AO19-001_deskSome weeks you just can’t achieve any balance—I’m right in the middle of that right now, but you can set a priority of three things you need to accomplish each day. For me, that’s editing paid client work, practicing my music (guitar/violin) or dance, and getting my marketing emails/newsletter out (since that’s income generating stuff) and following up on email that’s also income generating or relationship building. Oops, that’s four items. Anyway, I’m working at finishing my book club book for Sunday and have so much editing to do it’s unreal—but I’m working on not having extra activities so that my day can be spent working. This last week was tough because of the tornado, the kids were home early from school, I had skin cancer surgery last Tuesday (I’m fine!) and my daughter was home sick on Monday. You can only do what you can do!

Christine, one of my loyal listeners, asked me how much time I spent doing my “three things” and when during the day. I thought that question was a great opportunity for a blog post, so I logged and detailed last week’s activities. Enjoy!

Mon: (when daughter was sick) I spent the morning sending out a workshop invite email and book club reminder emails. I also wrote my weekly blog. I practiced my violin and guitar. Erin and I went to the public library together and I read The Real Benedict Arnold as she picked books. After the kids were in bed, I signed up both of my children for summer camps—do you believe most of the camps were already sold out—and it’s not even March 1st?!?

Tues: I finalized camp signups. Then I finished Art of Memoir for my 6-week memoir class from 8-11:45am, then I went to physical therapy (for my right foot’s old stress fracture injury) from 12-1:10, then I went home for lunch. Then I had melanoma surgery from 1:45-3, then answered emails at home, then picked up Erin at school, then did more work at home, prepping for my last memoir class the next day. Around 7 p.m. I went to the Book Bar (my favorite used book store) with the kids for trivia night, but no one else came. I bought four books. I should have edited my memoir students’ papers (three of them) after watching The People vs. OJ Simpson, but I went to bed at 11:15, exhausted from the surgery.

Wed: I finished editing my students’ papers from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m., then went to violin class from 9:30 to 11, then picked up Erin from school at 11:10 because her school closed early due to the tornado, then went to my memoir class with Erin from 11:30 to 3 p.m.—the class ended at 2:30 but we had to stay and clean up. Upon coming home, I cleaned up the kitchen and food/supplies I brought home and answered emails. Then I made dinner, went to Irish dance class and after that I went to my guitar open mic. I crashed when I got home.

Thurs: I spent 90 minutes (8-9:30 a.m.) composing follow-up emails for my 6-week memoir class and then from 9:30-10 or so finalized my email for my poetry class in April. From 10 to 11:45 I practiced my guitar and got frustrated, but kept going. Then from 11:45-1:15 I had physical therapy for my foot. Then from 1:15-2:15 I answered emails. Then from 2:30-3:30 was my guitar lesson and then from 3:40 to 4:15 I did grocery shopping at Food Lion. From 4:30 to 5:20 I wrote a contract to a potential client and answered more emails. Then from 5:20-7:30 I was at my daughter’s school for a PTA meeting/dinner, while answering emails/texts on my phone. Then we came home and I read my book club book for Sunday, Between the World and Me—did NOT check email and fell asleep at 11:15 with the book on the couch. I wanted to submit to a poetry contest, but I missed the midnight deadline.

Fri: I edited more memoir students’ papers from 7:30 to 8:15 and then left for a student meeting before Wonderland Book Club from 8:45 to 9:45. From 9:45-2:30 p.m. was Wonderland Book Club. I got home at 3, answered emails, registered Erin for a Girl Scout activity, posted the photos of Book Club to Facebook and Meetup. I then picked up Erin from school (it’s an hour round trip) from 5 to 6, then got gas, then got home at 6:15, made dinner, got ready for an Irish dance performance in Morrisville, about 25 minutes away. Left the house at 7, got to the venue at 7:30, danced from 8-9:30, got home at 10 p.m. and watched TV with my hubby. Went to bed at 11:15.

Sat: Got up at 7:20 am, drove Erin to Girl Scouts at 8, then drove back home, uploaded photos of dancing from last night, then had dance practice from 9-10:30 a.m., came home, took a  shower with hair washing, then drove with my son to pick up Erin at 12, then we got lunch, then drove to her birthday party at 1, then Daniel and I shopped at Quail Ridge Bookstore, then picked up Erin, then stopped at So & So Books at 2:45, then went home at 3:15 to do chores and now I’m answering emails and uploading photos and getting dinner made.

Whew! I didn’t realize all that goes into my week—there are a lot of emails and I spend half my life on the road. I’m working at going to bed at a consistent time (11:30 seems to work) and getting up at 7 a.m. or earlier. I’m doing a better job of NOT checking emails first thing in the morning, but instead working on an edit, or this morning the first thing I did was get my printer working again for two editing projects.

Life isn’t going to be balanced, but if you can set your three priorities every day: clients, writing/music/dance and income generating activities, you won’t fall too far behind in creativity and in making money, and in not getting burned out from high stress.

To put the question to you–how do you achieve balance, if at all?