Maggie is back from her lovely “vacation” to help with a new grandchild, and she has returned to her Tranquil Thursday series. Note that from now on it is my official policy to clean up any typos in quoted material, and I’m not indicating so each time because these are blog posts not scholarly articles.
1. We have all heard of the need of work/life balance. If you are still working, what percentage of time do you dedicate to work? If you are retired, how have you achieved balance outside of managing a work life?
I am old-school and work an old-fashioned 7.5 hour day (with an hour for lunch) in an office away from home. I do not bring work home with me or go in on weekends. The rest of my time is for me (I am not going to say “life” because work is also a part of life, and I enjoy going to work). Most of my me time is spent blogging and reading, with cleaning and shopping chores thrown in the mix. Sometimes I paint. Sometimes I work on my half-finished stories. Sometimes I watch movies. Occasionally I take a walk. I do make time for family and friend social events, but not on a daily basis (except for texting).
Remember teeter totters? Life is like a teeter totter. When lives enter or leave us, we are thrown off balance. When there is too much on one side of the fulcrum, the other side is left dangling in the air while the heavy side is stuck in the sand. How is the current balance in your life?
Except for my physical balance, which can be a bit shaky because of vertigo, etc., I would say I have the perfect balance of work, family, friends, and hobbies in my life. I wouldn’t want things to be all work or all family or all painting, etc. The only area in which I am out of balance is exercise, but that’s very difficult for me to engage in regularly because of my chronic pain issues. It’s hard for people who don’t have these issues to understand. It’s not only the actual hours of pain that stop me, but also when I’m feeling relatively OK, my first thought is not “time to run around and get all sweaty.” My thought is… savor this moment while it lasts. Also, exercise can trigger more pain (unfortunate truth).
If things get too hectic, what tools do you use to regain balance?
Very simple. I ruthlessly cut out activities, at least temporarily, so that I have only work and me time. I have a limited amount of energy for socializing to begin with, and it doesn’t take much to deplete the stores. Family time is usually OK, but I have to deal with driving/traffic to get that, so it isn’t a no brainer to see my loved ones. Friends just have to understand that I will occasionally cancel at the last minute, and if they don’t understand? Pffft.
Sometimes we self-sabotage the balance in our lives by letting too much in, or giving away too much of ourselves. How do you control the flow in and out of your life?
I am a control FREAK. I refuse to do things I don’t want to do or that I think will hurt me in any way.
Life Pie – if you ever completed The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, you may recall the exercise to determine how fulfilled your life is by dividing it into six areas. I will post her instruction below. Draw your life pie. Were you surprised with the results? “Draw a circle. Divide it into six pieces of pie. Label one piece Spirituality, another Exercise, another Play, and so on with Work, Friends, and Romance/Adventure. Place a dot in each slice at the degree to which you are fulfilled in that area (outer rim indicates great; inner circle, not so great). Connect the dots. This will show where you are lopsided.” ~ Julia Cameron
I don’t need a pie to show I’m unbalanced according to someone else’s idea of how things “should be,” though I would like a pie because pie is delicious. There are 24 hours in a day, 7 days a week, which according to old-school math is 168 hours. Let’s break that down.
Each week, on average, I spend about 50 hours working and commuting, 49 hours sleeping (or lying in bed hoping to sleep), 7 hours on personal care (showering, etc.), 7 hours on household chores (shopping, cleaning, “cooking”), 21 hours on hobbies and texting and reading the news, and 10 hours on social events. These 10 include planning and driving, and the hours vary widely from week to week, but when I do an event, it’s a multi-hour commitment, such as a 3-hour book club meetup or a 6-hour game night.
We are at 144 hours, which theoretically leaves 24 remaining for exercise, spirituality, and romance. Thankfully, we can knock romance out of the equation because I hate dating, and we can also jettison spirituality because I’m an atheist. That leaves 24 hours for exercise. Wow, I could spend a whole day exercising!
Yeah. I’ll let you know when that happens.
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