The Elusive Work/Life Balance

I’ve been down this road before, so much so that I find its rocky terrain almost comforting. For as long as I have been a creative person I have struggled to find that ever so elusive, work-life balance. But how do you find balance when you’re working to ultimately provide a better life for yourself?

A few months ago, when I first became a supervisor, I was asked to come up with a professional development presentation on a topic of my choosing, and given this was an area I felt I needed the most help with, I decided to do it on the importance of achieving a good work-life balance. I read articles, did research, found information relating to why it’s essential to mental health and helps avoid the creative hell that is burnout, and then proceeded to go back to work and utilize none of the information I had gathered.

Over the past few months since I started doing YouTube I’ve noticed a familiar trend emerging. My boyfriend will message me to ask me a question or just to talk, and I’ll have to inform him that I’m filming a video for YouTube right now and therefore can’t. Even my novel has had to take a back seat to my filming videos for YouTube. Inevitably I find myself feeling guilty for these lapses in helping people or getting back to people; but then if I’m not filming or writing, I end up feeling guilty for not working hard enough, and thus the endless cycle spins on.

Why don’t I create a schedule? This seems like the obvious solution to my problems, and arguably the best advice you see given to writers time and time again. It’s something I’ve certainly been working towards more and more. I tend to try and vlog Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays. Leaving me Mon, Tues, Thurs, and Friday to do everything else, though I’m sure I don’t need to film even this much. I generally record about 2-3 videos per sitting so if I recorded Saturdays (for the week) spent Sunday after work editing and pre-scheduling for the rest of the week I would have Mon-Fri to work on other projects (eg: writing more and blogging more).

I seem to get the most creative work done after about five or six so if I were to work from say, 6-12 (when I usually go to bed) that offers me at least 6 hours to write. Assuming I spent half of that time writing blog posts and half of that time writing my novel I would actually get quite a bit accomplished in a relatively short amount of time, and I wouldn’t even have to do so daily. Leaving me time to read, work on design projects, branding further, etc.

This all sounds great on paper. It also sounds great on paper that theoretically my current job offers me the opportunity (most times) to do more creative work in between what I do on a day to day basis, and yet, it doesn’t always work out that way. None of this is to say I won’t be actively working more on finding a balance, and making time to schedule my work better, but a key change that I have to factor in isn’t just in scheduling my life more, but also in actively allowing myself the freedom not to write, not to film, not to work constantly. 

It’s easy to say, x, y, and z will offer you a better work-life balance, but putting it into practice in a meaningful way is where I really feel like I need to do more. Because frankly, I’m tired of feeling guilty for both working too much and not working enough.

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