Why It's Been So Hard For Me To Find A Work/Life Balance

Why It's Been So Hard For Me To Find A Work/Life Balance I came into 2017 with a long list of goals. They weren't really resolutions, they were more of a long list of tasks I wanted to achieve. I shared some of them on this blog, and some of them were kept seperate. A big part of my goal for this year was to achieve a better sense of calm in my life. You may or may not know this about me, but I'm a highly anxious/stressed out person. I love work, and I love what I do so much, but I definitely find myself frequently getting over stressed, and over exhausted.

So when I tell you that two weeks into January, I experienced possibly the most stressful week of my career yet, you'll laugh at me, right? Come on, I'm two weeks in to 2017, and I was already failing! Well, you could look at it that way, but actually, it was a blessing in disguise. You see, I came back from Switzerland, and I hadn't shot any commercial or fashion work in a couple of weeks, and I missed it! So what did I do? Crammed four shoots into one week, plus meetings on the days I wasn't shooting, and before I knew it, I had 7 fully booked days in a row. When it came to that Monday and I looked at the week ahead, I felt my throat begin to close up: How on earth would I manage to do so much in such a short space of time? Where was I going to have my rest? The truth was: I wasn't.

I powered on through that week, and despite enjoying the shoots I did, and the meetings I attended, I came to the end of the week completely and utterly drained. I didn't want to move... in fact, I couldn't move! I actually hurt everywhere! But it was a massive wake up call. I looked at my diary for the weeks coming up, and following the wonderful advice of Hayley Bisofsky (you need to look her up if you haven't already) I blocked out days in my diary called "Me Days." These are days where I don't book in meetings, shoots, or anything work related. They're days that I can spend at home, seeing friends, or doing whatever I feel like; if that's working at my desk - that's fine - but the focus is that I get to choose.

I've been doing this for the past two/three weeks ever since that crazy week, and I've also come up with a very clear idea of how many shoots/meetings I am capable of taking on per week. I've written myself guidelines, and I'm going to follow them. I won't lie, I have been approached by people in these past two weeks asking if I'm free a week later, and yes, perhaps I could have taken out one of my "Me Days" and filled it in with a shoot, but looking at the grand scheme of things, would that be wise? Would I be able to perform at my highest ability? Would I be able to deliver the quality that my client wants? The answer is most definitely not - not if I'm feeling stressed, burnt out, or exhausted.

And that's what all this comes down to; I need space, I need time, and I need those days to be free to focus on me and what I need, because if I don't do that, I'm useless to everyone. There will be people out there who are able to work every day, shooting two shoots a day, two months straight and feel totally fine. If that works for them, that's great! But it doesn't work for me, not at all.

So next time you're feeling overwhelmed, pressured or feel like you have to be working harder with each day, take a step back and think: are you really working to your best ability? Would you not be better giving yourself some time, and space to recharge your batteries, and approach each project with as much energy as the last? I know that I do!

Don't get me wrong, this is something I'm having to work very hard on. I still find myself wanting to add more to my diary, to push harder, to go that one step further, and sometimes I do... but I'm also becoming better at knowing what my limits are, and respecting them.

How do you balance your weeks out? What strategies do you use to find that balance? Is it something that you struggle with? Comment below; I'd love to know (that rhymes..hehe!).

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Why It's Been So Hard For Me To Find A Work/Life Balance


What I'd Like to do in 2016

Self Portrait by Olivia Bossert I'm not very big on New Year's Resolutions. I've never really made them before, because I know for a fact that I'm setting myself up for failure. A New Year's resolution kind of implies to me that in the whole previous year, I've been doing things wrong. I'm quite an ambitious person, though, so I'm always setting myself goals. With Christmas almost here, and New Years approaching fast, resolution stuff begins to pop up left, right and center, and of course that makes me start to reflect on what new goals (or current goals) I'd like to work on. Let's call it a "refocus."

  1. Work. I'm a work-a-holic. I've been "working" on some kind of project since I was 15, all the time. It started off with photography at 15 and it consumed me. Then Atlas came about, and that's been my primary focus since I was 20. We've got so many big projects for Atlas, and I won't go into massive detail about them now because this blog isn't really supposed to focus on Atlas, but I'd like to grow the business more, take our print issues worldwide, grow our audience, and collaborate with more brands in future. It's exciting! See what we're up to here.
  2. Photography. My photography took a bit of a back seat for a few years (for various reasons), but I'm feeling incredibly inspired lately and have been thinking about what kind of work I'd like to produce. My day to day work with Atlas involved reviewing submissions from talented people all around the world. It definitely gets me inspired, and I'd like to start shooting again, more frequently, working with local Cornish designers. I've seen some of the talented designers there are in the area, and it's so inspiring! I'd also like to use film more. It's a medium I adore to work with, but didn't feel confident enough to really test out when I was younger.
  3. Fitness. I'm currently working towards some new goals, which is ongoing and has started well before the New Year. In a nutshell, I'd like to finally push the excess body fat I have around my middle. No, it's not big, and no I'm certainly not overweight at all, but I'm someone who likes to see how far I can go, and I would really really like to be confident in myself in a bikini. I know it's very superficial, but this is a place for honesty, right? I'd also like to see how strong I can get! In the past 6 months, I can't believe how much stronger and fitter I am. Never in a million years did I think I'd be able to run 10 miles (16km), but I can! And I can just about deadlift 60KG (we're working on it), I've improved my sprint time by 5 seconds, I sit between 150 W and 160 W in my spin class, and I can punch harder than I ever thought I could before. Feeling myself get stronger and fitter is the most incredible thing and I can't wait to see where I am in 6 more months!
  4. Health. 2015 was a big year for me in terms of my digestive health. It's well known on this blog that since I was 15, I've struggled more and more with my IBS. It steadily got worse, then when I was 20 I made changes, and it got better, but it would still come and go in waves. I went on the Low FODMAP diet this summer, and it has been life changing for me. Hard, I'll admit, and there are certain things which still trigger my IBS (ie. stress) but overall, I'm so much better than I ever was. All I really want to do in 2016 is to carry on eating what makes me feel good, developing recipes that are Low FODMAP, and sharing them here! (PS. I have loads of new ones, but I'm currently visiting my parents in Switzerland, so I can't photograph any of them to share with you!)
  5. Happiness. One thing that I realized (big time) this year was how important it is for me to take the time to relax. I have a problem where I feel guilty if I'm not constantly working. I feel like there's so much to do, and I'm totally aware of it, so if I stop, sit on the sofa and watch Homeland with my boyfriend, I get a pang of guilt because, really, I could be at my desk hammering out more emails or doing more strategy work. But taking that time out every day to do something that I enjoy, even if it's as simple as reading a few blogs, or watching some YouTube videos refreshes me, and I'm so much more productive (and enthusiastic!) if I've been able to recharge my batteries. In 2016, I'd really like to continue to do that.

So there you go, some goals which aren't really goals cause I'm sort of already doing them, but things I'd like to carry on doing! I find the end of the year is, more than anything, simply a really good time to reflect, think about where you are, and what you'd like to continue working on.

What are your "resolutions?" Do you have any? What's your take on New Year's resolutions? Let me know in the comments bellow!

What I'd Like To Do In 2016 - oliviablogs.com