balancing act

5 ways to restore balance in your life when working from home

By Chloe Waugh

Working from home isn’t for everyone- but if are lucky enough to have set up your office from your home there are a few ways to make it work for you. Here are my top tips for creating that all-important, much desired and almost impossible work/life balance: 

1. Make the most of your weekends

You have two days- and yes, I know, it isn’t enough! But I always make sure I get everything in order over the weekend to ensure that my Monday morning runs smoothly and my week is off to a great start. You know what they say- ‘A Sunday well spent brings a week of content’… and it is so true! 

Saturdays are my fun and active days- we get up early and take the dog to the beach for a run, followed by a visit to our local farmers markets for breakfast and coffee. After that we either catch a Yoga class, or go surfing as a family.  I find if you get out and about (out of the house) and do something fun and active, heading home afterwards for a clean up doesn’t feel too bad.  I give the house a clean, do some washing and write a grocery list. I either hit the store afterwards or save it for Sunday, depending on our Saturday night dinner plans. 

Sundays I get the groceries, wash the sheets and prepare a meal or two for the coming week. I make sure all the washing is folded and put away and I have a nice clean slate for the week ahead. Sometimes I have been known for writing a to-do list for the coming week of work so that I have a clear mind for a good night’s sleep. I cook a nourishing meal for the family that night and everyone is prepared and rested for Monday- Plus, I know that we have spent some quality time together before a busy week of school and work. 

2.  Get the exercise that you need to be the best version of you

I am a big believer in the powers of practicing self-love and getting plenty of exercise, which has pulled me out of feeling sluggish and depressed on more than a couple of occasions. Working for myself from home gives me the freedom to explore my own interests and passions, such as Yoga and Pilates, in my own time. Whilst my work comes first (after my family of course) I put my health and happiness as my top priority in order to be the best version of myself, not only for my family, but also for me. 

When I am feeling healthy and happy, it is reflected in my work, and this is super important when developing creative content. So, in saying this, if I can catch a class at 9am after the school run, I do it. I can always make up for it after my son goes to bed or the next day, so I don’t make a big deal out of it. This gives me the adult interaction I crave and the time out of the house, so when I get back to the office (home) I am feeling pumped for the day ahead.  This may not work for everyone, but I encourage you to make exercise a part of your daily routine- even if it is only getting out of the house for a walk down the street for coffee. 

3.  Write out your weekly goals every Monday

Sit down on a Monday morning (or Sunday evening) and write your list. Not just a to-do list, but a list of goals or specific tasks that you need to get done in your current work week. 

Make them actionable, achievable, prioritised and relative to that week. Make sure you don’t get ahead of yourself with far-out goals for months down the track and big plans for the future. Stick to the five days that you have ahead of you and focus on what will be achieved that particular week. 

This sets out a clear list of things that you absolutely need to get done that week, and leaves you with a checklist to tick off as you go.

4. Dedicate time to your children, and live in that moment

I have a school-aged child, so this may vary with your situation, but I think you can apply this anywhere. 

Every afternoon after I pick Jasper up from school we have an afternoon snack together, talk about our day and I help him with his homework. This takes one hour- this is Jasper’s time. During this hour I do not answer emails, check Instagram, answer work-related phone calls etc. 

I sit with my son, give him eye contact and really listen to what he says.  After his homework and snack, then it is back to work for me- I am lucky in that Jasper is at a great age (eight years) so he can happily amuse himself with reading, toys and his gaming whilst I get another 2 hours in before I cook dinner. My partner and I talk to Jasper about this and he understands that I am working, and if he needs me he can talk to me, otherwise he leaves me to my work. 

Then we regroup at dinnertime, do the shower/bedtime routine and if I am feeling up to it I get another two hours of work in (especially if I am doing the morning exercise class). 

My fiancé is a pilot so he works away from home; I work my routine around his roster (my bible) but 70-80% of the time I am home on my own. But, when he is home, he does everything he can to help, which allows me to catch up on rest and work. We balance our lives out by making sure we both get enough in of what we love doing and we are both really happy with how it works and how supported we both feel. I make sure he gets a surf, he makes sure I get to Yoga. 

I can understand how this arrangement would be a lot more difficult with a baby or toddler, but the same principals could be applied during meal and play times. It is all about prioritising what is done workwise while your child is in care and what you can squeeze in when you have your child at home with you. Ask for help when you need it, and understand that you can only do so much - putting too much pressure on yourself is only going to be detrimental in the long run, for you and your family. 

5. Start each workday with intention and focus

OK - so you have exercised, cleaned and looked after your family- you are ready to take on your day!

Start each day with an intention; focus on what you need to do- write a list if it helps, then tick each task off as you go. 

A rule that I have applied lately is to not turn on my computer until I have set an intention and I know exactly what task I am going to do and how long I am going to spend doing it. Try it- it has really worked for me (and I am the biggest procrastinator around). 

When you are feeling a little fidgety or wandering off-track (hello Facebook notifications) you need a break. Boil the kettle, have a stretch or get some air. Come back to it after 5-10 minutes feeling refreshed and reset your intention. Believe it or not I repeat this process up to 5 times a day! My best work is done in spurts of around 45 minutes and then I need to break. Sometimes my break involves unpacking the dishwasher, or making Jasper’s bed and fixing up his room.  Other times I catch up on a Podcast or video series I have filed away, sometimes I do this standing up in the kitchen to give my back a break and do some stretching.

Everyone is different, find out what works for you then use it to your advantage. It only takes 10 minutes to hang a load of washing out - could you do this on your break? 

Chloe’ Waugh is a social media strategist, manager and coach who has gained a reputation as being efficient, creative and easy to work with. Chloe’s passion for social media really blossomed after the birth of her son 8 years ago, and it has naturally developed into her profession over time. She is now founder of Social Media Creative and has developed several different packages and resources to help others boom online. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

Take care of the greatest asset in your business - YOU!

By Anna-Nicole Del-Re

Running your own business can be one of the most rewarding things you have ever achieved in your life but running your own business doesn’t come without stress. There is the worry of do I have enough clients? Keeping your team motivated and achieving what you need them to do. Paying the bills can also bring stress levels to an all time high. Taking this all into consideration, putting yourself first can really be the last thing on your mind. 

As a leader and business owner, it is imperative that you stay strong and healthy and don’t burn out; fall sick or else your business could really suffer as a result. 

Here are some great tips of how to take good care of you as a business owner:

1. Exercise- Kick off your morning before you start your working day with a fast paced walk, run, yoga or personal training session. This is a great way to not only keep your health in check but you will feel motivated and focused when you start your working day. We are normally exhausted after a working day, so getting exercise in first thing in the morning is a great way to keep up an ongoing exercise regime. 

2. Book a Massage- At least once a month or more if you can, book a nice relaxing massage. Find someone who knows your body and who can identify where to release tension. For one hour you can switch off and walk out feeling relaxed and re-energised. When you go for your appointment, schedule your next one in then and there. That way it is already in your diary and you have some “me time” locked in every month. 

3. Drink Water- It’s a basic piece of advice but drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day keeps you hydrated and gives you more energy. Fill a jug up first thing in the morning and drink that throughout the day. Even schedule into your diary a reminder so if your day runs away with you, this will keep you in check. (Throw in a piece of lemon to make the taste even better.) 

4. Block Out Time- Schedule a time in your day where it's all about you and your work. Constant interruptions with phone calls, emails and meetings can get overwhelming. Give yourself some headspace to tick things off your list and get through the tasks that are important to you not everyone else. 

4. Meditation- One of the best ways to calm the mind, meditation is a powerful tool for high achieving entrepreneurs. Purchase some guided meditations and you will feel a million dollars afterwards with a clear mind. It is also a great way to allow new ideas to come through and give you new areas of focus and drive.  

5. Switch off on weekends- Yes we love our work as entrepreneurs but make sure it doesn't become your whole life. Make time for catching up with friends and family and enjoying the simple things like going to the movies, reading a book and relaxing at the beach. If you work all weekend there will come a time when you might end up resenting your work because you have allowed no time for you. 

6. Find a Hobby- Give yourself something that you look forward to outside of your work. Something that you are also passionate about and you feel motivated to do each week. Maybe take up a short course, learn to sail, enjoy a new sport or do something crafty. 

7. Invest in a Life/Business Coach- This is such an important investment if you are running your own business. This person is your soundboard and will help you stay on task to achieve those life and business goals that are so important to you. As your business is a big part of your life you will feel so much better being able to express your feelings to someone who is on the outside and not involved in your business. They will become a great support and mentor for you and someone you truly value in your life. 

8. Eat Well- A nutritious diet full of wholefoods is great to keep your mind stimulated. Steer away from processed sugars, heavy carbohydrates that make you sleepy and sluggish. Create a weekly meal plan and even go see a nutritionist or dietitian who can help you create the best meal plan for your schedule. 

With all this in mind, always remember you are the greatest asset in your business. Your success is inspiring to others and the world needs you to keep doing what you love. Take good care of you mind, body and soul and the universe will always give you more. 

What you do to take better care of yourself as a business owner?

Anna-Nicole Del-Re loves to be creative and organised. She loves projects and most of all loves seeing people and businesses like yours reach their true potential, achieving business success. She's brought over 10 years of experience together and formed Creative Empire, a business support service to help you with all your business ideas, planning and execution. She believes building a business is one of the most creative things you can do and she can’t wait to share the journey and help you build your empire.

Photo Credit: Unsplash 

Balancing blogging, life and love

By Jess May

It is completely normal these days to be crazily multi- tasking, working late hours (sometimes even from home) and constantly being connected to the outside world via social media and smart phones. No surprise, really, but our relationships are getting pushed further and further down the priority ladder. 

"My job isn't just a job. This is my career we're talking about." 

"Its so hard to think of things that we both want to do when we actually have free time to spend together!" 

"I just wish I could have the best of both worlds." 

Would you be shocked if I told you that you can have the busy lifestyle AND a kick-arse, loved up relationship. Its not a fairytale. No glass slippers or witchy step-mother involved. You've just got to know how the to find the time, and what the hell to do when you've nabbed it. 

What you need from your partner and what they need from you in terms of feeling fulfilled in the relationship could be completely different. Don’t freak out! You're not suddenly incompatible or destined to be doomed. It just means that you both need different things to fill your cup. 

Scheduling in time together doesn't make it any less personal. Most of the time, when we think of scheduling, we're thinking boring-arse work meetings, grueling gym sessions and dentist appointments. No wonder we're cringing at the thought of making time for something that should be fun + flirty. 

Do you schedule in a holiday? How's the anticipation leading up to that? Does it make you giddy with excitement, busting a gut for it to just hurry up? Its something to look forward to.

Treat locking in time with your love in much the same way. 

Our lives are so crazy busy these days its way too easy to let it slide down the priority list. Even if its just spending time at home together, lock it in! You'll both show up knowing full well that its US time, so more chance of switching off and just being there. 

So, you know what both you and your partner thrive off romantically. Now what? 

You've got the upper hand here, kid! The small, valuable amount of time you get together is now hyper fueled to be spot-on. Its like date night on drugs! 

Don’t let anyone tell you…

You can't possibly make it work this way. Its your relationship, not theirs. How they hell would they know? 

You're doing it wrong. Says who? If it works for you guys, then it just works! Run with it. 

Its not conventional. What is anymore?! 

You can't nurture a loving relationship without ample time. A watched flower won't grow any faster. 

You should spend your time doing X or Y. No-one can know what sustains your relationship, except you.

Jess May is a relationship coach for women in long-term relationships who want to tap into their heart smarts and create the relationship they desire with the person they already love. A born and bred Aussie, she’s edgy and rowdy, swears a little too much, loves a stiff drink and heavy electric guitar. You can catch Jess rockin’ & rollin’ over at The Fire Stokers, Twitter and Instagram

Photo Credit: Picjumbo

The Balancing Act - Dealing With Your Day Job

By Monique Cormack

For a lot of us, life as a full-time blogger/entrepreneur is a future ambition. We’re working the 9-to-5 - or substantially longer - and pouring heart and soul into ventures on the side. Having spent the last few years like this, I wanted to share with you some reflections and practices that help pull me through (not that I'm always incredibly zen about it!). 

You can do anything, but you can’t do everything...so don't be afraid to toss some tasks and "tilt".  The first part of that sentence is terribly clichéd, but add the second half and it becomes actionable. When you have a working life + a life + a side-project, your to-do list never shrinks.

But you know what? It doesn’t matter that you won’t tick everything off. Let yourself off the hook. If it is important to get a blog post out weekly, and not so important to take a homemade cake to Sunday’s BBQ, buy a cake. Skip the gym (once in a while).  

It’s not about being irresponsible; it’s about learning to really listen to you. The following two references help explain this concept. First, read Sarah Wilson’s article on ‘tilting’. I first did almost four years ago and it still resonates with me.  

Second, practice Steven Covey’s importance/urgency matrix (he wrote The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People). It’s simple but effective. Look it up (I don’t want to replicate it without permission) and try it.

Start an ideas schedule for your creative time. Although I encourage you to be flexible in scooping out niches of creative time, it is important to try to make that time effective. If you just decide on impulse to sit down and “create”, you can feel overwhelmed and conflicted as to what you should be doing. Snap some photos? Research the next post? Work on your site? There’s always likely to be more than one project you’d like to take further.

Get a calendar (hard copy is good!) and pick out a few suitable days. Write down focus points for those days. (As my blog is nutrition related, I jot down recipes or post topics). Practically, this helps me plan things to buy, and visualise my blog and social media content.

Psychologically, it relieves me of having too many ideas on the go, and reduces time spent agonising “what should I do right now?”. I have a monthly brainstorm, map out rough times for playing with my ideas, then more-or-less roll with it. 

Remind yourself why you got into this, and be fond of your endeavours. If your world is anything like mine, it’s full of people who are doing something kind of similar to you, except they don’t have another job and can access more time and different opportunities. It irks you, and in a busy, dead-tired state, it can make you feel downright resentful. The world becomes black-and-white: entrepreneurial freedom versus stuck in a job. But reality is not black-and-white.  

I love blogging, studying and interacting with new foodie friends. But I also appreciate earning an income that funds a house, lots of travel and another degree. Working brings certain freedoms, and though it takes away time it can gift the capacity to invest in your passion without pressure. Others feel a much more acute need to make their projects succeed, and some probably envy your position. Don’t look upon your side project like “another job”.

Play, do it because you want to. You may expand (or deflate) a project at your whim; that is a special kind of luxury. Don’t compare yourself and trust the process. You are exactly where you are meant to be.  

Monique Cormack is a lawyer-turned-nutritionist currently completing a Bachelor of Health Science (Nutritional Medicine). When she is not working or studying, Monique likes to keep busy sharing healthy recipes and nutrition tips over on her website Nourish Everyday, as well as indulging in the odd catering, coaching or presentation job. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook