today, we answer: how do you balance work and life?

woof. this question is hard. everyone has their own equation (please share!) to balance their work and play. the only way i’m able to balance it all is to keep a calendar. i have a detailed schedule (digitally and written) that is colored coded for appointments, due dates, zumba classes, phone calls (yes i schedule time on the phone with my bestfriend), vacations, doctors appointments, etc.. the written one is in front of me at my desk all day and i pencil in when projects start and when i expect them to finish, giving myself a little cushion just incase. it’s nice to be able to see it in front of me while i’m working. it works as a constant reminder for projects that are coming up and helps me mentally prepare for whats ahead. having it digitally is nice because i’m not always at my desk and might need to check something while running around.

when it comes to nights and weekends i tell my fiance ahead of time if i need to work or not. i find that if i’m open about it in the beginning it gives him enough time to plan something else and everyone is happy. a lot of my friends are on different career paths and it’s sometimes a struggle to get everyone together, but we make it happen.

well, if you read this post from the other day you know that i am not doing so hot when it comes to this whole balancing act. i am terrible at “unplugging.” i don’t really know how people go days without their laptop or phones. however, there are moments that i cherish that have nothing to do with work. laying around watching multiple mad men episodes with my guy & my kittens on the couch. long brunch dates with my girlfriends. exploring new cities when blogshop travels around. drinking whiskey ginger ale’s at jen’s house…

but hey, part of my job is sharing. i find a lot of enjoyment from sharing the places i love to eat, the movies i really enjoyed, the shops you must go see…so i don’t really beat myself up about the whole unplugging topic. my mind is full of ideas, and i have fun executing them. i drink lots of water and get enough sleep. so i’m doin my best! that’s all i can do. i am sure one day when i have kids that’ll slow me down. and luckily most of my friends are living the same way, so i always have someone to relate to.

and for organizing my to-do lists, i use wunderlist. it saves my life.

(illustration by katie evans. see all the advice posts over here and we love to hear your questions in the comments!)


Add your own

    Ronnie says:

    A great post guys! It’s not easy balancing so many important things in life, and yes, it gets thrice (spelling anyone?) as tricky once little ones come along. Katie, your illustration for this post is cute beyond words. What a cool idea!
    Ronnie xo

    Good post. I think it’s so hard to find balance! I too find unplugging super difficult, but I think it’s really important.

    Maggie says:

    What a fantastic post! As a constant multi-tasker, it’s always interesting to see how other people do it – I’m always looking for suggestions so I can make my chaotic life a little more organized where I can!

    Sara says:

    This post is so relevant to my life right now. It’s midterm season at my school so I’m juggling impending tests (and possibly doom), applying for summer jobs/programs, social life (ha), exercise and sleep (which always seems to fall on the wayside). I will definitely check out wunderlist – I typically cover my desk with post-its to “organize” myself!

    kelly says:

    I feel like this question has been coming up a lot in my life, and amongst my many talented and self-employed friends. As a yoga teacher and yoga therapist, and a personal assistant, AND a mom, I work all over the place, all times and have to be on basically every waking moment. What has worked thus far (I am still working out kinks) is structuring everything. Sounds boring, but like Katie mentions above, it can bring some peace. I actually set work hours so that I am not taking away a bunch of time from my daughter. I’m not perfect, but being disciplined in my schedule seems to be the only way to keep chaos at bay!
    thanks for the encouragement!

    lisa says:

    this is such a tricky and personal balancing act, i’m simply doing the best i can!
    in dramatic fashion

    Love this topic and your perspective! Being a creative blogger, I feel like I’m always working and don’t manage my time very well. However, like Bri I really enjoy what I do. I’m off to check out wunderlist in hopes it will help me be more organized, thanks!

    adele says:

    Always a tricky one, but great advice from you both
    Happy Wednesday hun xoxo

    Delia says:

    I know it sounds silly, but yes, scheduling time for things like phone calls with friends really helps! We can easily get carried away with life, and this forces you to keep your loved ones in your life. Also, for me, making sure my boyfriend and i have one night a week where we can just snuggle and watch a movie makes a huge difference. No plans, just a bottle of wine and some mad men or downton abbey, ha!….

    Abby says:

    It’s not silly at all! I schedule every-little-thing in my life, down to when I’m going to eat and when I’m going to just relax. Color coordination of everything I do and own is my life saver. Yet, sometimes {especially on weekends} I try my best to ‘unplug’ even though I usually fail, the weekends are my time to not live by a schedule and embrace my ‘spur-of-the-moment’ side.

    Shannon says:

    This post is perfect for me right now. I just got out of a 4.5 year relationship where I was giving all of my energy and attention to my boyfriend and work, which left no time for my family, friends, and my creative outlets. I was slowing driving myself insane and empty from the moment I woke up in the morning. Thankfully, I am making changes to re-balance my life with the things that really matter! Cheers to finding the perfect balance!

    Brandy says:

    Balance is definitely tricky business, especially in this day and age of wireless technology – it’s hard to shut off. I know I have troubles putting down my iPhone or not jumping onto my computer. I have started planning weekend trips where there is no access to wireless every few months, then I have no choice. Bri I loved when you said ” my mind is full of ideas, and i have fun executing them”, it’s a great way to look at work and creative ideas coming to life – gave me a different perspective.

    Katie says:

    Thanks for the advice! I have a question for the advice column. What would you say is the most important blogging etiquette, especially when it comes to sourcing?

    Sarah says:

    Thanks for your input! I find the same issue with my schedule sometimes! I keep a calendar with me at all times, but I do find it hard to unplug. As a college student, I’m constantly surrounded by different types of media. Right now, it’s my life. I don’t see how I could go days without it! Now I don’t feel so bad!

    Kateri says:

    Great post! Color code is really my thing, as a visual person. Oh and I love this drawing!

    Sarah says:

    I’m still working on this balance stuff too. I use a color-coded Google calendar to keep track of my freelance clients and a calendar on my phone for the rest of life. I do my best to unplug for at least a little while every night and for those who have trouble staying away from the computer if you have nothing else to do – grab a book. Still makes me feel productive, but I’m keeping busy at the same time.

    Royaltygirl says:

    I am soooo not good at this! Thanks for the great ideas and encouragement. I sure do need it.

    YYZ says:

    Love that you call them “whiskey ginger ales”! In Canada, we call it “rye & ginger”– because we drink rye whiskey and you guys drink bourbon, I believe. In any case, I love a good rye & ginger b/c it is so old-fashioned and Mad Mennish and reminds me of my beloved grandmother, a glamourous dame if ever there was one!

    On the topic of balance, I DID NOT have it in my 20s or 30s, when I was building my career. Now, in my early 40s, my priorities have shifted and I am trying very hard to have a life outside of work. And it is working fine. Could I have done it when I was younger? I don’t think so– I had to work that hard so that I could learn what I needed to learn and now I am reaping the rewards. If you can manage to unplug and learn those lessons sooner than I did, that is great. The thing is, I think we do need to pay our dues. In the case of entrepreneurs and small business owners, that is even truer– what you reap later on in life is a direct product of what you sow now, in your 20s. Hang in there, Bri– you are so smart and talented and I admire your work and your chutzpah. You won’t be sorry, in the long run– you are building something beautiful and amazing.

    Chelsea S. says:

    I think it’s great that you are sharing how you do / don’t balance work. This is something that everyone struggles with. It is always nice to get an insight on how others deal with it. Although I’m not very good at balancing yet, I try to make sure I get three things a day. A little work, a little me, and a little husband time. I’m still working on the amounts of each.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I’m glad to know we all have room for improvement! I really loved your post!

    Adri M. says:

    I like so much this post that I re-posted to my blog thanks so much for sharing, you are an inspiration for me 😉

    Kisses from Paris


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