Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Telling Life: Balance

Some of you have noticed I've not been posting quite as consistently lately. Thank you for your concern, I'm fine. I've been struggling to balance all of the different facets of my life and so blogging has suffered. It's a lot to juggle.

Balance is something we all contend with, every day. We may not notice it but we are continually making choices, prioritizing one activity or person over another. For the last few months I've been prioritizing income over creativity. It's important and has been worth it (it's easier to be creative if you know you can pay the rent) but I'm aware of the cost to creativity and the business needs of my own work.

I frequently remind myself that the story I am telling in this given moment is only the story of this moment. My narrative will change with time and, ultimately, things are likely to balance out. It doesn't always feel that way, especially when I neglect something I value, like my blog.

As a coach I often help my clients think through issues of balance and priority, trying to understand what story they are telling about their lives and how they use their time, and why. I need to apply more of those same practices to myself.  Maybe I can come up with a better method for remaining balanced, even when I'm attending to other needs. For example, I recommend my clients use timers to help do unpleasant tasks - you can do almost anything for 20 minutes. I use this method all the time for things I resist. Maybe I'll apply it to things I love doing but skip when I'm fatigued. For example, I can try writing for 20 minutes, even when I've worked 14 hours on a job site and all I really want is a bath then to go to bed. Or maybe I'll write a list of the things I can let go of, the stuff that I know I won't get done anytime soon. Or I will forgive myself for missing a week in this blog, and will forage ahead even when I am unsure, as this post demonstrates.

Creative people struggle with these kinds of issues routinely. We need time and space to create. We need to perform or exhibit or whatever we do. We need to tell the story of our own creative selves. We also need to wash the dishes, take care of the kids, earn some money, pay the bills and on and on. It can be overwhelming, figuring out all of the stories in our lives and prioritizing what needs to be done to keep them all going. I rarely encounter narrative media that captures the small details of everyday life, all at once, so I look to you for those stories. The small victories that make up the day (I put away the laundry! Where is my parade?) are sometimes as close as we come to happily ever after.

I'd love to know what you think. How do you balance things when you have competing priorities? Maybe together we can come up with some methods that will help us craft life stories we can live enthusiastically. Or at least manage until we come to another plot point and can change our path.

(c)2016 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License


  1. Setting a timer for things I enjoy is a new concept for me. I am taking an art journal class and the idea is to have it become a daily experience, but I find I only make time for it when I'm AT class. Setting a timer was suggested there too. Guess when one gets the message from several sources, it's time to listen. My default stance when avoiding the stuff that needs to be done, and being a widow that seems never ending, versus stuff i want/like to do, is to play computer games and just avoid doing anything. So...with your reminder....I'm going to set my timer and at least organize some journaling supplies...Have a great day! Thank you!

    1. Hi Shaye!
      I avoid things with facebook, games, chores... almost anything. I hope the timer helps!


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