Finding the perfect work/life balance

Ok, I don’t actually believe that the perfect work/life balance exists but that doesn’t stop me from striving towards something like it.


I had a good work/life balance in uni and dedicated most of my time to illustration

When I was at uni I was quite disciplined and I think being a mature student helped a lot because I didn’t feel the urge to go out every night to stupid student events. However, in my final year I got a boyfriend and discovered Netflix, and although I still dedicated most of my time to uni work I had to find a balance between that and binge watching The Good Wife and Adventure Time with Joe.


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My little workspace at home

After uni I wanted to focus on establishing my illustration career and for a few months I worked from home. The start of this unfortunately coincided with Joe and I moving in together, and while this was very exciting it was also very distracting because we had both lived in shared houses before and it was amazing being able to binge watch Netflix without being disturbed by other people. Despite this, I was able to strike a good balance between work and my personal life as I would work for 7-8 hours during the day and spend the evenings with Joe, which seemed to work well.

This all changed when I started my graphic design job in March. The job is in my hometown of Widnes which isn’t that far from Wrexham where I currently live, except that I don’t drive so it takes two trains and a (very unreliable) bus to get there. I decided that I didn’t want to do this journey twice a day, four times a week so I thought it would be better to stay with family in Widnes while I was working and go back to Wrexham at the weekends. So now I only see my boyfriend at weekends and although I love spending time with him, I feel guilty about not doing much work when I’m at home.

I’ve also really struggled with work related guilt during the week. I work as a graphic designer for 8.5 hours a day, four days a week, and the last thing I want to do when I get to my Auntie’s house in the evening is turn on my Macbook and do illustration work. I usually want to sit down with a cup of tea and, you’ve guessed it… watch Netflix*. I always feel tired after working in an office all day, but I feel really guilty and disappointed with myself if I don’t manage at least an hour of illustration work a night. I don’t know whether I need to be more disciplined or if I need to give myself a break. At the moment I’m illustrating for about an hour a night which is going well and it means that I’ve still got some time to relax after work.

So I don’t have this work/life balance thing totally worked out yet but I’m trying and I hope that I’ll find a good balance between the two soon.

*I don’t spend all my time watching Netlix, I promise!