2009 had a few unexpected surprises, not all of them good. One affected my work, and that was my spouse’s layoff. Though I’ve struggled with New Year planning for new ideas and work, 2010 is off to a fabulous start. My spouse has started his new job and I’ve already landed a new project that takes me out of my comfort zone.
One of the things I like to do every year is take on a new project that challenges me. I’ve already done that this year, but I still need to fine-tune a few things.
For the most part, I’m happy with my work/life balance. One advantage of a solo web worker career that I value is flexibility. I need to make some adjustments, because my spouse’s new office is too far for him to help with kids’ appointments during lunch hour. That’s my job rather than a shared one. He’ll also arrive home later, so chauffeuring duties will take a little more of my time. This is not a complaint, but rather an explanation of how things can change and affect us. We adapt.
This adjustment will mean no time for dawdling, surfing the Internet mindlessly or playing Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook. Because of this, I’ll need to push myself to complete work-related activities when I feel out of my zone instead of dallying. I may have to work more in the evenings and on weekends than usual. Like any new habit, it will be hard at first. It also helps that I keep my work streamlined and don’t accept every offer that comes my way.
Thanks to my playing all kinds of sports while growing up, exercise has been a constant throughout my life. Yes, I admit having times when I had to stop or cut down for a while due to an illness, surgery or an overloaded schedule. Sometimes I struggle to do more than 10 minutes in a session. Rather than beat myself up for not exercising long enough, I tell myself that a little something is better than nothing. I also sub for a tennis team where the drills provide one good exercise session per week with social interaction.
I’m also a stickler for keeping my sleep routine consistent and getting eight hours of sleep. I learned the hard way that sacrificing sleep for whatever reason is not worth it because I can’t function well the next day. Effective time management prevents the late nights that would otherwise be required to meet a deadline. Just this week, all three of my children were ill and I adjusted without sacrificing rest.
I replaced my desktop, two monitors and laptop last year. I could never do without my dual monitors, which spoils me when I’m working on the single screen laptop. So I hope to find a good USB monitor that plugs right into my laptop. A couple of them are available, but reviews are mixed. A standing desk would be cool, but they’re pricey and I’m not confident I can build an ergonomical and comfortable set up.
My current phone is a BlackBerry Curve (s rimm) and I also have an iPod Touch (s aapl). I would love to find a gadget that combines the strengths of these two — I’ve tried an iPhone and it doesn’t meet my business needs.
Like Celine, I cushion my bank account for emergencies. That dwindled with my husband’s layoff. My goal for this year is to build it back up and beyond, as we have a special family event in 2012.
I would love some international travel, but that doesn’t look possible this year especially with my husband’s new job. While I make the most of the here and now, I’m OK with postponing travel dreams for a while.
How do you maintain balance?
Photo credit: Lars Sundström