Creating work life balance for surface pattern designers - Pattern and Design

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Creating work life balance for surface pattern designers

Design and Shine Podcast episode title creating work like balance for surface pattern designers. The back of a women and child sitting at a work desk

In this episode of Design and Shine, we are going to talk about something a little different and that is work-life balance.

Something I get asked a lot about is how I manage to juggle work with family life and everything else in between.
I will say point-blank that it isn’t always easy and I think one thing that is important to mention straight off is that things can be quite different between the scenes than they appear on the outside. 

Before I give you a few tips for things that help me stay on track, I wanted to just talk to you a little about that.

I had a discussion with my Pattern to Product Mentoring students about this a while ago and one of my students mentioned a designer who looked like they were doing all of the things and also doing them all really well and it made her feel like first of all that she should be doing all of those things too. So, if the other designer could manage it, then she should be able to as well and second of all, it made her feel quite inadequate. She was looking at what she was achieving and feeling like she should be doing more. 

The person she was talking about was someone who was very successful and what I pointed out to her was that that person had a lot of help. She was not doing it all herself. So if you are looking at someone who has 2 kids, 3 dogs, a perfect looking Instagram feed, new designs posted daily, creating content etc. then it’s important to remember that they are most likely not achieving that without help. 

Outsourcing

The reason I wanted to mention this is because this would be one of the most important things that I’ve done within my business that has helped me have more work-life balance and it can be a tricky one because it can feel really scary investing in someone to help you within your business but for me it’s been so important as it’s allowed me to create space and not feel bogged down with certain tasks. When you can and are ready to do it it’s such a great thing to do, and I want you to keep in mind that you will most likely feel really uncomfortable about doing this initially and that is completely normal, but if you want to help with opening your time then offloading some tasks will really help with that. For me, it was thinking about the tasks that I really didn’t enjoy doing very much, that I found heavy and that I found took up a lot of my mental energy and also time. What’s amazing is that once you do that, you absolutely won’t look back. 

The great thing about this is it gives you more time to spend on tasks that help increase your income, for example, creating new designs.

Setting Boundaries

Something that I have just started doing and I will confess, I’ve actually found this really hard, and that is setting in place some boundaries. I absolutely love what I do and I love having my business and for me honestly, it doesn’t feel like work so it’s so easy for me to work all of the time, all weekend, at night….I am a bit of a workaholic and because I love my business I sometimes find it hard to step away BUT that’s really not a good thing long term and I’ve just made sure of late that I set some boundaries around my work time. For me, that means trying not to work on the weekends at all. Sometimes I do break that rule because there will be something small I have to attend to, but on the whole, I’ve made the very conscious decision to allow myself a weekend to spend with family and friends and not only that to give myself downtime. So setting boundaries around your work time I think is really important as well

Schedule and Batch

Another thing that I’ve found has really helped me in being able to get my work done more efficiently and therefore allowing more balance is batching and scheduling wherever possible

For example, when I’m creating podcast episodes, I’ll record a few at one time and schedule them out so it’s something I won’t have to think about for a little while. Or if I’m cleaning up watercolour artwork, I’ll batch clean so that I’m doing the same process over and over. I find it so much easier and more efficient to do complete tasks in that way. It’s often easier to do one thing multiple times because you have a flow and rhythm to it and you’re in the right headspace and then I’ll switch to another task and do the same thing. Batching is definitely a time saver for me.

Depending on what task you’re doing, if you can also schedule it out then that will also save you time in the long run. For example, you can batch schedule out blog posts or social media posts. Wherever possible, that’s something that I always do.

And on the topic of scheduling, I also try as much as possible to schedule what needs to be done both work and family-wise so I can set aside time exclusively for both 

Having an online business is great and for me has been so amazing in that it’s really flexible and has allowed me to choose the hours I work each day and vary it according to what happens to be on. My kids are at primary school so I know I have between 9-3pm to get when I need to get done so if I have tasks that require my full attention or if I have to do a task that requires a quiet house then I’ll make sure I do it within those hours but I’m also able to bring my laptop to my kids gymnastic classes and do some work while I’m waiting.

For me it’s very much about a bit of give and take, setting up boundaries and outsourcing where I can.

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