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Let’s Get Personal about Self-Inflicted Expectations

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How do you value the relationships in your life? Does your family know that they are important? Do you clients and customers know that relationships come first to you?

The Petsittingology Conference last week was extremely informative and fun.  It also made it caustically obvious that my time management skills have been subpar.  I have not been able to juggle my online world, the pet sitting world, and my “real” world. 

Guess what?  That’s okay.  I was defining my own success incorrectly. 

It’s not about being amazing at it all at the same time.  It’s about having the fewest regrets. 

My Goodbye Grandpa Dream

I had a dream two days ago.  I was strolling with my grandpa on their property in the forest.  I was thinking in the dream that this was probably our last walk.  We didn’t talk about anything earth shattering, but I was able to tell him that I missed him.  He said something like, “now don’t go getting sappy on me”.  He smiled and did that sarcastic chuckle thing, I looked towards him to laugh back, but he was already gone.

I broke down in the dream, but weirdly enough, I felt okay when I woke up.

It was a peaceful walk.  It was nice to be able to tell him I missed him.  And it was comforting that he wasn’t any more lovey-dovey in my subconscious than he had been while he was actually around.  I woke up feeling better than I had for several months.

I’m Annihilating the Work-Life Balance

I don’t imagine ever looking back on my life and thinking, “I wish I worked more.” 

But I would say something like, “I wish I spent more time with them while they were here.”  

I’m thankful that I had the ability and flexibility to prioritize my family this year.  The last months I spent with my grandparents were sincere.  The sadness and grief are deeper, but I’m grateful I got to know them better before they passed.

Do I need to buckle down and write more here?  Yes.  Should I be hiring some pet sitters and growing Crystal’s Cozy Care?  Yes.  Should I keep turning my phone to silent while I’m hanging out with my husband, our families, and/or my friends?  Yes. 

Do I have to be amazing at all of that every minute of the day?  OH HELLS NO.

My new work-life balance has boiled down to “People first.”  Everything else is just the fun filler of life.  People are where the real magic happens.

I’ll continue helping and making true connections with others…the rest will work itself out with the time I contribute. 

How “People First” is Hashing Out

In the last few weeks, I’ve gotten closer with my husband, celebrated our close friends’ marriage in Nebraska, connected with others in the pet sitting industry on personal and business levels, celebrated my favorite holiday with friends (woot for Halloween!), and am consciously helping others every day. 

I pointed out some interesting tax stuff to other self-employed pet sitters while in Las Vegas.  I sent an online blogging buddy a couple of posts to use while he and his wife enjoy their new baby.  I am staying connected with personal finance and pet sitting friends online so we don’t forget about each other as life gets hectic.  Now I am making written notes on my hands to perform at least one random act of kindness every day.

I want to be a person that leaves the world a better place than when I entered it.  Even if it is only improved by tiny smidgeons by the small things I am doing daily.

What do you think?  What do you prioritize?  How is your work-life juggling act going right now?



FYI:  I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 per year.  I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $70,000-$90,000 through blogging, professional pet sitting, hubby's reffing, and our rental home.  If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you, PLUS a free custom header banner from me!).  Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!
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6 thoughts on “Let’s Get Personal about Self-Inflicted Expectations

  1. I think I have a pretty good work/life balance so far. Sometimes I think I should worry about it more than I do, because I work my ass off!
    But for what I’m doing, working hard is fun. I enjoy it, but I probably do work harder than is healthy.
    For me, though, I don’t want to look back on my life and think, “I wish I would have gotten out of debt sooner.”




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  2. Those dreams are something, aren’t they? I remember one that I had a few months after having my cat put down, where she appeared and we were just hanging out. Nothing out of the ordinary happened but I got to hang out with her in good health one more time.

    So sometimes it can even go beyond people…experiences first? 🙂




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  3. My mom passed away five years ago and I occasionally get those dreams. I took a sick nap a couple months after I bought my house and I dreamed that I got to take her on a tour. I know that it is my subconscious giving me something I need, but I like to pretend she is actually visiting me.

    I like your “people first” approach. I am guilty of getting bogged down by the little things that I let the more important ones (time with family and friends) go. I have started making an effort to really examine if I am too “busy” to keep in touch with loved ones, or if I am just not managing my time. It’s a work in progress but I think it will lead to happier days in the future.




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  4. My balance isn’t terrible, when things are in what passed for normal for us, and even though the crunch that I told you about still isn’t over, I should have most of it resolved by the end of November so that would be a huge relief. I just need *nothing else* to rear up for the rest of 2016 and preferably also 2017 😉

    I suppose it’s true that we can have everything over time but it’s not likely or possible to have it all at once. That’s probably a good thing. There’s a huge tendency to be overwhelmed or lose sight of what’s important when you have ten thousand important things in the same mental space.




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  5. @Lindsay, if work is fun, then I totally get it! I enjoy pet sitting and all of my people online, so I understand.

    @MB, experiences first. Personally though, I think pets are people too. 😉 I still have dreams about playing with Becca and Dexter (my dogs that passed in 2014).

    @Jax, I pretended Grandpa was saying goodbye – I get it. Good luck on prioritizing people!

    @Revanche, occasionally having a life taken over by work or whatever is just going to happen. I was totally thinking of a more long-term stance. Good luck or an easy rest of year and super easy 2017!




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  6. I actually think you do a pretty damn good job at work life balance! all I have is my regular job and 2 kiddos and im not nearly as busy as you are! I agree with the turning the phone off. I tell my kids no phones while eating dinner until we are done. Also no phones at or after bedtime (in case you wake up) so Ive been working on that one myself. In the morning when I wake up I give myself time too look at all my social media, emails etc. then I get up and start getting ready. It’s so easy to spend hours doing that stuff or playing video games that you don’t even realize it like Pokémon go but I consider that a bonding time with the kids.

    I will say though I am planning a trip for 2017 if it kills me. LOL I didn’t take a vacation trip this year and I did take a week off from work but by the time that week hit I was almost ready to kill someone! LOL I just needed a break from work so hopefully next year I can do that. I’ve been wanting to travel so much more lately than I have so i’ll keep a look out for your cheap travel blog posts.




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