Thursday, August 24, 2017

How To Balance It All

The title of this out may be a little bit deceiving as the simple answer to this question I get asked frequently (and also tend to ask myself frequently) in short is that I don't. If you want the honest truth, this post was supposed to go live last Friday but instead didn't because it wasn't finished. What went up on Friday then? Nothing. Case and point. The misconception is that I am able to balance all of the things I have committed myself to when in reality something is always taking the back burner. Prioritization is a wonderful thing but it usually means that something is moving to the bottom of the list and a lot of times I'm so exhausted when it comes to tackle that project that I leave it undone. 

I'm always flattered when friends or classmates tell me that I seem to really have it together or they don't know how I'm able to do everything I do. Grit is an interesting thing and some days I feel like I have too much of it and others too little. This week I really feel like there is no way to balance everything. It's the first week of school and not only am I trying to learn my new routine and find out how to balance teaching with blogging and maintaining a healthy lifestyle but I am also responsible for getting 26 fourth graders into a routine. This morning (because yep, I am writing this post the night before it goes live after telling myself I'd have all my posts for the week ready over the weekend and that didn't happen) I walked out of my apartment without once thinking of eating breakfast. I am really not one to forget food so when I drove away from my apartment in my car without my typical waffle with peanut butter in hand all I could do was shake my head (and make sure my headlights were on since it was 6:15 in the morning after all). My breakfast problem was solved but with a long to do list and finally looking at my watch this afternoon to see it was 6:00 pm breakfast was the least of my concern. One thing I think everyone needs to remember is that we all have a lot on our plate but learning to balance different aspects is the best thing we can do to help things run smoothly. Over time I know that I'll become better adjusted to my new schedule but will face different challenges so it is important for me to think about some specific things I can do to better balance things. You wouldn't leave Chickfila without one of their sauces so why not try to pile it high on on an unsteady tray of nuggets? In this case the sauces may be work, school, relationship, or passion related and since we all have these different aspects to balance I've come up with 4 different things that I do when attempting to juggle one too many things on an already full plate. 

Since I know that I am not going to be able to get everything done every day I have learned to prioritize things. Right now, teaching is my priority, followed by grad school, and then comes my blog (let's not start categorizing working out, a social life, and sleep because y'all may start to judge me on that order). Even though my blog comes last I am still motivated to get to it as frequently as I can because I've learned to prioritize tasks that fall into the other categories. If you're not really sure how to prioritize what you have going on I'd suggest you right down the different things that seem to be puling you in different directions and think about your responsibilities with each. Those in which you have the most responsibilities are the ones you should start prioritizing since it is likely other people are counting on you. 

Work Ahead
This is one thing that I didn't do well this summer. Not having class till 9 in the morning allowed me so much uninterrupted time in the morning to work on my post for the day. I'd wake up around 5:15 write it and then start my day. In the past I haven't had that luxury so that is a habit that needs to be kicked to the curb stat. Working ahead in whatever way makes sense for what you are trying to balance will hopefully make you feel less stressed from being pulled in a number of directions. When you're not as stressed you are able to focus more on the task at hand hopefully allowing you to do your job better. My goal for this semester at least is to have most of my blog posts for the week ready and scheduled on Sunday's so that I can focus on sharing them with other people throughout the week. Will that always be a reality? Nope but when it is I know I will be grateful.

Know Your Limits 
I've come to realize when I am overly stressed and when it may be best to take a step back. But knowing when to do that and actually doing it are two different things. If you asked my friends they would tell you that I stink at relaxing. I am a chronic multitasker and get so much satisfaction from getting things done well. Don't ever ask me to watch a movie with you while not doing something else simultaneously unless you want me falling asleep almost instantly (Nell, can you vouch?). It's important for you to realize when you may be stretching yourself too thin and even more important to do something about it. When you reach that point walking away may be the best thing you can do. Whether that means calling it quits for the night or going to workout to relieve some stress will be your call but it's so important to think about how you're functioning and whether or not you're at your breaking point in order to work towards a healthy balance.  

Be Efficient
One thing that I may love more than productivity is efficiency. I am a bit of a perfectionist so this doesn't always come naturally to me, but when it does I feel ready to tackle everything all at once. the best thing you can do to be efficient includes taking advantage of small pockets of time you may have  while also eliminating any distractions. By taking full advantage of a set amount of time you'll likely feel satisfied to have gotten something done which may encourage you to keep going. 

Since I am still trying to learn a balance of my own I would love to hear any suggestions you may have on this topic! 

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