, hobbies, and God for some time, and this has built up an irritation within me that I am not willing to live with any longer. I’ve written before about how to create balance. I am, by nature, a planner and a scheduler, yet I’ve focused too much on scheduling others and planning for business that I’ve failed to plan for myself and maintain “balance” in my own life.
The common mantra is “we all must find work-life balance”, and I’ve long believed in this mantra. But the more I’ve lived, the more I’ve failed to balance, the more I’ve thought about this mantra and realized it doesn’t provide enough clarity. I hear this mantra and picture an old two-pan scale with “work” on one side and “life” sitting directly across with no skewing in favor of either. This doesn’t work for me.
My job is demanding, and the success of my work directly relates to the livelihood and lives of many people. That doesn’t mean that I should give equal time and equal mind space to my job and home life. This version of balance, strictly looking at this in numbers, would mean I should give 84 hours a week to work and 84 hours a week to life (or if i take time out for sleep that would be 70 hours a week to work). The sad thing is that I’ve been doing that. For several weeks I’ve averaged between 60 and 65 hours a week at my job plus time spent driving to and fro, and time spent thinking through the problems and tasks if work while at home.
So, as the planner and scheduler I am, I went through the numbers and figured out what the right ratio for me truly is. In order to maintain my sanity, and to not feel overly stressed, I need to give more time to my not-work life than I do to my work-life. This is hard to do, but when it works out I can feel the difference. My target number for work is now 53 hours a week plus drive time (2 hours total per week). This allows 85 hours a week of away time for family, God, rest, and hobbies (and I suppose housework/yardwork too).
I’ve actively worked at this for two and a half weeks now, and though stress still comes (and always will), it is not a constant. This ratio is making me work to keep my days planned out and stay on plan as much as possible. I know that it can work, but I need it to work. I need to have my priorities straight, and give the right amount of time to each part of my life. Time to put in the work.
I hope to write again soon…