In advance this response ended up longer than planned. Hopefully I didn't ramble on too much.
We are in similar worlds, design by day, and athletics/sports by night, though I have a couple decades on you.
I still haven’t found a balance I’m completely comfortable with. I think it’s partly finding a balance of some sort, but also just acknowledging that there are different things you like doing and some of those may not feel or seem to be working toward the same goal and that’s OK.
At the same time, the athletic, non-design, things you like to do may not appear to directly ‘feed’ your design goals, but may in fact support your design goals. As Yo said, there are non-design things he likes and does, that recharge him. More energy and enthusiasm to go after the design skills/interests.
Or from a slightly different angle is that doing the non-design things may in fact help you design. Lots of studies seem to indicate that getting the blood going, changing the scenery, helps loosen the mind to problem solve and think creatively. So embrace the athletics.
There are a couple other ways that I can think of looking at these to different interests that might complement each other, but I’ll stop before write too much more.
As far as prioritizing them, it ebbs and flows. Sometimes I’m good with the tidal changes others time not so much but ride it out, and/or work on shifting it, even if it will take time.
Presently while I wait for snow, as I love snowboarding, I will work on my personal snowboard binding project in the shop, while trying to find time to make a Christmas/holiday costume for a couple events this month. I’m still ‘in my head’ designing a sport sailboat idea (as global warming is ending winter, need to find other sports that gives me the same feeling. Surfing, windsurfing, sailing). I’m also considering going back to a sport that I ‘left’ a couple years ago, as trying curling last weekend remind me of some of the things I liked about the other sport (I have some farfetched design ideas for that sport, that came to me while doing it). Then there’s the furniture and jewelry dreams. Then there’s the cycling shoe mod/redesign concept that hit me a few months ago… Oh yeah, there’s the hub-less wheel design I have in mind
For many of these ideas I’ll have to research, learn, experiment, play with, with all sorts of software, and fabrication techniques to build them and make them look gooood. So I’m trying to keep an eye open for where and ways to learn what I think I need. Then there’s the semi foreign world of marketing…
Hope this helped, good luck and enjoy the burrito.
oh yeah, looks like Bear Grylls might be making a come back, I might rewarm a T-shirt design I thought of years ago. Time to learn silk screening...