I’ll be honest with you—this post has been sitting as a draft in my queue for weeks. Why, you might ask? Work/life balance. It’s funny how things always come full circle.
You see, I wanted to write this post as part of The B Bar’s April Link Up, but already was locked-in to a post on my editorial calendar by the time it was announced. Knowing this was a topic that is always relevant, I knew I could come back to it later and our community here could talk about it then. Well ladies, that day is today. You ready? (Grab a coffee, this is a long one.)
Before I dive in to the top three ways I find myself achieving some semblance of work/life balance, I want to throw it out there that I don’t necessarily think balance means devoting equal time to everything, everyday. This isn’t the scales of justice. In my life, some weeks are more heavily work- and friend-focused, while others I tend to dedicate more time to blog projects and reorganizing my closet (again). I think balance should be something you achieve over the long-term, even if it means your days are imbalanced.
To give you some context before we jump in, my day job is working for the in-house creative team at a DC-based real estate developer. It’s a fun job where I help with corporate and property branding, initial lease-up marketing plans, corporate pitches for new business acquisition, and any other odd request you could imagine—remind me sometime to tell you about the time I rented a rideable chicken for an event. You can’t make this sh*t up.
After 6pm on Monday/Thursday, I am in class pursuing my masters in PR + Corporate Communications. Then on Tuesday/Wednesday nights, I am usually at happy hours with friends, networking with other bloggers, finishing the post I should I written three days ago, or hitting up the gym. I am not, and never have been, one of those people that can ever just sit down, sit still, and watch TV—but working on personal projects is important (and relaxing!) to me, so this is part of how I achieve balance. Others might need that Netflix time to achieve the same balance, and that’s a-okay.
So, to recap, that’s a lot of balls in the air—work, school, friends, the blog, my health, the aforementioned closet that constantly needs organizing. Because of this juggling act, I always feel like I am behind at something. Whether it’s because I am not giving enough time to a project at work or the Catholic-guilt steps in when a friend invites me to happy hour and I have to schedule it three weeks out, it’s overwhelming to feel like you always owe someone something. (Please tell me I’m not the only one that feels this way—I know everyone out there is busy these days!)
But recently, instead of wishing for a less-scheduled life, I’ve relied increasingly on infusing my life with calm moments amidst the chaos and definitely have been relying more on these work/life balance strategies I swear by.
SAYING “NO” CAN COME FROM A PLACE OF YES.
Alright, this is where I might lose you because you might think, “this girl is cray to take advice from Bethenney Frankel,” but trust me on this one: trust your gut, and say yes to yourself—even if that means saying ‘no’ to other people. For me, at work, this means knowing when I need to tell my boss I need to prioritize tasks or asking my teammates for help. Outside of work, this means knowing when to not overbook myself or choosing the friends and family I want to see over other opportunities. I used to be motivated by FOMO to do just about anything, but the older I get the more I realize how important it is to say no to things I don’t actually want or need to do. A night at home after work goes along way to rejuvenating you for the days to come.
If you’re like me, you generally sit at a cubicle all day, and then go home and sit in front of some sort of screen. It helps my anxiety levels and creative juices alike so much when I go outside—even if it’s just for a short 10 minute walk during my lunch break. Then, I am always reminded there is a world outside of whatever problem I am dealing with inside, and I get away from the constant distraction of my phone/email. I always walk near fountains if I can, because there is something so soothing about running water—added bonus is when I go near the one where all the little kids play. It’s impossible not to smile, and then when I return to the task at hand, I am so much more relaxed and ready to conquer it.
FIND WAYS TO LET IT GO.
My achilles heel is that I have a hard time letting go of things, and as a result, am very resistant to change. But you can’t touch yesterday, so why let it touch you? The sooner you can let things go—whether it’s a bad day at work or a hurtful comment from a friend—the more balance you can have in your life because you’re focused on the present, not the past. For me, I usually try to write (surprise, surprise) whenever I feel imbalanced because it helps me sort out why I am feeling that way, and then allows me to deal with it more head-on.
I’d love to know—how do you achieve work/life balance?
I loved this post, Katie! I’m definitely going to take some of your tips like getting outside when I start my full-time job next week. I liked what you said that a work/life balance doesn’t always mean that you spend equal time doing each thing. That’s an important thing to realize! Thanks for this post! 🙂
Thanks so much, Gina! It’s always nice to get outside, even on a busy day! Good luck with starting your full time job – such an adjustment but so worth it!
Really great post Katie!! I totally feel you 100% on it all. It’s hard to balance everything we do, and it’s important to remember that there’s nothing wrong with saying no.
Thanks for sharing, xo!
Primp and Proper
Aw thank you so much Kristyn! I am glad you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
This is a wonderful post and well written. Don’t be embarrassed about giving out Bethenny Frankel’s advice….she may be a total nightmare on RHONY, but she is a phenomenal author and great at giving advice. I read that book too and it was amazing. I took a lot away from it.
I am so glad you enjoyed it and support my girl Bethenney! I read that book too, and I was able to apply so much of it to my life. I think I need to re-read it!
I find that if I keep myself organized I have better work like balance. Knowing my schedule and things I need to take care of, either immediately or in the near future helps me to remain calm and not up at night.
I love that too! I think organization is key because then you have a plan you can execute on, which always makes things seem more manageable! Great tip.
Girl, you are busy! I’m firm about NOT bringing work home with me ever. I have a blog, a husband, and a pup to focus on when I get home, so I refuse to let work interfere with that. Not giving myself the option of working makes it really easy to stop thinking about it when I leave.
I think that is really important! Great tip! :]
Getting outside always makes me feel so much better. As soon as the sun touches my skin I feel amazing! haha.
It is very hard to manage the balance sometimes. I know I get so caught up in working on stuff that I tend to let other things go. Not good!!
Yes! I can totally relate. I think balance is a work-in-progress, and hopefully we will get better at it over time!
I’m completely with you on the getting outside tip. Even though it happens every time, I’m always surprised at how much better everything seems the minute I take a walk outside. It really does help to physically see that the world is bigger than what we are currently working on or stressed over.
Yes! I am so glad we are on the same page.
I try to make sure that I have plenty of time to myself to unwind or get ready for the day! I wake up early before my daughter wakes up to ensure I can get my exercise and coffee in. =)
I love that idea! I think it’s always good to bookend your days with “me” time.
Love this post! It’s hard having a work-life-balance especially with a blog. I totally agree with you that having strategies to help deal with it is important. I also like to be outside and just out and about in general. Taking my dogs to the park, going on a hike, having brunch or dinner, etc. all help with relieving any stress and allow me to focus more when I get back to work!
Thanks Tina! I love how you find ways to relieve your stress so when you head back to your work, it isn’t as stressful! I do that too :]
Wow, really awesome post! Thanks so much for the tips!
Glad you enjoyed it! xo
These are all great points! I’m learning how to say no right now in order to take care of myself! It’s been hard at times, but I’m finding how good it’s been for my mental health to put myself first!
Chelsie @ Life with Rosie
Yes! Saying no sometimes is the best thing you can do for yourself – but it can be really hard to do!
I’ve been enjoying hanging out in cafes and just people watching (no wifi, no phone, no laptop). that way i can take my mind off work and blogging and i can regroup/refocus my thoughts!
I love that idea! It’s nice to switch up your work space.
Nailed it once again. You’re part of the reason I’m getting better at being okay with saying “no” and achieving a little more balance in my own life… so inspiring, you are! xoxo
Aw thanks Monica! You’re the best xo
These tips were great! I completely agree with your one about getting outside and I always try to be outside during the day as much as I can. I love to even take my laptop and find a cute outdoors area to sit and work sometimes. Your job sounds like so much fun though and I’m super curious about that chicken lol.
Jenni // The Beautiful Little Fools
Thanks so much, Jenni! Chicken story is forthcoming ;]
Beautiful post and lots of helpful tips! <3
This is such a beautifully written post! I totally agree with your tips…thank you for sharing!
Aw thanks Valerie!
“Because of this juggling act, I always feel like I am behind at something.” Hit the nail right on the head! I absolutely relate. I live/die by my calendar and schedule but because the rest of the world does not, flexibility is something I’ve had to learn to get along with, despite my desire to plan out every last second of my day. I’m also a bit of a self-improvement junkie so I have to remind myself to do things just for the sake of having fun, not because it’ll make me more informed or more organized. It’s a balancing act for sure…
I am so glad you feel the same way. I live and die by my calendar too – I always keep it up-to-date and color code it. I definitely am a self improvement junkie too, so girl, you know I relate. Wish we lived closer so we could chat in person!
Ah this is a tough one… I feel like it’s always such a struggle to find the right balance. Thanks for sharing your tips, Katie (:
Great tips, Katie!! This is such an awesome post! Work/life balance is so important. I firmly believe that our lives shouldn’t revolve around work but it can be tough because a lot of companies are so demanding, particularly of their salaried workers. I have, luckily, worked for some great companies that value their workers! The truth is, as much as we should care about our day jobs, that is just our ticket to survival. What happens outside of that is what really matters, ie. friends, family, etc.
The Closet by Christie