Lately my life has been a whirlwind of meetings, events, and projects. I feel like I have been running around non-stop, doing everything all at once and yet somehow at the end of the day having very little to show for it. Part of this has to do with so many projects and things happening at the same time and being in constant flux, but with one wedding assignment finished and a freelance project out of the way, I can at least feel as if there are some concrete signs that I have been working as hard as I feel I have been. And yet, although I am well aware that I have been diving into everything head-first, I am feeling that horrible feeling of guilt due to the lack of blogposts I have been able to produce with my full schedule as of late.
But when I met with the owner of My Goodness last week, I was reminded of a really salient point. A huge part of conscious living is being able to have the presence of mind to recognize when we are spreading ourselves too thin and to be able to let go of the reigns for a bit in order to focus on our mental and physical health. I am guilty of doing this far too infrequently. And as much as I know that burning the candle on both ends can only lead to an inevitable burn-out (which, in the end, makes us less productive and works against the workaholic’s nagging need to be productive 24/7), I can’t seem to stop myself.
Therefore, I have decided to make 5 important promises to myself in order to strike a better work-life balance and practice what I preach.
I promise to take time to breathe and enjoy life
I love the work that I put into each and every assignment, be it photo- or blog-related. But as much joy and inspiration as work brings me, I do not want to turn around at age 60 and realize that I never stopped to smell the metaphorical (or actual!) roses. I promise to actually set aside time each day when the work day ends and relax, spend time with myself or friends, or dive into hobbies away from the computer.
I promise to not feel guilty when not working
It is so hard for me to not feel as if I could be working and furthering my career when I am doing other things. In fact, it’s only when I am at the gym or skateboarding that I seem to be able to live in the moment and not focus on the guilt I feel for not working. I would like to incorporate this mindset into after hours when watching TV or reading. (Seriously, when I watch netflix, I am always simultaneously instagramming for work and this needs to stop!) I promise that I will enjoy my time away from my job and allow myself to relax guilt-free.
I promise to not feel like a failure if not everything on my to-do list is finished by the end of the day
I often write up extremely ambitious to-do lists for each day, which in all honesty, are probably damned-near impossible to complete. And even when they are do-able, things always come up or certain assignments tend to take longer than others. I promise to be okay with the fact that success is not defined by how many things I have crossed out on my list and that self worth is not determined by a completed to-do list.
I will start and end every day thinking about the day’s accomplishments and feeling gratitude towards myself
It’s so easy to dwell on all of the unfinished things or new projects you are dreaming up, but by focusing on the undone, we often forget to celebrate what we have already accomplished and how far we have come. From now on, I promise to remind myself every morning when I wake up and every night when I go to bed that I am doing a damned-good job of it all.
I will make more time for friends and family
I am the first to (sadly) admit that the minute I feel overwhelmed by work, the first things to suffer are the relationships with friends and (to my regret, mostly) family. Which is really crazy because to be honest, it’s the people in our lives that give our existence the most meaning. I promise to make more time for family and friends, even if that means limiting my workaholic tendencies and taking a little bit more time to complete projects.
I will give myself one day a week away from work
I work 7 days a week. Now I may not work 9 hour work days every day, but I can assure you that if I were to add up all the hours I devote to my photography and blogging career it far exceeds a 40-hour work week. Just yesterday, for example, despite being sick and telling myself I was going to rest, I spent 3 hours going through emails. Weekends are also usually filled with photoshoots or events (hell, weekdays are as well). Therefore I promise to take one day a week of my choosing to do anything BUT work.
With these promises, I hope to find some kind of balance and work towards living a more fulfilling and conscious life. What kind of promise are you willing to make with yourself in order to strike a better balance between work and play?