Thursday, July 25, 2013

Striving for Balance

Balance is not something I've ever been good at, and it's particularly challenging at this point in my life.
Running a small business and trying to have a life is difficult. I'm lucky that parts of my business are fairly social (teaching and hosting art openings), so I get that need for social interaction met. However... I'm pretty much an introvert. To me this means that people (although I am a "people person" to a certain extent) exhaust me, and I need time to recharge alone. And that is where it gets dicey.

My alone time is filled with things that don't recharge me: bookwork, marketing, accounting, laundry... tasks. Although I know I need to take time for myself, until recently I just couldn't ever seem to fit it in.

Life Pie

One of the tasks in Artist's Way is to draw a life pie (see my most current one above). The life pie helps you see where you are out of balance in your life. It helps you to see where you need help.
Here's how you do it:
  • Draw a circle and divide it into six sections: six pieces of pie.
  • Label one piece spirituality, another exercise, another play, and so on with work, friends, and romance/adventure. 
  • Place a dot in each slice at the degree to which you are fulfilled in that area (outer rim means you are happy and fulfilled, inner circle means you're not doing so well).
  • Connect the dots. This will show you where you are out of balance. 
Clearly I need to make some changes in the romance/adventure work departments. Spirituality, exercise and play, are holding steady, while I am very happy with my friends.
Now, I sort of new this already, but something about charting it out really brings it into focus. It also gives me something I can post up to remind me what I need to work on. 
My life pie looks a bit lop-sided, but it's an improvement over the one I did a few months ago. Baby steps.

Lately I've found boundaries to be very helpful. Of course I've always heard the phrase "you've got to set boundaries", but... I've never been good at it. Or perhaps I didn't believe that it really worked or perhaps I didn't have enough respect for myself to set them. Whatever the case, I'm getting better at it. Taking baby steps seems to be the key.

In The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron says that treating yourself like a precious object will make you strong. That's counter to what we're taught, but I'm starting to believe it to be true. How would you treat a precious object? With care. Getting enough sleep, exercise, nutrition, water, fun and quiet time will do one wonders.

Boundaries are key to doing this. You must set boundaries with other people, and with yourself (limiting your tv, facebook, gaming... whatever is eating your time. Here are some things that I've found helpful.

Got a smart phone that feels like an appendage?
iPhone "Do Not Disturb" feature
Smart phones have made life easier in some ways, and much more difficult in others. One of the best features that iPhone has come up with is the 'do not disturb' setting. Brilliant. I have my phone set to automatically go to do not disturb mode between 10pm and noon. The thing that makes do not disturb even better, is that you can set it so that certain phone numbers ring through. So I know that if my mom needs me, she can reach me.

Checking facebook and whatever else on your phone
I know someone that had great results limiting her Facebook time by setting her phone to not remember her log in information. So every time she wants to check Facebook, she has to type all of her log in information. I haven't been that bold, but I did bury my Facebook app on the very last page of my apps, and it's in a group with other apps; now I have to scroll and then click twice to get to it.

I've lots more tips, but they'll have to wait until another time; right now my body is screaming for some exercise. Must stay balanced, you know.
I'd love to hear your tips for drawing boundaries and staying balanced - please share!

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