5 Tips on How to Balance Writing, Work and Your Personal Life
One of the biggest challenges new or aspiring authors face is life balance. The act of balancing their personal life, a corporate job, as well as writing books. This balancing act can be overwhelming and can feel like you’re making no progress at all. This leads to many aspiring authors feeling like they don’t have enough time, and wanting to give up. Time is a man-made until of measure created to give a sense of order to things. The ironic thing about time is, we only have right now. Tomorrow and even the next hour from now do not exist at this present moment, but yet we feel that it has mastery over us. I know I’ve found myself thinking I don’t have enough time. But, over time I’ve grown to realise that what this means. When I say this it means, I’m not making something a priority. Not having enough time is a tiny portion of the life balance issue that many authors face.
What is Life Balance?
Life balance is about saying yes to the things you want and no, to the things you don’t. This is where many authors and writers struggle because they don’t know what they want. If you’re not 100% clear on what you want out of life then you will be swayed by all the different voices in your life. I’ve definitely found this to be true in my own life. When I’m clear about what I want, I’m more focused and determined. In those moments when I lose sight of my vision, I start taking on things that don’t lead me to where I want to go. As a result of not being clear on what you want, you feel like you’re being pulled in all directions. It’s almost like you’re going around in circles, not making any process. So, how do you balance work, your personal life, and writing books without losing your mind?
In order, to answer this question I will share with you five tips to help you balance your career, personal life, and write books on the side. Yes, it’s possible to have a career, write books, and have a personal life as well.
Get Clear on What it is You Desire and Why
Right now, I want you to stop and consider what you desire in your life. What is it that you want, right now? Don’t just limit this to your writing but look at your life as a whole. How you want your author business to look like in the future? How do you want to be spending your time?
Don’t set any limits for yourself, even if you think ‘this isn’t possible for me right now,’ write it down. Allow yourself to dream without limitations. This exercise is purely for dreaming. Writer William Arthur Ward once said, ‘If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.’
My challenge, to you, is to get clear on what you want. Take a few moments, right now and think about what you want and writing it down. The things I desired in life and took the time to write down are now my current reality because I started with this exercise. I became intentional about what I wanted. I had a part to play and took action but this step of clarity and intention helped pave the way.
Once you’re clear about what you want, it’s important to get clear on the reason why you want it. As a coach, I’ve noticed we can be great at getting clear about what we want. But, so often, we skip over the step of getting clear on the reason why achieving our dreams is so important. I want you to take a few moments to write down every reason why achieving your dreams is so important. These reasons will become your drive, the push you need to take action no matter what, even when things get tough. When you lose sight of your reason why you can feel tempted to but things off until tomorrow. And, you can become discouraged or give up on your dream altogether. Including this exercise in your morning routine to help you keep motivated every morning. Motivation isn’t something you find only once, it’s something you seek out every day.
In my book SMARTER Goal Setting, I go into detail on how to master the art of goal setting and create the life you want. I discuss how to set long terms goals and break them down into smaller goals. The process of breaking down goals into smaller bite-sized pieces will help you to avoid overwhelm which leads to inaction. The simplest and most effective way to break down your goal is to ask yourself the following question. What do I need to do in order to achieve this goal? The answer to this question will help you create a list of all the steps required to achieve your goal. Once you have your complete list of small actionable steps focus on achieving one task at a time. Then from your list, set yourself a mini-goal each week.
Create a Schedule
I know scheduling can sound dull. It’s a great way to ensure you’re making the most of your time and focusing your attention on what is important to you. Look over your week on a Sunday evening and consider what you want to achieve as well as any events coming up for the week. The first step is to schedule in your non-negotiables. These would be things like work, the commute, dinner, lunch and breakfast. The next step is to schedule the time you want to spend on social activities, time with your family. Next schedule in time to write your book, even if it’s just one hour. Look at your schedule and make sure you’ve scheduled in time to relax or time just for you. You are your most important commodity and it’s important you allow for self-care time. Self-care is more than just pampering yourself. It’s also about your mindset and mental health.
Make Better Use of Your Downtime
When you’re balancing a career and writing books, it’s important to set clear boundaries. Set aside time to grow as a writer and connect with potential readers. You can achieve this by, making use of your downtime. Before I quit my corporate job in finance, I decided to set clear boundaries for myself. I was spending long hours at work which left no time to spend with Roland, go to the gym, build a business, and write books. I decided with the exception of month-end, I would leave work at 5:30 pm and walk to Roland’s work, where I would meet him. There would usually be a 30-minute wait, so I would use this time to work on a blog post or listen to a podcast. This boundary helped me to stick to my schedule and create that sense of balance in my life. I would also create content during the evening commute and do mindset work in the morning as I travelled to work.
How much downtime do you have in your week? What can you do to make better use of it? Create a list of things you could do during this time. If you’re not sure about how much downtime you have, make it your mission this week to take note of your downtime. Make note of how much time you have, and what you could do during this time. Perhaps you could listen to podcasts, draft emails, outline a blog post, or create content for social media.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in regards to content creation is to always be one step ahead. If you’re blogging, filming videos, or podcasting always be one step ahead of your schedule. This helps you to be more prepared for one-off events or situations. This will also take the stress out of a looming deadline. A looming deadline can force you to substitute value in the place of meeting the deadline. To focus on adding value and creating great content be ahead of your schedule. Take a few moments to consider how you can be ahead of schedule in the content creation plan for your author business.
As always, I have a few important questions to ask you. What’s one action you are going to take today to help you achieve a greater sense of life balance? How are you going start implementing this action in your business and life, today? I want to hear your story. Let me know by sharing your story in the comments section below.
I’m Amelia. I write Mystery Novels under the pen name A. D. Hay. And, I’m the author of Missing, the Lawn, and the Candidate. On this blog, I help new writers to finish their first draft, prepare their manuscripts for professional editing, and when they get stuck in the first draft phase or are confused about the revision process. Right now, I’m editing and preparing my soon to be published mystery novels, Duplicity, 24 Hours, and Immunity for publication.