Finding a work-life-writing balance

In my day job as a communications/PR professional, my boss’s two favourite sayings are ‘Comms Plan’ and ‘strategy’. Both of these are close to my heart too because I like a plan, I like a structure. At least in my working life I do. Little did I suspect I was heading for a ‘strategy’ to manage my writing as well.

But after an excellent week of writing plus a stressful week at work, I decided to use my weekend relaxing time to do more writing. This was not a good idea as my body decided to rebel, resulting in a 24-hour headache on the Monday night. I blame the work papers I read on the train on the way home! I made it to work on Tuesday morning but was worse than useless and got sent home early.

As I lay on the sofa waiting for the painkillers to kick in (they never did) I reflected that I’d been asking a bit too much of myself, demanding that I effectively start work at 7.30am (the time my train leaves) and working until I get home at about 7pm. And that’s without dealing with the stresses of train delays or working late. So it’s little wonder that my neck and shoulder muscles were like bricks and I had a nasty tension headache. Without realising it I’d got so manic about the writing going well that I’d forgotten to factor in some relaxation time.

So I’ve developed a strategy for my writing, which will allow me to fulfil my love of writing, without going overboard:

  1. Write on 2-3 days of the working week (probably Monday/Wednesday/Friday) – this means I keep my motivation going without wearing myself into the ground
  2. Attempt to not take work papers home with me – I say attempt because I know what I’m like and how busy work is so at some point I will do it
  3. Alter my working hours – by starting work at 10am instead of 9am I get an extra hour in bed, a less crowded train and not such a rush hour battle. It will mean getting home a bit later, but it’s also more relaxing. Doing this once or twice a week will make a nice change
  4. Increase relaxation time – I’ll admit I’m not the best at switching off and relaxing so maybe I should have made this an official resolution. My plan is to stop telling myself I ‘should’ be filling all my time and learn to chill out.

(I’d like to add a point 5. Weekly massages but we all know that’ll never happen!)

So, there’s my strategy and it starts from Monday! Let’s see how I get on.

What do you think of my strategy? Do you have one of your own? What are your tips for getting the work done without burning out?

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