My Goals for 2021

With 2021 around the corner and me being on my holiday break from work, I’ve finally taken the time to map out my goals for the new year and now, I’m here to share them with you!

I have a pretty lengthy list of goals, but a lot of them don’t have a solid end goal or point. Most of them are just activities or things I want to spend time working on throughout the year. Anyways, before getting into my goals, let’s chat about some tips for creating and achieving your goals.

5 tips for achieving your goals.

  1. Create S.M.A.R.T goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant & Time-Based)
  2. Make sure your goals reflect your intentions for the year (for example, my main goal is to grow my freelancing business so a lot of my goals are continuing to study social media marketing, etc on my own time, develop a marketing plan for my business, etc.)
  3. Develop an actionable plan for each goal
  4. Write them down
  5. Revisit them at the end of every month

My goals for 2021.

Writing

  • Finish writing The Obsidian Butterfly so it is ready for editing
  • Keep up blog schedule of posting once a week to each blog
  • Outline 2nd The Obsidian Butterfly novel

Freelancing

  • Have freelancing become my part-time job (get between 20-25 hours of work)
  • Create a social media/creative agency (make a website and new social media accounts)
  • Continue learning about digital marketing through online courses
  • Continue taking editing and writing classes (you can never stop improving!)

Reading

  • Read 30 books
  • Actually read all my assigned readings for school (I slacked a little last semester, I won’t lie)

Lifestyle

  • Travel locally more (if things get better, obviously)
  • Keep up my workout routine of going to the gym 2-3x per week
  • Get back on track with school (last semester, I only took 2/5 classes so I want to make sure I am doing full semesters from now on)
  • Prioritize my mental health (this means continuing counselling, focusing more on self-care, etc.)
  • Save more money
  • Develop a repeatable morning routine (it doesn’t have to be a crazy 1 hour routine, but it could just be reading first thing when I wake up)
  • Spend less time online (since it’s my job to be online, I want to cut down my screen time when I’m not working and spend more time outside or reading)
  • Meditate and journal almost every day

See? I have a pretty long list of goals for 2021 which I don’t always recommend. However, a lot of my goals are small things to implement into my days or weeks or even months. I am really excited to work towards achieving these goals because they help keep me on the path I want to be on for the next year. Like I said, I really want to focus on growing my freelancing business but I also have a lot of lifestyle goals because I definitely neglected that aspect of my life in 2020.

Make sure you check out recent blog post and follow me on social media; the links are all down below. Also, don’t forget to let me know what your 2021 goals are! Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: My Post-NaNoWriMo Plans

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NaNoWriMo 2020 Strategy

My NaNoWriMo plans and the tools I’ve been using to have a successful start.

Happy day 3 of NaNoWriMo! Hopefully, your projects are all going well and if they aren’t, that’s okay too.

So far, NaNoWriMo is going really well for me! I am a few hundred words behind but considering I haven’t been in a writing routine for a long time, the fact that I am only 500 or so words behind is impressive.

What am I writing this month?

This month, I am working on the novel version of Project Mystic, an Aztec mythology-inspired story that for the last while, I have been writing the novella version. However, I decided that after three years of working on this story, it is time to write the damn thing. I am going for the 50,000 word goal but that is more like the “oh, well it would be a bonus if” type of goal. Instead, I am focusing more on writing a good chunk of words every day. And some days, that just isn’t 1,667 words.

My new writing routine

Ever since I started working full-time and doing university part-time (and running my freelance business on the side too), I thrive off routine. However, I get suffocated when there is too much routine but somehow, I’ve found a great balance. For example, if I really don’t feel like writing or reading or doing some other hobby, I will make myself do it but only for 10 or so minutes. If I am still not feeling it by that 10-minute mark then I have learned it is better not to push it. Thankfully, reading and writing have been the only things I’ve wanted to do lately!

This writing routine most likely won’t stick around for long, but hopefully it will for the rest of NaNoWriMo because I am loving it! Like I said, I am not super strict on writing 1,667 words per day, but I am trying to get a solid amount done each day. With work and school, it is hard for me to find enough time to only sit down once and bang out all my writing in 30 minutes or an hour (like I used to). Instead, I have started breaking up my writing sessions into short sprints. This is something I used to do but then it stopped working but now it is back in full swing and has been working great.

Here’s a little insight to a normal day routine:

7:00 AM – Wakeup

7:30 AM – Write!

8:00 AM – Work

12:00 PM – Lunch

12:30 PM – Write!

1:00 PM – Work

4:00 PM – Finish Work & Take a Break

5:00 PM – School Work

6:00 PM – Eat Dinner

7:00 PM – School Work

8:30 PM – Write!

9:00 PM – Relax

That is the basic idea of my day but once again, it changes day-to-day. Some days I spend time with friends, some days I do less work (because I work from home and can make my own schedule) or less school, and some days I only do two writing sessions. It all just depends and it is important to remember to be flexible!

Writing Live Streams

I have always recommended writing live streams in the past, but so far this year, I have used them religiously each time I’ve sat down to write. Maybe that is because I am really using the writing sprint method this year. Some of the 30-minute writing chunks in my daily routine are more like 10, 15, or 20 minutes sprints, depending on the situation.

Some writing live streams I have been loving are Davaisha’s (grapefry) and Natalia Leigh, Brooke Passmore (bytheBrooke), and Mandi Lynn‘s group streams.

Other Writing Tools

Another writing tool I have been LOVING is a writing prompt book called Coffee Break Writing by John Gillard. I got it for super cheap at the bookstore and is filled with 100 prompts. So far, I’ve done this every morning for the last two weeks or so. It is a great exercise before my morning writing session to do because a lot of time, I write a piece for each prompt that is based of my NaNoWriMo project. I highly recommend it!



How has NaNoWriMo gone for you? Let me know in the comments below, and also share a snippet of your story if you’d like. I wish you all the best of luck for the first official week of NaNoWriMo!

Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: Updated Freelance Website!

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Updated Freelance Website!

Did you know I have a freelance editing and writing website? Well, I do! I just gave it a complete makeover and would really appreciate if you checked it out.

Along with various editing and writing services, I now offer digital marketing services. If you are in need of any of those, you might find exactly what you need on my website.

Thanks!

Let’s Talk About Motivation

My journey while lacking motivation for the last 6 months and how I found my way back to reading and writing.

Hello! Long time no see, I know. Life got busy but I am back today to have a talk with you all about motivation.

From May to early October, I struggled to find motivation to do the things I used to do so easily: read, creatively write, and eventually, blog. At first, I was like, “Okay, I just need a little break because I’ve burnt myself out.” This happens; burnout happens. However, little did I know, I needed 6 months to gain back my motivation!

That’s okay though. Even if it doesn’t feel okay in the moment (because it really didn’t), we all need breaks and sometimes, those breaks are longer than others.

My main anxiety during these 6 months of barely reading or writing for myself was that I was never going to read or write for fun again. That terrified me! The idea that these two activities I had spent the last 6-8 years doing religiously, and that had become a HUGE part of my identity, possibly losing interest to me made me panic. What would I do if I didn’t read or write? I still don’t have an answer to this question because I didn’t need to answer it (thankfully).

It’s not like I didn’t try to read over the last several months. It’s not like I didn’t try to write. I started about 3 or 4 books between May and October, and only finished one (Daisy Jones & the Six –which is one of my ALL-TIME favourite books so this barely counts! I can read this book in a day regardless of how busy or tired I am). One book in particular, I was 400 pages into and only had 50 or so before the end, but I just never had that initial interest in it. By page 400, I had NO idea what the plot was or who the characters were –and this wasn’t the author’s fault, it was mine. My attention and interest wasn’t there. I looked at these books I was trying to read and felt no desire to open them.

The same goes for writing. I attempted Camp NaNoWriMo in July and got around 5,000 words down that month. To put it lightly, shit hit the fan that month and even if I was in the mood to write, I wouldn’t have gotten anymore done than I did. I can’t even tell you what I wrote that month because I was so disconnected from my passion to write.

However, this month, something flipped inside of me. Suddenly, I am reading 3 books and enjoying all of them (Fifth Sun by Camilla Townsend, Beloved by Toni Morrison, and Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare)! I think I spend more time reading than I have in the last 2 years. Suddenly, I am furiously outlining a new version of my Aztec mythology-inspired story for NaNoWriMo (mostly thanks to the Surrey International Writers Conference that happened this past weekend that turned my small spark to return to writing into a forest fire!). Also, now I am writing this blog post.

Basically, my point for this post is to reassure you that just because you are not reading or writing right now, and haven’t for the last month or two months or more, doesn’t mean you will never return to them again. Even if you don’t, that’s okay.

Reading and writing are such monumental aspects of my life that it made me sad and anxious thinking about never returning to them again because for me, they bring comfort and clarity to me. They always have and without them, I felt blind. Over quarantine, my anxiety definitely skyrocketed and it still isn’t great, however, ever since I found my way back to reading and writing, it has been so much more manageable.

I didn’t rush myself back into reading and writing. I only got 5 or so pages in each session, but I never pushed past that. And sure, I was disheartened that I didn’t want to continue, but that’s because I didn’t realize how badly my body and mind needed a break! So, here is your reminder to embrace that break. Work on other hobbies, discover other hobbies, spend more time with friends and family, or whatever else interests you. Reading and writing will wait for you; they will still be there when you’re ready to come back.

Now, I wanted to talk about something very, very new in my life that has helped me stay motivated and productive. This sounds sponsery, but I swear it isn’t! In one of the webinars from the Surrey International Writers Conference, the host talked about tools that help her stay productive and she mentioned Habitica. I swear everyone has heard about this but me. If you haven’t though, I highly encourage you to check it out! It allows you to keep a list of habits you want to keep, daily reminders you want to achieve, and a to-do list for that day, all laid out on one page in front of you. When you check each task off, you get coins and items. Basically, it is a game, but this game inspires me to check off all my tasks because I want that new pet or potion!

(Sorry for that random tangent but seriously, check it out if you haven’t!)

I hope this post was as enlightening and helpful for you as it was for me experiencing it and then writing about it. I also wanted to say a MASSIVE thank you for continuing to read and spread love on my blog posts even though I haven’t posted in over a month. It makes me smile to see comments and likes still coming in –it truly makes my day!

Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: My Favourite books of 2020…So Far

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4 Resources for Writers

A list of resources that every writer must check out.

As a writer, it is nice to have a handful of resources to turn to when you are need of some writing tips, motivation, or places to submit your work.

To help you out, I’ve curated a list of my most favourite resources. These are the ones I always go back to and keep bookmarked on my laptop!

Here are 4 resources for writers.

1. Freelancing with Zoe Newsletter

If you didn’t know, I have a freelance editing and writing website! On my website, not only do I offer a bunch of different services, but I also have a newsletter you can sign up to. My newsletter comes out at the end of every month and is filled with tips for freelancers or wanna-be-freelancers. That includes business, writing, and editing advice so if that sounds interesting to you, sign-up for my newsletter by going to my website HERE!

2. CBC Short Story Prize Newsletter

This is another great newsletter filled with writing tips. It is from the CBC Literary Prize which annually, hosts a non-fiction, poetry, and fiction writing contest. I like this newsletter a lot because it offers a lot of insight from past winners on the steps they made to create a story that could win the contest. I find this not only inspiring, but really helpful when it comes to my own writing.

3. The Write Life

For the last year or so, this has been a go-to resource for me because whenever I had a question, I would Google it and a post by The Write Life always came up. They have a vast variety of advice and tips on blogging, freelancing, publishing, marketing, and more. Basically anything a writer needs, especially one with the goal of becoming a published one. If you need ideas for places to submit to, The Write Life has a lot of great recommendations you should check out (this is how I found them)! Especially for people in the US.

4. No Write Way

No Write Way is an Instagram Live series by author, V.E. Schwab that eventually, gets posted onto her YouTube channel for us to watch whenever we please. It is a series where she brings on other wonderful authors and interviews them about their writing journey. Common questions answered are how did you get into writing? What is your process like? What book of yours would you hope to outlive you and why? It is super inspiring for aspiring writers and you will walk away feeling motivated and educated on the craft of writing!


Those are my go-to writing resources that I highly recommend you all go check out. If you have any other resources that you always go back to, please drop them in the comments below!

Need a writer or editor? Check out my freelancing website HERE!

Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: September Goals

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September Goals

All the reading and writing goals for September!

Goal setting has not been going great for me lately. My life has felt all over the place and because of that, I have not been seeing the progress in my own projects and goals that I have hoped for.

However, as a student, September feels like the start of a brand new year (more so than January 1st) and I am going to use this month as a reset. While it is going to be hectic month with the start of online classes, full-time work, etc, etc…I am determined to continue reading, writing, and of course, blogging.

Before I get into today’s blog post, I wanted to let you all know that today is the LAST DAY to get 10% off any of my editing services on my freelance website. Check out what I offer HERE because I’d love to work with you 🙂

Anyways, enough of the rambling. Here’s to a productive month!

Reading

  • Finish Vicious by V.E. Schwab – I started my re-read of this amazing book a few days ago and while once upon a time, I would be done it already, I’ve been in a reading slump for a looong time. However, I am determined to get it read before the end of September so I can dive into Vengeful, the sequel! I am already flying through this book so I have high hopes I will achieve this goal.
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison or The Round House by Louise Erdrich – I don’t know which one of these I will be reading first because they are for my American Lit class (which I hopefully will stay in and not drop). Regardless, I haven’t read anything by either of these authors so I am excited to see how my experience is with them. You would think by now my course outline for the class would be released since I have less than 2 weeks till class starts, but nope! I still have no idea what is going on for it, let alone which book we are starting the year off with.

Writing

  • Post on Blog 1x Per Week – I was really hoping to keep up with posting 2x per week on here, but I’ve made a list of all my commitments for September and realized it wasn’t practical. I’m determined to post at least once a week and keep up with connecting with you all and providing content you want! I will be keeping my Monday posting day (but instead of posting at 12pm PST, I will be posting at 8am PST) but not Fridays unless I have the time and have something I really want to post.
  • Write Article for Flanelle’s Print Edition – I think I was supposed to have drafted this already, but July and August were so hectic that I am going to work on this in September instead. I can’t reveal what the topic is, but I’m curious to see what I come up with for Flanelle’s October print edition. It’ll probably be at most, 1,000 words which shouldn’t take my too long! If you want to check out some of the articles I’ve written for Flanelle, check out my portfolio on my freelance website HERE!
  • Write 17,000 Words – Once again, I am working on The Obsidian Butterfly and re-entering it into the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future writing contest on September 30th. I don’t know if I mentioned this, but my last version of this story got a Silver Honourable Mention so that has really inspired me to work on the story more, re-write it, and then re-submit it. It will be a bit challenging trying to get a polished draft ready to go in my busy month, but I love this story and am determined to do so.

That is everything I have planned for the month of September and let’s cross our fingers I can check off 80% of this at least. The thing is with my goals is they are rarely things I want to get done but rather things I HAVE to get done (give or take a few). They are all goals I genuinely want to achieve, however, and I am looking forward to keeping busy.

Last Blog Post: Beginner’s Guide to: Roman Mythology

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3 Tips for Writing Romance

Happy Friday!

Today, I want to share my 3 essential tips for writing romance.

Writing a romance your readers will fall in love with is no easy task. Often, authors opt for insta-love but unless it is done well, it is the slow-burn, hate-to-love, etc tropes that really grab at readers’ hearts.

Before we jump into my tips, I wanted to remind you that 2 weeks ago, I launched my freelance editing and writing website! If you need copy editing, proofreading, manuscript critiques, blog writing, social media content creation OR copywriting, check it out HERE. I’d love to work with you.

Now, let’s get into today’s post because it has been a while since I posted!

Here are 3 tips for writing romance your readers will love.

1. Know Your Characters Individually Before You Know Them Together

This goes for any relationship, real or fictional, but you must know yourself before you can be with someone else. When writing romance, you need to have a grasp on who your characters are. What do they like? What are they afraid of? What do they want? What is their family like? If you don’t, they will be two-dimensional people in a two-dimensional relationship. That makes for a boring plot line and dynamic altogether.

Here is a basic character questionnaire that you should ask each of your characters in order to vividly paint them on the page.

2. Figure Out How They Fit Into Each Other’s Lives Organically

A lot of the time, a romance in a novel feels unnatural and forced. It is as if the author wrote two characters, decided their audience would probably want some romance, and then pushed the two main characters together because hey, they were right there anyways.

When it is done correctly, it works really well, but if it feels too forced and convenient, you are going to lose your audience. Here are some ideas for how your characters can organically fit into each other’s lives.

  • Their pasts are intertwined (maybe their families are close or are enemies, maybe they are childhood friends, etc)
  • They both want the same thing
  • One of them has something the other wants
  • One of them saves the other

3. If the Romance is a Subplot, Treat It Like a Subplot

Unless you are writing a romance novel, the romance should not be the main attraction. I hate when I am reading a fantasy and the romance overtakes the world, the magic system, the other characters, etc. If the romance is just one aspect of many within the novel, it should stay that way. Of course, it can have its moments in the spotlight, but it should not overshadow the rest of the story.


Those are 3 simple but essential tips to apply to your story when writing romance. If you have any other tips, please feel free to leave them down in the comments below!

Don’t forget to check out my freelance website and subscribe to the monthly newsletter for more tips, tricks, updates, and freebies on writing and the business of writing. You can check that all out HERE.

Also, make sure you read my last blog post and check out my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: My Freelance Business Launch

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5 Tips for Writing a Novel

Writing a novel isn’t easy, but here are 5 tips to help you out

Happy Monday!

Writing a novel is hard, which is why I have put together 5 tips that will make writing a novel just a little more easier.

Of course, there are the basics that go into writing a novel such as outlining before writing. Outlining includes creating 3D characters, mapping out the world your story takes in, knowing your plot points, etc. However, I will be covering novel writing aspects that you might not think about as often.

Here are my 5 tips for writing a novel.

1. Dedicate a Time & Place for It

This is a basic tip, but it is one of the most important tips out there. If you do not dedicate a specific time and place for writing. In order to write a novel within a reasonable amount of time, you must carve out a certain time to write it and be consistent with following it. For me, my mornings are for writing. That is when I sit down and know it is writing time. I do not sit down only one morning in the week either, every morning where I do not have to work, I use that time for writing.

It is also helpful to have a writing space, or even a few. These are spaces where you sit down and feel inspired to write. Having these spots trains your brain to know that when you sit down there, it is writing time! For me, this is just my desk but I have a nice setup going there with my candle, laptop, and lo-fi music.

2. Know EVERYTHING About Your World

While you do not need to know everything about your plot, it is essential to know everything about your world and characters. You do not need to share everything about your world or characters with the readers (at least, not right away or even ever), but it is important for YOU to know that information. Even if it never gets included in your book!

However, here are 3 things your reader MUST know:

  • Where are the places your story takes place? Describe them for your reader; make it vivid and descriptive
  • How does your world work? Who is in charge? What type of government is it?
  • What are the rules of your world? (This is especially important for fantasy novels)

3. Think of What You Want (or Wanted) to Read and Write It

Think back to when you were younger, or to whenever you pick up a book. What are the things you were hoping for within it? What did the book not have that you wanted? These are things you should think about and write down and then, when you are outlining your plot, include them.

This is why I read lots of books that are similar to my own during the outlining phase. It helps to warmup my mind and prep me for creating a plot that will hold my own attention first, which is crucial when writing a novel!

4. Welcome Surprises and Twists Within Your Story

It is important to follow an outline, but sometimes your story has a mind of its own. These are the times when we have to let our story go where it needs. Often, this makes the story more exciting too. The times where my plot has deviated from the outline created a more thrilling story overall. Those are scenes that felt more natural and less plotted out compared to the scenes I did map out. However, both are important!

Of course, your outline is there for a reason, but if you want to add in a new scene because it feels right, don’t shy away from it!

5. Hold Yourself Accountable, but Don’t Be Too Harsh!

It is nice to have a few friends who can hold you accountable for you writing goals, but I think it is also important for you to hold yourself accountable. Like anything in life, we cannot always rely on others. However, that is not an opening to be harsh on yourself! Be flexible and realistic with yourself, just like you would for a friend that YOU are holding accountable.


Those are 5 tips for writing a novel and I hope they were helpful. If you have any more, leave them below in the comments so we can help each other out!

Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: July Writing Goals

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July Writing Goals

My June reflection and writing plans for the month of July

Happy Monday!

I cannot believe it is already time to talk about my July writing goals, but here we are, only 2 days away from finishing up with June.

June was an interesting month. No a single word of creative writing got written, but I was pumping out the blog posts, Instagram posts, and whatnot. So, it was an incredibly productive month, but for July, I really want creative writing (specifically my Aztec novel) to be one of my main priorities. Especially since it will be Camp NaNoWriMo!

Before we jump into my July goals, let’s reflect back on June.

  • Finish Re-Typing: I did finish this today actually, so yay! A checkmark for me. My goal deadline was June 12 which was quite a while ago, but I got it done before July and that is all that matters. This project was challenging, but a lot of fun because I got to read this person’s story and learn a lot. I cannot say anything about the story or its author because of legal reasons, but hopefully I can sometime in the future!
  • Finish Writing Act III of The Obsidian Butterfly: This is my Aztec novel idea and I’ve been working on it for over three years but it has changed a lot structure wise over the years. I really wanted to finish outlining Act III in June, but I decided to scrap my outline and re-start. Fingers crossed I get it done in the next 2 days…
  • Write 10,000 Words of The Obsidian Butterfly: Ha, this did not happen.
  • Write 2 Articles for Flanelle Magazine: I didn’t write 2, but I did manage to write one article about this hair product called Wetbrush. I don’t think it is on the website yet, but I’m glad I was able to contribute something this busy month.

While I didn’t achieve every goal, June was still productive and I am proud of it. Things change and goals have to be adjusted due to these changes. I still like to set some goals each month, however, because it helps keep me on track during the month. Now, let’s discuss my July goals.

JULY WRITING GOALS

WRITE 25K DURING CAMP NANOWRIMO

During Camp NaNoWriMo, I want to at least write 25,000 words for The Obsidian Butterfly and get back on track with this project. I only have 2 months left before school, and since I plan on doing a full course load AND working part-time, I want to go into the school year with a good chunk of this novel’s first draft written (even though technically, this is like the fifth draft). This is still a lot of words, especially since I am working and interning in July, but I think it is doable.

WRITE 2 ARTICLES FOR FLANELLE

Once again, I am bringing this goal back. I have written a few article ideas out, I just actually have to sit down and write them. Like I mentioned before, I enjoy writing for Flanelle because it allows me to write things I wouldn’t post to my blog such as how the film industry is impacted by this pandemic and how art is as well. If you want to check out my articles, here are the links:

COVID-19: The importance of keeping art alive in quarantine

5 Ways to stay creative during quarantine

COVID-19: How is the entertainment industry adapting?

Post One Book Review to Blog

About a month ago, I was given a book to review and I really want to get that up on my blog this coming month. I haven’t done a book review since House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig, so I feel like it is time to write one up. The book I will be reviewing is A Touch of Death by Rebecca Crunden so stay tuned!


I decided to keep my July goals short and sweet because I know I have a lot going on. It is important to not expect too much for yourself when setting your monthly goals, or really, any goals, because that is setting yourself up for failure. Well, most likely. I hope you enjoyed hearing what I have planned for July, and make sure you comment your goals for July if you have them planned already!

Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: Tips for the Creative Entrepreneur

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How to: Not Overwhelm Yourself

5 tips to leading a balanced and productive life

Happy Monday!

Balancing work, life, and downtime is no simple task and it is easy to completely overwhelm yourself. That is why I am here to share 5 tips and steps I take to take control of my time and find the perfect balance.

This is geared towards those of us working at home, or just anyone who enjoys taking on multiple projects at a time while juggling everything else life has to offer. This would still be helpful to anyone who is busy and looking for some tips to avoid overwhelming yourself.

As a creative who enjoys working on multiple projects at once, I will be the first to admit that I often overwhelm myself. I am trying to get better at it which is why I wanted to make this post. It forced me to sit down and think about the things I wanted to change in my life to make it more balanced. Sometimes…well, often times, I take on too much and I am sure any other creative can agree. Since the things I work on (for the most part, give or take a few projects) are projects I genuinely enjoy like writing and social media, a lot of times I forget that it is still “work” and time-consuming. However, even if we enjoy our work, we need to take breaks and not let it consume all the hours of our day.

Learn how to get your work done while still taking time for yourself and live a balanced life with these 5 tips for not overwhelming yourself

1. Take a Look at Your Projects: What Can Stay and What Can Go?

The first reason you might be feeling overwhelm is because you are working on too many things! Which is why you need to make a list of everything you are working on and figure out if anything can go, or be postponed.

For example, I post blogs 3 times a week (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays) but because I have so many exciting projects on my plate, I decided it was best to cut it down to 2 times a week for the time being (Mondays and Fridays). I love writing for my blog and posting to it, but sometimes, we have to make sacrifices for the sake of our sanity. However, I am not too sad about it because it is only temporary. Once I finish up some current projects, I am hoping to return to posting 3 times a week.

When you make your list of projects, sort them by priority. If one of the projects involves your actual paying job, whatever that is, that should be your top priority because other people are expecting it to get done and it pays your bills. Figure out where your other projects fall after that, all in order of importance and/or urgency to least important and/or least urgent. Cut the 1 or 2 at the bottom off, or move them to the “save for later” pile. Ensure that you include at least 1 passion project though! This way, you will still be doing something you love and can look forward to making time for it during the day.

2. Set Your Work Day + Break Times

It is important to know when you are working and when you are not, especially if you are working at home and/or running your own business. I know it sounds silly and obvious, but a big contributing fact to me feeling overwhelmed is because I work until I feel “done.” This knocks any source of balance out of my life because my workday can go on until the minutes before I go to sleep.

Does a 9-5 workday not work for you? That’s okay, because while I used to do that, lately it hasn’t been working for me. Whatever time you want to start working, as long as you end it 8-9 hours later, having that normal work schedule (and sticking to it) will positively impact your mental health and sanity. Remember that this work schedule is for weekdays. I highly recommend trying to avoid working on weekends. Or, at least don’t make it a habit.

It is also important to schedule in your break time. This is something I am a rookie at because I will sit at my desk for hours, only breaking when I feel hungry or need go to the bathroom. In reality, you need to take at least an hour and a half of a break each workday.

3. Use a Planner

Organizing your projects and their deadlines is the key to leading a balanced life. You can use a paper planner or digital one like Google Calendars. I alternate between both and sometimes use them at the same time. Sit down with your planner at the end of each week, or the beginning, and plan the week ahead. Include your project deadlines as well as when you want to hit certain milestones within the project. For example, say you want to write 50,000 words in a month and you include a weekly goal of 10,000 words by every Sunday. Make sure you write that down!

Some other productivity tools I like to use to manage my projects and keep myself organized (and sane) are Trello and Hootsuite. I love Trello because it allows you to make different boards and then it lays out your tasks or goals in visually appealing way. You can easily move things around and add other boards too. On the other hand, Hootsuite lets me manage my social media posts. I take advantage of the free plan and have linked my Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest to it. Hootsuite allows you to schedule posts and create them on their website. I’ve only recently begun using it, but so far it has freed up so much time in my day.

4. Come Up with a List of Break Activities

When it is finally time for you to take a step back and relax during the workday, you should curate a list of activities that you can do so you don’t waste time trying to figure out what to do. Some things on my list are:

  • Read a book
  • Watch TV
  • Bullet journal
  • FaceTime a friend
  • Go on a walk

Add as many things to the list as you want, but having one ready to go will save you valuable break time. If you are having trouble coming up with ideas, take a look at the photo below and try to tailor your break time activities to things that take care of your mind, body, and soul. It will ensure you get the most out of your break time!

5. Enforce an End Time

Figuring out when to end your day is crucial, otherwise you will keep working until the sun goes down and your eyelids are sagging with exhaustion. Whether that is 5 pm or 8 pm, choose a time and stick to it. Since I’ve been starting my workday later (at around 12 pm), my end time is now 8 or 9 pm. But no later than 9 pm!

Having an end time also helps to prevent burnout. If you keep chugging along into the night, there is a good chance you won’t feel as productive the next day. Slow and steady wins the race; remember that, because I know I have to remind myself of this all the time. It is better to consistently work 8 hours 5 days a week rather than 10 hours one day and only 4 hours the next. So, find an end time that works for you and stick to it.


Those are my 5 tips on how to not feel overwhelmed while keeping productive. I hope you found them helpful! If you have any other tips, don’t hesitate to leave them down below.

Also, don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

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