04 March 2010

blogging, boundaries & balance


here is a question i receive often, how do you do it all!? believe me, i don't do it all. i am faking it. there are days that my bed doesn't get made or we all eat macaroni and cheese for dinner or i stay up really really late finishing up a deadline. but i will give you my advice, the same advice i try to follow in keeping life in balance.

i keep a list of the week's priorities in my planner. dan is completely awesome in helping me meet my goals and i try to stay on top of what he is involved with too. staying on the same page as my spouse is rule number
one. on any given day, i try to tidy up in the morning, empty the dishwasher, start laundry, maybe even bake bread while i still have the whole day ahead of me. i love thinking to myself mid-day, well at least i baked some bread today. the smell of something homemade justifies an afternoon nap or readathon. getting things tidy is a must for me. if i have a sink full of dirty dishes, i feel like a complete slob no matter how productive i've been.

my mom taught me to keep a clock in every room (even the bathroom) to keep track of time. i sometimes even set a timer while at my desk, when i am on a tight schedule. i schedule blog posts ahead of time and try to always be thinking of my plan for the coming week and future months and prioritize what needs to happen. i try to be really smart about my time online and use it in the best way for my goals and be mindful when i'm surfing the net (also known as research). i peek at my google reader a few times a day and have narrowed down my must-reads into their own folder within the reader. that way i can see my favorites without getting lost in the hundred of blog posts unread.

i like to multi-task. knowing it can sometimes get the better of me, i try to group together projects that can go hand-in-hand. i know i can craft while i watch a favorite show, answer emails while my boy naps or package orders while chatting with dan, etc. i cannot say there are no late nights getting things in order, but i fit it all in, because i
love it. as an artist, work opportunities come in roller coaster form; some months busy, some not as much. however it seems when it rains, it pours!! throughout my design career i've noticed all the big enormous design projects climb into my boat all at once. it's exciting and exhausting. but i really love it. surviving a busy season is now (thankfully) something i know i can do, with a bit of experience behind me. i have a good gauge of how much work i can take on and i have learned to say no if i know i won't be able to give a client my full heartfelt gusto effort. which they deserve. it is all about balancing your time, within the boundaries that you (and only you) can create.

at this point in my life, i can manage my on-the-side-business with little chaos and a smile still on my face. however i cannot promise that i'll be able to keep posting daily or run an online shop or do graphic designs when life throws us a handful of inevitable change. i'm just plugging away, one day at a time. one foot in front of the other. that is the greatest thing about creating your own business, you are the one in control! the best tip i know when you get feeling completely stressed out is to take a hard look at your life and reevaluate your goals. cross some things permanently off your list and return to them at a later time. be kind to yourself. it's all about the quality of life. make sure you're scheduling in time to keep a tidy house, play checkers and go out for ice cream once in awhile.

on a motherly note.
after becoming a mama i've learned that there is hardly any time for an online life with a little one ruling the roost, in his wakeful times, that is. i've tried to accept this fact early on, mainly because he is so darn cute, i want to be with him. they grow up so fast i do not want to miss any part of it. i do not want to live with regrets of not spending precious time with him. he needs my attention and he deserves it. i do my best to keep this in mind when work details are nagging at me. working around my little boy's schedule is definitely doable; since i feel that mothering him is my number one job. thoughtfully answering emails, creating client designs, blogging and even yoga class is managed around our family schedule. i always remind myself–when faced with two priorities–which of the two matters most in the long run? this helps me keep my life on straight.

32 comments:

Ashley @ Bride on a Budget said...

Great post. I'm also one about keeping a clock in every room. I always need to know what time it is.

Monika said...

Back when I was a working Mom with my oldest child (took off until he was 3 and then went back to work until he was 11 when my second child was born, but now have 3 kids), I found a quote similar to this one:

Years later, a child will remember the field trip or performance you missed, but you won't remember the work emergency that caused you to miss it.

Of course, it was stated much more eloquently, but I took it to heart. Thankfully, I was always able to be there or able to send a family member. But, food for thought and fitting for your message of balancing a family/work/love life.

But, then, you always provide food for thought!

Gudny BrĂ¡ said...

wonderful post and a good tip having a clock in every room, I have never thought of that.

the Hawks said...

Marta, what a great reflection. I especially appreciated your last paragraph---perhaps it reveals your perspective most clearly. It certainly shows what makes your work authentic, innovative, and well-made! True progress takes into account the present situation and runs with it.
Thank you for today's post!

berfin said...

One more geniunely open and helpful post..
I am writing you from Istanbul and am following you for years now.. Looking at your busy life, I found it very beautiful since what you describe is a beautiful nest. Looking at it from my single, not so busy life. Lacking of all these bounds
Thank you for sharing..
Love,
b

Luisa said...

Marta
Thank you for today's post. It's honest and beautifully written. I have resorted to several clipboards to sort out my thoughts and always bring needlework everywhere. I love today's post because it doesn't bring up the drudgery and chores of every day life as if it's doom because if it is our everyday life why not cherish one small moment like fresh bread, conversering with your child. One thing I do every month is in my journal I write down a list of accomplishments from the previous month. A good reminder hey I did do things I liked.
Sorry for the long comment.

Lee said...

Wonderful, again :) I too have a clock in every room which drives my family crazy, but hey, whatever works! Getting my four kids up and out for the day is my biggest challenge - love every minute of it!

ashley maureen said...

i like it. many of these things i already do, without realizing it. it's nice to see it all sketched out. for me, eating a good breakfast has become a crucial part of my routine. i was bad about it when i was younger, but made a point to build it into my morning. now i look forward to it from the moment i open my eyes! it really does make a difference.

summer said...

'well at least i baked some bread today.' my thoughts exactly. it seems like that is always achievement no.1 no matter what day it is!

two more things to thank you for.
the must-reads sorted into a separate folder in reader: you are absolutely genius. i'm so glad you shared this strategy.

the 'at this point in my life' paragraph was full of such sound wisdom. i love the reminder to expect change and keep putting 'one foot in front of the other'. thank you!

Amy said...

Oh Marta, I think we could be great friends!
I so admire your priorities. My days that start out the way you are describing are so much more smooth and meaningful. They are looking like that more and more, it has taken some time as it is so easy to get sucked into the blast that blogging is! I love, love everything blogland, but boy, can it be a timesucker!

Oh, and I so hear you with the homemade bread smell...do you think they make a candle that smells like that??:)

Destri said...

I used to do hair and it was amazing how older women with grown children were always willing to talk about how fast your time as a mother goes. I remember one in particular who was a stay at home mom said "I just wish I would have known how fast they grow, really they are gone when they turn sixteen." I try to keep that in mind and realize, there are things that can wait, things that will be there later, and my young kids are not in that category.
One of my contributors wrote about this and one thing she said that I loved is "kids are resilient, they will grow up and move on whether or not I take time to enjoy them, it is me who misses out if I don't"

Great post Marta.

Becca Groves said...

I, too, have a husband who helps me stay on track to accomplish the goals I set each week. There could be no better gift...

Amelia Irene said...

Thanks Marta for this post! Often times we think we are super women and can save the world in one day. Your comment on "at least I baked bread today" brings it all into perspective that accomplishing the little things one day at a time is far more productive than trying to do everything in a short period of time. In the end our sanity will be in tact!

KjO said...

"however it seems when it rains, it pours!!"

I am convinced, there is an ebb and flow of life that is beyond us. It first took notice of this as a cashier at a gas station while in college. I would seems that the store was either busy or quiet. Once in a while there would be only one person in the store, but more often than not, there was either nobody or everybody. I see this pattern on the freeway. Cars seem to travel in bunches. five or six will be grouped together and then there will be empty space for a bit, then a bunched group will come roaring down the road.

I don't know why this is, but there is definitely a pattern. I think what we all have to do, is learn to do what you are talking about, and know how to handle the flood when it comes. Because it will always come.

Hil said...

wonderful advice! It is all about what matters most in the long run isn't it? That is one reason why I committed from the very beginning to only work when my little guy is sleeping. There is too much to miss out on otherwise!

Sian said...

Today I discovered your blog for the first time and I have coming back to it whenever I have a minute or two to enjoy another wonderful snippet. Each post is like a little treat! I have been blogging for four months and have become completely fascinated by the whole process; I love that you seem to be too! Thank you.

Tarsila Kruse said...

Marta, your posts are inspiring - to say the least. Prioritizing seems to be a difficult thing to do, but if you take a breath and look at it from what matters in the long run...it's a piece of cake, huh? Thank you for such a beautiful lesson. :)

Emily said...

Another great post! So do you think you can extend the workshop for another week! :) Thanks again for all your effort you put into this workshop.

Miranda said...

I love how heartfelt this post is. I know that no women can "do it all," though it looks like so many women do. However, I think some women are a bit better at juggling it all and "faking it" than others. It's one of those skills born of experience.

Dani said...

This is a great post about something I constantly struggle with. I have two kids, almost 3 and 10 months, and I struggle to find the time for it all. Thanks for the perspective!

Eeny said...

Fabulous post, Marta.
I am not much of a planner. I usually do whatever comes to mind and whatever I like to do at the moment. I should at least set my priorities for tasks each day/week. Thanks for all your fabulous advice. You are the best =)

Emily said...

I have to work hard at remembering to cherish the moments while my little ones are still little. I definitely enjoy "me" and could totally improve in the mothering department. I'm one of those who actually love watching my kids grow and love them getting older, but I do need to spend more time with them while I can. I don't think there is such a thing as "balance"--something is always out of balance but as long as it's an important something like family, then you're okay!

Kelly | Purple Lemon Designs said...

You are so right Marta. I always have to remember what really matters in the long run; I often forget. :)

Not only do clocks help me keep up, but writing a to do list really helps me prioritize my "home" work, "business" work and "design" work. I find that when I try to keep up with my list in my head, I get distracted by twitter or facebook or something else...Got to have my written list!

Bea said...

Great post. Every morning before I start the morning routine-- shower, dress my daughter, breakfast and get us out the door for day care + work, I spend a few minutes cuddling & laughing with her. I try not to worry about the clock ticking because I know so soon we won't have these moments! I am glad to hear another mother who thinks the same thing... we have to savor these precious moments while they last.

robin said...

I had to link to these posts on my blog, because of all of the great advice and tips.
I really appreciate this workshop!

Thanks,
Robin
modernmantle.blogspot.com

fridica said...

Multitasking is great, but I think there's also something to be said for single-tasking... I wrote about it on my blog recently. I was getting obsessed with multitasking and was actually at the point where I felt guilty if I was "just" knitting without watching tv or listening to the news at the same time, it felt like a waste of time to be doing one thing when I knew I could be doing two at the same time... And it got very oppressive! So while I appreciate the merits of multitasking, I think you need to know where to draw the line too.

Rosita Designs said...

I make a list at the beginning of the day, and some days, my only accomplishments are that I worked out & took a shower! Thanks for bringing it into perspective!

Another great post - I can't tell you how helpful this is!

Becca said...

This is a beautiful post. I love hearing different perspectives on what works for accomplishing tasks. I also think it's great when running your own business, that you can take advice and learn, but at the end of the day do what works for you.

Diane said...

You are wise beyond your years.

Bookmark this post so that when discouraging/very busy times come, you can come back and remember that you know how to do it all!

Paula said...

I"m going to go play with my kids now. Closing the reader and not finishing the rest of the blogs I have to read. There are way better things to do. Well, 3 of them.

Lisa said...

Love this thought. I write for our local newspaper from home and sometimes it's hard for me to keep the work for times when my boy is asleep. I get a little anxious to just get the work done, rather than focusing on my kid and keeping him happy. Thanks for your point of view; it's a good reminder!

Travelin'Oma said...

I visited with a woman today who has NOTHING to do. I looked at my messy desk and the to-do list I'm moving over to tomorrow, and remembered what a blessing it is to have a full and busy life.

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