Work-Life Balance vs. Dreams

Tomorrow, I will go back to the day job for the first time in sixty-four days.  Summer is over for me in less than twelve hours.   Nearly half that time traveling and writing; it has been wonderful.  Next Spring if the editing gods are kind I will have two new pieces ready for publication.

But, my wonderful summer is not what this post is about. It is about balancing work, life and the pursue of my writing dreams or as I like to call them goals.

Education does allow me to have time off even if it doesn’t pay well.  It does allow me to have that sweet, sweet health insurance and believe it or not, a lot of job satisfaction.  I love my daily interactions with students and staff.  There is, however, no denying that it is a hard job and balancing it with a healthy home life is hard.  Trying to figure out how to balance all three is more than a little challenge.

This past year, I have gotten much better at it than I have since I started teaching thirteen years ago.  The biggest thing I did was move away from a life that wasn’t working for me.

The life that I have built in the last year contains a lot more boundaries than the one I had.  I don’t let things bleed into one another.  Work, even as a teacher, stays in the building with a few rare exceptions.  I can do this because I get to work early and organize myself.  I keep a calendar that has both writing and work commitments on it so I know ahead of time when things are going to get tight.

This also includes scheduling time to write, date nights and chore days. Chore days are days that I set aside to work with my godfathers on big household tasks like fixing the barn roof or putting the pool together.  Come to think of it, I schedule a lot of things.

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One of three calendars, I use to keep me on track. 

 

And it works for me.

Why? Because as much as I schedule myself, I also forgive myself if writing doesn’t happen or if the dust bunnies start creeping out from the corners.

I forgive myself if having dinner with my family means that I don’t have time to write before bed. I forgive myself if I get into the flow of writing and three or four other things on the to-do list don’t get done or I stay up a little too late. Or when I get sick and the only thing I can do is take care of myself.

Balancing things can at times mean letting some things have more time as they need.  img_10851-1The beginning of the school year means that for the next month, I am going to be more tired than usual.  It happens to me every year.  I will write about half as much as I normally do.  Any writing deadlines that I have must be adjusted.

Balance isn’t giving equal time to everything, but giving things the time they need and letting go of things you can’t tend to.

What works for you to maintain work-life-dream balance?

 

 

 

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Decision Time

The final weeks of the school year are approaching. The seniors have taken their exams and I have lost a week of instruction in my other classes. Exams had to be taken in every class and each exam was one hundred minutes long.  Everything was thrown off. One more week and the seniors will be out the door.

Two weeks after that and my students will be done with school and summer will be approaching. And I need to make decisions on what I am going to be doing for work. I need to work my writing projects, finish the rest of my Kickstarter obligations and rest up for the next school year.

This year was insanely busily. I don’t really want another one. Seriously, I don’t.

But without a master’s degree or a winning lottery, I don’t have a choice. This summer, I can choose to work for four weeks ten hour days and have three days off to relax and recover. Or I  still work  four ten hour days and then only have two days off.

The money would be nice, but I think I have gone about this whole thing wrong. I have had tremendous opportunities that I have wasted because I have always felt the need to work. Work of debt, get ahead and build savings. But some how these things never happen.

Life keep moving forward and I didn’t go along with it.  I tried to wait until everything was perfect.  And it isn’t going to be perfect.  Until you do it and then it will be wondrous.