Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Setting Boundaries

The world's bursting with a rainbow-colored array of things to do. Everywhere I look, I find another fascinating topic I could pursue. Millions of hobbies, countless volunteer opportunities, and vast possibilities call to me on an ongoing basis. And I want to do them all!!

My library bag can attest to it. I can think of seven hobbies I'd love to pursue but don't have time to at this point in my life. Make that ten. Twenty...

It's a challenge I face every single day, sometimes several times a day. How do I mesh my desire to LIVE with my life? Does that make sense?

I'm the type of person who is never good in a bubble. My writing takes up a large portion of my day, but I'd get burned out if I let it overtake my entire life. I need variety, structure, and a constant stream of magazines to flip through.

I talk to many women who are writers--I'm sure it's the same for men, too--we're all juggling enormous responsibilities. It doesn't matter if we're single, married, with kids, without kids--we're juggling many duties at once. And the juggling doesn't always go smoothly.

Every two to three months I spend a little time in thought and analyze my current balance. How am I doing with my writing? Would I feel better if I were writing more or less? Have I let the promotional side of writing overtake my day? What about the non-writing stuff: am I doing the job I want to with my family, my household, my free time? Are my relationships suffering? Have I taken on too many volunteer positions? Not enough?

The answers are always different because my life is always changing. I realized recently that my schedule was not working for me any longer. I'd let little things slip in here and there until they'd overtaken my main purpose.

So, I put up fences to protect my personal time. Since the computer--specifically, the internet--can suck up my day if I let it, I've made a few rules: I have 45 minutes to check e-mails, etc... before I write. Once I've met my daily writing goal, I can pursue what I want until 5:00 pm. However, after 5:00pm the office and computer are off-limits.

This is hard people!!

I've done it for one week, and already, it's made a positive impact on my life. My mind isn't racing at 7:00pm. The stack of magazines on the coffee table? I'm savoring each and every one.
And best of all, I'm enjoying my family, not working feverishly to do "one more thing."

What about you? Is your schedule working for you? Do you feel satisfied or overwhelmed each day? What can you change about it? Sometimes we have to make tough decisions in order to get our life back on track.

I'd love to hear from you!

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Write Already! It's Wednesday!


  1. I work full time and still have teens at home, so it is rather hard to fit in writing. I also have trouble letting the internet steal away my time. Thanks for the encouragement to set up a few boundaries...I need them!

  2. I like your writing schedule! I tend to give myself a little time in the morning to check email and blogs. Then I stop and write until the kids are up.

    I try to check blogs and do the "business" stuff when I have a free moment or two during the day. But my "serious" writing has to come second after my family responsibilities, and at this stage in my life that time happens in the early morning, during nap time, and then after the kids are in bed.

    My husband "watches" the kids on Saturday afternoons so that I can have extended writing time. Overall, I have to really discipline myself to make the most of the limited time that I have!

  3. Hi Sherrinda,

    The phrase, "I work full time and still have teens at home," says it all! And yet, you find time to write also. How inspiring! It is very difficult to balance everything. I don't even know if it's possible. At least we can take steps toward our professional goals as we keep our personal goals front and center.

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Hi Jody,

    Another busy bee... It's hard! I've wanted to pursue my dream of becoming a published romance novelist for ten years, but we all have choices to make and I chose to put family first too. This year, I do have regular, long pockets of time every weekday to pursue that dream.

    I remind myself that life goes fast. It's constantly changing. My family won't always need me the way they do now, so I'm going to enjoy this phase of my life. The next phase will allow more time and more freedom. And I'm sure that will be bittersweet!

    You sound like you have a great system and a supportive spouse.
    Thanks for stopping by!

  5. wow...good for you! setting up such a structure to do your writing. i end up writing/checking email/blog comments/writing/email/blog...etc. but while i'm blogging or whatever, my story still sits in the back of my head, and i work out different angles for a scene...honestly? my story is with me ALL the time. so i'm fairly satisfied each day (unless i get sidetracked by a good book, but that's a different kind of satisfied!). :)

  6. Jeannie, I love the motto if it's not broke, don't fix it. It sounds like your system works for you, Hooray!

    Mine worked for me for a long time, but I let it get out of whack. Noone has the same personality, the same quirks, the same schedule, the same hurdles to overcome; so I would never want a writer to look at my schedule as something to emulate. It works for me, but it probably wouldn't work for someone else!
    Thanks for stopping by!

  7. My days can sometimes be overwhelming, but a lot of that has more to do with how the twins behave than anything else. Today, they've been fighting off and on. However, when they played well, they played really well.

    Lynnette Labelle

  8. Hi Lynnette, I'm glad you stopped by. Twins...whew! A blessing, indeed. But when you're trying to write and the house is filled with noise, well, writing can be difficult! Everyone with small children understands!

  9. Each day is different for me, but I def. feel satisfied when I've met my goals. Great schedule.

  10. Ok - I'm leaving a comment on the baby animals video because I couldn't find the comments on that post...


    The baby panda video made me almost cry! What an adorable little guy and to start out so very small. God is amazing!


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