Rose & Jenna: The Balancing Act

You’ve all been there. You work all day, come home and by the time you’ve gotten almost everything done on your checklist, it’s time for sleep. You wake up and repeat the same thing over again. After four or five days of this, you’re completely exhausted. What happened to the week? …. And what happened to the year?

Along with being a working professional comes a speediness to life. Everything is due ASAP. Everyone needs you right NOW. You barely have a moment to be mindful and collect yourself — so how do you balance your time effectively?

We don’t have it down. Our lives are anything but perfect when it comes to time management. But we’ve learned some tricks along the way, and we want to start sharing those with you. That’s why we’re starting this new feature called “The Balancing Act.” Each Friday, we’ll talk about work-life balance through a short Q&A. After all, that’s why we started this blog. Please share in the comments.

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Q. How do you manage your time? What tricks or tips do you use to “get it all done?”

Jenna: I try to manage my time but making a list of everything that needs to get done, and then putting it in order. After that, I assign deadlines and spread it out on a monthly view calendar. My planner is my go-to. Mostly, I use the whole month view which helps me manage all my obligations outside of work. For work, I utilize Outlook which syncs to my phone and color code meetings, working time, and personal appointments.

Rose: The first tip — I never expect to get it all done. That usually doesn’t happen. So, I decide what I can do in a given week, and I write it all out on my Erin Condren planner. I use this book for my health coaching biz, but I also add appointments throughout the day — both work and personal. There is a monthly view, too, which is good longer-term goals. Beside this journal I keep a notepad. Throughout the day I jot down personal things I need to accomplish like “Buy a gift for Aurora” or “Email Mom.” Having it on a list means I’ll do it that day. It also means I can go down the list on my lunch break and get it all done. As far as work stuff, Outlook is my savior. I save emails in my INBOX that need to be addressed. I also have an IN PROGRESS folder with all of the stories I’m working on during a given month.

Q. Do you have a process when it comes to deciding what to do now versus what to accomplish later?

Jenna: For work, that is usually dictated by the business needs and asks from my boss. For personal, it is all about priorities. Very rarely do personal activities assign you a “deadline” but I like to make my own. For example, if I want to get 4 things accomplished over the next week, I start back-filling my calendar to be sure everything gets accomplished. I also write reminders for steps like “buy tickets for that concert” so I get it on the calendar and have a plan.

Rose: I’m with Jenna. At work, this is usually dictated by my boss, and we have a loose editorial calendar. In terms of personal priorities — like running a challenge group or helping out with the lit journal I co-run — I look at what I need to accomplish in a month and then break those tasks down week-by-week.I have regularly scheduled hours for my hobbies, which sounds crazy, but really helps me to get things done in a timely manner.

Q. How do you say “no” to free up more time in your life for other things?

Jenna: At work, it is hard for me to say ‘no’. I certainly can, but I usually try to do everything that comes my way. Personally, there are certain people I have trouble saying no to and I’ve really started to work on that. Rule of thumb: if something isn’t going to bring me joy, I nix it. OR if I’m going to be more stressed if I say yes. Example: I know if I spend a few hours in the evening on Sundays prepping food for the week, I feel less stressed. I’ll often say “no” to Sunday night get-togethers for this reason.

Rose: I don’t quite say “no” at work unless I’m really under the gun. Instead, I might ask for help. In my personal life, I choose my hobbies carefully. I have many passions, and there is not always time to feed them all. So I go with what’s working at the time. This summer, it’s been all about fitness. In the spring, I was much more creative, working on books. So if something doesn’t feel right for that season, I say no. And I try to really listen to my gut on that one.

Q. How do you manage your time differently at work versus at home?

Jenna: I actually think I managed to answer this already, but specifically, I love the flexibility and ability to say ‘no’ in my personal life. I have my priorities and know what brings me joy, so that’s what I go with. Sometimes it is hard to “fit it all in” and be sure that all relationships in my life feel nurtured, but we can’t do everything.

Rose: I am regimented in both spaces and create a lot of lists. At work, I am usually much more focused — but that’s because I’m less tired! At home, I try to actually manage my time less … if that makes sense. That’s a space where I can be organic and not have to worry so much about accomplishing it all.

The Balancing Act is a weekly series written by the authors of the Nine to Five Balance. Check back next Friday for a discussion on balancing and achieving health goals while working full-time. 

Rose: 4 Days ‘Till 30

Four more days. It’s the end of an era. The end of an entire DECADE. And while there is still so much I want to accomplish, I’m feeling pretty good about where I’m at right now.

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The difference between now and 10 years ago is huge.

A decade ago, I was beginning my second year of college. That semester, I changed my major to theater. I was dating an actor at the time, and I thought that could be my future. I was still living with my freshman roommate, in a bright orange-and-green inspired dorm room. We’d finally gotten a sweet corner room — the biggest in the building. I was eating freeze pops like crazy. I was watching my weight (and running on the gym treadmill SEVERAL times away). I think I was even doing Weight Watchers. I was working for the school newspaper, which I’d eventually quit, since I spent all my time there. That year, I applied to a grant and found myself in England the following summer, a paid study abroad. I remember at the time feeling like all of this was so huge. I was changing, morphing and adapting each day.

Now it is 10 years later. I’ve somehow landed a dream job in New Jersey — a state I never thought I’d call home. I’m pursuing a career in what I picked originally: writing. I am dating another writer (funny how that works) who has become my best friend (and editor) I’m still living in bright residence — though this time it’s orange and blue. My freshman roommate is still my best friend. I swapped freeze pops for fruit bars. Fitness has taken over me, especially in the last year. I’ve found so much joy through running health groups and helping others reach their goals. I eat clean. I don’t count points. I’m not writing for a paper, but I am running a literary journal with two friends. And I just got back from an all-paid trip (by me, in cash) to northern California. At this point, none of this feels very huge. But maybe it should? I continue to change, morph and adapt each day. And I’ve done quite a bit of living in three short decades.

It’s funny the memories conjured up by relieving the past 10 years. And it’s ironic to see that, in many ways, I am doing the very same things I was doing at 20 — just a bit different. It’s in that adaptation where I find the real changes have taken root. At 20, I was nervous and anxious and wasn’t ever quite confident in myself. Today, I face those same fears and struggles. I have to actively work hard to not fret or feel guilty or think negative thoughts. But that is the key — working actively. Because of this, such feelings rarely overtake me. They are merely thoughts that pass through as I’m going through my day. I am no longer plagued by crippling anxiety that lasts for days. In many ways, this makes me feel like adulthood isn’t that bad.

I am ready for the next decade. I anticipate that it may be the most life-changing decade to date. The 20s was up and down. I look forward to riding a more even-keel wave in the 30s.

Here’s to 30!

21 Day Wellness Challenge

We’ve been thinking a lot about where we want to focus our energy when it comes to healthy living. We don’t just want to focus on cleaning up our diets and moving our bodies. We want something more. That’s where the wellness challenge comes into play.

For our next online accountability group, we’ll be focusing and talking through total wellness. This will be hosted via a private Facebook group, where we will post daily. We will be your leaders, support, and coachs (and students, too). We’re hoping to get a group together that is looking to focus on some positive and spread some light into this world in whatever small way we can: that starts with us.

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The challenge will run for 21 days, September 8 – 28. Challenge commitments follow. (Keep in mind, this is a challenge. Don’t think you have to perfect or concur all of these right away. The goal will be to achieve each of them).

Workout at least 20 minutes a day, 6 days a week.  I challenge those that exercise regularly to up this and push yourself. Being a Beachbody coach, we can help you decide what workout to tackle that will work best for you.

*Eat clean, properly portioned meals. We will post resources to let you know what this means.

*Choose one small positive habit to tackle each day/week.  This could be as simple as “I will tell a friend I appreciate them” or “Send someone a thank you text”.

*Choose one small negative habit to eliminate each day/week. This could be as simple as “I will eliminate negative thoughts about my body”. “I won’t compare myself to other people.”

If you’d like to join us, comment below with your email address or message us on Facebook.  I can’t wait to get this started.

Jenna: Favorite Snacks

I have to eat a lot throughout the day to stay full. I try to pack everything I will need so I don’t spend extra cash. This also keeps me from buying chips or candy out of the vending machine. People make comments at work all the time about how much I eat. Meh, who cares.
Up first: Fage Total Plain Greek Yogurt. I use to be a loyal Chobani fan, and I still LOVE their pineapple and coconut but didn’t want the extra sugar on a daily basis. I like the creaminess of the 2% and can eat this plain with just a dash of honey (and cinnamon if I am feeling really crazy).

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Green Tea. If I feel hungry, sometimes I will try a cup of this first. If I am still hungry I eat, but a lot of the time walking to grab tea is enough of a distraction from the boredom that I was actually feeling. And its full of antioxidants!

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Hummus is a treat for me. I buy the family size to save per portion, and put it in my own container so I watch the portion size. Hummus is a great snack, but I’ve been known to finish the whole container in 2 sittings with some Pita Chips. That is a ridiculous amount of calories and sodium. This way, I am stuck with a healthy portion and bring veggies for dipping. hummus

 

Kind Bars: I always have 2 or 3 of these in my bag. When I’m in a meeting (or out with friends) I have a quick and healthy option to hold me until the next meal time. These have a good amount of protein and are very low in sodium. That’s hard to find with most “bars”. kindbarWhat are some of your favorite snacks?

Rose: Home from Petrolia

For the past 8 days, this was my home.

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Unsurprisingly, it was easy to settle in there. My days in Northern California were spent with intention. The goal? Seamlessly unplug. Soak in my surroundings. Experience something new and different. Spend quality time with M.

It’s hard to put this into words, but something has changed since I’ve returned to the east coast. I read about these kind of transformations in the guest book where we stayed. Other people tried to verbalize this, too. You just feel different after staying in the hamlet of Petrolia, California. In that place, you realize how peaceful life can be … and how some things just really don’t matter.

Like the phone. Or Facebook. Or incessantly checking your email. When you are stripped of those things, you start to remember what it’s like to really live. How the world sounds when you’re reading a book. What your mind considers during the silence. The ease of going to bed each night totally exhausted from a day well spent.

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When you travel these windy, dirt roads, you have a deeper appreciation for the past. How long it took people to travel before there were automobiles. What untouched acres of land look like. How completely isolated you can feel … while being more connected to the earth than ever before.

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I told M that it would be easy to just pack up your things and move to this place. Live the way you were intended to exist. The real challenge is happening now. How can I take what I felt and learned in this little village and apply it to my everyday here? Is there a way for me to achieve the same kind of peace in my daily life?

This is the goal now — to figure out what really matters to me and spend time doing that (and only that). To not burden myself with tasks that are meaningless. To give my time and attention to the things that bring me the post joy. And to be good to this earth. After all, it is the only one we’ve got.

Here’s to many more posts exploring these themes. For now, I feel uplifted, renewed and ready to start better living my life with passion.