I have 10 urgent things I need to do to improve my work-life balance as a full time blogger cum entrepreneur. And I need to do them quickly before my overwhelming and reckless pursue of passion burns me out and destroy my health and well-being.
When I noticed how awful my nails were on a weekend and how I’m spotting obvious clusters of white hair and not covering them up, I know I was letting myself go. Heck! I even stopped going for my regular botox sessions. And you don’t want to see how unkempt my brows are right now.
It all started with a feeling of extreme fatigue every morning, right from the moment I got out of bed. I was leading an unhealthy lifestyle by going to bed after 3am. The hours just got worse. It used to be 2am. Then 3am. And now I’m approaching a 4am bedtime.
And the worse thing is how I’m not allowing myself to sleep late. I get up before 9am daily and started working again. There are a zillion things to do for this blog business and most of them are not what you are able to see from the public domain. Anyway, this is not a post about the tough life of a full time blogger. I’ve already covered that aspect of the story.
An Urgent Reminder to Myself: Kickstart Worklife Balance Now!
This post is written for myself. It’s an urgent reminder to force myself to revamp my lifestyle for the better. We often hear about work-life balance in the corporate settings, but it is so easy to neglect it as a self-employed entrepreneur.
The term ‘work-life balance’ didn’t come to mind until my partner mentioned it. He saw how tired, burnt out and obsessed I was running this website and growing this business. Thanks to his observation as a bystander, I now have a goal to work towards – something that I hope will improve my well-being and health.
And I hope these improvements on a personal level will translate to better business growth and results.
The Warning Symptoms of an Obsessed Workaholic
Spotting of ugly nails and gray hair may be superficial and unimportant worries. However, to someone who has been interested in beauty topics and who managed to stay well-groomed for decades, these prominent signs are pointing to other less obvious life-harming habits.
I’m talking about stuff that could create havoc to the system, which it has in my instance.
Late nights. Insomnia. Disturbed sleep with lots of dreams. Tiredness. Dark Circles. And most importantly, I’ve been neglecting other life priorities and hobbies.
I even find myself exercising less because I was either too engrossed in ticking off the never-ending blogging tasks or was just too tired due to lack of sleep. I also wasn’t dedicating time for other passions in life.
Even my travel research got pushed to the back, and I only booked my hotels and planned my itinerary at the very last minute.
That’s not good, is it? Despite my desire to grow this website and turn it into a full-time career, I know it’s time that I force myself to slow down before other aspects of my life crumble and topple over.
10 Urgent Things I Need to do to Improve My Life as a Full-Time Blogger
So here I am, creating a post that serves as a written reminder on the things I need to do urgently for a healthier and balanced lifestyle.
What you are going to read next are my personal goals (and deficiencies). It is not an exhaustive work-life balance guide, but you can browse through and pick out those that apply to you.
1. Sleep Early
I’ve placed this top on my list because I know how my lack of sleep is creating havoc to my health and energy level.
Although I’ve been reminding myself for months to sleep before 2am, it didn’t work. Therefore I’m going to write it down in public. Hopefully, declaring out loud my desire for change can force me to take action.
“I want to go to bed before 2am.”
Ideally, I should sleep even earlier. However, it’s easier to succeed in changing habits by small incremental improvements. So, let’s start by bringing forward bedtime from 3.30am to 2am.
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If you can, please make me stay accountable to my words. I need your help! :)
2. Sleep Longer Hours
Sleeping early is not enough. I also want to make sure that I have sufficient hours of sleep.
Here, I’m going to promise to:
- give myself 7 hours of sleep
Once again, please make me accountable. Scold me if you find me not fulfilling these promises.
3. Stop Mind-Intensive Work by 11pm
Very often, I have trouble falling asleep immediately because I was working till late nights, on tasks that requires intensive thought process. Such thoughts may not be easily switched off at will even after turning in. And this caused me to toss and turn in bed.
Other times, these work-related thoughts metamorphosed into weird dreams and affected the quality of my sleep. I recently dreamt that I only had one more day to live. :(
Okay. Here’s what I’ll do:
- Stop mind-intensive work by 11pm (e.g. planning, technical, pitching, creating products)
- Focus on ‘relaxing’ work that can be tuned off easily (e.g. networking, marketing, admin, simple design work)
4. Exercise More Frequently
As mentioned, I’m spending less time on working out. Sometimes, it’s due to low energy level. Other times, I was too engrossed in completing my tasks.
I’ll have to refocus my priority and to exercise more frequently. Here’s what I’ll do:
- I will exercise at least 4 times a week (30 minutes per session)
- I will clock 10,000 steps, 5 days a week
I’m already reading a lot in terms of news and articles. However, I want to make sure that I gain knowledge in other areas of my life. For instance, some knowledge can only be acquired through books or movies/dramas.
Let me set an initial target to:
- Read one book every month (>300 pages)
- Watch a movie/drama every week
6. Look My Best
As I’ve said, I noticed I was slowly letting myself go due to the immense workload and crazy deadlines I’m giving myself.
I’ll hereby promise myself to maintain my personal grooming, starting with:
- Presentable nails and brows
- Weekly exfoliation & mask
- Covering my gray hair
- Exercising, eating and sleeping well
- I’ve gotten a stylish hair colouring job from Kimage. Check out my sun-kissed balayage! Super loving it!
- I’ve also banished my saggy skin and looked way younger with the Facial Harmony Program. Check out my Before-After photos.
7. Eat Well
When I work in cafes, I often find myself conveniently ordering unhealthy food such as oily pastry or processed food. Also, my late nights meant I would get hungry. During those hours, it’s easier to reach out for junk food (snacks) than to cook a proper meal.
In addition, I consume too much caffeine due to the lack of sleep. So you can see how insufficient sleep is leading a vicious cycle that’s affecting many aspects of my life.
I want these to change. Here’s what I’ll do to eat well:
- eat healthy food 5 times weekly (no fried, oily, processed, highly-sugared stuff. Increase veggies, fruits and protein)
- Meet daily nutritional targets 5 out of 7 days
- Keep to 2 cups of caffeine per day or less
8. Achieve Non-Work Life Goals
There are other goals in my life that I need to achieve, other than work-related ones. I’ve been putting them aside for way too long.
I promise to carve out time from blogging and achieve these life goals, one at a time. These goals are private. Hence, I’ll list them down in my private list. :)
9. Acquire New Skills & Experience
I’ve been acquiring new skills on an ongoing basis when it comes to my blogging work, such as SEO, technical stuff and even marketing. However, I want to have a system where I’ll consciously acquire new experiences and this includes non-work life experiences/skills as well.
- I will acquire a new skill and/or experience every fortnight
10. Take Official Break from Work
I’ve forgotten to give myself official leaves from work. Today, I’ll officially force myself to apply at least 12 days of leave per annum.
- I will aim to take one day off from work every month (weekdays)
Okay. I think that’s all I have for the time being. I’ll seriously look into achieving every single one of these goals by next month, especially for goals 1 to 4.
What I hope would come out of this life-revamping exercise is to create a better well-being, a happier soul and a healthier body. With that, I hope I can function more effectively and obtain better results.
5 days Later, I’m seeing Great Improvement
Hi guys, after I wrote the draft above (25 Mar 2019), I began to take action.
I downloaded an app and started creating specific targets tracing what I’ve written above. I was super amazed that by doing so, I was able to build new habits within just a few days.
On the first day, I painted my nails, trimmed my brows and exfoliated my skin. I’ve also made appointment for body screening, hair color job and botox session.
And I’m happy that I’ve exercised every single day thus far and eating well. All these were made within 5 days of setting up new habit goals.
Here’s my thought:
“Sometimes, you have to consciously know what you need to do in order to do it.”
There are some habits that are harder to kick, such as forcing myself to sleep early. Well, at least, I try to make up for it by forcing myself to wake up late.
In any case, I still have time to kick bad habits and replace with better ones. Let’s see how I’ll progress after one month.
Isn’t it amazing how we can break bad habits quickly once we set up explicit goals and track them? If you are facing difficulty in breaking bad habits, try to download a mobile app and track your actions. It’ll probably take you less than a week to make significant improvements.
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