The Balancing Act: Making the Cut

The number of things I do in a day is basically insane. From work to school to exercising to homework to cleaning to friends and family to breathing sometimes I’m pretty darn proud that I have strategically arranged everything to fit into each day. While I often amaze myself with my time management and maneuvering skills I have recently began to reevaluate some things. Does the fact that I can squeeze it into my schedule mean I will have the energy to do it? Does an extra 20 minutes in the afternoon mean I can pick up another activity? Is the fact that I have fit a gazillion things into my life actually a good thing? Or are certain things or commitments suffering? After asking myself these questions I decided that I needed to figure out what things I could live without and what things would make the cut.

At some point we all have to realize that over committing not only drives us insane but it is also detrimental to all aspects of our lives. I think it is especially hard for women to firmly say no sometimes when people ask things of us. Society teaches women that it is our job to take care of everyone and that our needs come dead last, or at least close to that. I always have seriously intense guilt when I’m asking to do something and I say no. (Though I have got to say my mom is the queen of telling people no and I envy her. She has come to a place in life where she refuses to let other people pressure her into things and she is fabulous for it!) So, you all know what I’m talking about … your boss asks you to pick up another project, a friend asks you to look over a paper for her, someone asks you to head up a committee, blah blah, etc.

At some point the time for evaluating existing commitments comes. This was me about 2 weeks ago. I had decided that working full time and going to graduate school full time (on top of church commitments, family, friends, sleep, etc.) was just flat out, completely, no longer doable for me. I was able to fit everything into the minutes of the day but school was suffering. As you will come to learn in this blog, I live and breath school, I adore it, I love the smell of library books, and I would rather read than almost anything else, I would live at school if they let me. So, not getting everything I could out of school due to work was a no go for me. The problem came because I needed those hours to pay bills. My end conclusion was that I would have to take out some extra loans to cover the hours I would need to cut. (I’m trying to think of the loans not as evil debt but as an investment in my career and education.) I had to sit down and evaluate what my priorities were and what my options were to make some changes. All those hours at work did not make the cut. It had to be so. You can do the same. Figure out if all of the commitments in your life are getting all the attention and time they need. If not, something has to go. Figure out what your options are and make the cut. And don’t be afraid or guilty about telling people no. At some point you have to come first. Period.

This is week two for me with less hours at work. It has been amazing. I am more rested, my school work is better quality, and my mood is better all around, which I’m sure my roommate appreciates. So, while we are busy juggling all the balls and balancing all the spinning plates just remember that you have an option to set some down. Toss a ball to the side, put down one of the plates. A part of balance is doing well the things we are balancing, so feel free to reevaluate and make the cut!

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