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?