Stop by my house around, say 12:45 in the afternoon, and this is what you're likely to hear through the open window:
"Quick, living room clean up!"
"Who spilled all this popcorn anyway?"
"Seriously, guys, why is there syrup on the window?"
"Why are there two different shoes on the bathroom floor?"
And yes, each of those things would be coming out of my mouth, because, yeah, I say stuff like that. You see, just 15 short minutes later, IT begins. Crazy piano afternoons.
My first student comes at 1:00 and my last student leaves at, well much later, and from the first student to the last it is ready, set, GO. I love every minute and the afternoon feels fast and crazy and like I can hardly keep up.
But, you know what makes it feel crazier? When my morning has been just as packed.
So, I've learned to not pack it.
That's right. Mornings are off limits. At least, those days where I have piano lessons in the afternoon, I have a rule for myself: FREE MORNINGS.
Lest you picture me swinging lazily in a hammock, let me clarify what I mean by that. Free mornings mean no appointments outside of the house. Free mornings mean no squeezed in shopping trips or doctors appointments or whatever.
Because I homeschool my children, free mornings definitely does not mean I'm hanging in the hammock, but it does mean that I am home. Blessedly home, without running around out and about. I'm busy with my kids, but I'm home.
And that makes such a difference when it comes to my piano afternoons. Because I had a settled morning (at least as settled as homeschooling three kids and running a home business can feel), my piano afternoons can be as crazy as possible. One awesome student after another, but it doesn't faze me because I didn't have a crazy morning.
But when I break my own rule and I instead fit in this and that, I regret it every time. My heart and mind cannot handle a packed morning and packed afternoon on the same day.
Maybe you can handle it, but, just in case, I want to encourage you to give "free mornings" a try. Give that gift to yourself. Watch how it slows you down a bit. Watch how it helps balance out the work crazy and the life crazy.
Give it a try for just one week. Because I'm quite certain you are already booked up on your calendar for a bit, look ahead and find a week that isn't full yet. On your paper calendar or on your phone, literally block out the mornings when you have piano lessons in the afternoon. (Or vice versa if you are a morning teacher)
Each piano lesson day, my calendar has a box on it in the morning that says "Nothing here". Articulate, I know, but it does the job so when someone asks if we can meet or I'm tempted to put a dentist appointment there, I remind myself to NOT actually do it on piano lesson mornings.
Work - life balance is a buzzword that is often hard to define and achieve in real life. And that can be especially different when you work from home. I'm not pretending to have all the secrets to that, but I do think I've landed on one thing that helps: free mornings.
Go ahead, try it. I think you will be glad you did!