Friday, March 08, 2013

Prioritizing Happiness (aka: Horses)

We've basically been making it to the barn on weekends only lately. This is not at all ideal, but the weather has been bad and my workload rather overwhelming.

Arguably my greatest lifelong personal struggle is with my attention span. I seem to have something like the opposite of ADD. What I mean by this is it's very easy for me to get excessively focused on one aspect of my life, often to the detriment of everything else.

Being that I am my own boss, this can translate into a problem with over-working. I have to set firm rules for myself. These rules consist of strict limits to prevent me from working constantly. Here are a few of them:
  • no working on weekends
  • no checking email before I accomplish my personal goals for the morning
  • no working after dinner
  • no answering the phone or responding to clients outside of normal business hours
  • no getting work email notifications on my phone
I'm sure you get the idea.

But the problem with these rules is I set them for myself and only I can enforce them. Inevitably it seems to happen that once or twice a year my workload balloons suddenly. The only way to stay on top of it is to work a lot. Which is fine. That is how it is to be a small business owner. I don't mind spending a few weeks here and there logging super long days to get caught up. The key for me, though, is not letting this go on for too long. I get stressed when I feel I can't get all my work done, and stress makes me work harder, which makes me more stressed. Before I know what hit me, I'm not making time for the horses, not sleeping well, barely leaving the house, and only eating because Brian feeds me.

I have been in one of these phases basically for all of 2013, and last week I realized I have to put a stop to it. I had started breaking a lot of my work-limiting rules, so step one was putting work back in its place.

While I would prefer to "work to live," rather than "live to work," in all honesty the line can blur for me sometimes. I could easily becomes a live-to-worker. But I don't want to be that person. A lot of things slip in my life when I work too much. I may be cranking out websites like nobody's business, but I am not happy.

Horses have been my most consistent reliable source of happiness for my entire life. The more I ride, the happier I am. Unfortunately, the same thing can happen with horses as with work. The more I ride, the more I want to ride and if I'm not careful I'll find myself sneaking out to ride too many mornings a week, then getting home and blogging about my ride instead of getting right to work. This is fun, but not sustainable from a monetary standpoint...

Life. It's a balancing act. I have gotten unbalanced. So my resolution for March is to prioritize happiness, which means going to the barn more.


  1. it is SO hard to balance life! There are so many things that you have to focus on at one time, and I find myself not giving ME time! I have work time and horse time and boyfriend time and cleaning time, but not relaxing me time!

  2. Yeah, I have that "focus on one thing too much" problem too. That's actually one of the reasons I started doing my time tracking thing, so I could easily see when that was happening.

    I've also had to set some rules about checking email and other work-related things, to keep myself from obsessing about it too much. Although, much like your job, there are times that are just busy, and I do just have to put in some extra hours for awhile. I also try to schedule some "fun" time every week, where I can just do whatever I want at the time (whether that's reading, art, or just vegging out with the critters).

    Anyway, good luck with your resolution. I hope March comes out much more balanced than the previous months.

  3. Thanks guys. One of the reasons I posted this on my blog is to make myself "accountable." It's already helping me break out of the work rut a bit. :)


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