Finding Balance?

Wednesday, June 01, 2011
Is your life balanced? Do you have time for everything equally: writing, family, work, health/exercise, home, and friends? Do you have time for yourself? According to Alaskan Dude on, these three performers called Barely Balanced perform tricks like the one pictured to the left at Renaissance festivals; they made balance into their profession. If we could only do the same. . .

I bring this up today after listening to one of my favorite teachers, Dr. Debra Peppers (who has been inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame) speak on Friday night. She said that one of the key elements to living a happy, fulfilled life is finding balance. I would have to agree with her. But it is easier said than done.

In my life, I feel like there is always something else I should be doing. When I am writing, such as working on this blog post right now, I can hear my husband playing with my seven-month-old daughter and ten-year-old stepson in the other room, and I think, I should be in there, right? But then if I went in there, I would be thinking, While he has them occupied, I should be in the other room getting some work done or dusting. I just spent a bunch of time yesterday with my family at the zoo, so it makes sense that today would be more of a work day. Right? So, it is about finding balance, but it's also about being okay with the balance you find. I wish there was a way to turn off my brain and enjoy each moment I am in MORE.

Even in my writing life, it's hard to find balance between blogging, novel writing, freelancing, editing clients, and so on. I have at least three or four tasks I want to accomplish each day in my writing world, and I am sometimes up until well after midnight (with getting up at 5:30 or 6:00 with the baby) to get them finished.

So, I wish I had some answers for you because I know I am not the only woman writer struggling with this issue. What I try to do now is take each day and divide my time between the things I have to get accomplished. I try to remember that the most important thing is my family, and then the second most is that I have to earn money, so my family can do fun things. With those two goals in mind, I try to find balance.

But I would love to hear if you have some tips for balance--especially if you have found the solution to this problem. Heck, before you know it, we may be just like the Barely Balanced acrobats above.

post by Margo L. Dill;


Robyn Chausse said...

I'm not sure that anyone's life can be perfectly balanced. I think your top two priorites are perfect, the rest is negotiable.
For me, if something has to be pushed to the bottom of the list it is housework. As long as the kitchen and bathrooms are clean I don't worry about the dusting. I know that sounds terrible, but I'd rather have family time than cleaning time.

Stephsco said...

I recognized Barely Balanced from the teeny picture in my blog feed. I love them! I've been to the Brisol, WI Renaissance Faire for the past 4 years. They are the best show at the fair!

As for balance btwn work, home and creative endeavors, it can get tricky. I try to delegate responsibilities to my husband more often, which works, because he is very supportive of my writing. It helps when you have support. Other times I need to let go of having a meal from scratch and clean laundry. For a few days, at least.

Margo Dill said...

Thanks, Robyn and Stephsco. My hubby is supportive too, but it's still hard. Like I said, a lot of it is in my mind. :) But it does help to discuss with other writers and hear others' opinions too!


DB said...

I know exactly where you are coming from. We need to clone ourselves. I have tried this year to make it a point to make it to all of my kid's games, so in turn my work has suffered. And, it is just not my freelancing (that is my side job), but my full-time job that unfortunately has nothing to do with freelancing AND get production based. So I get paid for how much work I do. I keep telling myself that my kids are going to remember me working all the time, that has to change. If I had a magic ball I would be freelancing and spending time with my family. For me it is my other full-time job that puts me over the edge, unfortunately necessary right now. Sorry I don't have any suggestions for you, but just know that you are not alone :).

Brenda said...

A very good friend of mine told me once, ' be present prefect' in whatever moment that I was in. Don't worry about the one past, coming, or even what is happening around the minuted you are in..... It's hard, so very hard to remember this, but I do make an effort because it almost forces me to balance. There are times it is effortless and I am not being manic about it. Something to consider.

Angie Mizzell said...

I'm giving a talk about balance this week, so this post is really speaking to me! I think a lot of our stress comes from wishing we had "time for everything equally." I can relate to how you feel when you're working and your husband is with the kids. My husband is away from them more often than I am, but he, in my opinion does a better job at being present during family time. I don't know if men, in general, compartmentalize better, or if women, in general, struggle more with guilt. But the life you've described sounds similar to mine, and from my perspective, you seem to be doing a great job. So I wonder if I can give myself a break? :)

Margo Dill said...

Thanks, Angie. You are right--my husband does a great job when he is "with" the kids--he is so much more fun than me. :) I guess we play our roles well. Would love to hear your talk on balance. . .:) Good luck to both of us.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. As author of "Finding the Balance" I feel like I should have all the answers for you! I don't know if what I have to say are answers :) but I hope they are helpful!

You have done a great job of finding your priorities, what you really want out of life. That should be your fall-back question when you start to feel the guilt: What do I really want?

It might be helpful to have a list of the fun things you'll do with your family with the money your writing brings in. Studies have shown that the anticipation of vacations and other exciting events can be even more rewarding than the actual experiences!

Also, keep in mind that awareness is power. You know that you need to balance your time, so you are doing your best. That's all anyone can ask of you!

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