It’s Monday, and the start of another week is here. For me, this Monday marks the end of a week-long fall break in which I launched this blog (hooray!) and focused on what I love to do (outside of my full-time teaching job) and what makes me tick. For me, writing makes me tick. The act of writing, of sharing writing, and of reading others’ writing.
If you work full-time, you know it can be hard to find the time to exercise your muscles in other things you’re passionate about (and sometimes to literally exercise your muscles). But if your life is all work, you know that’s no good for your health. As I am discovering how to balance my job with my other loves (and writing is something I just can’t not do), I’m sharing my thoughts with you for how you can find more of a balance, no matter how incredibly busy you are.
These are my steps to begin doing what you love again:
First, name it: What do you love?
The first step to making time for what you love is to literally name what you love. Make a list. Are there things you used to love doing that you don’t make time for anymore? What makes you happy? What makes you feel fulfilled? Is it running, reading, traveling? What are you not getting that you need? What can you not live without?
When I did this, I identified it right away: Writing.
Next, think about it.
Time yourself for 5 minutes daily to just stop. Don’t look at anything – not your phone, not the TV. Think about these things that you love. When did you do them before? How were you able to do them? Did you have more time? What’s been keeping you from doing them? You might write down some of your thoughts – think about what’s been holding you back.
When I thought through this, I knew the answer: I was putting all my time and energy into my job, and all of my free thought space after work was used to think more about work. I was not achieving a balance in my life, and I was no longer writing.
Then, make a plan.
You know what you love, and you know what’s holding you back. The next step is to very carefully plan and calculate how you will do what you love and work full-time. This might look like creating a structured schedule, with certain times of day dedicated to doing what you love. Maybe you pick a few evenings a week to do this thing that you love. Scheduling ahead and sticking to your schedule will help you follow through.
For me, I decided to take the leap over my fall break. The weeks before fall break, I dedicated evenings to thinking about my blog. I would take walks in the park and meditate over what I wanted my blog to be. What would it look like? Who would it be for? Finally, when fall break arrived, I just did it. I knew I had the time, and I made it happen. I also took advantage of the time to plan ahead and schedule for the future when I’ll be busier.
Finally, follow through.
What often happens is that we get on a roll with doing what we love – maybe we want to exercise regularly, and we’ve been going consistently for months. But then, something happens. Work gets incredibly stressful, or we get sick. Maybe we just lose momentum. Life happens. Life will always happen. The key is to be determined and focused, to create a structure and a routine, and to not give yourself a choice but to follow through.
This isn’t to say that we should take the joy out of what we love. I love writing on this blog, but I have to dedicate time to make it happen. You can plan it and make it super specific and still love it. In fact, I think you’ll love it more because you’re actually doing it.
How have you achieved a balance between work and your other passions? Tell me what works for you in the comments!