Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Balancing Work and Life

How do you balance "work" with the rest of "life"?

When you love the work that you do, how do you distinguish between work and play? Professional success with personal success?

It feels kinda like those cartoons with the angel on one shoulder and devil on the other. Except sometimes it's tough to tell who is who.

One side is excited about the new work that will come out of long, productive hours in the studio. The other side wants to skip studio time, work on our vegetable garden, finish remodeling the laundry room, and go for a bike ride with my husband. Then my thoughts switch to keeping my website updated, posting to this blog, and working on new marketing ideas. Then back to wanting to schedule lunch with a friend, or where I'm going to find malt extract for that new bread recipe I just found.

All of these things are tasks that I actually, honestly, enjoy! So I want ALL of them to be a part of my life. So I am accepting the fact that striving for a balance will be a life-long task involving lots of checks and balances.

So does that also mean...
less hours in the studio = less income?
less hours in the studio = less success?
Or ...
less hours in the studio = more time spent on the rest of my life? (family, friends, hobbies, exercise, gardening, travel)
less hours in the studio = more sources of inspiration for time spent in the studio?
less hours in the studio = more success?

Our society seems to value and praise the Overworked and Busy individuals. I'm beginning to think that there's a better way to go through life; A slower pace with the enjoyment of simple pleasures. (And for a woman with workaholic tendencies, this is MUCH easier said than done, I admit!)

What I do know is that I want more days to be filled happiness and joy, than consumed with than worry and stress.
These are some of the things I have been thinking over these past few weeks. After working like a mad woman all Spring and early Summer to prepare for my exhibit at the Appleton Museum, I'm enjoying a slower pace with time for reflection. (Or maybe the Florida heat is making me delusional)

Whatever your thoughts, hope your finding (or making) time for all the things you want in your life.



pcNielsen said...

A constant struggle indeed, though I must say that I *wish* I had the problem of less time in the studio equating to less income. At the moment I have no income from my time in the studio :p I hope to change that in the next year, five years in particular, but like most things that aren't just handed to a person it's an uphill battle.

ang said...

heheh love it, good to hear it.. go for some balance, things seem to settle out every now and then after crazy show time all of a sudden the task is complete and the stress well dissipates...

Anonymous said...

First,let me say, I have enjoyed your blog so much...and congratulations on your Appleton exhibit...it's been a real joy learning a little about what you have gone through to be where you are today...secondly, reading your blog today on "Thoughts", I just had to share with you what an aunt shared with me when I started on this path of creativity and was spending night and day to make my mark..she said, "never allow yourself to become a slave to your passion..instead, make your passion become a slave to you"..she said after she accepted that, she was able to spend her days in the studio (6:00am til about 3:00pm) and the rest of the day or evening with family and friends, gardens and such, thereby creating the balance..allowing new ideas to present themselves naturally and helped to keep from going through burn-out..of course, there are always extenuating circumstances..studio time has to be rearranged or time spent getting ready for shows, etc. but it works..looking forward to your next blog...and yes, they call me "Miz Permanently Lubricated Jaws"...
Happy play in the clay day,
I am a potter, jewelry designer and do graphics for "t"s...so, been there, done that...LOL...

traceybroome@mindspring.com said...

In 1993, the birth of my daughter slowed down my workaholic tendencies and I have embraced a slower pace (with work anyway) ever since and have worked around her school and summer schedules. We still have a lot going on, but I check my priorities frequently. She will only be here for two more years then off to college, so I'm enjoying all I can of her now while I can. Less money, Yep! But much greater joys, that's for sure! What most working women really need is a wife! my husband is really lucky!

Patricia Griffin said...

I read your post today with much interest and empathy. I can relate. I don't have any answers but just wanted to say you're not alone!

Meagan Chaney said...

Paul, Ang, LyNett, Tracey, and Patricia -

Thank you for your comments, suggestions and support! It is great to know that there are other people out there who feel the same!

Paul - Thanks for reminding me how luck I am to be able to make a profit from something I am so passionate about! You'll get there. Just keep plugging away.

LyNett - Loved your aunt's advice! Sticking to a studio routine definitely helps! Except my studio hours are more like noon to 6pm, rather than 6am. :)

Tracey - I often wonder just how much my world will change when my husband and I start having kids. Maybe that's why I want to start keeping my priorities in check now. Congrats to you for finding the time to enjoy both pottery and Wesley!