Making Room For Your Passion When Life Is Already Full

By July 15, 2017Random

I get asked all the time how I do it all—how do I work full-time, spend quality time with my kids, be a good wife and do all the projects and writing that is associated with having a blog/design business? Oh and a relatively new one—start a kids’ used clothes Instagram shop.

Well, for one, I don’t really do it all. And I certainly don’t have everything figured out. Some days I feel bad at everything (like Monday… Monday was a bad one for me).

For me, it’s all about a shift in how I think, so I thought I’d share that. And of course, I always love hearing how you find the time in your busy lives for the things you love, too. What are some of your tips and tricks?

First, let’s talk passions. What is yours?

For me, a passion is the thing I have to do, even just a little bit, in order to feel like my best self. It’s also what I would choose to do, without a doubt, if money and obligations and general adult-ness weren’t an issue. And my passion, specifically, is making spaces pretty and all of the DIY, decor and construction mess that goes along with that.

When you realize you have a passion and get to spend time on that passion, a whole new world opens up. It took me most of my adult life to realize mine, even though it was right in front of me for much longer than that. For me, I wanted to be more than just my 9-5 job. Life is too great and too full of potential to be so one-dimensional. I have a great job, but I was looking for more. And you might be one of the lucky ones—where your full time job is also your passion.

If you haven’t found your passion yet, keep looking. Chances are it’s right in front of you. It could be something simple—like reading books or something more intense—like starting a business. Passions don’t necessarily have to translate to money. That’s the beauty (and evil… ha!) of passions.

To be my best self, I have to spend time doing what I love.

That right there is how I have the time. I make it a priority in my life. It lifts me up and makes me feel good. That’s how this whole blog got started in the first place—I wanted to share that joy with others and document my journey in some way. And honestly, I was hoping there were more people out there like me. I never expected it to 1.) last 6 years and 2.) earn me some money along the way and 3.) meet a whole bunch of people who are also house freaks 🙂

If it’s important to you, you’ll find the time to do it.

There are 24 hours in a day. For example, one of the “omg how do you have time for that?” projects is getting our deck stained. This one is important to me because I care how the backyard looks. And so I find the time for it. My kids get up around 7:30 am, but light breaks around 5:30 am. That’s a good 2 hours of staining time, which might be just enough considering we plan to spray it versus hand brush. And we’ll do all the prepping the night before. (And be in bed by 10 pm, because that morning alarm will come quick. Ugh.)

And remember, what’s important to me may not be important to you. I can’t tell you the last time I went to the gym, or cooked a nice meal. And that’s OK.

I squeeze minutes out of every day.

I am always looking for ways to get more time out of my day. Let’s talk about the full-time job. My lunch break is 100% dedicated to my passion. It’s when I write posts, run out to grab supplies or research my next project. I joke that I’m a hermit at work during lunch time—I rarely go out with coworkers or sit and chat with a group. Sometimes it sucks and I miss that time, but I try to stay as focused as I can.

I consider my passions when making big decisions.

When your passions are considered alongside family and health when making a big decision, time becomes much easier to find. For example, when changing jobs I wanted to be sure to stay within a 10-mile radius of our house. Staying close allows me to run home when needed and finish any projects (and also to throw in a load of laundry). And in the winter, when there is no evening or morning light to speak of, I can run home and take any photos I need for the blog.

The window of 7am-8pm doesn’t exist in my mind.

I try to leave that window of time off the table as much as I can—that’s when it’s all about family. I’ll sometimes get a nap time here or there, but I don’t like to count on it. I didn’t always used to be good at this. I used to try to squeeze out time during that window, but it just ended up making me feel guilty and a terrible mom, so it’s been a helpful shift in thinking to keep that window off limits.

One of the really cool things that’s happened now that my kids are a little bit older, is I can get them involved in the projects I’m doing. It is an enormous exercise in patience (and I have to make sure it’s safe), but I love seeing how focused and interested they become in doing something new. And then it becomes rewarding for all of us.

Give yourself grace.

Please don’t think this is easy for me. It’s really, really tough. And some days I wonder if having my hand in so many things is really worth it. But so far, it has been. I love being able to spend time on sometime that gives me so much in return. Is it sustainable? I hope so—and I’ll continue until it doesn’t feel good or make sense to do so anymore.

I was talking with someone on this very topic the other day and they said the smartest thing: when you value something, time becomes less of an issue. Isn’t that so true? Staining the deck, painting a wall, taking photos—those might seem like chores to some, but for me, it’s a task that I absolutely look forward to and feel real benefit from. And because of that, time is often a non-issue.

How have you made room for passions in your own life? I’d love to hear about the hobbies or work that gets you going.

xo,

emily

Image from wendymass.com 

 

 

Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • Emma Elizabeth says:

    Thank you for writing (and sharing) this piece.

  • Kevin Namaky says:

    Emily: I love this post. You’ve captured the very essence of how to do it all. You have to love it! Then you’ll find the time. If you don’t love it, it may be time to think a little more about what you WANT to do with your time.

    I also like that you acknowledged specific trade offs you’ve made (like the gym or time intensive dinners). Really, it’s not so much doing it ALL as it is focusing on what you love and letting the rest go.

    Thanks.

    • Emily May says:

      I know you can relate. It’s an interesting shift in thinking to go from letting time lead to telling time where to go. Once I figured that out, everything else became much easier.

  • Rebecca Poole says:

    Such a wonderful perspective, thank you for sharing!

  • Kim says:

    I love this! You are an incredible woman – and while you may not feel that you have it all “together,” you have inspired me. Love to hear how you “do it all.”

    Whenever someone asks me how I have time for XYZ, I just say that I make it a priority. We all prioritize different things – intentionally or not.

    • Emily May says:

      Yes exactly! Everyone’s priorities are different. I think it’s a little strange to many that house projects are a priority to me. To a lot of folks, house projects are an absolute chore. I’m not saying it’s a joyful jubilee all the time, but you bet there’s how I choose to spend my time no question.

  • Lena says:

    HI Emily. I appreciated hugely your post. I am a new mum of twins (they are 1.5 year old) and have (had) a few passions DIY included and was trying to figure out how concretely to combine it all in one day. The fact that you put in concrete examples is fantastic. I was thinking that this one hour lunch break I have gives me nothing I want by talking to my colleagues over lunch, because in fact my mind is at buying a new frame for some pictures I want to put up or at painting project that I wonder how I could squeeze it into the boys’ and family routine. I also started to realize that you cannot have it all, as you say – not going to the gym is fine by you. Not buying the latest trend of shoes is fine by me, because I have about 20 pais anyway and I want to use my time elsewhere better. A huge thank you for sharing how you do it! I am a big sucker at copying models that I have not figured out for my-self yet and since the boys were born that was more than eeded. You are an inspiration!

  • Mackenzie says:

    This is an amazing summary that definitely explains that it’s not always easy being busy all the time, but that it’s worth it if you really love it! I’ll definitely take some suggestions from how you do it while I start on my own blog.

    • Emily May says:

      My biggest advice for blogging is no matter how busy, you have to churn out tons of content. Even in the early days when no one is reading, you have to keep churning content. And good content. It is a big effort of self-discipline. I always tell people it’s like dieting for months on end with zero results but having the discipline to keep at it. Lol. You got this!

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