“Unfortunately there are only 24 hours in a day, and we sleep for about 8 of them. Subtract the hours we spend eating (3), showering and dressing and fixing up (1), cleaning and running errands (1), driving (2), working (8) … and you’re left with an hour or two at most. Often less.”
It’s so true. As Nigel Marsh says in this Ted talk, balance isn’t something we can achieve every single day – we should measure and assess it over a period of time.
It’s four months into the year – the year that I wanted to strive for more balance, more harmony and more zen. I’ve realised I can’t devote time to all of my hobbies every day or even every other day. Especially with my (often fluid) work schedule, which is not always conducive to it.
Quite honestly, the life I want to live looks something like this: Peaceful. Relaxed. Healthy.
To achieve that, I need more consistency in life. Routine, if you like. “That’s so boring!” T said, after I lectured about the importance of routine after the millionth time he’d been unable to find his keys in the morning. Okay, so I’m boring, but I do like holding on to a semblance of sanity. We’re both, to put it nicely, scatterbrains. I strive for organisation, but never manage to fully get it together.
Things that matter to me: cooking and eating a good dinner every evening if possible (some nights are better than others…my limp-wristed efforts after a long day recently were greeted by “This looks like prison food” by the boy. Tasted good though). The last few weeks have been an absolute shambles, having no time to grocery shop, running out of food, getting home at 9pm or later. I may have to loosen my control-freak reins and delegate food shopping more often – and write produce lists, or we’ll end up with no veggies at all.
Getting enough sleep. Not negotiable. If this means leaving the party when everyone is still going strong (unless there’s some compelling reason to stay) then so be it.
Couple time. Especially important to me, as we work such different hours and share no days off.
Finding time for the things you love
As a diehard introvert, I need me-time to relax and recharge. (Don’t get me wrong, I come home on an absolute HIGH after a good time out, but I can’t sustain the social thing for too long.) Some things are easier to slot into a schedule than others. I can read on the bus, before bed, on a lunch break. If I had a smart phone, I could catch up on blogs while commuting or waiting in line at the bank. You probably have an equivalent you can fit in on the go.
Others, like heading out on a walk to do some photography, require a little more time and planning, and happen less often. Or tackling that crockpot recipe, or that labour-intensive cinnamon roll.
I like to have a solid block of at least a few hours when I’m learning a new song, so that’s best done on my days off when T isn’t around. But that doesn’t mean those are the only times I can play. Lately, I’ve been slacking on the boring things like practicing chords, scales and exercises – and I can’t rely solely on the excuse of disturbing the peace (unplugged does not mean silent) because really, I just haven’t wanted to. Yet those are easy to bust out mindlessly for 10 minutes after dinner or while The Big Bang Theory is on.
I think this is the hardest part of trying to fit it all in. All the fun things, that come easily to you – you will manage to find some time for. But the things we love can also be extremely hard work: working out, writing a novel, playing an instrument. Motivating yourself to also fit in the groundwork, the boring but essential bits, is tough.
How do you kick yourself into gear to “just do it”?