Balancing My Careers

Balancing Priorities

Over the past few months I have had some wonderful breakthroughs in my engineering career as well as my genealogy career.  I have always known that my genealogy business would have to take a back seat to my engineering job, but I think I had always thought that the chances of real success in my business were small.  After all there are many genealogists “out there” that can do what I do and who have the time needed to devote to finding clients.  Imagine my surprise when I joined the Association of Professional Genealogists and was suddenly contacted by three different potential clients!  I am so excited at the possibility of helping these people with their research and yet I also feel a little scared that I will fail.  I know that a lot of people have similar misgivings when they start a job and so I’ve tried to bolster myself with positive self-talk.

Last year I decided to learn more about what it takes to start a business and began attending classes through the local Small Business Administration office.  I thought a lot about how to make my business successful and grow.  I made a business plan and began marketing in a few new forums like Twitter and Facebook.  While I thought I learned a great deal from the classes I took, I also have come to realize that I have forgotten a lot of the core teachings.  First of all, you have to plan to succeed.  If you don’t you’ll end up in over your head and be unprepared for the success that comes.  Also, you have to face your fear of failure (or success) and realize that regardless of the outcome that you’ll be okay.  After all, if you can’t afford to have your business fail then you probably aren’t ready to jump in full steam.

For me the biggest challenge is finding the balance between my day job, genealogy business, and my family/ personal life.   Keeping organized and focused on the tasks I need to get done are going to help me  find the time to do all the things I want to do.  Never easy as I am sure you can all attest, but all the same I feel that it is something within my power.  For me the hardest part is setting aside time for my personal life and relationships with the ones I love!  You would think that would be my first choice of how to spend my time, but I often tend to put others’ needs ahead of my own.  This is something that I have battled with over the years and only recently felt like I have gotten better at managing all those priorities.  I have always felt like I do my best work when I am under pressure, but working that way for long periods of time is not healthy.  My goal in the coming months is to focus on finding time-saving ways to accomplish everything and make my personal life a higher priority than it has been over the past few years.  I know how important my loved ones are in my life.  They have helped me in so many ways that I need to continue to show my appreciation for each of them and be there for them when I can.  Family and friends make it all worthwhile and I intend to maximize my time with them.

4 thoughts on “Balancing My Careers

  1. I’m fortunate(?) that the current ecomony has allowed me to put more energy into starting my business than I would have had if I were still full time. But I too, find it hard to balance these new responsibilities in a way that does not leave my family feeling second best. I wouldn’t have this wonderful opportunity if it wasn’t for their love and support.

    I’ve been working hard on time management recently. I’ve gone to a daytimer system which allows me to see which tasks are a priority and which keep getting moved forward unfinished. I used this system before when I was at Sony. I’ve had this conversation on FB with others in the same boat. Some folks use their smartphones others use programs such as Outlook. Whatever you use has to work for you but the important point is to have a central location for your calendar and to-do list.

    The other strategy I am employing is time-blocking. I alot x amount of time to certain aspects of my day/week such as social media, blog writing, reading for education, etc. When the clock stops I stop, period. You can use this to carve out family time and priorities. It’s not fool proof but I find it helps me to limit what I can get lost in like social media. It forces me to be disciplined in my writing which is a weak spot for me. It also allows me to effectively changes gears to the academic work I’m doing unrelated to genealogy.

    It’s not much, I’m still learning myself. But so far I’m feeling a sense of control of my time. More importantly, I feel I’m making better decisions about what is a real priority versus just being in reaction mode all the time.

    Good Luck!


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