Today, please welcome guest blogger, Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell – Speaker, Wife, and Mother to the Sweetest & Stickiest-fingered Daughter in the Land!
Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell is the Author of Leading Through Living: A Guide for Women Seeking Growth Through Leadership and CEO of the Leading Through Living Community. An Attorney & CPA, Entrepreneur & Coach, Lynita has utilized her expertise, experience, and network to train and coach people to be capable, equipped, and empowered leaders personally, professionally, and within their communities.
Follow Lynita on Twitter @lynitamb.
Join the Leading Through Living Community at www.LynitaMitchellBlackwell.com
Wife. Mother. Daughter. Lawyer. Speaker. Activist. Politico. Friend. I hold all these titles, and sometimes they hold me – binding me up like a car in gridlocked traffic. But unlike the car that is trapped and powerless to move through the endless sea of brake lights, I am empowered to get off the freeway and pull over when I feel overwhelmed. I know how to create an exit, disentangle myself from the traffic, and reset my course so that I may concentrate on the task at hand that requires my immediate attention. Many reading this would say, “Well, of course, that would be your role as wife.” Or mother. Or careerist. Everyone has an opinion as to where attention should be placed when things spin out of control. But the truth is, the focus shifts depending on the situation, and it is the person who understands that who will be the most successful in maintaining true family/work/life balance.
How can I say that? Let us examine for a moment one day in the life of Lynita the Writer: Up at 5am to work for 2 hours uninterrupted on my writing (which includes my books, workshops, blogs, website content updates); stop at 7am to waken my husband and daughter, and get them ready and out the house to work and school, respectively; 8am, exercise, then get ready for work with my first legal client; 6pm, come home to work on homework with my daughter and enjoy a meal prepared by my awesome mother; 9pm spend time with hubby and work on my community leadership responsibilities.
As you can see, this is not just the life of Lynita the Writer. It is Lynita’s Life Period. There is no separating one thing from another, they are all intertwined and although I have a schedule, that schedule can change at the drop of a dime: snow days, date night with hubby, girls afternoon with my mom or girlfriend, emergency with a client, illness, project deadlines… Life happens, will happen, and is happening. And all the things that make up Life are important and must be faced – will be faced – as they come. One thing at a time, one instance at a time. That is true life balance.
But what to do when time must be taken from one place and plugged into another? How do I decide where it should come from? That depends on what is on the horizon. Many writers who have full time jobs and family responsibilities – like yours truly – deduct the time from their writing schedule and hope to catch up later. Speaking from experience, you never really catch up, you “rob Peter to pay Paul” and take the time catching up on your writing from some other area of your life – time with your family, working out, relaxing. When deadlines are approaching, that cannot be helped. If a deadline can be extended, by all means, take the reprieve. But sometimes that is not possible, and the project must be completed. When that happens, I make a mental note of the quantity of time I “stole” from its appropriate place and work hard to ensure the quality of said time makes up for it. So if I miss a blog post, I make sure the next post is more thoughtful and introspective, packed with “goodies” for the reader. If I work through the night and miss “family time”, we have movie night at home the following weekend. And when I am exhausted, I rest, knowing that when I wake, I will be rejuvenated and ready to take whatever comes my way.
Balance is your personal road and it is always under construction. It changes as you and your circumstances change. It is entirely of your own making. Make it work for you, taking the turns and curves along the road with the knowledge that you are the chief engineer and in control.