Yep, I am a nerd. One of my favourite things about starting school each year was getting my new timetable. (Uh huh, I looked forward to school starting. I also liked buying all my new stationery every year and covering my books with cute wrapping paper and pictures of boy bands – didn’t everyone??) I loved drawing up my timetable into pretty and precise boxes (this was before I knew what Excel was) and colour coding the subjects. Just looking at it made me feel organised which fits in well with my Virgo-ness. And it really did help me to stay on track. I was never late for class and always had the required books and notes too. Why am I making this deep and dark confession? I will get to that, I promise.
Lately I have been feeling overwhelmed. Of course, in typical Emma fashion I didn’t realise it until my body started to tell me. I’ve had a twitching eye for weeks and my neck keeps jamming up. Both are signs that I am stressed. Which I have ignored. I mean, why should I feel stressed? I work part time, I have a 10 minute commute to work, I have a healthy diet and regular exercise, I’ve got a loving family to look after me – what could possibly be wrong? The simple fact is (and I needed my mum to point it out to me of course) I have a lot going on. And really, we all do! Our lives seem to expand to take over any free time we have. So I might not work as many hours or spend as much time in traffic as I used to but I am studying 2 courses, I am starting my own business, I spend more time with my family than I have done in years and I feel bereft if I haven’t been in the kitchen at least once a day. I have so much going on that at times I feel like I haven’t achieved much at all. Which is where the timetable comes in.
Luckily this week my course had a lecture on work/life balance. This subject was one of the main reasons I made the big move from Sydney to Albany – I felt like my work took up so much of my time and I was always so exhausted that there was no balance in my life at all. Now days I have a lot more “me time” but I haven’t been sure how to handle it, how to balance paid work, business building, self care time and just having fun. The lecturer suggested that we make up a timetable so we know when we are in business and when we are not. Which I thought was fabulous. I opened Excel and wrote up a 7 day timetable. Will I stick to it 100%? No! Is that ok? Of course! It’s a guideline – which means it will guide me in the right direction. There is no more Mr Boss (yep that was my principal’s name!) to give me detention if I’m late. If it doesn’t work I can re-jig it. It’s a starting point. And I have to admit I haven’t felt this energised in ages (of course I devise this right before I go on holidays but at least I will have a frame work when I get back).
The only thing that was missing was a place to put the timetable (I used to stick it to the inside of my lever arch folder). I printed one for the fridge so the household knows when I will be working on my business. And in typical nerd fashion I have taped one to the back of my iPad knowing that it is rarely further than a arm’s length away.
What’s your best work/life balance tip?