What does a week in the life of a writer/model/ designer/wife/dog mom/ aspiring chef/one half of a hobbyist pinup studio look like?
Sometimes I get asked sincerely how I do it. How I find the time to do 87 projects at once. I’m not bragging or implying that I’m superwoman. I’m far from perfect. I may even have ADD.
The thing is, there are always going to be things that fall by the wayside. Get to the important things regularly and immediately and get to the other things eventually.
Here’s what sage advice and experience has taught me about Doing Life.
- Prioritize what’s important. My friends Hillary and John shared the analogy of “Big Rocks in First.” Meaning you can fill a jar with rocks, pebbles, gravel, and sand if you put the big rocks in first. This goes for vet visits, jogging, meeting deadlines, paying rent, and having a good marriage.
- Cut out all the bullshit. In my life, if it doesn’t add anything positive, it goes. This is as true for bad friends as it is pens that don’t work.
- Work hard, but play just as hard. No one is going to prioritize your vacations but you. Throw a party at least once a month, even if it’s a party of one. If life isn’t fun, we may as well be dead.
- Be flexible. Life is a roller coaster. Learn how to adjust your mental picture when things don’t work out and don’t be afraid or angry at change. This is a tough one for me, but I know it’s important.
- Know how much money you make, where it comes from and goes, but don’t make it the motivating factor in everything you do. You’re simply not going to get paid for doing what you love all the time, and certain aspects of all jobs suck. Be that as it may, look at the whole picture. It may pay crap, but at least it makes you happy. Or, it may pay well, but it’s also a bummer to work 9-5. Be an adult mentally about money vs work and you’ll start seeing its options rather than its limitations.
- Balance responsibility with passion and creativity. This will make you a more productive artist.
- Be organized. What works for you? A calendar? A list? A smart phone alarm? I use all three in spades to keep me on track with what I’m supposed to be doing… even when doing nothing.
- Keep large and small goals in sight. I have personal goals and I share goals with my husband, like buying a home, starting a family, finishing the layout on my book, staying healthy, getting a new flash ring for our photo studio, living in Virginia, and retiring to Florida. They’re all important. Everything my husband and I do each day propel us toward our goals. If you don’t have goals, sit down and think about them. They’re part of what makes life rich.
What do you “do” Lebowski?
We’re all busy, but here’s what’s on MY plate every week, so you know all the stuff I juggle and that maybe I know what I’m talking about.
- Working a 40 hour week with an hour commute each way. I work as a designer, so there are some days where I am working against a deadline for 10 hours straight. Then I’m fiddling around with nothing to do. This would make me die of boredom, so I’ve always integrated my hobbies into my clockwatching on days I have less to do. I have learned to work very, very quickly. As long as I make what I’m paid the most to do my first priority, then all is well.
- Freelance writing about 2-3 articles a week, and then pitching those articles to various web sites and magazines. After they’re printed, promoting them. I treat these deadlines as “real” deadlines, scheduling my full-time job (big rocks) first and working in these secondary deadlines second.
- Running a home. This includes all the housework, meal planning, shopping, and splitting pet care with husband. (No, I’m not a Downtrodden Woman. Husband’s just better at fixing things and taking care of the cars and bills. This works for us.) Nony the Slob has inspired me with checklists and her genius “do the dishes” advice. You should go buy her E-book, its like $5 or something.
- Being a good pet mom. This includes feeding, snuggling, playing, and keeping them on schedule.
- Shooting NSCA Shotgun tournaments 2x a month, sometimes going to the range more often if practicing for a larger shoot. Admittedly even though it’s awesome, I sometimes feel like a kid who was forced to go to football practice. I’d rather be gardening!
- Oh yeah. Trying to keep my garden alive. Not sure yet if I’m just bad at gardens or if I just don’t have the time. Maybe both?
- Researching websites and magazines I want to pitch my content and photos to, and photographers I want to shoot with. I also figure out how and where I want to advertise my blog and book. Since these are not deadline-oriented, they’re small rocks.
- Blogging/designing/fun art projects. These have deadlines, but are third to real job and “hobby job”. Save As Draft is my friend here.
- Modeling and editing photos about once a month. This either means working with an outside photographer or doing shoots with Husband.
- Throwing parties about once every 2 months. This can be either a few people or an all-out bash. In between these times, I go to happy hour with co-workers, go as a guest at other parties, on dinner dates with husband, or catch up on the phone/online with friends. I make sure that being social gets worked into my life regularly.
What DON’T I prioritize?
- Washing my car. When it gets so dirty I can’t stand it, it rains. I sponge it out once in a while and about once a year I get it detailed.
- Long gym sessions. 30 minutes 4x a week on the treadmill and the occasional Yoga session. There was a time where my friends called me Gym Rat. Maybe there’ll be a time later on when I’m a rat again, but right now I’d rather get my cardio in by vacuuming.
- Going out to bars and clubs. I drive too much during the week and I’d rather party in the comfort of home, either mine or friends’. It’s not worth the money and I have more fun this way.
- TV. That’s why we have a DVR/Netflix.