‘Finding a good work/life balance’ is an adage which drives me up the wall: if I was Spiderman I’d be half-way up the side of a high-rise!
The concept that there are only two things which must be ‘balanced’ denies the fact that we, creative rebels and all-around badass humans, have nuance. If that mental image of you as an old-timey weighing scale works for you, that’s great. You do you.
I want to paint you a different image.
You’re sat at a large, wooden table which you lovingly made by hand. It took you time, energy, and effort to refine this slab of nature into something which carries the weight of everything you place on it.
On the table you have a single jug of water and a collection of jars, each a different size. Every day you may fill the jars as you wish but you can’t gather any more water. When that jug is empty, it’s empty.
Should your jug become empty you can move a little water between the jars, sharing out what’s there. It is a pretty big risk that you’ll spill some water, losing it to the tabletop. You’ll have wasted it.
Alternatively, if your water runs out you can wait for it to refill and for the jars to empty.
Both jug and jars start anew each day, waiting for the water to be shared.
With an empty jug, what would you do?
When your jug is empty, reallocating the water between your jars is pretty dangerous. You only have so much water to pour and, once it’s gone in that moment, it’s gone. What’s more, if you over-fill one of your jars so it spills you won’t have water to pour into the others.
Finding the best jar for your water can feel like a mammoth task, especially when all you can see are empty jars AND you’re pretty damn thirsty, too. It’s a puzzle, too, finding the right amount of water for each jar. It’s a constant push and pull between full and empty; shared or unshared.
Save something back.
You don’t need to pour everything in because if one jar has some water and the others have none the one with some may have just enough to stop a drought. You’ve filled up what you need to and have water left over, ready to share without spilling.
In your creative business you’ve a heck of a lot of jars; not just a ‘work’ one and a ‘life’ one. It’s up to you where you pour the water. A word of advice would be to look ahead, even a little. Consider how warm it’s going to be, how much water you’re going to need. Might there be new jars to contend with later on?
TL;DR ... Don’t pour out all your water in one go.