Another weekend in Edinburgh! Like a child yesterday, I was so excited to get my holiday started. What began as a trip to Edinburgh for the theatre turned into a 3 night mini break and writing retreat. I even managed to keep myself occupied on the train to avoid the ‘are we there yet?’ questioning.
Since August I’ve been battling with work demands taking up all my time. This has deprived me of the time to work on other things, such as my writing. What I realise now is that I’ve been allowing it to dominate despite my desire for a better work-life balance.
The reality since the end of August is that I’m eating, sleeping and working. Sometimes working and eating simultaneously. If I don’t have company, I’ll grab something and continue working while I eat. Despite knowing that this is not good for me or my health, the drive to keep working is so strong.
Trying to Blog
Despite being busy, I knew I wanted to write; I have really missed writing. However, when I tried to write, I couldn’t. I was too exhausted, lacking the energy to write. I could sit down to write but was without focus. Additionally, I found that despite the desire to write and engage with the blogging community – it wasn’t working for me.
I was trying to think through what was going on here. I’m missing many things: blogging; writing; the blogging community and the engagement that comes through the comments. I’m missing chatting with my blogging friends. I know that sometimes people feel guilty, under pressure to blog when they’re absent. They think that others, their readers, expect them to post. However, this is not what I was feeling. es I’ve missed the contact, the connections. However, for me, the drive is to engage with the community.
On reflection, its clear that blogging, despite my recent relative silence, is important to me. It is an integral part of who I am and who I want to be. However, despite that, I’ve allowed work to take over all aspects of my life completely.
Point of desperation
Realising where I was and being unhappy at where found myself, even though it was a reality of my own making, I knew I had to do something.
I tried to redress the balance; giving myself some time to write but as indicated above, the energy wasn’t there. Maybe I was exhausted or the thoughts of the work tasks were pushing in, but I couldn’t focus on writing. Maybe those pressures are also what was preventing the creation of the required creative writing conditions.
We know that to be successful bloggers, we need to publish regularly and consistently. Despite this knowledge, I managed occasional posts, but they haven’t been regular.
Reclaiming the balance
Recognising that my attempts to take back control, trying to rebalance wasn’t working, I knew something more drastic was necessary. I can’t just wait for things to settle or change, I needed to take control of the situation. The only way I am going to find a good work-life balance again is to force it.
An opportunity presents itself
The planned trip to Edinburgh to the theatre was the perfect opportunity. I decided to expand the visit, turning it into a holiday weekend (Friday night – Monday morning). So my weekend will be theatre, exploring Edinburgh (can’t promise not to get lost) and a focus on writing. Its now Saturday night and I had a great time at the opera and I haven’t got lost – yet!
I’ve left my work “things” behind and my case is packed with writing tools. I haven’t set myself any targets, I just know I need to take back control, re-establishing some balance between work and life. Putting some ‘life’ in my life.
Throughout Friday I found myself fighting the desire to consider bringing work with me on my trip. I did resist and am pleased to say it paid off. I put a notebook and pens in my handbag. By changing my focus I was able to draft this post during my train journey to Edinburgh . It seems I really want to maximise the writing potential of this weekend.
I’ve discovered maintaining a work-life balance – or should I say life-work balance is much more difficult than I imagined. Its so easy to take your eye off the ball and the balance is lost.
How do you maintain a good work-life balance? Do you have any tricks or tips to share for this struggling blogging friend?