Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my comfort zone, what it is, and what it means for my life. We all have these little spheres of comfort where we feel safe and happy, and we all tend to get stuck in these comfortable bubbles and forget to break out. It’s never easy to be uncomfortable, but it does pay off. It doesn’t have to be large scale either. We can step out of our comfort zones in small ways that have big results—here are some ideas.
Hi all! This past year has been an awesome one for me so far. I got a new job, hit some milestones in my blogging career, and managed to meet a huge goal of mine: publishing a short story. I’m so proud of my insane work ethic this year, and I know we all struggle to stay focused, work hard, and meet goals. I know there is literally nothing I like better than sitting on my couch with a huge bowl of popcorn watching Food Network, but most of the time I’m working, even after hours!
I thought I’d share with you some of the ways I’ve learned to organize my life and start to work efficiently to meet goals—because at the end of the day, isn’t that what our lives are all about? Making our dreams come true? Here’s what I’ve learned.
Have a Dedicated Workspace
One of my favorite poets, Rainer Maria Rilke, did indeed write a lot about spring. A few weeks ago I shared a poem he wrote about early spring, but now that the season has finally come around, I want to share another, one I love even more.
Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.
To say the least, it’s been a hard year for me. 2016 was the year when my life seemed to come to a crossroads, and everything from work to family and my love life seemed to get so much more complicated and more difficult to handle. And the biggest stressor, for me, was the question of what’s to come. I think that’s a very twenty-something problem to have, the “What am I actually doing with my life?” question. It came down to where my career was headed (seemingly nowhere), how attainable my dreams were (seemingly not very), and how close I was to getting the life I wanted (ditto).
All that insecurity, fruitless work, and frustration can really do a number on a girl. I had a lot of bad days, a lot of stress, and a couple of breaking points. Throughout it all, the mantra “stay positive” echoed in my head, but at the end of bad weeks or bad months, I couldn’t remember what it even meant anymore. But when I had really good days, I remember what I’ve actually learned about positivity.Read More »
I love to travel, but unfortunately, I work. But since I tend to like money and not starving, it’s not so bad. But that’s why weekend trips, often spontaneous ones, are so important. My cousins recently invited me to tag along on their mini road trip to Mystic, Connecticut, and I was jazzed since I love pizza and Julia Roberts! I went with my cousins, my sister, and my brother-in-law, and we lucked out with a gorgeous spring day. Here are some photos.
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This year, the whole concept of work/life balance has been on my mind. With a new job, freelance work, and life goals, sometimes it feels so incredibly overwhelming.
I have almost zero work/life balance. Most days I get home from work late, eat dinner, take a shower, watch an old episode of The Office (which speaks to my stressed soul), and go to sleep. Not a lot of time for fun and/or relaxation, but in the past few weeks, I’ve tried really hard to change that. Here’s what I’ve learned.
1. Don’t take work home with you
This is really hard for me, because for so long I worked at home, so work was home. I still do this, because I’m writing this blog and for Hello Giggles, so my home is also my office. But in terms of my full-time job, I try to leave the drama, stress, and work at the office.
For me, this translates into trying not to complain too much about the more stressful/ridiculous parts of my job when I’m home. At home, I am ZEN. I leave the crap at work, and at home, I relax.
On the way home, however, I rant a lot to get it out of my system. 🙂 Let yourself get it all out before you get home, so you’re not seething when you should be happy and relaxed.
2. Invest time into your hobbies…be stubborn about it.
When I got a new job, I struggled with the 12 hours a day it would require, with the addition of my commute. That’s a huge amount of time to be not doing fun things. As a way to compromise, I started listening to audiobooks on my commute. I can’t even describe how much my commute got better! I looked forward to the drive, and I got to work happier. It really makes a huge difference when you find time to do what you like.
I also tried to get my errands done during the week: before work starts (there’s a convenient Walgreens close to my office), and during my lunch hour. That way, my weekends are all for me, and to enjoy the things I love to do, writing this blog among them.
3. Turn off your phone.
Technology makes it easier to be constantly connected to work, which isn’t always a good thing. I’m lucky in that I’m not really expected to work outside of work hours, but a lot of people are. They’re constantly reachable and so are constantly expected to be available to their bosses. I think it’s important to turn off that phone during important times, like when you’re out with friends or with your family.
As for me, I try not to return emails when I’m out of work, and as for social media, I’ve turned off all my push notifications for Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook! Sometimes, being off the grid is SO NICE. I’m obsessed with my phone enough as it is without it flashing with notifications all the time.
4. Make lists—both for what you have to do, and what you want to do.
Because I have a lot of different responsibilities, the to-do list is my drug. I’m addicted to making lists and getting to cross things off, but I also make lists for the things I want to do, like watch a particular show or see my friends on a certain day. This helps me prioritize my down time, as well as my work time. Knowing that entertainment is as important to your life as your job is half the battle.
5. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
I fail at this ALL THE TIME! I am constantly putting pressure on myself to meet deadlines, do everything perfectly, and have time left over. Sometimes it’s just not possible, and that’s okay.
The whole idea is to not let work become your whole life. It’s been difficult for me this year, transitioning from working from home to commuting about three hours a day (both ways). I’ve had to manage my time better, become a lot more organized, and prioritize the things I was not willing to sacrifice.
Last year was a bad year in terms of saving for me. I tried my hardest to be frugal, but considering I went on several trips, one overseas, the saving thing was so not for me. I was also shopping fairly heavily, which was great for fashion posts, but not so much for the wallet! Enter: the no-buy challenge.