I get the side eye a lot from folks who don’t quite understand “all” that I do. Recently, I was at a company event where a colleague jokingly said I had six jobs, referring to my family, music, photography, fitness and blogging in addition to my sales job. Without a doubt, this person is completely supportive of me and was just being light-hearted. But, that kind of commentary comes at me quite often. People often ask me how (and why) I squeeze in so much in a day. The truth is that we make time for what we want to make time. Plain, and simple. Trust me, I don’t have six jobs. I have my God-given job of being a wife and mother and one full time job that helps financially support my family. Outside of those top priorities, I fill my life up with many other things that make my heart full. I can’t imagine my life without any of those things in it!

Sadly, I see many people merely existing and trying to muster through the day. They lack those little things to look forward to outside of their daily routine. A close friend of mine calls those things “carrots.” To him, a “carrot” is something he puts on the calendar that help him get through the grind. It’s usually a camping trip, or a visit to the beach. While he personally does not have the desire to pursue as many carrots as I do, these little weekend trips offer an outlet for him in the same way all of my daily pursuits do for me. My carrots are planning fun outings with my family, booking photo shoots a couple times a month, performing and writing music, working out, planning events, writing this blog, and more. These are my passions! The very reason I can be a loving wife and mother and excel at my day job is because I fill my calendar with carrots that help me make it through the less than glamorous times.

I know some of you are thinking, “But, Jaime, you don’t understand what my life is like.” Maybe you have four kids, or a high pressure job, or have to care for an ailing family member. You don’t have time for a shower, let alone carrots! Remember what I said earlier? You make time for what you want to make time for. And, YOU are your only advocate. So, stand up for yourself and create time to add the carrots that bring joy to your life.

If you have four kids and you love photography, take your kids out to a field and practice photographing them as they play. Don’t just do this once. If it brings you joy, do it once a week! After your kids go to bed, use that time to get lost in the editing process. I do my best vegging while I’m using Lightroom and a Photoshop to edit. It’s my version of playing video games. If you have a high pressure job but you love to workout, go for a run while you listen to a conference call. If you don’t have to talk or present, then who cares what you’re doing as long as you’re paying attention? Or, schedule a recurring 30 minute block on your calendar for that workout everyday and work around it. If you are caring for an ailing family member, ask for and accept help so you can free up a couple hours for yourself to focus on something that revives you. How can you care for someone else if you don’t care for yourself? The answer is that you cannot.

Now, listen. I realize I’m somewhat oversimplifying this. There are some people who have no help or are in a situation where this might seem impossible. Even still, I want you to make it a non-negotiable to add some carrots to your life no matter how tiny they may be. Your soul will thank you.

What are your carrots? Discuss in the comments below!

Written by Jaime Fox