Recently, Mia Freedman posted a list of the ten things she needs for work/life balance, based off a speech she did on the topic.
So I thought I’d shoot off my ten must-haves for staying sane. What are yours?
1. Reading. Without something to read—books, magazines, blogs—I would go crazy. Most days of the week I try to set a good chunk of the evening aside for reading, in addition to whatever reading I manage to get done throughout the day. It simultaneously calms and inspires me.
2. Television. When I’m really spent, I love nothing more than lapsing into a coma, carving out a me-shaped groove, Homer-style, in the bed and getting my Grey’s Anatomy/Glee/Gossip Girl (the three G’s) on.
3. Writing. While I’m not getting paid for blogging, I do consider it a job, therefore I usually work six or seven days a week. Sometimes writing can seem like a chore, as I’m sure it does for all bloggers and writers of any kind at some stage. However, my blogging style and schedule are always changing. I’ve always been a morning person, so I try to churn out reviews and longer articles in the morning before I burn out, then work on smaller/easier posts around midday, and usually clock off around 2pm. Learning what works best for me helps keep writing enjoyable for me.
4. Friends. I’m a hermit by nature, so I really have to force myself to get out and see people. Luckily, a lot of my friends are people I’ve met through work, so everyday is like a play date, and any extra time with them (lunch, movies, after-work drinks) is a bonus. Having a balance of work and play makes me value both more.
5. Staying busy. Following on from the previous sentence, the busier I am, the more inspired I become, and the more I value my downtime. But when work dries up, so too does my inspiration and motivation. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle.
6. My day job. As I said above, I love the people I work with, so most days are riotously fun. I won’t lie, though; sometimes I struggle with the mundaneness of my job description, but four paid days a week and two to three blogging days a week makes for a content Scarlett.
7. Exercise. I’ve been a bit slack with the exercise routine lately, but I started back up again on Sunday, and I have to say: I’m feeling good. As Elle Woods said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy”.
8. Write-off days. Sometimes I just feel too tired/sick/insert motivation-affecting emotion here to get up and do the things I need to. In those situations I just write-off the rest of the day and stay in bed with a box-set. I can’t say I don’t struggle with the guilt following one-such-day, but that’s something I’m working on.
9. Fun outings. Dinner/movies/after-work drinks can become a bit monotonous after a while, so I try to shake things up in my friendship group/s by organising fun things like trips to the zoo for friends’ birthdays, dancing all night to ’90s tunes, and indoor rock-climbing. 90% guaranteed to produce lifelong memories… not to mention numerous Facebook profile photo-ops!
10. Me-time/Downtime. Similar to write-off days, but provided I’ve had enough me-time/downtime interspersed between working, blogging and socialising, there is no need for a write-off day. I have been known to pass on social occasions in favour of a good book/magazine/blog/TV show/movie and a bath/block of chocolate/cup of peppermint tea to preserve my long-term sanity and maintain the work/life balance.