I like the imagery of competing in a sporting match against time.
It wouldn’t really matter what sport it was, but for some reason I keep picturing a volleyball match with me on one side of the court, all by myself, and, across the net from me, a little pocket watch on legs. The watch is Time, who dashes around on its spindly little legs; it spikes, bumps, and sets the ball with absolute ease, while I race around the court like a crazy person, trying to keep the ball in the air and in bounds.
My goal this year is to bring balance into my life. And I am! I've found a few little tricks that are helping me feel a bit more prepared on the ol' volleyball court. I'm not feeling quite so beaten up by Time, thanks to a few little defensive moves I've been putting into action. (Side note: when does it change from offense to defense in volleyball? Does it? I have no idea.)
Regardless, here's what I've been doing to keep Time from whooping me in our volleyball match - aka, bringing a bit more balance to my life.
1. Making time for my girlfriends. Friends are fabulous. They are fun and self-deprecating (see photo above, please), and help me feel in touch with reality. I was able to spend time on Sunday with a group of friends, and again last night with one of my bff's from college. They bring me back to myself. That, contrary to popular belief, is actually a good thing.
2. Prepping dinners in advance. Seriously. Who knew that I'd feel better during the week if less cooking was required of me? I always make my weekly menu and grocery list on Sunday morning, then grocery shop, then go about my day. But for the last two weeks, I've gotten into the "make-it-ahead" mindset. I've been making little components of each night's dinner on Sunday, so that the prep time for dinner is greatly reduced during the week.
This Sunday I prepared pasta sauce, a big pot of pinto beans, two batches of pizza dough, and caesar dressing. It has made dinner making such a breeze, because there are just a few things left to do before we're ready to eat. I'll be talking about this more, soon. It is so helpful.
3. Carving out time to run. Running has become this amazing cure-all, like a giant Nalgene of lemon-lime gatorade after a night of heavy drinking. I've been running 2-3 times per week and seriously, rather than take time away from me, it adds little pockets of time back in because I feel so much better and more productive. Jason always comments on how much happier I seem on the nights after I've run. My running schedule is this: 2-3 miles at my normal pace (sloooooow) once or twice a week, 2-3 miles at a speedier pace once a week, and a long run once a week. My longest run so far is 5.5 miles. My fastest run so far was 2.8 miles at a 10-11 mile/minute pace. I'm working on both the endurance and the speed pieces. And it honestly helps me feel so much more balanced.
4. Banning myself from bringing work home. Seriously, this thing is a killer. When I allow myself to work on work at home I inevitably end up working 12-15 hour days, which suuuuuuucks. Granted, sometimes that's a necessity, but I'm trying to put measures into place and to more effectively use every drop of time I have at school to prevent that from happening. There are obvious drawbacks - students don't get immediate feedback, lessons aren't exceedingly creative - but I am better. And that makes it okay.
5. Reducing the amount of time spent online. The majority of my online time is with my blog and others' blogs. I committed to cutting back on my blogging recently and, while it has been a bit hard to upkeep that commitment to myself, it's opened up time. I probably wouldn't be consistently doing #3 if that time hadn't been opened up.
So. There are the four steps I've been taking to try to keep myself more okay. It's taking a lot of planning and staying on top of things, but it's worth it.
How are your new year's goals or resolutions working out? Any progress? Any difficulties?