Finding Balance in a Busy Life

balance cover

balance cover

I’ve always struggled with the gray areas in life.

I’m either really happy, or I’m really sad.

I’m so hungry that I must devour everything, or I have to force myself to eat normal people meals.

I throw myself into everything one-hundred percent, or I spend weeks on the couch with little to no interest in the world.

At times, I am fully concentrated on my future in terms of career and will sacrifice all other aspects of my life to meet my goals. Other times I’m only concerned with seeking pleasure in my present activity.

In college, every inch of my body was flowing with hedonistic blood. I was only concerned with the pleasure of the moment, and boy did I have some fun!

I binged on Taco Bueno whenever I felt like it. I drank 12 keystone lights a night. I made out with boys and thrived on any sort of attention I could get. I did as little work as possible to remain in school.

It didn’t matter though, I never thought about my future.

Near the end of my five years as an undergrad, I finally started getting my shit together. I began to take an interest in the work, and found a few things that both gave me pleasure AND could be beneficial to my future. A few of those things (improv, writing) I still find pleasure in today.

A few years later, I found myself in a completely nihilistic pattern.

I quit performing. I quit writing in my blog. I had lost a lot of weight, but keeping up my good eating habits became a chore. I worked to get paid, and I drank because that’s all I felt like doing.

During that time, my only hobbies were wine and my eating disorder, and God knows neither of those things gave me any sort of pleasure.

Then I moved to Austin.

I got a job in radio and immediately started performing as much as I could. I felt creative. I was writing. I was in control. I was happy.

For the first time in my adult life, I was both finding pleasure in my everyday life while working towards goals that would be beneficial to my future.

Lately, I’ve started to feel things shift. I often feel that I’m slipping more into the “rat race” of life. I’m doing a lot, and most of what I’m doing could very well be beneficial to my future. However; most of what I’m doing is not giving me pleasure in the every day moment.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my life right now. I love my work and I love my relationship with my boyfriend. I love doing improv and writing and going on long walks with my dogs.

I’m afraid I’m just not doing a very good job at balancing them out. I need more dog walking and more time with my boyfriend in my life. I need more dinners with friends and more time to meditate. I NEED to get more than five hours of sleep a night.

Time and Balance quote

My main frustration is that there doesn’t seem to be much that I can change at this point, and there isn’t anything I want to completely let go.

My problem might not be so much a problem of balance of the activities in my life, but more of a problem of how I’m spending brainpower.

What I really need is a plan to get the most out of my time and to prioritize the activities that are both good for my soul, and good for my future.

The first objective? Get back to living in the moment. Every moment spent stressing about the things I’m not doing is a moment that could be spent doing those things. Concentrate on one activity at a time. Put my all into what I’m doing RIGHT NOW. Make the precious moments I have with my loved ones really count.

I also probably need to cut back on Facebook.

What do you do to live a balanced life? Any tips?




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  3. About Once Every Six Months, I Feel I’m Entitled To A Sappy, Serious Post: What I Want Out Of 28.
  4. 10 Ways To Get In the Moment For Normal People
  5. One Year to a Better and Happier Me
  • SuzLyfe

    It’s so funny–I’m a very gray-areas person (but, to be fair, of course I can be black and white about things, especially work). I think that one of the hardest things can be to “hit the off button” and not to see everything as an opportunity for advancement rather than a time to live in the moment. Allowing myself to take pictures but not get on social media has helped with that.

  • Julia Strong

    I so get this. I also tend to be a very all or nothing kind of person, which can sometimes be simultaneously good and bad! I’m trying to find that balance as well! Also you mentioned Taco Bueno in this post, so I love it for that too. 😉 I miss Taco Bueno!

  • Diana

    Gosh I love this AND I can completely relate to it. I have been an all or nothing type person too. I’m trying to do this whole moderation thing right now, and it’s hard because I want to push myself more. However, it’s hard because the more I push the bigger the fall off will be when it happens. I would rather trudge along a little bit at a time then go “balls to the walls” and crash all the time. However, I know exactly what you mean when you say you feel like you’re in the rat race lately. That is how my life has felt like for the past couple of years. I’m slowly letting some things go to make priorities elsewhere, but it can be difficult.

  • Stacie

    There just isn’t enough time in the day I’ve found. Plus, I personally hate that most of my hours in the day are spent at work. That’s not quite balanced either. I am trying to live in the moment more though. As a planner, I like to put things on my calendar so far in advance, but I’m slowly learning to say “yes” to things that pop up in the moment.

  • SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph

    This is good stuff – it’s important to think about where we were, where we’re going, where we are, and how to balance.

    I don’t hold myself to a standard that can’t be reached – I know that some days are going to be work-heavy and not enough dogs and people and downtime and I know I will need to counteract that on another day.

    I go with my gut, I don’t overcommit, and I turn off of work when I need to turn off. I also put my phone away when I need to.

  • asplenia

    I need more balance too, especially because I aspire to more than the average person, with a side biz and a day job and lots of hobbies and lofty goals. I’ve been thinking about how to get more balance and I think the key is to make certain practices just habit so they don’t require brainpower (since research shows that people have finite reserves and both mundane & important decisions take the same effort). I’m trying to not spend that on picking out clothes or food and seeing if I have more energy left for the more important stuff. (Wish me luck!) Hey I looked for you on FB but only found your “page”!

  • Kersten

    I totally feel the same. Sometimes I feel like “all or nothing” is the only way to get things done and to get results. But yes, some people seem to be really well balanced. No idea how they do it. Do they teach it somewhere?

  • Mwa

    My tip for myself would be: go running… But I will, in just one second. Just one more blog to read. :-)

  • Carissa

    I like the idea of allowing yourself to take pics but refraining getting on phone. I may have to try that!

  • Carissa

    Taco Bueno is the best! I’m all about the Mexi-dips and chips.

  • Jenn @ Business, Life & Design

    I just wrote a post like this! In my case, I got rid of a bunch of “unnecessary” things (mostly craft projects), and then tried to move forward with just the things I wasn’t willing to give up. Like you, I had enough things I wasn’t willing to give up that it didn’t fix my overscheduled/constantly busy problem and unfortunately, I don’t have a good answer for that. For me it was mostly timing. I have a class finishing up this week, as well as a client project, and my sister’s wedding next month. After that, life will be easy! But I think the thing that helped me feel less stressed was having a “master to do list.” I wrote down all the things in one place, made a timeline to get it all done, and then each week only worry about the things for that week (or sometimes it’s day by day when I’m really feeling the strain). It definitely helps to not carry it all around in your brain all the time! I’m not sure if that applies to you, though, if the problem is ongoing activities and not to do list items.

  • Audrey

    Ugh, some days I feel like I’ve got this shit on lock and some days I’m a mess. Some days my dogs get a long, happy walk with me in a good mood and sometimes (cough*yesterday*cough) I come home and lock them out of the bedroom and take a 2 hour nap where I dream about work and the bathroom I should be cleaning and the dirty dishes. Balance is hard =/

  • Carissa

    It really can be difficult! I’m trying to really prioritize and it’s hard because I’m such a people pleaser and everything seems important.

  • Carissa

    There are so many advantages of both-planning and deciding things on a whim. I really just wish I could stop time some days to get stuff done.

  • Carissa

    That’s great advice! I need to set more realistic standards for myself. I can’t do everything~!

  • Carissa

    Ah I’m right there with you. I do think that’s the key. To make as many things a habit as possible, so that you don’t have to use up brain power on them! All the luck to you! We both got this!

  • Carissa

    I have no idea. I think some people are just born that way. Or their brains don’t obsess as much. I have no clue.

  • Carissa

    Good for you! Letting go of things is hard, especially when it all feels important!

  • Carissa

    haha Amen sista!

  • Carissa

    Ah I need a master to do list for sure. I just got a planner, and that’s helping a lot. My problem is both to do’s and ongoing activities/commitments. I’m trying to get better at just saying no when it’s too much for me, then going from there!

  • Carissa

    Ha I know the feeling. Sometimes ya gotta just take care of yourself though!