I’ve come across blogs, talks and articles that insinuate that even if you’re busy, it doesn’t mean you’re doing anything. They suggest that we should start ‘being’ instead of ‘doing’. I read these and feel that I am being scolded. Many of them relate to gratefulness and a minimalist approach to living (you know, the whole ‘less is more’ concept). I’m here to tell you that there IS such a thing as purposeful busyness. In the meal that is life, I like to keep my plate full and the following, while personal, illustrates why having a full and busy life can translate to happiness. It’s a balancing act and it’s sometimes overwhelming but at the end of the day, it’s possible to have it all—I know I do!
Let’s talk about sleep: I’ll preempt this with a big “I am not a doctor or anyone from the health community”. I am in no way suggesting that anyone should follow my lead. I sleep, I swear I do! I typically get 6 hours a day. That’s what I need to run. I need 2190 hours of sleep per year! Twenty-five percent of my year is dedicated to sleep. When someone suggests that I don’t get enough sleep, I explain that everyone is different. While some individuals function at peak performance when getting 7 or 8 hours of sleep, I just need a little less. I am not saying that anyone who gets more sleep than me is less productive or capable. What I am saying is that I require 6 hours of sleep per night and feel great 90% of the time. Anymore than 25% for me would feel like too much. Next…
Work… Running a startup means that you don’t work the typical 9 to 5. I plugged in a good ole’ 28% for work. My work for me is a passion. I love everything that I get to do on a daily basis. Some tasks are tough and some are pleasant but all provide a learning experience. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the education you get at this stage of building a company is priceless. I get to problem solve, provide a solution, look for innovative ways to get our vision and mission out into the world and I get to do all of that while perpetually pushing myself. Every time I’m out, I’m talking about my work; I’m finding a way to connect with someone who may have something to offer or vice versa. I read a book a week (usually out of the motivational/learning/sales realm) and take any opportunity outside of work to brush up on any skills that might impact my work life in a professional manner.
This next category is an absolute necessity to my well being and sanity. I am a true believer that everyone needs a creative outlet to ensure that they have somewhere to let any bubbling stress or any built up emotion go. It’s a way to release everything and pour your heart/hands/emotions into something different! I personally do this on 2 levels… I partnered with my sister a few years ago and we own a photography business. We take all types of pictures (newborn, maternity, weddings, milestones, event photography and anything else you can imagine) and get to take part in some of the most meaningful life moments. I’ve held more newborns than I can count, I’ve corseted dozens of brides, and I’ve watched love up close and personal and sometimes from afar while clicking away. I provide the service of memories which is a pretty cool feeling. I am half of an acoustic duo by the name of Chicks with Picks. We play at venues, weddings, bars, festivals casinos and private parties. We get to sing our little hearts out and have a great time doing it! Both of my creative outlets fill most of the blank spots on my calendar and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Beyond everything I’ve already mentioned, I’m the mom of 2 teenage boys (I see them daily but I keep up with them, on a real level, by scheduling monthly one on one dates with them). I have a loving and supportive husband who taps me on the shoulder every now and again and reminds me that we should go eat somewhere downtown, share a fabulous bottle of red and eat some delicious food! I have a large group of friends and plan/attend plenty of social functions. The key: I LOVE everything that I do. When I look down at my calendar, I’m not negative, sighing and wishing I had said no…I say, “OK Mel, let’s do this!” I’m busy and I wouldn’t have it any other way!