Working Toward Balance – ROW80 Mid-week Check-in 10/12/11

Wednesday is always kind of a draggin-my-ass-around day here at More Cowbell. After working 20-25 hours on Monday and Tuesday, it’s a stretch to muster any energy for Hump Day.

However, if any of you read yesterday’s post, 5 Great Bits of Wisdom From A New York Times Bestseller, you’d know that a lot of writing (hell, MOST writing) is just showing up and doing the work.

I hunted around for some motivation to do this post…drank coffee, jumped up and down…ate some Halloween candy.

Finally I Googled the topic just for grins and lo and behold…

The Top 4 Factors that Motivate Employees Writers are:

1. Achievement

This motivator kicks in when the person is motivated by the objective itself. If an employee’s writer’s goal is to finish a project, they will stay amped up for the duration of that project.

2. Advancement

Inspiration in this case is related to the likelihood of advancing “up the ladder.” I’ve met people who say they don’t care about moving up, gaining prestige or making more money. And you know what? I don’t believe them. Let’s hear it for ambition!🙂

3. Pressure

Some people thrive under pressure, but this motivator is the one least recommended. Think about how this relates to something like completing a degree program or writing a novel. Being motivated by pressure is the thing that will give students and writers ulcers. I’m not saying this is never my motivation, but it sure does wear a body out.

4. Fear

I was sad to see that this is the most regularly used employee motivator. In the workplace, it’s usually a fear of losing your job if you don’t perform. We explored writer’s fears in a whole series of posts over at Writers In The Storm. Click here for a post that sums up the series and provides links to all the fear blogs.

Now the close of this “4 Motivators” post is the reason I linked to it:

The secret to the most valuable employee writer’s motivation method rests in balance.

Yep, that's me most days. (I mean, except for the whole Olympic gymnast/leotard thing.)

I forget about balance. Quite often.

It is the number one thing that my husband sighs over when it comes to me, and it is the number one thing I continually fight for in my own life.

I want to believe I’m getting better at accepting that I don’t need to drag myself through the wringer just to get everything done. (Stop laughing, Honey!)

Case in point:
I’m supposed to have the pics up from the ROCK THE ROW Party for voting. Plus, I’m supposed to be discussing my ROW80 “progress” since Sunday.

It’s 10 pm Tuesday night and I’m just leaving work. There is no ROW80 progress. Most of my progress happens between Wed and Sunday when I actually have time to breathe.

In my old life, I’d have stayed until it was done, even if I left the office at midnight. The new me accepts that one day won’t matter.

I think I’m growing. Don’t you? (STOP laughing, Honey!)

As you move forward with your ROW80 goals this week, I wish you BALANCE. It is the most valuable gift you can give yourself to help you muster the motivation to chase your dreams.

Is “balance” on your list of ROW80 goals? What do you do to achieve balance in your life? Is this a strong area for you or a weak one? Enquiring minds always want to hear your answers here at More Cowbell!

Jenny

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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49 Responses to Working Toward Balance – ROW80 Mid-week Check-in 10/12/11

  1. Oh my word, Jenny! You sound like me, girl! I fight constantly for balance. I’m bering better, parky because my evil day job motivators dote on fear. I’m not liking that so much, so it’s having the opposite effect on me. 40 hours and I’m done. I’ve got the important par of my life to do, thank you very much. (I need to tel my husband to stop laughing). But really I’m trying. I’m down to fifty hours, so that’s progress.

    Best of luck, Jenny. Maybe we need a balance support group!

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  2. Darn early morning and tiny font on phone!! Edit: getting better, partly and part and tell!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I knew what you meant, Elizabeth – I’m commenting using tiny phone buttons RIGHT NOW.🙂

      I am blessed in my part time day job, primarily because they welcome me each week and allow me to work part time.

      As I said, I do kill myself on those days, but then I. Home with baby girl the other days of the week.

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  3. Yes, balance is what I’m striving for as well. It is why I ran to do ROW80 even facing my busiest time at work because I knew without the goals, I could easily get sucked into a vacuum of no writing, no craft work, no relaxation and no me. Your Monday and Tuesday sound all too familiar. Oye. What you said about getting things done during the time you have to breathe helps me. That is when I should plan certain writing times. Great post and wisdom Jenny!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Well, I do crowd it all in so I get most of the week with baby girl. Often, I’ll even get a third day of babysitting so I can write. I am particularly tired this week and I think it’s because I’m not balancing things properly. (Hence, you all get this post!)

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  4. Laura Drake says:

    It’s that darn ‘time’ thing, rearing it’s ugly head again, huh?
    You ARE getting better, Jenny – the biggest way I’ve seen is that you’re not beating yourself up quite as much when you CAN’T be two places at once.

    So glad you’re giving that up – so unmotivating – sucks all the fun from life!

    All of us (AND Honey) love you the way you are.

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  5. Ruth Nestvold says:

    Great post, Jenny, thanks for that. I too am getting closer to the ideal frame of mind that one day more or less won’t matter. I had a phase (much too long) where I nearly hated writing. I was writing a requested novel I hadn’t planned on writing, pushing myself to get it finished — and then the publisher turned it down. Lesson(s) to self: 1) Enjoying the writing comes first 2) Don’t write on spec. *g*

    Hope the rest of the week is calmer and you can get back to writing!🙂

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      You go, Ruth! you’ll get that book published! Still, I’m so sorry you wrote it with the expectation it would be accepted and it’s damn hard when it isn’t.😦

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  6. Admitting you can’t do it all is progress in and of itself. Just the fact that you posted her, on your regular day, something interesting for the rest of us is meeting a goal. Perhaps not your ROW80 goal, but you’re writing, yes?

    Maybe make your goal day on Sunday? Sounds like that might be a day when you have more of a chance to breathe.

    I *still* can’t believe I missed the Rock the Row party! Dang, it sounds like it was so much fun. Ah, it’s that whole, ‘can’t be in two places at once’ thing!

    You’re pretty awesome, so don’t be too hard on yourself.

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Thanks, Tameri! I usually do my main post on Sundays, but i had aspirations about those pictures. Then I realized, I just didn’t have enough in me to write it and format it, so it’s been pushed back a few days.

      Perhaps I’ll add those pics to my Sunday post!! Eureka…🙂

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  7. My inquiring mind says: yes, I´ve found balance since ROW80 Round 3. My “balance” includes skipping a day from writing on my WIP to instead writing a blog post and reading either part of a craft book or a fiction book. Therefore, day on, day off, day on, day off.

    The day “on” being WIP writing days. Sometimes I tend to take too many days off in a row though, which aint so good for my ROW if you know what I mean. OK, I’m stopping now. Coffee time.

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  8. That’s what is awesome about ROW80, adopt it for you! I for example don’t do well with a weekly “x” words. I like finish lines. I have a 30K finish line for October, and yes, I’m still warming up…🙂 So make it your own, and at the end, you’ll feel awesome!

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  9. K.B. Owen says:

    Hang in there, Jenny! Baby steps. I can do a sprint with you tonight, around 9pm EDT (Survivor ends around then), if you’re interested! You’re juggling ALOT. It’s okay to breathe, and reach for smaller goals when you’re overloaded. As long as you’re still reaching, right?🙂

    Kathy

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  10. Ryan King says:

    Balance doesn’t come easy but I certainly hope you can find yours. For me, I leave work at work. I make time for the family but I also make time for my writing. I’ve clearly set boundaries. I guess you can say I’ve developed a routine around the busy schedules where it doesn’t feel so crazy anymore. Then again, maybe I’ve just gotten used to it. Good luck!

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  11. Ali Dent says:

    I needed this reminder to keep things in balance. Good luck this week with your goals.
    Ali

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  12. Balance is a hard thing to achieve … if it was easy, everyone would be happy and satisfied.
    Like most people, my life is very far from being balanced.
    Loved your post =)

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  13. Thanks for the terrific post, Jenny. I couldn’t agree more; balance is so key to writing success and personal fulfillment. I find that balancing sleep, work and rest makes a tremendous difference in my work quality…This means turning off the computer by a certain time each day, sticking to routine sleeping/waking times and writing my butt in between. Best of luck with all!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      August, you are my heroine (and not just because you have the cool name). I’m completely impressed that you have sleep on your list of balancers. Go girl!

      Thanks for stopping in!

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  14. Stacy Green says:

    Great post, Jenny. You’re right, balance is the key to life in general. Getting out of whack with home/work/life can completely stunt our creativity and drive to work. Have a great hump day!

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  15. While I have some ROW80 progress, I don’t have a Wednesday ROW80 update post. I could have done one yesterday. I could have done one this morning. I decided, checking-in once a week was enough to keep me motivated. And THAT is part of my finding balance. Excellent post Jenny!

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  16. I’m with you Raelyn. I plan to check in once a week, too. On Sundays.

    I joined Row 80 a day late, but managed to get my goals posted without deleting prior posts. With only two days into it, I feel grounded with those goals. My HUGE challenge was staying active on FB and BLOG without consuming all of my writing time. I’ll #ROW80 when the “solution” post launches on Friday.

    Jenny, you reported on Sunday, logged 25 work hours, responded to TWO blog articles, took care of baby girl , and don’t feel you have anything to report for Wednesday? How about “survived?”

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  17. Katy Bennett says:

    Hope the rest of your week goes better, my life seems to be balanced between office hours and sleep hours with everything else crammed into the few available hours between. So yeah I need more balance.

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      That’s a rough one, Katy…because we’ve got to work, but sometimes it just feels like work time sucks up every other bit of time there is. I’ll keep trying to exude some balance over here at More Cowbell and we’ll see if ROW80 helps the two of us stay on course.🙂

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  18. Nancy J Nicholson says:

    Wow, Jenny. Balance is always a struggle in my world. I guess my goals help, but also being able to move them one way or another helps, that’s why I like ROW 80 so much. We get to set our own goals and it’s really up to us to be honest and successful. We all can be successful!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Thanks for stopping in and cheering me on Nancy. I don’t know WHY balance has to be such a struggle. I think it goes back to what one of the other gals said…it’s all about priorities, and those are hard.

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  19. amyshojai says:

    Are we Siamese twins separated at birth? Yikes, with me it’s always, “I’ll quit for the night RIGHT AFTER (fill in the blank) is done…”

    But there’s always another (fill in the blank) waiting in the wings. For years I worked 7 days a week…still do (a little *s*) but now I make the effort to take Sunday off completely. That is, NOT check email or the computer or or or…

    I’m getting better. But not yet cured.

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  20. Draven Ames says:

    Great post today. I love the use of google for motivations – very inventive. Balance between home life and writer life is important, too. I think it is very important to remember our family and put them first.

    Draven

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I try, Draven…I do try. I think you’re right that family must always come first. The other stuff goes to hell when I forget that. Mostly when I wrote this, I was just TIRED.

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  21. Hartford says:

    Great post Jenny and I agree, balance is the struggle for all of us. Juggling life, family, work, play, writing, blogging, it’s insane. We are trying to accomplish so much. I think what helps me most is reminding myself that the “expectations” I am feeling are usually self-imposed and flexible. And I can change them and let go at any point – and good for you for doing so!🙂 It’s about a constant awareness of priorities and making sure that we invest in those big rocks first – and not get taken away by the sand and stuff that can easily wait. Rock it out girl – you are an inspiration to all of us!

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  22. amy kennedy says:

    Oh Jenny, I love you. And I’m not just sayin’ that. You do so much — I think you absolutely need to give yourself a “bye” every once in awhile (pardon my football jargon — I’ve got a fantasy football team, 4 and 1 baby!) sometimes you need the flipping time off from getting EVERYTHING done. Yes, you have to show up — but if the day is done, the only thing you have to show up for is yourself and your family.

    Love yourself Jenny!

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  23. kerrymeacham says:

    Balance is very difficult, because almost by definition writers aren’t balanced, literally and figuratively. I have to have unbalanced time away from family, and then unbalanced time with family away from writing. So you almost need to be unbalanced in the short term to be balanced in the long term. Uhhhh…I’m confusing myself a little, but I hope I’m getting my point across. Great post, Jenny.

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  24. It’s hard to find that balance sometimes. I know I’m working on it.😀

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  25. Lena Corazon says:

    Totally feeling you on this, Jenny. My schedule changes with each quarter, but this fall Monday is my long day, where I’m on campus from 9 am – 6 pm. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that nothing will get done on Monday nights, and that I’ll spend Tuesday playing catch-up in terms of sleep and schoolwork, but I’ve found that accepting that is half the battle, because it means that I’m not constantly berating myself for what I can’t get done. It’s a tiny baby step towards the ultimate goal of balance (and enlightenment and all of that), but a step nonetheless.

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  26. Annie says:

    It took me forever to adopt the idea that one day won’t matter. The catalyst that sent me over the edge was a missed deadline. You would have thought the Mayan Calendar had run out early. I could have sworn my world would crumble, but surprisingly, people waited, and actually granted me more time. It was a revelation. I no longer take on more than I can realistically accomplish. Hopefully I’m gaining more balance in my life, but I love the little nudge from you to remember its importance. Great post!

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  27. Balance? What’s that? Seriously, I can’t remember when was the last time that I could honestly say, “I have balance in my life”. I think I manage really well if I have a few minutes a day to catch my breath between taking care of the kids, writing, housework, looking for a job (yep, after six years at home I’m ready to get back in that corporate world again) and anything else that (always) falls in my lap. I hate when I miss a deadline but lately this has been happening a lot. Maybe I just need to completely restructure my schedule. I’m hoping row80 will help me with that🙂

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  28. Excellent post. The one thing I’ve learned about balancing everything is priorities. Questioning whether it is important, necessary, frivolous. Am I over scheduling myself, expecting too much. Keeping lists helps.

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  30. Hmmm… Not agreeing on what’s on the list. What I believe should motivate people: desire to do what you’re sent here on earth to do and gratitude. You can’t help it. You’re doing it because of something greater than yourself. Yes, there are times when you’re going to feel like you’d rather get hit with the bulldozer rather than do it (a sign that you have to let go) but for the most part, you’re doing it because you wanted to. You’re also thinking of why you believe you’re blessed for doing what you’re doing.🙂 What do you think?

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