Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The B Bar Link Up: Work/Life Balance



How do you achieve work/life balance?

That was the question that was posed to us bloggers for The B Bar link up this month. Truthfully, the first answer I wanted to give was "I HAVE NO IDEA. Do I even have a work/life balance?"

I've mentioned it before here, but I work quite a few jobs. In addition to blogging, I work a full time job and a part time job (DC is expensive yo) and I volunteer at a yoga studio. I also serve on the St. Jude Young Professionals Committee and Give Thanks. Walk committee.

So how do I do all of that, plus blogging, plus having a social life? Again, no clue. Okay, that's not true. I've been balancing multiple activities since I was in high school, so at this point I have a few tips that I've used that I've made my work/life balance a little easier.

Before I get to my tips though, I thought I would lead you through a "normal" week day so you have a better idea of what I'm managing. (If you want to skip this and head straight for the tips, just scroll to the bottom - I won't be offended).

6:30 am The alarm goes off and I wonder why they heck I keep trying to wake up so darn early. Luckily the sun has already risen, so it makes it a lot easier to get up and moving.

I stumble out off bed, put on an audiobook or podcast to listen to and start getting ready for the day.

One important thing that I want to note is that turning off my alarm, turning on a podcast, and checking the weather are the ONLY things I do on my phone in the morning. I use to check my email, instagram, and facebook all before getting out of bed and it was such a time suck! Now I try to more or less avoid my phone and any notifications in the morning.

7:15 am
Out the door and off to the metro! It normally takes me about 45 minutes to get to work (on a good day) so I use that time to either read or catch up on podcasts while I play lumosity games or two dots.


8:00 am
Finally at work! Once I've turned my computer on, I make my breakfast (starting to eat my breakfast at work has been a real time and money saver) and settle in to catch up on emails, the news, and my to do list for that day.

From there on it's all email answering, meetings, and getting work done.

12:30 pm
Lunch! When we aren't slammed with work, some of my co-workers and I try to eat lunch together at our conference table or if it's nice enough, eat outside!

1:15 pm
Back to work. More emails and meetings.

4:30 pm
Time to head out.

Note: if I have to go to my part time job after work, everything below is null and I'm there until I head home around 9:45 pm and head straight to bed.

5:25 pm
Lift, tone, Burn. On nights that I don't have to go to my part time job, I try to go to a Pure Barre or yoga class. It's nice to zone out for 55 minutes and I feel less lazy about sitting for the rest of the evening if I worked out.


6:30 pm
Back on the metro and headed for home.

7:00 pm-ish
Once I get home, I pick up any mail or packages I have and then head up to my apartment. If it's earlier in the week, I spend some time putting together dinner or if it's later in the week, I heat up leftovers from earlier.

8:00 pm-ish
FINALLY time to work on the blog. If I wasn't very studious during the weekend, I'll spend this time working on the next day's post and prepping future posts (or finishing them, depending on home much I have to do). I also like to try and answer all emails that I have sitting in my inbox.

When I'm not doing blog work, this free time is used for either St. Jude committee work, taking a "night off" from work to relax, or even, GASP, socializing.

9:30 pm-ish
I try to shut down everything by 10pm at the latest on weeknights. This obviously doesn't happen sometimes depending on what I have to get done, but I know that I have to wake up early the next day and I'd rather it not be painful.

9:45 pm
Prep my lunch for the next day and get ready for bed.

10:00 pm/10:15 pm
In bed and curled up with a good book! How much time I spend reading depends on how tired I am or how good the book is that night. Either way, right after that, I'm ready to pass out and start again tomorrow.

Time for the tips!
Now that I've put you through one of my days, here are some tips for how I've been able to achieve my work/life balance:

Don't let your inbox get overcrowded: Utilize it.

I like to keep my inbox as a to-do list. Any email that I need to respond to or take some sort of action on remains in my inbox until it's completed. Once it's done, I filed it away in one of my MANY email folders. But it only get's moved after it's completely 100% done.

Other things that come into my inbox get immediately opened, read (sometimes unsubscribed from), deleted, or filed. I don't like keeping unread things in my email or letting my main inbox get overcrowded with useless junk.

Stay organized!

For different people this means different things, but for me, it means I'm attached to my planner and Google Calendar.

Written planner: For my planner, I took the plunge last year and invested in a Gigi NY planner that was EXACTLY what I was looking for in a planner and I've been in love with it since. Since it has a page of notes for each week, I use one side of that page to list out my regular "to-dos" for that week and the other side to list my blogging "to dos." Like all other type A's, I loveeee crossing something off of the list when it's done.

Google Calendar: Thanks to a tip from Meg, I've been using my google calendar not only for my appointments/plans but also to keep track of what blog posts I have coming up. I use the top "All Day" bar to list that day's post. I previously did all of this in a excel spread sheet, but planning it out on an actual calendar has been 10000x times easier. Plus, I can see if my schedule is going to be busy enough that I need to write the post way in advance or if I don't have any posts planned for the upcoming week and need to start planning.


Prioritize what's important.

Since all of my to-dos are either in my inbox or planner, it makes it easy for me to see what I have to get done and what I can easily do that day. For instance, if I have a sponsored post that needs to be up the next day, then I know that it's better for me to spend my evening working on that post and I can answer emails in the morning.

At the end of the day, remember that it's more important to live your life and enjoy it.

Well first, and most importantly, What's the point of having cute outfits if you have no where to wear them? But more seriously, taking time off from doing work is important. If I'm only working all week, by the time Friday rolls around, I feel like a zombie who just wants to sit on the couch. Since that's only fun every once in a while, I try to make sure that I take time to myself to go work out, read, and hang out with my friends. Sometimes I go as far as to schedule in this time for myself. It sounds silly, but honestly, if I know that doing something is on my schedule (like going to Dolcezza to get a free mini cone), I'm more likely to hold myself to doing it and not thinking "No, I need to work instead!"

This all being said, I feel the need to add that there's NOTHING wrong with couch time and I personally love to use my free time sometimes to just sit on the couch and catch up on my favorite shows.

Check out other bloggers and how they manage their work/life balance:


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7 comments :

  1. Prioritizing is oh so important for a balanced life and it's something that I totally struggle with. You really have a packed day so if you can do it, so can I :)

    Alyssa J Freitas

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  2. It's hard, but you can totally do it too. If you struggle with with keeping a balance, I would say that you shouldn't try every tip at once, but maybe pick one and focus on that area. Then as you start to feel better about it, you can build on that and add something else. Once you find what works for you, it'll get easier!

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  3. Your day is a packed one, but I know the feeling! My day is usually the same except I drive to work and go to CrossFit, not barre afterward. I didn't add this to my work-life balance list of tips but thinking about it now, I believe preparing my dinners in advance would free up a lot of my evening to work on my blog. I usually don't get a chance to hop on the computer until close to 9 or so, because of cooking. Anyway, kudos on living out your ideal day!!

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  4. Happy I could help! One of the perks of living alone is that most of my recipes are for more than one serving, so it provides me with lots of leftovers! It's nice because I only have to make two meals and then I'm set for the week (with some other things thrown in to mix it up).

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  5. And I thought I was busy! Girl, you're topping me for sure! There are some really great suggestions here and I love how you are laying out your day. Prioritizing is a definite must, I agree! XO

    Anna
    alilyloveaffair.com

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  6. I have to do the workouts, they keep me sane! It's easier that I just go on my way home from work so I don't have the chance to collapse on the couch and give up.

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  7. Everyone is busy in their own way, but I'm glad you liked the suggestions! <3

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