MY THOUGHTS ON BALANCE
When it comes to leading a balanced life, I'm a true believer that while this is a very romanticized and idealistic thought in my own personal life, perfect balance is seldom achieved. This would mean I'd have to give equal attention to everything / everyone at all times... and being that things at work are constantly changing, this might never be the case.
I’ve always thought about this with a bit of guilt - that is until I realized there's nothing wrong with shifting my focus and giving my undivided attention to what feels to be the most important thing to me at that time. In order to do that, I needed to learn not only to be very perceptive and aware of the needs of those around me, but also my own needs. I was working 20-hour days both at home and outside of home and doing extra hours, often consisting of 8 hours on a Saturday and 8 on a Sunday. Needless to say, I didn't need to have someone telling I was going to have a breakdown. I did. For the most part, this advice will sound all over the place, but it is only until you apply this to your own life that you realize how beneficial it actually is.
Life and work are sometimes a matter of rearranging and reshuffling to me. The same way I rearrange my living room, I rearrange the how, when and where I do things. It's all about the little things.
The first shift I made was realizing that being “selfish” and taking care of myself meant I could take better care of those around me. When eventually sleep deprivation caught up with me, I thought to myself, “There's no point in trying to achieve so much and slide towards a breakdown”.
Just as kids need boundaries, we, the infamous breed of workaholics, also need them: carefully planned 8-10 hour work-days with breaks in between and a way to draw a line between work time and personal time. I cannot say I have it all together but I strive every day to see my tools of work (desktop, laptop, iPad, iPhone) as my "place of work", understanding that if I'm off the clock, I shouldn't even be near those tools. Also, I've made a pledge that neither will I eat at my desk nor take it with me while I'm on holiday.
Although I find exercise to be of utmost importance in my life, this point has nothing to do with it. It has to do with being stuck in your office for long periods of time. This little change has made an incredible difference in my life. I frequently use my office for my design work but once I'm in the replying to emails stage, I move to a different location every day. Out on the patio, in my living room or while I'm waiting for the oven timer to tell me the cookies are done. These tiny shifts of location help me, honestly, not to lose my mind.
When a pressing matter consumes my every waking moment or I get sick (as with every other human being), I've learned to relax. Learn that the internet will be OK without you and that you will be OK without it. If something goes terribly wrong, then you'll have the time to explain yourself, apologize and move on. Of course, I could only get to this point after getting sick and realizing that although I am a very responsible and hardworking person, we all experience misfortune and have our ups and downs.
05. Wrapping it up
At the end of each day, I go through all the things I was meant to do that day. If there are things I didn't manage to do within those 8-10 hours, they are moved to the next day. Closing off your day means you have already gone through hours of work and that you need to regroup. Forcing yourself to work further can result in sloppy work and work that you’re not proud of, so I always go through a mental list, send off my last emails of the day and head for a special time of cell regeneration, otherwise known as sleep.
When I start my days, I've learned to not jump in with both feet too fast. Waking up early and allowing myself a leeway of 30 minutes to 1 hour has helped me feel more relaxed and less frantic in the morning. Easing into my routine was something I learned from Yoga and it's helped me feel happier and more content, while the concrete jungle is going nuts around me.
After these bits of advice, the most important advice I always give, is to do whatever's best for you and your family. Remember that all of this will one day pass... so treasuring everything in the mix is important. Cut yourself some slack and be transparent with your readers or clients. When working give the best of yourself and when not working forget about it completely.
Please feel free to chat about how you maintain balance and give us your tips.
What has blogging or freelancing taught you?
Travelgrams + microblogging
A while ago I was explaining in this post how Instagram is the only microblogging platform I enjoyed. Today, as I was getting photos from our Rio trip ready for printing with Printic—it occurred to me that many of you may be looking towards separating your personal/professional content a bit more and Instagram or other
media tools can easily help you do that.
For those wondering what Microblogging is: Microblogging is the practice of posting small pieces of digital content—which could be text, pictures, links, short videos, or other media—on the Internet. Microblogging offers a portable communication mode that feels organic and spontaneous.
I dove into this concept a little more and shared our recent trip to Rio on Instagram as we were going along and I completely enjoyed the experience—It fulfills my need to let people know what I love, where I go and what I do outside this professional setting and it also serves me as a way to communicate with family and friends and share little milestones or just lovely bits about our lives.
I'm not trying to sell you on this idea of Instagram because I know for sure the result will be the same if you chose other media such as Twitter or Facebook. It's a matter of what you personally feel comfortable with.
Quick Makeup Routine For Bloggers
The life of a blogger being as permissive as it is, is still a working life and that means that we often find ourselves trying to make ends meet as we juggle priorities and a never-ending pile of work. I asked the lovely Madeline of Daria Daria if she could give me a hand with this post because I know that taking that little bit of time for yourself before you start with your day will go a long way in the way you feel, the way you go through your work and even the quality of your work.
Here are Madeline's quick makeup tips:
STEP ONE: Use BB creams - they give you moisture, sun protection (not all of them) and an even coverage.
STEP TWO: Mineral powder is applied quickly, gives the skin a matte finish and lasts all day.
STEP THREE: Bronzer and blush in one: gives you rosy cheeks and a hint of tanned skin.
STEP FOUR: Apply eyeliner in a nice color that matches your eyes (like this dark green one for brown eyes) and mascara.
Faster than you can say "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious"
Visit Daria Daria for more tips.
This subject has been brought up so many times by so many Bloggers and no matter how many more of us write about this, I know for a fact there's no magical potion we can drink or make haters drink that would stop the occasional hatred-filled comment by the infamous "anonymous".
I had restrained myself from writing this post for a long time because part of me feels that by writing this I'm giving the minds behind hateful messages a place they do not deserve. Having said that, I know many of you struggle with this and because of that I decided to share my personal thoughts and feelings on this matter.
The first thing I need to establish is that even with the number of years I've been doing this and this being my full-time job, I do not have 100% of the answers and solutions, all I've learned has been a mixture of trial and error with a pinch of meditation, restraint and the fact that the older I get, the less of a bleep I give about people whose only intention is to tear down and not build.
You might have already heard this but this business requires 2 top things: one is that you become resilient... and two, that you get your tough-cookie face on and understand that no matter what you say and how you say it people who don't have the same views as you and who have low tolerance levels can easily get offended... but the MOST important thing to grab on to when your receive a nasty comment is the fact that someone who has the best intention in mind will contact you personally, not to judge but to help.
Personally, this is the way I see it. The internet is a vast place, and as invested as we get in peoples' blogs, we are not part of their lives and won't get to know them fully because the stories written on a blog, no matter how personal they are, do not fully portray a person's values, struggles, upbringing, cultural background and beliefs.
We already live in a world deprived of privacy, liberty and kindness, so to pay attention to these horrible comments is just as damaging as writing them.
Again, I do believe this will never stop and given that I did go through a rough patch in the past with people being vocal about my opinions to the point of bringing my daughter into the mix, I disabled the ability of writing anonymous comments / comments with empty trackbacks on my blog. It has nothing to do with me not valuing my readers' opinions, as some may think, but rather with this same thought in mind, that if someone cares so much as to set aside the time to express their disagreement about something I wrote or something another commenter wrote, they'll do it the right way and understand that I'm trying to maintain the integrity of my blog and the opinions expressed by my readers.
I've received so many requests for this post and some emails broke my heart. People who are pouring out their thoughts and daily struggles, who are being bombarded with nonsense every day. If you are one of them, know that this happens to every blogger at some point. Putting your heart and soul into what you're getting out there, being fair and not stirring up controversial topics without being prepared always helps. What I'm trying to say, is that if you are not prepared to have comments from overly-opinionated people who will try their best to make you think otherwise, do not even venture into those parts of the woods... and if you do, do not feel it's an obligation to defend yourself. Be sure of what your opinion is and respect the opinion of people who have properly signed the comment so you can have a healthy conversation with someone with a face and a name.
I believe that if you know yourself, the intention behind your words and you are striving to be your own person, with your own ideas nothing that "anonymous" could write would ever get to you.
Above all, I just want you to remember that you are beautiful and special and that your opinion has weight and value and that keeping positive and protecting those you love doesn't mean you are weak or a fake. Do what feels right for your blog, you and those you love and never allow anyone to make you lose the passion for writing and encouraging others.
I believe that someone's success should never come at the expense of another. As in everything you do, remain fair, true and honest to yourself and those around you. The only person who can judge you is none other than yourself... so love yourself and cherish this time of your life because it is a wonderful one.
Please feel free to share your stories, struggles or advice.