The Struggle We Face
Work/Life Balance is a topic I've heard a lot about recently. As we're spending more and more time on our work (especially as entrepreneurs), it's easy to fall into the trap of devoting yourself to working hard all the time. You can read more about that here. The problem with the idea of work/life balance is that it tricks us into thinking that work and life are two separate things.
I heard recently (and I'm sad to say that I can't remember who said it, so if you know, please tell me) that work is A PART of life, so there can be no balance.
The more I work in my own business, the more I realize that this is all too true. I'm guilty of putting work first and then being discouraged because I don't have the "work/life balance" that I want. But it's a choice more than a balance.
We chose what we're going to prioritize everyday when we wake up. We chose whether we're going to spend our evenings with our family or writing another blog post. We chose to binge watch Netflix instead of a more productive form of relaxation (or procrastination).
You Set Your Priorities
This is your life. Especially if you don't have any kiddos running around that need you. Especially if you're running your own business.
I love my business and I love working in and on it. But some days I just need a break. And I'm learning that it's okay to need some time off now and then. I set my schedule, so why not?
Every morning when you wake up, you get to choose what you're going to spend your time on. (And yes, I know that we all have obligations we have to meet and clients we have to work for). So while I don't really believe in work/life balance, I do believe that you can decide what I'm going to balance. Some days you may work longer and sit at your desk all day. Other days you may chose to take a long walk and relax over lunch.
It's all about finding what works for you. If something you do is really draining and you don't have the resources to outsource it yet, work on it in between doing something you love. If you need to exercise in the mornings or do all the dinner prep over lunch, then set your schedule so you have the time. Start each morning with the knowledge that you can decide how you spend your time and then make the best use of that time. And don't be afraid to admit that occasionally the best use of your time is ice cream and Gilmore Girls.
For all you planner lovers out there
I love planners because I like having everything organized and in front of me. And now that I'm running my own business, keeping a list of to do items is even more important. If I don't write something down, I often forget to do it in the midst of client emails and blog post planning. I'm particularly bad at making time for myself, but I'm trying to improve in this area.
We all know that we need to exercise, eat healthy, and spend time in God' word (or meditation, or taking a warm bath if those are more your style), but it's all too easy to push those things off until all the work is done. Here's a secret I'm learning: the work is never done, but it's even harder to do if I'm not healthy and refreshed.
When Jenna asked me to take a look at her 2016 Refresh Planner, I was excited to try it out. Like I said, I love planners and I'm always looking for one that can keep me better organized now that a regular student planner just doesn't seem to work.
I had the chance to try out two of the Add-on options: the Christian Planner and the Workout Planner. I used both for a week and I found them each helpful in my pursuit of making self-care more of a priority. (Note: I did get to try the planner pages for free, but I don't earn any money if you decide to purchase a planner. I'm just a fan.)
I don't workout every day, but since I was using the Workout planner and it provides a space for each workout, I really felt like I had to push myself, even on the days when it would have been easier to go straight to work. I know that I feel better and can be more creative if I've gotten myself moving in the mornings, but I don't always do it when I've got an inbox full of emails. Using these pages helped me make exercise a part of my day instead of something I do only if I feel like I have time.
The Christian Planner is something unique that I haven't seen in other planners before, even those that are more custom. Each page is set up so that you spend a week on a single Bible passage. There are spaces for taking notes on what you connected with, future application, and how you saw God work. I really liked this layout because it forces you to spend more time that just a few minutes here and there. You really have to dig into the details and what you're learning. Jenna even includes song recommendations.
And I have to say that her planner design is beautiful! I love that the pages are so clean - no distracting colors or backgrounds. Instead it's all about the important stuff.
She's also designed the Refresh planner to include some great options, so that you can pick from a variety of add-ons and little have a beautiful planner. Want more info? Check out Jenna's website.
Planner Features & Brilliant Little Details
+ 2016 yearly overview
+ Two-page spread for every month
+ Two-page spread for every week
+ Holidays on monthly and weekly layouts
+ Inspirational quote on every weekly layout
+ Notes pages before every month
+ Tabbed divider pages to separate months
+ Beautiful gold wire binding
+ Protective plastic cover to keep pages and tabs protected
+ Pocket built into back cover for notes, receipts, etc.
+ Your choice of TWO Planner Add-ons
(Meal Planner | Workout Planner | Blog Planner | Christian Planner | Lined Pages)
Jenna has been really awesome and is providing all of you lovely, overworked ladies, with the opportunity to try out her Weekly Clarity worksheet, which will give you a good idea of her style and how the planner can work for you. You can download it here. You can also purchase the planner here.
Whatever planner you choose (or even if you're not a planner person), make sure that you're taking the time to remind yourself that your work is A PART of your life. You get to make your own priorities every day.
Do you struggle with balancing your work and your life?