2016… was a doozy. Needless to say, this past year has taught me to reevaluate my priorities in life, to stop and give time to the things that matter, to weed out the things that don’t, and to restructure my life so that I make the most of it. So as we start off 2017, I’m not making traditional resolutions, but rather seeking actionable ways to celebrate life. 2017 will be the year I strive to balance teaching, my new life as a mom, and my entrepreneurial dreams.
As I get ready to embark on my path of motherhood, I recognize that this will be a time of great change, learning, and flexibility; so I am dedicating the next two months before Baby West’s arrival to finding balance in my life. I’m certain his arrival will shake it all up and I’m ready for that, but I hope that I can continue through the year with the pursuit of balance in mind. As teachers and entrepreneurs, we take on too much. It’s who we are. It’s how we operate. My goal in this upcoming mini, blog series is to help us all weed through the systems that control our two separate, and often disjointed, careers and aspirations and make them more efficient. Let’s create systems so that we can continue to feed our souls, but also make time for the important things in life, like dinner with friends, play dates at the park, and lazy evenings on the couch. So if this sounds like a balance you’re striving for, join me on my journey in 2017 and strive to find balance in your life.
This mini, blog series is geared towards those Teacher/Etsy Seller Creatives specifically, but will have nuggets of actionable information for all teachers and self-made entrepreneurial spirits. Many of my friends balance multiple careers simultaneously; running a profitable tutoring business while working for a small company, creating a successful photography business while working for the family business, several friends working for Rodan + Fields while teaching or working as a hairdresser full-time, and all my friends conquering the world of Etsy while maintaining a full-time job. We’re not letting life happen to us, we’re creating the lives we want. So let’s give ourselves the time and space we need to make the most of it and take some time to create a big-picture master plan.
Today, let’s acknowledge the head space that we need to be in to make this all work. It’s no surprise that I am most active on my blog during my “breaks” from teaching and Etsy-madness. I finally have time to work on other things, which is part of it, but that’s really not why in my opinion. In order for creativity and inspiration to happen, we have to create head space. It seems counter-intuitive, but in order to turn out more product or reinvent yourself and your processes there needs to be a brain break from everything else and a lengthy period of rest. That’s right. If you want to be incredibly productive, you have to give yourself time to do absolutely nothing. Many authors and creative spirits purposefully take sabbaticals, or long breaks, from their careers to spend time doing nothing in an effort to come up with a whole slew of ideas. While it might not be feasible for us all to take a month off from life and go live in a cabin as a hermit and brainstorm, we can find ways to take mini-vacations to allow our brains to roam and explore. For me, I am always productive on an airplane when it comes to dreaming up new product ideas, or blog content. The dedicated time to myself, unable to do anything else, forces my brain to relax and simply roam.
The same goes for breaks from teaching. You would think I relish in the thought that I don’t have to do anything teaching related for a few weeks, but the exact opposite happens. During breaks from teaching my mind starts racing half-way through with new curriculum ideas or better ways to run my classroom (remember my post on my classroom blog?). As teachers, we have natural brain breaks created for us and we wouldn’t survive without them! So take advantage of your breaks to let your brain relax for a few days and you’ll be amazed at the content you’ll start to turn out. If you’re not a teacher, or need it to be more purposeful in order for it to happen, take a weekend away. Go camping by yourself or with one other person who will understand your intention. Check into a local hotel and lay out by the pool all day. You’ll put yourself in the right headspace to make the rest of these ideas work for you.
So if you do anything for yourself in 2017, let it be the time off that you give yourself. Take time to feed your soul and let your mind roam. But if you’re feeling up for looking deeper into the systems that run your life and making small adjustments to the way you do things to create better balance, join me in the upcoming blog posts to take some actionable steps to celebrate life in 2017.