Guest Post- Stop Trying to Find Work-Life Balance. Start Creating It.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay by TheDigitalWay

~Today’s Guest Post is courtesy of Career Coach and fellow Blogger, Julie Morris. Julie has graciously written a lovely article about stress management advice that I know my readers will love. She has a wonderful outlook on living life to the fullest and I am honored to feature such a great post on my tiny blog. Thank you, Julie! 🙂

Enjoy!

The modern business world pressures us to be workaholics while glamorizing the habit of staying busy as if it were an art form. Perhaps this is why so many entrepreneurs, freelancers and businesses professionals find themselves craving work-life balance. Some people have started to believe that work-life balance in modern society is actually just a myth. Speaking from experience, it’s very possible to achieve a healthy balance between work and personal time; we’ve just been going about it all wrong. As a society, we talk about “finding” work-life balance as if all we have to do is walk into a room and simply look for it. Instead of expecting the work-life balance to be an effortless task, we must actively change habits and shift priorities to build the happy, fulfilling life we’ve dreamed of.

If your New Year’s Resolution is to find more balance, here are some changes you can make today to start working towards your goal:

Unplug

I know, I know, you’ve heard it so many times before. Here’s why…

Unplugging (turning off the computer and putting down your phone) is important for us to do on a regular basis. In addition to improving work-life balance, studies have shown it has actual health benefits for the human body. Give your brain a rest, reduce stress and anxiety, sleep better, and get back to enjoying the moment.

Schedule It
If you’re having trouble finding time to unplug, try scheduling it on your calendar like you would for any other task. This holds true for ME time, exercise, self-care time, or any activities that will make you feel less stressed about work.

Start Small
When you first start to prioritize yourself, it can feel strange. If you’re finding it difficult or even shameful to pull yourself away from important projects and deadlines for the sake of reading a book or relaxing with friends, here’s a tip that might help. Start small. Instead of scheduling a whole hour for self-care time, try blocking off a smaller window of time. The length of time is up to you. What feels realistic to you today? Even if you start with just five minutes per day, you will eventually start to feel the benefits – and you can always work your way up from there.

Shift Your Perspective
Instead of beating yourself up for the things you didn’t accomplish by the end of the day, start re-training your brain to focus on positivity. Business coach and former Google employee Jenny Blake offers the following advice: At the end of your workday, create a list of everything you did accomplish that day, even if it was only chipping away at a much larger project.

Work-life balance isn’t something that can be found because it isn’t something that just magically happens. You have to prioritize it and work for it, just like anything else in life. It may feel strange scheduling time for yourself at first. You may even feel a little guilty not checking your work emails. Over time, however, you’ll start to find that you’re less burnt out and more productive at work because you’ve created some healthy boundaries and prioritized your own well-being. Optimizing your home for stress-free living wouldn’t hurt either. You get enough stress from work.

You certainly don’t need your place of living to add to that.

Julie Morris – juliemorris.org

SO I want to become a successful writer… Now, how the heck do I do that?

“So, you want to be a writer?” -a question I’ve been asked a lot lately.

Everyday for the last 6 months I’ve asked myself the same thing “How the heck do I become a successful writer?”heck

In all honesty, I’ve always wanted to write. I wrote a ton of poetry as a kid and kept multiple journals throughout my childhood. I even told my mom that I wanted to be a journalist when I grew up. Now that I’m a bit older, that desire is still burning inside of me. It has been for some time. But, I have absolutely NO experience on how to actually write professionally. I don’t even know if my writing is good! I managed to set up a blog, write some poetry and bust out a few articles but… now what? I have no idea how to make my blog work for me. I’m going in blind! I want to change the world but that is a pretty large and broad subject to write about.

AND not only do I have these excuses… There are so many subjects I want to cover and so many stories to tell. How do you write about stuff when everyone is already writing about EVERYTHING!? I want to write about everything from travelling and conservation projects to local business and the best places to see in Victoria. But how do I narrow it down?

Procrastination is my middle name and I’ve been so lost and confused about which direction I want my writing to go… well that was up until yesterday.

I had my lovely friend Erin at All Curves West and Curves West Marketing Curves westcome over and show me a few different things online such as: how to market myself on social media through related links and how to drive more traffic to my personal blog. I had the basics down but I didn’t really know how to connect with more people. So I started liking and sharing and made my own Facebook page:

The tiny writer

And THAT’S when in dawned on me. It was right in front of my face the whole time…

I need to write about WRITING!! I am just starting out on an incredible journey: how to become a successful writer… why wouldn’t I just write about that? Thank you Erin for helping me reach that epiphany!

I’ll write about the fact that I have no idea what I’m doing BUT I have some great ideas and all I need to do… is share them!! imagesblog

Now, I know there must be other people out there in the same boat as me. Are you lost and confused about your writing just as much as I am? Well let’s work on it together! Here are a few things I’ve done to get to the point I’m at right now… which is still just the beginning. I definitely recommend these steps if you’re just getting started:

Subscribe to some magazines related to what you want to write about ie: National Geographic, NG Traveller and International Living are magazines I chose because I want to write about travel. Reading others people’s work is the best way to find out where your interests lie and gives you an idea of different ways to write content. Since I want to write articles about various travel adventures, places to see and conservation projects, these magazines are perfect for learning how other authors write about those specific subjects.

Sign up with AWAI (American Writers Association Inc.) and The Barefoot Writer to gain some knowledge on how to make a living as a writer. When I searched “how to make a living as writer” these associations were at the top of the list. With consistent updates on webinars, seminars, courses and conferences you can attend, you will constantly have information filling your email account. You will have to spend a small amount of money to get involved with certain subscriptions, but it’s well worth it! And once you do, free webinars and other resources will pop up from time to time.

Join Writers Digest for educational books, agents and other listings related to writing stuff. Writers Digest has a wealth of information including teleseminars, online University courses and critiques you can give some of your work to critique. Not only that but the WD Marketplace has thousands of listings you can search if you’re ready to publish a book, seek out an agent or enter a contest with your recently completed masterpiece.

Read a bunch of books! This is the best way to exercise your brain and learn about writing. It’s also a great way to find out what your writing style is if you have no idea what kind of writer you are yet. I found that fantasy books really captured my interest so naturally I started writing a “dreamscape” novel. It’s still in its beginning phase but at least I’ve found my direction in novel-writing. Everyone has to start somewhere!

**Make a Facebook page and “Like” and “Share” you heart out** This step is crucial and I was clueless about it until Erin showed me. How will anyone ever know who you are if you don’t share your work and like other people’s work? When Erin pointed it out to me it made perfect sense. I didn’t know how to get my work out there and my page wasn’t linked to any other pages so, that’s what I did. I linked my Facebook page to my blog, “liked” a bunch of related pages and started to share some links that sparked my interest. Now more people will see who I am and hopefully this will drive more traffic to my site.

… and the most important thing I’ve learned about being a writer is you have to actually write stuff! So write what you know and throw it out there for the world to see. That’s my main goal now: to make myself a writing schedule and keep up with consistent posts. Break out the calendar and start creating specific time slots on when to write during the week.

That’s all I’ve come up with so far. But it’s definitely a start!

SO where are all the Newby writers at? Do you have any advice that can help me kick-start my writing career? How have you made your writing successful? Do you like any of my suggestions? Please let me know as feedback is much appreciated 🙂

Let’s share our stories and see what the writing world has in store for us!

Happy writing! xo