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Friday, September 20, 2013

Work/Life Balance

     This year I've been trying to be more intentional about separating my work and personal lives. It's been effective, sort of. Anyone who owns a business, works from home or performs an all-consuming job they care about deeply, will understand the struggle. I often inhabit the mindset that I am my work and my work is me. I'm still trying to figure out how to make the distinction, where to draw the lines, and how to carve out space for non-work Sarah to make and do things that are worthwhile and fulfilling. Going to New York on a personal mini-break was a good first step. Taking a couple of hours after class every evening to turn off my email, put my phone and choreography notebooks down and just read a book or hang out with my family is another.
    A good friend of mine in a similar situation suggested compartmentalizing my life a little bit more. She recommended scheduling different tasks for different days or times, which seems simple and obvious enough but is actually really difficult for my scattered brain to implement. So far I've set up regular "office hours" for myself during the day (first thing in the morning, then during my kiddo's nap time) to focus on answering emails, prepping classes and working on freelance writing assignments. I take some afternoon time off to focus on mom stuff, then (around 3 pm) I head to the studio to begin my official work day, usually teaching until 8:00 or 9:00 pm. I don't answer work-related texts, emails or calls after this time unless it's an emergency. A real one. I also finally, finally, finally got a separate phone line for my business which helps with this a lot.
       I've given myself Saturdays off with the exception of some occasional private lessons and short teaching gigs in other towns.  Augustus, Graham and I might actually be able to spend entire weekends alogether every now and then. We also decided to cancel all Sunday commitments except for church in order to have one day entirely devoted to family hang out time/wearing sweatpants and reading books all day. I'm almost positive that's what God meant when he commanded us to honor the Sabbath day. Sweatpants. It's still early in the dance season, but this approach is working so far. I'm happier. My family is happier. Things are good. I
    If you have an all-consuming job or a business, how do you find that balance between work and personal life? How do you keep yourself from taking business failures or successes personally?

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