In the recent weeks and recent introductions, new friends have been interested not only in the fact that I began my journey as an artist at such a young age, but also the fact that along with photography, I am a full-time student, and work as a manager at my job. For most, the first week of school has long passed and finally, with the new weather, both feet now are slowly, but surely, finding their place and settling into their new routine. In celebration of that, here are a few things I have learned in the past few years about balancing life, work, and pursuing what you love.
Be intentional with your time. A full schedule, the word ‘yes’, and a to-do list are some of my favorite things. Spending a season well, not staying stagnant, are some of the things I value most. Time is such a precious gift, a thing that I believe we have been entrusted with but also something that I find has been so easily misunderstood. Beware of associating spending time well with busyness & an growing to-do list. While being a powerhouse of getting things done is incredible, the ones I love most have stood by feeling abandoned, unsure of how to interact – and in the process, I felt alone, misunderstood, and overwhelmed.
Go out with people. Do not let opportunities for growing friendships pass because of things to do or tendencies to work in isolation. You might feel inadequate, unsure, worried. You may feel as if your life is routine and mundane. Don’t lock yourself away from others. Be vulnerable and share how things are. Be encouraged and refreshed. They might just happen to be in the exact season as you, too.
There is no glorification in being busy. Learn how to say no, and take a step back from the to-do list and ask yourself what you want, and what you value most. Section out specific days to rest, to study, to work, and to go do something you love. Think about your previous obligations before adding something else to your plate – and do not be afraid to your time deciding whether or not the addition of an activity would be beneficial.
Remember that you are able to serve and love others in a much more wonderful and meaningful way by being fully invested into a handful of things dear to your heart rather than pieces being spread out into multitudes of tasks. Wherever you are, be there fully. It takes time to balance things. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself some grace. Saying ‘no’ is okay.
Write things down. I do not care if you swear by your iPhone/Google Calendar (because I do, too) but goodness, if you are balancing work, business, and a job, write important things down and make a daily to-do list. Give yourself deadlines and schedule out specific days to complete tasks within a particular subject. In a world where we are always online or on our phone, it is also a world where the possibility of forgetting things and overlooking things online is incredibly easy. I have found that productivity skyrockets when things are written down, scheduled out, and a good pen is in hand.
Determine your priorities and have a schedule. Prioritizing tasks and times to do them is essential to not ultterly loosing your mind throughout the school year. Specific things take priority and determine how I use slots of time throughout my day. My clients, e-mails, class, church, and studying are some of the first things that get priority. Determine what yours are. Create a list of things that must be accomplished for the week and stick to it. Whatever is not on your list should not be done first.
Take care of yourself. Don’t deprive yourself of sleep. Schedule out time for yourself to refresh and recharge, even if that means taking an extra day off. Take short breaks from your list to do toher things. Stay home from an outing occasionally. Take naps. Eat well. Rest is not a bad thing. Avoid burnout and becoming weary of things you love.
Do something that you’re not defined or known for and find refreshment in that. As years go on, labels are often associated with individuals – in my case, they often are: student, photographer, or employee. Few individuals know that I sing, play piano, and my love for writing; and I think there is something so precious and significant about that – about being able to do other parts of life in private, ignoring the likes or things perfectly styled. Having a few select things that only those closest to me know and appreciate is something that cheers my heart and refreshes my soul. Vulnerability is such an essential part to marketing, but keeping a few things in your heart is such a beautiful thing.
Life can seem overwhelming most days. Breathe, pray, take it all in, and be thankful. Though the days seem long and the nights can be lonely, it will not always last. It will all be okay.