07 July, 2012

My Work / Life / Creative Balance


 Lately I've been asked (alot) "How do you do it all?" and "Where do you find the time?"

The above questions are in relation to the fact that I work a very real and sometimes demanding full time office job. If you know me well enough, you'll know that I have a range of suits in my wardrobe with a range of work appropriate and boring shoes and that in reality I'm two people.

The first person is the professional (or at least, I try to be!) Rebecca who you meet in the office, complete with a working diary, meetings (too many meetings!) to attend and many, many tasks to complete and people to please. It's a little surreal some days and I try to let my personality and artistic side shine through by wearing funky jewellery, an unusual bag or spending that little bit longer in the morning applying some nice or creative eye make up. Those little measures make me feel that I'm still an artist at heart and that perhaps one day a change in circumstances will mean a new and more creative role for myself. I get to do grown up things like delegate tasks, ask people for rent and give out to students too, but I like to call it my 9 - 5 face!

The other Rebecca is the person behind LuckyRainbowDesigns, the arty one at school, the one still trying to finish her up MA in Art and Design and the one trying to blog and use all the social media tools available to her in order to let the good folk of the internet know who and what the above is. Considering I'm a busy gal, what measures / tools do I employ to keep the above ticking away?


iPhone & List maker extraordinaire
First and foremost my phone is a huge asset. When in class, or during a particularly boring lecture, I would check emails or respond to any queries from an assistant via text. I also took classes with another part time student and she would do the very same, and at times, we would have to pop out of class to take 'work calls'. Organizational apps such as Evernote are useful to help you organise your time, but for me, I felt it was a chore in itself to try and even remember to do this!

However, having an iPhone allows me instant access to my Facebook and Twitter accounts which allows me to update as I go. Genius! I'm also a big follower of Instagram and often take quick snapshots which I can easily upload to any of my social media accounts. It helps keep things ticking over when I'm working through busy periods that demand more of my time.



Lists, lists and more lists.....oh and did I mention lists!?
I'm also a big list maker! I get great satisfaction from crossing things off my list and always ensure I've nice pens and paper to make my lists with! (A girl has got to prioritize, right?) But besides this, it helps clear your head. Sometimes tasks and the daily crap you have to do can seem overwhelming until you write it all down.

I'm also a fan of making 'me lists' // things in which you do for yourself. Right now on my me list I have written 'ring spa for massage appointment'. All this crouching over computers is too much for my 5ft 4" frame at times and every 6 - 8 months I have to get those icky knots ironed out. Schedule some time for yourself, its good for you and try not to feel guilty about it.

Accept it / Don't fight it
By this I mean, accept that you're busy and put a plan in place so that you can get everything done. If you keep saying "I'm busy, I'm busy!", you won't get much done. Sit down, breathe, make a list, then a plan and get started.

Take each task one at a time and you will get it all done and done well. If you require help, ask! I once read a great quote that said, "ask for help with jobs / tasks you don't like". I often do this when I'm in my 9am - 5pm job and usually require assistance with tasks that are maths / finance related. I don't have the head for numbers and stats, so why not ask for help with someone who does have a head for it. Result, task is completed correctly (you hope!) and probably with more ease too. You may also have learned something along the way. Bonus!

Give up TV!!
If you watch less or perhaps no TV at all (perish the thought!) you will be amazed and surprised at the amount of free time which it frees up! Think about it, are you the kind of person who comes home from work at 5:30pm and then stays on the couch until bedtime at 11pm? There's 5 and a half hours right there that you could put to use. 

Allocate some of this time, or maybe on some evenings all of that time to other tasks! For me, it usually means spending that precious time (and to me, it really is precious) in the craft room, writing and scheduling blog posts, updating all things social media and also completing research and catching up with what is going on in the crafty world and of course making new items for lovely and potential customers! I still feel however, I still don't have enough time to expand what is it I want LuckyRainbowDesigns to be.

With the joys of the world wide web you can also catch up on your favourite and missed shows on the weekends or on alternative days off and really once you've missed a few episodes of those soaps, you're lost anyway.

Make FULL use of your days off
I cannot stress this enough! 

I'm currently writing this post on one of my days off and lie in's for me are a thing of the past. In fact, getting out of bed at 9:30am is a lie for me as most mornings, my body wakes up at around 7am anyways. It takes me about 30 minutes to 'wake up' and once I've had a cuppa, I'm good to go and ready to tackle the day. I'm not saying you NEED to work on your days off, but for me sitting in the craft room, creating away is not work for me. Its enjoyable, fun and a stress reliever sometimes too. Its also an insight to how I might be able to work one day.

Take advantage of those non work days, get all those itty bitty jobs outta the way (you know, the washing, cleaning and that present you have to get for aunty Joan who you rarely see) and don't procrastinate.ever! I am or at least have been guilty of this in the past and all its leads to is stress and tears, neither of which I handle very well.


And finally....Sleep!
I've read lots of articles and blog posts about the fine art of balance and know that many of you out there work into the wee hours in order to get things done and dusted! Many are also balancing it with children (Oh my, you're all amazing!) - but for me, sleep is a must. I cannot function in the workplace unless I've had a full compliment of 7 - 8 hours interrupted sleep. I often find that working on projects late into the night leads to sloppy work and a grumpy attitude the next day. The grumpy attitude then leads into the next day and the next days work. Not a good combination.

I also very rarely drink alcohol during the week and leave nights out to the weekend. Mind you, they've been few and far between lately too! (Sniff, sniff!). This way of working works for me, but I know there are many of you out there who do this and more, so share your nifty time saving tips so we all can learn!

Apart from all of the above, all I know is that I want to do it. I want to be creative and I want to make things and that has been in me since the year dot. I'm sure many of you can relate to this feeling and for me the above works for now. It's not ideal at time, but I know there are many, many more balancing more plates than little ole me!


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