THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 160: Brandi Megan Granett, Professor

Welcome to THE BALANCE PROJECT: a series of relevant and refreshingly candid interviews featuring inspiring and accomplished women talking about balance. I’ve always been curious about how women I admire manage the tragically glorified “doing it all” craze. So I asked them. As I suspected, no one really does “it all.” Everyone’s making sacrifices somewhere. And that should make us all feel a little better. I hope the conversation will be steered toward that reality rather than toward the flawed and dangerous assumption that we should try—or even want to try—to perfectly do “it all.”

By the way, looking for THE BALANCE PROJECT novel that was inspired by these interviews? It’s here.

No. 160: Brandi Megan Granett, Professor

Age: 41
Where I live:
 Stockton, NJ
Job: Professor
Kids: Megan, 16

brandithumbnailHave you changed jobs or adjusted anything in your career to have more balance?
After my daughter was born, I shifted from teaching in person to teaching online. One of the schools I worked for at the time offered for me to be a part of an online teacher training program. I jumped at the chance and never looked back. I even earned my Masters in Adult and Distance Education to complement my online teaching. When I realized I wanted to finish my PhD, I found that I could work in tutorial with my supervisor at Aberystwyth University in Wales, occasionally in person but mostly at a distance as well.

Do you think having “it all” is realistic or impossible and why?
I’d like to know who decides what “all” is. I think we often look to examples in television and movies and use that to base our reality on. Just look at television shows like Friends, Seinfeld, How I Met Your Mother, and Gilmore Girls—how much time do they all spend hanging out with each other plus working and dating? (Even my television list gives you an example of how little time I have for television—it’s like I haven’t watched for a decade). Couple these images with the tremendous amount of lifestyle bloggers and coaches hawking that we could have a four-hour work week or lead webinars from Bali. A lot of people I know barely have time for dinner between working late and children’s activities.

That said, I do think it is possible to have more of what you want in your life, if you are willing to do the work to make that happen. It takes real effort to rearrange your day to accommodate something like a yoga class or a home-cooked meal. Maybe you don’t get to do that every day, but it is possible more than we are led to believe.

What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
For me, balancing writing and archery is a tremendous challenge. It seems that when I focus on my writing, I stop shooting. When I get in deep with training, I stop writing. I’d love to work out space for both passions in my life.

My husband would add to this list breakfast; I have a bad habit of starting to work without eating and missing meals.

What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
I’m getting better at saying no. You read this advice everywhere, but I am really starting to take it to heart. Since I started doing author interviews on The Huffington Post, many people have reached out to me with books to read and authors who would love to be interviewed. While I love reading, I can’t spend all of my time doing this either. I’m learning how to take a break when I need to and not feel badly about letting people down.

Do you have a favorite time management tool, hack, or other strategy you use that helps you achieve balance that you would recommend to others?
The biggest lesson about time management is one that I learned from archery. Instead of waiting for the perfect moment to train, you need to take whatever moments you have. I applied this principle when I was finishing Triple Love Score, my latest novel. Instead of only writing in the morning, I wrote in five-minute blasts, the middle of the afternoon, while waiting for a doctor’s appointment. If you want to make something a priority in your life, steal all those five-minute chunks that you can.

I am also a huge fan of a good old-fashioned to-do list. I teach online for a variety of schools and work with private clients on their manuscripts. I make a list each day of what I need to tackle and relish crossing each one off. This also helps me to stop mindless internet wandering. The list sits right by my keyboard as a taskmaster.

What’s the best advice you ever heard on balance?
I work with a great EFT mentor, Jennifer Angelina Petro, and she gave me the image of a whirling dervish with a hand up to the sky and another hand extended to illustrate the point that in order to give we must receive. If I am to be joyful in my teaching, I must restock my own well. This is excellent advice that I treasure.

If you had one extra hour in each day and you couldn’t work or be with your family, how would you spend that hour?
Archery would win hands down. There is nothing I love more than being outside with a bow in my hands.

What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
I wish I knew how important networking was to a career; I thought if you had the right credentials, you were set. I didn’t know that “Relationships determine results,” to borrow a phrase from an archery coach I love.

What do you hope to know by the time you’re 60?
I’d love to know how to stop being afraid of not doing enough. I’d love to trust in the universe and in my own abilities to keep our financial boat afloat enough to try new things before we retire, or maybe even as we retire.

What one part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
I’ll go back to the breakfast thing; I wish someone would make me breakfast and lunch every day!

Whose job do you wish you had?
George Ryals’s of the Archery Learning Center.  He has created a great teaching/development program that combines his passion for the sport and the knowledge he gained as a professional archer. I’d love to be able to combine my own passions to spark others—maybe it would be for archery, maybe it would be for writing—that part I am not sure about.

Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
Oprah’s—she works so much! She does all of these great things, but I don’t see how she gets a chance to really enjoy the spoils of her labors!

Favorite books?
The Feast of Love by Charles Baxter.

What are you reading right now?
You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero.

Biggest vices…
Activity? Sleeping late; a warm bed in a sunbeam is a form of heaven.
Food? Donuts and ice cream.
Website? Facebook; I cannot stop looking at pictures of kittens and getting pulled into political conversations.

How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
8 to 9—I’m recovering from Lyme disease, and sleep is non-negotiable.

What do you read every morning?
I keep a stack of literary journals on my beside. I try to read a story or poem before I get up to set the tone of my day and guarantee that I have done something fun at least once in the day.

Complete the following sentences:
I think I: am on the verge of a new life.
My daughter: inspires me to do better with my life.

Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
The universe sides with love.

triple_love_score_cover2About Brandi:
Brandi Megan Granett is an author, online English professor, and writing coach. She earned her PhD in Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University and her MFA in Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College. Her latest novel is Triple Love Score (Wyatt-Mackenzie). Morrow published her first novel, My Intended, in 2000. Her short fiction appeared in Pebble Lake Review, Folio, Pleiades, and other literary magazines and is collected in the volume, Cars and Other Things That Get Around.  She writes an author interview series for The Huffington Post.  When she is not writing or teaching or mothering, you will find her on the archery range.

Find out more about Brandi:
www.brandigranett.com
Twitter: @brandigranett
Facebook: BrandiMeganGranett
Instagram: @mrsgranett
Pinterest: profmom6


WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT WORK-LIFE BALANCE? CHECK OUT MY NOVEL THE BALANCE PROJECT!

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