Work Life Balance

Ask me to list my work skills and among others you’ll get these: writing, editing, travel
Ask for my hobbies and the list is identical

Happy Place

A hammock, my laptop, sunshine and a destination to explore? Colour me “happy.”

On the one hand this is incredible: I love what I do. I’m not just a professional writer, I’m a passionate one. I write because I have to get things out of my head. My brain hooks on an idea or a thought and I have to get it out. It’s almost an illness.

(Right now? My computer was taking too long so I am thumb typing this on my iPhone because I can’t wait to get it out. It’s that much of a compulsion.)

I love being a writer but it’s way more than a profession. It’s who I am at my core.

Relaxing on the beach

Relaxing on the beach – photo taken by Carol Cain www.girlgonetravel.com

Now the bad news: It’s also my hobby,  which means that while I’m having fun while I work, I’m also working in my fun time. I never turn it off.
It’s not an addiction like some and I don’t truly believe in a 50/50 balance between work and life anyway, but I do think that you need to take time every so often to make sure you aren’t giving short shrift to the things that matter to you even more than the writing ever could.

With that in mind, I’m putting some limits in place to try to remember the priorities and maintain some of the fun family times that were our entire world when we were on the road. And that meant finding new hobbies. Here are a few:

1. Dancing -I love to dance. I may look like a rhythm-less puppet but in my mind I am tearing up the dance floor. I never dance without feeling better after  but taking the time out to figure out where to go and what to wear usually stop me. When I was invited to the launch of the video game  Just Dance 4 a few weeks ago, I knew I’d found my outlet.

Moves like Jagger

Moves like Jagger

This weekend, with Ish and the kids in the safety of my audience-less living room, we took turns dancing along to the game and laughed so hard I cried.Trust me there is nothing that gets a good belly laugh going like Ish re-enacting a Nicki Minaj dance video

Moves like Nicki

Moves like Nicki…

2. Album Making/Photo Framing – We came back from that trip with so many pictures and now they’re all trapped in my computer and the various hard drives we’ve backed them up on. Every time I look at them they make me happy, so why aren’t they out and around? The whole task is overwhelming but I’m making time, a week at a time to set them free.

sand boys

Pictures like these need to be on walls not hard drives.

3. Reading – I used to love to read. I’d pick up a book and stay glued until 3 a.m. I was that kid – the one who always has a book with them; the one who’d be under the covers with the flashlight. Then I had kids and  time became this super, precious commodity and I let go of the things that I couldn’t get done before 9. (Don’t judge I get up at 4:30 a.m. people. ;)) I’m reclaiming it and I’m bringing the family with me. We’ll all pick up a book more often going forward.

 

Book love

Only one of many shelves I’ll be attacking over next few months.

What about you? If you had to describe what you do and who you are would the same descriptors come up? Does it bother you? Are you “balanced?”

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{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Holly Rosen Fink October 28, 2012, 4:39 PM

    I deal with the same issue. Since I write for several outlets, even when I travel, I am never truly off and it’s disruptive to my family life. I am trying to take more care in turning the computer off. I hated when my son and I were crawling into my bed today to watch a movie and he asked me not to bring my computer and iPhone. My mom never had this problem, but I’m a media junkie and writing/social media falls right into my obsession. So, the answer to your question is undeniably “NO” at the moment but it’s a problem I’ll crack in the near future. For me, it might be a WAHM issue and I think I want to return to an office. We’ll see.

    Reply
    • Heather October 28, 2012, 5:18 PM

      Ouch. Funny how the kids pick up on these things first, huh? I’m in the same boat re: several outlets and travel as work. Not complaining because I love what I do and it’s way better than the alternatives for me but it does have me thinking about how to do/be better. Thanks for the comment.

      Reply
  • BusyMomofTwins October 28, 2012, 10:56 PM

    Work/Life balance is so hard for so many of us, regardless of our profession. Add a Blog onto that and we become tied to our computers. I am trying to write a series of blog posts in a row so that they can be scheduled out keeping me writing when I am excited to but having back ups as well. I admire your writing and how you tie it to your family and your life.
    Thank you for writing this post. So glad to know that I am not alone in my work/life inbalance!

    http://familyfoodtravel.blogspot.ca

    Reply
  • Michaela November 11, 2012, 12:29 PM

    Great points! I’m not too bad, although I do need to make more time to actually get out and explore. The bonus is that even though exploring is fun, I’ll have even more material to write about! Funny how it works out that way and thank goodness i love to travel and write!

    Reply
    • Heather Greenwood Davis November 17, 2012, 4:37 PM

      ha! I know what you mean Michaela. I’ve forbidden myself from exploring a destination in the past just to make sure I didn’t write about it!

      Reply
  • In Search of Perfect December 9, 2012, 11:06 AM

    Heather, I found your blog through the Nat Geo article – congratulations on being featured, and most importantly on having such a great travel year! Your family is inspiring. I want to become a travel writer (read: leave the safety of a corporate job behind), but so far have not found the strength to do it. Thank you for sharing your experiences with the rest of us!

    Yulia

    Reply
    • Heather Greenwood Davis December 9, 2012, 5:08 PM

      Hi Yulia,

      Thanks for reaching out and for the kudos. I think it’s definitely doable. You just have to make sure you get yourself to a place where you’re comfortable making the leap. That could be financial or just mental. I wish you luck and fantastic travels. :)

      Reply

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