Work Life Balance

Hiddey-Ho there Scribblers ~ J Monkeys coming atcha from sultry northern Connecticut.  Fellow Scribe, Jennifer Fusco posted on Facebook that she’s going to be tackling the subject of Work-Life Balance in some kind of public forum coming up and that got me to thinking…and trying out a balancing method that’s worked well for me in the past. 

Well, it worked on vacation…sure that’s a potential stumbling block, but I put it into practice today to see what might come of it, to surprising results.

Have you ever seen this movie?  It’s a Hugh Grant flick from a few years back.  Now I’m a huge Hugh fan…I have him singing from Music and Lyrics on my iPod and I thought the Pirate Captain from the recent kids movie Pirates had his speech cadence even though it sounded nothing like him.  Turned out I was right.  I’m that kind of dedicated fan.  Mr. Grant, you are welcome. 

Now this isn’t one of my favorites of his films, (that would probably be Music & Lyrics or Love Actually) but there is an interesting bit where he breaks the day down into 30 minute units.  Hugh’s character is a middle-aged rich kid living off the fortune left him by his one-hit-wonder father.  He’s idle and bored – hence the need to fill his time in manageable pieces.

So Hugh lives 30 minutes at a time.  Sometimes he’d spend two units on something, like racquetball or something.  I tried this on a WICKED restful vacation a number of years ago (pre-kid.)  I spent 5 days at a dude ranch in Arizona.  We woke up and spent a unit at breakfast when Cookie rang the triangle, then went for a 3-unit trail ride, took a unit long nap, ate lunch for another unit or two, napped another unit away, rode for a couple more units, frolicked in the pool for a unit, ate again – supper was at least two units, then played games until it was time spend a unit or more staring at a night sky filled with more stars than I’ve ever seen before or since.  I’ve never been so rested.  It was GREAT!  We lived one unit at a time.

So – today, I spent my free time (read that as kid-free time when I can actually accomplish something) by units.  I set the oven timer for 2 units (an hour for the math challenged) and did random housework.  When the timer buzzed, I set it again for another 2 units.  I spent these units working on a project for which I actually get paid (exciting thing!).  Upon buzzing, I put that project away and spent a unit inputting edits to my DIY Publishing book, then a unit folding four loads of laundry.  Finally, I spent a unit on lunch with a side order of  The West Wing (the Supremes from Season 5, one of my favorites) and headed out to the kids’ school for a few hours of volunteer time.

Now, I didn’t accomplish much of any one thing, but I did touch on many of the things I need to work on – housework, stuff I get paid to do, writing and not unimportantly, some me time.  That is what I call work-life balance, people.  Sure I have an overwhelming amount of stuff still on my plate, but hey – it was a good day!

Today’s secret: Sometimes, wisdom comes in strange places…or when you’ve got 30 different things to do – breaking your time up into focused chunks can help you keep those plates spinning.

Today’s question: How do you balance all of your responsibilities?


5 thoughts on “Work Life Balance”

  1. I like the concept, J. I’ve employed the “timer” treatment to my writing schedule to balance out the promo and social media tasks that can so easily become a time-sucking vortex. Great post.

  2. J, this is an interesting, entertaining, and informative post. Creative too. I’m preparing for my first NaNoWriMo while doubling down on my WIP. So for now I too am having to think about balance. Usually I focus on my writing and everything else falls in line behind. But I’m also focusing on my health, and that includes keeping my house clean, walking, eating right, all of which contribute to my being able to meet these souped-up writing goals for the next few months. I think a timer will come in handy, along with a mind-set that includes “units.” Thank you so much! I’m going to share this with another blogger friend who is feeling torn by having to balance.

    1. Thanks for your comment! Please share, the more the merrier. I’ve been doing nano for a few years now. It’s hard to be focused on too many things – I think that might even be the definition of unfocused! I’m all over the place these days and I find that the timer frees me up for a short time to focus my brain on one activity. Good luck!

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