One of the things I get asked most frequently is “Chels, HOW do you balance an 8-5 job on top of running a farm?” And to be perfectly honest, for a while the answer was that I wasn’t.
Have you ever gone through life for days, weeks, even MONTHS where you look back and realize you were just surviving? Day in and day out you were doing the basic tasks to keep your life functioning but you weren’t REALLY going anywhere?
I’m only 28 years old, but I’ve hit this wall more than once in my life. You wake up one day and realize that for the last 6 months you have been SURVIVING instead of THRIVING.
You’re probably like “yeah Chels, everyone gets in a funk. Everyone has periods like that.” and I’ll raise you this, I don’t believe I need to have those problems anymore and here’s why:
Life is all a balancing act, right? Balancing the good and the bad; the positive and the negative; the wants and the needs. Growing up, one of my parents told me “it’s better to be really great at one thing than pretty good at many things.” Now, I completely understand that you can make an argument either way on that one. But I think what that means to me (more or less) is don’t spread yourself too thin. Don’t burn the candle at both ends, Don’t have your hands in too many pots…however you want to say it.
But what if the pot you want to have both hands in (for me that’s the farm) is not an option for both hands at the moment? Then we have to balance. Here’s how I stopped surviving and began thriving:
- Get used to the idea of always being a little behind where you’d like to be. We are adults now! I don’t know when or why it happened; but it’s true. You can hustle day in and day out and NEVER get to everything. So if you’re super type A like me and HATE not crossing everything off your to do list. Take a minute to give yourself a bathroom mirror pep talk. Because that list is NEVER GOING AWAY. In fact, it will only get longer. and that’s alright; you got this!
- Give yourself some grace when you forget something, miss a deadline, or can’t do EVERY SINGLE TASK you had lined out for that day. This goes hand in hand with number 1 but it’s so important that I wanted to mention it twice. Beating yourself up for all the things you couldn’t get done in a 24 hour period is not going to help you mentally or emotionally; and it’s definitely not going to finish those unfinished tasks for you.
- PRIORITIZE. This means balancing things you want to do with the things you have to do and trusting yourself when you line these things up in order of importance. I think growing up I always looked a prioritizing as ranking things I WANTED to do. Well wake up darlin’ because as an adult, more often than not, the things that take priority are NOT the things you most want to do.
- PLAN your time in advance. This goes along with number 3. If you are like me, maybe you have no trouble prioritizing but you DO have trouble finding time for those priorities. There are tasks that I literally aasign time to within my calendar each week. That way when the clock strikes that number I know I need to drop what I’m doing and spend an hour on whatever that prioritized item is. THIS IS HAS BEEN A GAME CHANGER for me. And it will be for you too if you do it and stick to it. (self discipline is key here)
- It is OKAY to take a day off work and catch up on “real life”. Once you do an 8-5 and side hustle long enough, you will know that sometimes you just need a day. I think growing up in America we often times associate taking a day off or calling in sick as a negative. But I’m here to tell you that taking a day off work to get some things done that would otherwise take you two weeks of after work time, can be SO freeing and calming. Plus, who doesn’t like having a glass of wine while they work on farm chores, laundry, walking the dog, etc.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Y’all, I am TERRIBLE at this one. So learn from my mistakes. Your friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, etc. 9 times out of 10 would LOVE to help you with something. It is human nature to want to HELP each other. Something like re-staining a deck, or building a chicken coop, or running hay to the farm animals goes way faster with multiple people. And anyone worth their salt would way rather help you with a few tasks than see you have an emotional breakdown because you’re trying to take on too much by yourself.
- STOP comparing yourself to others in your industry, area, age range, WHATEVER. just STOP IT. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; every person on this earth is different. No matter how similar your niche, market, hair color, whatever…you and another person will never be the exact same; and just because they are at a stage in their life that maybe looks more fun or glamorous than where you are, does not mean that’s the case. I often find that when I put on the blinders and move forward with things I think are great and exciting; that’s when I am the most successful and create the most unique ideas.
- Don’t spread yourself too thin. I think one of the hardest things for us is knowing when to throw in the towel. Earlier this year I started a workout regimen on top of remodeling a vacation rental, carrying 50 pound hay bales around my property, working my 8-5, commuting 3 hours each day. It was just too much. And you know what? It wasn’t needed. I get SO much physical exercise on the farm and the vacation rental remodel that for now, the gym is NOT a priority ( haha 😉 see how I linked that back to #3 again) So I quit the gym. And you can too.
What regular task or commitment do you have in your life that you could kick to the curb? Or are you a firm believer that you can really do it all? (if so, my hat is off to you!) Let me know in the comments below!
PS. If you like my sweatshirt or t-shirt in the photos above make sure to check them out here.