If there's one thing the legacy of Michelle Chai will leave, it's that she worked hard, played hard, slept hard(?!) and all the rest of it. I'm relentless in doing more, seeing more, being more and having more and I've been this way for as long as I can remember.
My parents handled the 'Michelle is a brat who wants new Pokemon cards, Tammy Girl dresses/skorts/shoes and 99p eyeshadows every week' thing by instilling a darn tough work ethic in me from the tiniest age. If you want everything, then work for everything. At school, I worked hard to get my English up to scratch and to earn gold stars (Mum would let me buy one new book at the book fair for every 2 stars) and at home we each had mini-chores from as long as I remember. My chore was to tuck the chairs in after dinner and to recycle the newspapers and card packaging.
But one thing that I'm often messaged about nowadays is how on Earth I manage to fit everything in to my everyday life. A full time job, semi-social life, this here blog, relaxation time (a.k.a. quality time with Netflix and a Chai tea latte) as well as maintain a relationship - it's not easy.
1. Make time.
I'm a strong believer in the idea that if you wholeheartedly love what you're doing and the things that you want to fit in, you'll find time for it. Looking back at the beginnings of my blog, I remember passing up on nights outs that I wouldn't enjoy in favour of penning posts and reading posts from my favourite bloggers. Would I be closer to more people now if I went out instead? Perhaps. But I wouldn't have met thousands of readers and discovered my love for Internet life.
Devote specific periods of time to whatever it is you want to fit in. For example, at least an hour of my evenings go to blogging, 4 hours on a Sunday. I reserve a weekday and a weekend day/night for my boyfriend. Another evening goes to Skype calls. Emails are strictly for mornings and early evenings.
C'mon, you knew this would make an appearance.
At the end of your day, make a list of the things you need to do and a list of the things you want to do for the next day ahead. Make a habit of getting things ticked off: you'll often find that ticking things off a to-do list is infectious and soon enough you'll be getting sh*t done in no time at all.
3. Regain focus.
Often you'll lose focus when attempting to haphazardly get everything done. Take a breather and regain focus. Don't be tempted to rush projects and ideas and squeeze a cheeky bit of blogging in at work or send half-hearted texts to your other half. Instead do focus on one thing at a time. Get to work and power through your emails, get that project signed off and completed, set meetings up, create critical paths and plans for future processes. Come home and switch off. Focus on making a healthy and delicious dinner. Sit down and compose a thoughtful message to your best friend, boyfriend or Dad. Have a chat with them if they're around. Regain a slower pace and a more mindful approach. Just don't sweat it.
4. Be kind to yourself.
Ladies ladies - just be kind to yourself.
You're only human. And hey - even Beyonce only has 24 hours in a day. So that girl on Pinterest might have an awesome apartment, somehow be able to fit 40 hours of yoga in to a standard day and be able to cook 3 perfect meals from scratch. But everybody is different. Do what you can do and everything else is just a bonus.
On an average day I like to stretch myself at work, go for a run, make dinner, settle down to blog, watch 2+ episodes of dramas and anime, read a little, see friends and call others. But if I can't, I just tell myself I can try again tomorrow. There aren't any hard and fast rules, and certainly no deadlines to achieving a good work/life balance.
5. Love what you do.
Perhaps the most important point is to love what you do. Truly adore it. If you're not in your "dream job" whatever that is, seek better in something else - your blog, your wardrobe, your friendship circle. Whenever I feel down about work, I throw everything into my blog. If my boyfriend is busy, I call up my friends for a sneaky ice-cream and gin evening. Don't fancy a night on the tiles? I much prefer to crack out a book, a tea and my Taylor Swift playlist. These are the things I love and the things that I do. (: