Being a writer, I like to have the time to write. Being a homeowner, I like to live in a tidy, clutter-free house. Getting the balance right is tricky. I used to take a week off to clear the clutter and organise the house, and fitted in my writing around it. Then last year my focus changed and I started taking time off to write, and fitted in the household chores around it. I kidded myself that each scenario worked for me, but the truth is that neither of them actually did. The key is to balance the things you want to achieve.
This week’s focus
After a busy week at work last week, I spent practically the whole weekend and Monday feeling exhausted. I had this week booked off and was looking forward to my ‘holiday at home’ with no one around during school hours. My main focus for the week was to relax, slow down, and catch up with things. I was also excited about doing the school run every day, as being a full-time working mum I don’t usually get to do that. I visualised a tidy house and all my writing activites ticked off my list by the end of the week, as well as lots of exercise and time to relax in the sunshine (I tend to have high expectations of what I can do with my time).
As ‘my’ week began, I decided to do things differently and not create a list of things to do but instead have a few focused mini goals in my mind, to keep me on track to feeling rested as well as organised on my return back to work next week. I didn’t write the goals down until now (which is very unlike me) but nevertheless, I have been sticking to them. Here they are:
- 30 minute walk after dropping the children off at school each day.
- Clear and tidy one room each day (clutter clearing and general tidy, not Spring clean!).
- Edit 10-15 pages of my book per day.
- Relax in the garden for as long as I feel like, doing things like reading, thinking, writing or just nothing.
- Plan one fun activity with the children each day after collecting them from school.
Balancing writing and housework is the way forward
It’s now Thursday and so far it’s going well, but I’m frequently having to force myself to slow down and keep reminding myself that I have got all week! It is a little frustrating that I’m still tripping over things around the house and I haven’t ticked off all the writing activites that I wanted to get done, but I do know that each day I am moving things forward rather than leaving one of the activities on the starting line. I’m also resting in between and doing fun activities with the girls after school (we’re icing cakes this afternoon!).
How things could have been different
If I had spent all week clutter clearing, tidying and cleaning, things would be in their place, I would be able to find things and I would feel really organised. On the other hand, if I had spent all week only on writing type activites, I would have finished editing my book, typed up all my notes, made improvements to my websites, written many blogs and generally felt on top of things.
In both scenarios, I would have been happy with what I had achieved; however, spending time doing one activity and not the other would have led me to feeling frustrated when going back to work. Alternatively, I could have just laid in the garden all week! Having a balance of both writing and household activites as well as making the time for relaxing, exercising and family, means that I am improving all areas of my life at the same time.
When you are faced with more time than usual, how do you balance your writing, housework and other activities?
Until next time…