This week has been so very busy at work; much to sort, solve and manage and all very intense. I struggled to get here at all to write after what I felt was a strong start. The balancing act of managing the ‘day’ job and creative aspirations remains a challenge for me as it does for many people.
I’m interested in how others attempt this balancing act and their commentary about this. Also how balance is perceived – work/life balance, priorities and how we can better strive to meet our personal goals.
I asked Joanna Penn from The Creative Penn about this. I have been reading her blog and listening to the podcasts about how she built her online presence, how she maintains this and how she continues to learn about social media. Also, how she is writing a novel. And then she mentioned on one of her podcasts that she has a full-time job as well – as an IT consultant to a mining company. Hallelujah, I thought, a role model – someone managing to balance creativity, the investment of time required to support this and a full-time job.
Joanna’s answer referred me to two of her posts: ‘On efficiency or how to get everything done as a multi-tasking writer,’ and ‘What will you give up to write your book?’ I found the answers fascinating and they rang true with my own thoughts. ‘Getting rid of the TV’ is right up there and confirms my own thoughts on how much time this activity can take up. Less sleep, maximising travel time, being organised, setting goals and investing in education are included in Joanna’s tips and have also featured in my attempts to achieve across a range of life goals of career and creativity.
The concept of balance is an interesting one. Joanna also says ‘love the process’, confirming some inspiring words I read recently in Ted Kooser’s wonderful ‘The Poetry Home Repair Manual’:
‘Remember that the greatest pleasure of writing are to be found in the process itself. Enjoy paying attention to the world, relish the quiet hours at your desk, delight in the headiness of writing well and the pleasure of having done something as well as you can.’
If we are always looking for balance, we may well feel we never get it right. Who’s to say any particular balancing act is right or wrong? I was buoyed by Danielle LaPorte’s joyous debunking of the concept of work life balance: in ‘the suck factor of life balance +passion as a cure to stress.’ Truly, I felt freed after reading this and decided on my own cry of intention in moving forward: ‘No more ‘either/or’….’ No more waiting for one thing to stop so I can do another; no more waiting for time or other resources which may never arrive in that perfect state. Just move ahead, focussing on what I have now. You can have a life of adventure, passion, joy of process and in a way, refuse to be balanced.
To quote from Danielle’s inspiring post:
‘When you refuse the banality of balance and go for full on life (which includes full on productivity and full on stillness,) you’ll see the inevitable mess of it all as something more beautiful and purposeful – full of peaks and valleys – an adventure. The climb can be rigorous, grueling sometimes, but the air is cleaner, and the view will blow your mind. The fruit you’ll find on your own tilted path is so much sweeter – and there’s so much more of it to share.’
So the search for balance may be just an act, an automatic response, that really doesn’t help with moving ahead much at all or worse, holds us back as we wait for a state of illusory perfection that may never come. In that sense, perhaps it’s just another form of resistance? What are your thoughts on balancing acts?