Life is all about balance-balancing responsibility, time, relationships, and more. I struggle every day with making sure that my life is balanced in every way which is why I wanted to dedicate this post to that very thing. Over the past year, my life has gone through tremendous change-we moved a little over a year ago, I started a new teaching position last year, I completed graduate school in December and my most favorite of all was having my beautiful son eleven months ago. It has been a season of transition and change and has taught me some lessons on how to bring balance into my life. It is a struggle every day to make sure that I am meeting the needs of every direction I am pulled, but I've learned a few things that have helped as I've adapted and grown into all of the roles that I'm in.
The first thing that I've learned has been to utilize my time. There isn't a lot of time in the school day (or at home) that is left untouched, but I have tried to maximize the time that I do have. That means that I may not stop and have a lengthy conversation in the hallway (though there is a time and place for that), and I may work on projects during my lunch. I continually am evaluating how I am spending the time that I've been given and personally addressing how I can maximize it to get the most work done for the greatest benefit. I don't feel bad when I need a break and five minutes to just sit and be, but most of the time I am trying to use every second I have to get work done. This allows me to need to spend less time before or after work to complete the tasks I am needing to do.
The next thing that I've learned is the importance of knowing yourself. Some of us are morning people, and some of us are night people, and some of us are neither morning or night people. It is incredibly important to know when you are in the zone. For me, I do my best work in the morning. I've always known I was a morning person, but it didn't truly hit me how I was working against myself until this fall when I was writing my capstone paper for my masters degree. I would typically sleep as late as I could, get up and get ready for work then work on my paper at night. What I found was that I was too tired in the evening to be fully alert and I wasn't putting my best work out there. It hit me to switch my working time to where I was waking up early to work, then having my day and using the evening to relax. I was getting better work done in sometimes half the time. Do I wish I had put this into practice sooner in my graduate school? YOU BET! But the same goes for teaching. I have always realized that I got far more done and done more effectively when I would get to school early and get as much work as possible done. At the end of the day, I was zonked and would leave when our contract time was up. There are some people who can't operate that way. They need to come in right as school is starting and get more done working after school than before. There is not right or wrong way to approach this, only to know and understand yourself so that you are able to get your best work done most effectively.
The last thing I want to emphasize when searching for you home and work life balance is the importance of having a plan. I am a planner person-I like the old fashioned, write it down, not digital kind of planner. I spend some time each week making a plan of attack for the week. This helps me know what my goals are for each day. There are too many things that pop up throughout the week to wing it for me. I find that when I have a plan, I know my goals and what my focus is, and I can fit those "other" things into that. I love to write in my planner and I especially love to cross things off my to do list. You may prefer a digital planner, checklist or calendar. Whatever helps you, create a plan for the week so that you aren't trying to do too much at once (and definitely include some time to "sharpen the saw", however that may be).
We all search for balance in what we are doing because we are not one dimensional beings. I hope by using these techniques, effectively utilizing your time, knowing when you do your best work and having a plan, you are able to find a little more work and home balance in your life. I am always looking for new ideas, so if you have ideas on how you find balance, leave a comment below! I am so happy we get to start 2020 off together and I can't wait for all the learning that this year will bring.