the work life balance struggle

by Krystal Bick
February 15, 2018

Today’s topic is something I’ve struggled with for years.

Years. To the point where it’s been the source of countless arguments with loved ones, the catalyst for several breakups and even a health breakdown or two. And it’s one that I won’t sit here and profess to you that I’ve somehow mastered and kicked. No. Actually, I still struggle with it — every day. I’m talking about work life balance or rather, my serious lack there of.

Perhaps rather fittingly, we’re now at the tail end of New York Fashion Week — a time of year that always tends to throw me into the depths of “I need to do EVERYTHING all at once mode,” which, spoiler alert, usually induces some form of the flu or another at the end of it. This year, I’m not sure if there was something about my approach, the schedule of the shows, the limitation of invites from PR companies or heck, maybe something in the water, but I felt much more, well, cruis-y about it all. Not fussed. Not stressed. Just genuinely enjoying myself.

This isn’t to say I don’t normally enjoy myself during NYFW or any other work-related perk of this blog, because I do. In fact, while I’m sure many other influencers are worried about their row positioning (and perhaps rightfully so?), I’m just darn happy to be in the same room as a runway show. Bottom line: this season, I was much more aware of my balance — and realistic about it, too.

What do I mean? Well, I think the first misnomer here is this idea of perfect balance. In the past, when I was working at Google AND moonlighting on my blog in the evenings and early mornings, I dreamt of the day I would have this perfect balance. Where 8 hours of work time a day, meant I’d have another 8 hours of wonderful “me” time doing all the “me” things that make “me” feel “ME.” (Sorry — that’s a lot of ME.)

The reality? Even when I eventually left Google and starting working for myself full time, my work days are much longer than 8 hours a day (alas, that’s entrepreneurial life for you) and once I finally do decide to stop working for the day, there are all the other life admin things I need to check off off my list. Chores. Errands. Making time for meals. Exercise. Commuting. SLEEPING. What’s left over is perhaps an hour for that aforementioned ME time.Β  (Continued…keep scrolling.)

 

OUTFIT DETAILS: Paige denim jacket // Paige turtleneck // Paige jeans // Stuart Weitzman boots // Chanel bag // Brixton hat // Lisi Lerch earring + & Other Stories earring (sold out, but LOVE this pair)

In the past, I’ve just taken that leftover hour, shrugged my shoulders, and said, well let’s just fill it with WORK, because I figured the math just didn’t add up for me, so why bother? For the sake of this post, I won’t bore with a long list of how this approach failed me. Literally FAILED me. But let it suffice to say, I wasn’t sleeping much. I wasn’t spending quality time with people I cared about. I wasn’t eating well and I wasn’t making time for simple things like doctor appointments. Yep, that’s right. I was paying each month for an insurance plan I wasn’t even taking advantage of. I was thriving on this almost always empty gas tank, refueling with the third or fourth cup of coffee — all the while thinking, “WOW look at all this I can humanly fit into a day.”

But at what price?

Life always has a funny way of smacking you up side the head to wake you up. Let’s just say, life hit me really hard on the head recently. Like, really hard. Hard that it still stings. Perhaps I’ll write about that experience at some point but for now, I’ll just say this: I don’t want it to hit me again.

These days, I’m making a concerted effort to make that hour or two QUALITY Me Time. Me Time that I look forward to, Me Time that makes me feel recharged. Me Time that makes ME feel like ME again. It’s not a perfectly equal balance or a complete zen state, and you know what? That’s fine. Some days it’s really looking forward to a show that I’ve been DYING to watch. Other days, it’s forgoing that last minute press invite because I know I need to catch up on taxes. And some days, it’s just the simple act of spending an extra hour at the dog park because I’d rather sit there and read and watch Elvis play, than worry about what image to post next on Instagram. After all, Instagram will be there tomorrow.

Originally, when I was writing this post, I thought I would make it a “guide to how I manage my work life balance” and now, almost nearing the end of my very long rant, I realized, I still don’t know exactly how to navigate this struggle. It plagues me every day, the curse of the self-employed, workaholic perhaps. And I wouldn’t want to paint a picture that isn’t accurate either — so instead, I’m turning to you guys for guidance (because we’re all friends here, right?). What are ways that help you maintain a better work life balance? Asking for a friend. Just kidding. I’m asking for me. πŸ™‚

Photos by Nora Varcho

10 thoughts on “the work life balance struggle

  1. You basically mentioned what I do but I have a to-do list daily and I literally have it on my list for 2 1/2 hours of me time to do whatever it is that I want. The following day it feels really good when I cross it off that I actually had some me time. Time moves so quickly and it’s easy to lose track of it so I’ve found that this actually works. And there are days that I forgot to set that time aside (it’s on my list but time just kinda got away from me) I just make sure it is reinforced the following day.

    Good luck. Finding the perfect balance isn’t easy but it’s so worth it!

  2. Totally agree with you! Since I’m still a 9-to-5er (actually 6er), I have no choice but to find that balance or else I’d drive myself insane. I love both of my jobs SO much, and am so willing to put in as many hours as it takes. But it’s HARD. Once it starts taking a toll on my body and my mental health, that’s when I realize I need to take a step back. I remind myself of all of the GOOD things I’m doing, instead of focusing on the things OTHERS are doing. I really related to this post, and I’m so happy you shared your experience! xx

    The Champagne Edit

  3. I’m really struggling to find the balance of a career that is very deadline driven and having time to do the things that I need to do (exercising, groceries, cleaning, etc) and the things that I want to do (blog, read, genealogy). I’m getting better, and there have been some changes at work that will hopefully lesson that crazy.

    Thankfully, I have a husband who gets it and has the patience to deal with my occasional meltdowns

  4. I don’t know what the answer is, I seem to be continually looking for it!

    There are a few things that I do that have helped.
    1) Schedule the time. Just like any other important work meeting, put it in the diary and commit to it.
    2) Outsource as much of your errands as you can. Get a cleaner, send your laundry out, meal plan and do your shopping online. Put a value on your ‘me time’ and you’ll find that it’s cheaper to get a cleaner.
    3) Group your decisions….if you find yourself making the same decisions each day, group them and make them all at once. Eg, what to wear each day – decide on a Sunday night, put your outfits out (inc. underwear, accessories and makeup). You’ll save lots of time doing this sort of thing.

  5. Relate SO much to this! I thought I’d have more balance working for myself but now truly feel like I rarely ever turn off. There just always seems like more work to do – particularly for that of a blogger. There’s always something that is being given less attention that it should. So appreciate your thoughts on how you’ve evolved your struggle with it. Also these photos are so darling – as always!

  6. I think this will always be a juggling act! I loved reading about how you handle it.
    One thing I found that helped me was throwing out the term ‘work-life balance’. Because guess what? No matter how you look at it, work is a part of life! And most days the scales are no where close to balanced. I just have to change my mindset when I have a busy season of work ahead. Instead of taking an hour to go to a class at the gym everyday I at least make an effort to do anything to move my body for 10 minutes, a quick run, walk, dance, yoga, whatever. And when I have downtime at work I take full advantage and use the extra free time to fit in things I missed out on.

  7. Relating to this soooo much. Just yesterday I had to reject a client that I’ve worked with for several years because I’m simply overbooked and overloaded. I hemmed and hawed and worried that doing so would ruin my relationship with my client, or that I would suddenly be in an emergency and need the money. Being self-employed, you gotta take a step back and look at the big picture. What about my health? My personal life? Am I booking enough time for myself? So many things we forget…

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