How I'm Getting a Life

In last week's blog I talked about how my business had started eating my life. In the last few weeks I’ve felt more like myself than I have in years. In case you need to re-find your non-work self, I’m sharing what’s helped me: A List of All Great Things:

  1. I’m almost to the point where I can leave at 4PM everyday instead of 5. I’ve tried all these hacks for meals (Blue Apron, Terra’s Kitchen, already made meal delivery) and it took me until a couple weeks ago before I was like “wait- why create a hack if you like cooking, Allison. Why not leave an hour early and make dinner with music playing? You’re the boss!”
  2. I’m taking Fridays off. For real. I “took Fridays off” where I got sucked into this or that, sometimes for 8 hours. Oops.
  3. I leave my computer at work (please don’t rob my office ;)). I don’t have a computer at home. If I don’t get to whatever I meant to do by the time I leave at 4 on Thursday, it’ll have to wait until Monday.
  4. I don’t have any work apps on my phone. No email. No Facebook. Well, I do have Instagram, but that’s because it won’t let you post from your computer.
  5. When I’m with my family or friends, my phone is usually in another room.
  6. I realized I was trying to calm the anxiety of all the to-do’s by completing those tasks. Since there’s a never ending rotation of stuff to do (which I’m pretty sure I wrote a blog post on but can’t find because there are one million of them) I then was cramming too much in while also feeling perpetually behind. Another feedback loop, this one less fulfilling and anxiety-packed.
  7. I’m clear that my life is better with fewer screens in it. Instead of the habit I was in with my maxed out brain at the end of the day (the riveting grab-a-beer-watch-a-show-with-your-partner-then-sleep), we’re now tackling neglected home projects after the girls go to bed. So last night I helped Joel demo some cabinetry in our cluttered laundry room then moved to a hall closet and whipped it into shape. I’m actually excited to be working on these things that have been irritating me and making me feel like I don’t like where I live. I love home stuff. The organization and renovation fairies don’t just show up in the middle of the night apparently so it’s time to realize I have some responsibility here.
  8. I’m also replacing my fake hobby of working with real hobbies: I picked my guitar back up. I’m reading fiction. I’m about to start learning the piano and if my husband can stand it, maybe the banjo. I’ve played with the (mortifying) idea of writing some stand-up. We’re talking about learning Spanish as a family. (What does an overachiever do when she decides she needs hobbies? ALL the hobbies apparently.)
  9. I’m taking breaks. In fact, when this is published I’ll be at the beach with 3 of my close girlfriends. My computer is not invited. It’s my first girls trip in over a decade and it’s gonna be awesome.
  10. I’m not expecting this to be comfortable. I’ve been very anxious Monday mornings, wondering what awaits me. It takes a long time to get through what sometimes amounts to 300 FB notifications. But I’m denying the compulsion to check it on the weekend. It’s getting easier. I’m trusting that nothing catastrophic is likely to happen and that anything I get behind on isn’t life or death for people.

  Have you figured out ways to balance work and life? I’d love more suggestions… pop ‘em in the comments!