Office chair

The Balancing Act

The last few months have been a period of transformation for me. I downsized and started school and cut back at work to focus on starting my own business. To say it has been a struggle is an understatement. I moved and not even a week later I was starting my online classes at the Art Institute. I thought I had it all figured out and that it would be a piece of cake. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I have been to college before, so I thought I was prepared for another round, but online classes are a lot different than ground campus education. The courses are a lot shorter, so you have to have at least 5 hours available to read the lectures, watch the videos and read the books. That is just the prep work. There is also the actual assignment that you have to complete. It was either a paper, presentation or design that I had to submit.

As a creative person, I feel that you cannot rush a masterpiece, so what I ended up doing was taking another 3 – 4 hours designing my concepts the way I envisioned. On top of that, I still had to actively participate in class by responding to my peers and providing them feedback. Now, this would have been fine, if I wasn’t working 35 hours a day between freelancing as a virtual assistant and keeping my business afloat.

The one thing that kept coming up in my mind was that I didn’t have enough hours in the day. I was still overworked and exhausted. Not to mention, I had a relationship with my boyfriend that I was determined to attend to because I love him and wanted to show I cared. There were many talks about how I had to do this and that and it started to creep into my relationship time.

Here’s where the balancing act came in. I was staring up at the ceiling one night because I couldn’t sleep with all the things I had to do running around in my head. And it occurred to me, I had forgotten the advice of my favorite advisor in undergrad.

“It’s okay to say no. You can’t do everything.” – Diane Ariza

Women are guilty of trying to do everything, but unfortunately, something will suffer. We have to choose what means the most to us and be the best at it. And enjoy it.This haunted me for the next hour that I stayed awake. I had forgotten why I made this change in the first place. The reason for the change was that I was waking up going to work for someone else’s dream and make them money. I was completely miserable because I was forcing people to do something they didn’t want to do. Plus, I would work 12 hours days and most weekends just so that I could get my numbers.

I wasn’t helping people to get a better education like I thought. I was making money so that the company could stay afloat and keep me and others employed. I was told I had a good retention rate for students succeeding, but I needed to get more students…MORE STUDENTS. Every day, I was asked if I got a student. I started having nightmares about losing my job because I didn’t have enough students. After a year of this fear, I left. I found a way to make a living working from home and found a network of people across the states who were so helpful and caring. We became each other’s support.

Fast forward to now, I almost made the same mistake that I made then by taking on to much and realized my mistake in the nick of time. After that night of pondering, I decided to focus on being a business owner personal stylist, and virtual assistant. I get to make my own hours and set my expectations for success. Every day brings a new challenge and forces me to use my calendar to manage my time, but as you follow my blog you will see that I am on my way.

Until next time…

Ashley E signature with xoxo at the end

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