Friday, July 3, 2015

Keeping Balance

As I was scrolling through Pinterest the other day (like I do a lot), I ran across this graphic. It was on Employee Engagement Across the Generations, but I found myself checking out what it said about Generation X. 

Here's a clip from it:

Somehow, that looks an awful lot like me! I am definitely a Generation Xer, and the workforce values above are also my LIFE values.

I had to snicker, because BALANCE has been on my mind a lot recently. I believe in working hard, but I also believe recreation time and breaks from work. Along with that, I know that as an introvert I need quiet time for myself to recharge. AND, I need opportunities to be creative.  I admit, sometimes I feel like I've "run into the wall" and need a re-boot. 

I like doing it all. It stokes the fire in me. So to keep the fire burning, I've got to keep balance of all the things I want to get accomplished. Truth be told, sometimes I don't even get to what it is I want to do. When I have too many of those days, it tends to dim the fire within. I start procrastinating. I start seeing the entire elephant and think, "How do I eat this one?!"

Balance doesn't mean doing everything equally, nor does it mean spending equal time on everything. There are times when I don't get to do DIY projects, or when exercising has to take a back seat. There are other times when I stay at work late or when I don't get enough quiet time for myself.

As I re-examined my priorities, I knew that there were some events and habits that had been creeping into my days since school had gotten out that were causing imbalance for me. 

For instance...

The week before school got out, we got a new puppy. I'm the one who's been getting up early with him, and in doing so I've been having my coffee and watching HGTV while petting/watching him. Normally, I get up and have my coffee while I write on my blog or read twitter. I usually spend quiet time going over my upcoming day, too. 

If you've been following me for a while you know that I'm not a late night person. I like to go to bed early and get up early. Since summer's been here, my teenage daughters have been hanging out with friends most nights, so I've stayed up late waiting on them to get home. It's another disruption that has caused imbalance for me.  

Hubs and I have a DIY project going that has taken up almost all of our free time. We're still not finished with it, but there are other things that have to happen before we can finish it completely. We have an upper and lower deck at our house, and the lower deck was built around a hot tub. We removed the decking around the hot tub, had the hot tub removed, and we rebuilt the lower deck. We also leveled the yard and created a pea gravel patio. This has taken several trips to Lowe's, lots of measuring, lifting, cutting, and nailing.

These three things have contributed to imbalance for me, but also because I still thought I should be able to do all of the other things I wanted to do while all of this has been going on. What I didn't do (and should have) was to give myself some grace. It took a trip out of state (to the ISTE conference in Philadelphia) for me to get away from responsibilities at work and home to make a re-commitment to myself. 

But what if we can't get away on a trip out of state? How do we do a re-boot?

Here are some ideas:
  • Make over your morning. Get up 15 - 30 minutes earlier. 
  • Send the spouse and kids out for an afternoon/night, while you stay at home.
  • Go to the office when no one else is there. 
  • Spend the night in a local hotel. 
  • Go for a hike at a local park. Plan to spend the day there.
  • Spend a few hours at the local library.
  • Use the time to re-boot. Ask yourself, "What do I need more time for?" Also ask, "Is this just a season, or am I feeling a trend that will last a long time?" Another important question for ourselves is, "What do I need to change in order to feel more balance?"

We can't always carve out lots of time. The small pockets of time during our days must be used wisely - for work, play, pondering, and/or creating. 

What do you do when your life gets out of balance? How do you re-boot?


  1. Jen,
    You are one of the female leaders I most admire. With that being said, this post helped me to see that I am not alone in my occasional struggle to find balance. So many of your bullet ideas have worked for me too. Another one I would add is rearrange or organize a space. It sounds silly...but when I get overwhelmed at work, I usually rearrange the office. It helps me "start over". :) So sorry we did not meet at ISTE.

    1. Lisa, thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. I really like your idea about rearranging/organizing a space. I feel "out of balance" when there's visual clutter, so not only clearing the space but rearranging is something I'm going to try.