PUBLISHED: 4:56 PM on Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Finding a nice balance in life, friends, work

  Abby LaForce
While jabbering on the phone with my longtime girlfriend, my mind is all a-frenzy. OK, Friday night it's "work night out," Saturday is dinner with my sister and Sunday I'm hosting a bridal shower.

These days, I don't have time to comb my hair (but it doesn't look too bad).

I used to feel sorry for myself in college due to my slacking social life, and tendencies toward shutting myself in my room and reading romance novels all night while snacking on stale chips and who-knows-what from the pantry. I miss those days.

I find that part of growing up and "acting" like an adult includes socializing, conversations and serious event planning.

Not only do we need to learn these things, we need to learn to do them well.

I've discovered that a lot of women tend to overbook themselves.

My mother, who I love dearly, usually has three events scheduled in one night but always has good intentions of attending each one. Sometimes I wonder: is it better to be everywhere halfway or one place all the way? And, I'm not just talking about coordination.

I struggle to find a balance between my work, home life and social life.

I'm usually caught somewhere in between.

In a recent study of more than 50,000 employees from a variety of organizations found that two out of every five employees are dissatisfied with the balance between their work and their personal lives, online sources state.

The scary and realistic factor is while running around to please people in your work and social life is generous, finding a balance amidst the chaos causes stress.

According to the National Health Interview Survey, 75 percent of the general population experiences at least "some stress" every two weeks, and half of that population experience moderate to high levels of stress.

Getting right to the point, and you've heard it before, but I'll state it again: stress contributes to heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes and other illnesses in many individuals, according to the Health Resource Network Web site.

They say it also affects the immune system, which protects us from many serious diseases. The most alarming statistic from the HRN Web site is tranquilizers, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety medications account for one fourth of all prescriptions written in the U.S. each year.

Aside from such weighty factoids, I would love to throw an event that is no-stress perfectly organized and on-time.

It would be fabulous to greet guests with a warm smile and a cocktail, and actually join in the conversation versus trying to discreetly pull everything together, while wiping the sweat from my brow.

As I recently hosted a bridal shower that did go great, I was a wee bit harried at the beginning.

And the reason why, was because I was busy with another social event the previous night versus preparing.

Perhaps prioritizing needs to become a more familiar term in my vocabulary.

I have a beautiful friend, who is a mother, soon to be married and very accomplished party host. I marvel at her cool and collected demeanor.

I also notice that she is very organized, and has "to-do" lists in her kitchen.

The other day while half-heartedly trying to plan our friend's birthday party, an e-mail popped up in my box and she basically had the whole strategy laid out. Darn!

Thus, I've decided to set goals for myself, which I think apply to women of any age or situation.

The long-term goal is to find a relaxing balance between life, friends and work.

• Prioritize life events, and make a concerted effort to categorize what's most important to you and/or your family.

• Learn to say "no, thank you" at the right times, even when your sense of propriety is hollering "yes."

• Always set aside one night of the week completely for yourself-to do whatever you like the best.

• Figure out a system of planning, whatever works. Whether it be carrying around a notebook, planner or a simple list stuffed in your junk drawer.

• Realize sometimes you just can't do it all, and don't beat yourself up about it. It's much better to do one thing really well.

• Make a vow to keep the goals you set for yourself.

Abby LaForce is a staff writer at Capital City Weekly and owner of Abby's Catering Co. in Juneau.