Do you look at women who have both their work and social lives under control and find yourself asking, "How does she do it?" You can have that type of control, too; it just takes a little balance and guidance.
Amanda Alvaro, managing director at Narrative Public Relations, is known by her friends and acquaintances as being "that girl" -- the one who travels and is a woman-about-town, yet manages to run her own successful public relations company. Here she offers six tips on how to create a good work-life balance, without running yourself down.
1. Get Mobile
"Work doesn't always have to happen from behind a desk," says Alvaro. "Use mobile technology to allow you to unplug and spend an afternoon working from your favourite cafe, local park or cottage dock," she suggests.
By putting yourself in comfortable surroundings, you'll likely be more productive and -- though you're working -- you'll feel like you've fit in some "me" time.
2. Travel Often
"Sometimes it's difficult to leave work for an extended vacation. Try more frequent, but shorter getaways to get the break you need without having to vacate the office for long periods of time," says Alvaro.
We often think a vacation has to be a one-week or 10-day getaway to be worthwhile, but it's amazing what a few days out of the country can do for your psyche.
Sound too pricey? Alvaro has another go-to suggestion: "Turn weekends into mini-getaways and recharge on a weekend girl's spa trip or flex your muscles with an active, outdoorsy adventure," she says.
Think cottaging, theme weekends, seeing a concert series -- the works! "You'll return to the office motivated and refreshed for the work week ahead," she adds.
3. Mix Business And Pleasure
"There are plenty of options to fill a social calendar," says Alvaro. "Network at industry galas, political fund-raisers or charitable soirees that give you the chance to mingle on the town while promoting your business and entertaining clients."
Events like these -- where you're surrounded by like-minded people -- are great ways to meet people and expand your social circle, especially if you're single and don't have the time to search for a partner. Just remember to always carry some business cards with you.
Another perk of mixing business with pleasure? These type of events often allow you to bring a plus one, so they're a great way to enjoy a night out with a friend while covering your bases with work priorities and appearances. Two birds with one stone, as they say.
4. Turn A Work Skill Into A Personal Project
"Great communicator? Like planning events? Good with numbers? Nothing feels better than extending your work skills to a cause that inspires you," says Alvaro, who is the founder and co-chair of Artbound and a founding member of the Girls 20 Summit.
"I take the time because I think we have a responsibility to leverage the skills and success we have here to facilitate opportunities for young women around the world," she explains. "It's a monumental experience to know that the work each of those committees undertakes will inspire and mobilize a future generation of young leaders."
"It also introduces you to new groups of people and new networking opportunities for business," she adds.
Alvaro recommends volunteering with an industry association or cause that's close to your heart. When you're passionate about something, it doesn't seem like work and you can really enjoy what you're doing.
5. Socialize With Your Co-Workers
"Create a balance between work and your social life by finding fun ways to interact with colleagues outside the office," says Alvaro. "Spearhead a group at work to take lunchtime yoga classes or engage in an after-work team sport."
Not an active type? Why not go for apres work drinks or host a dinner party at your place. This will make you more comfortable, laid-back and excited about going into work. The better you feel about your colleagues and the better your relationships with them, the more productive you'll be during your workday so you can have time after work to focus on yourself.
6. Celebrate Your Success
"There's no point in working hard and achieving success if you can't celebrate the fruits of your labour," says Alvaro.
How sad is it when you've achieved a work milestone, but are so flooded with work and thinking forward to the next goal that you don't take the time to enjoy your success?
"Indulge a little and carve out a night a week to celebrate with like-minded friends, while learning the secrets to their success over cocktails!" suggests Alvaro.
We get so wrapped up with routine that the idea of breaking free from it and our all-too-demanding schedules seems unheard of. By taking time to mix work with pleasure and to take control of where and how you do your work, you'll find a weight lifted off your shoulders that you probably didn't even think was possible.
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