Heartfelt Guest Post - Jenn from Roots of She

Hello lovelies! I hope you're having a wonderful start to your week. The Mister and I are feeling a bit more settled after 5 days of packing, moving, unpacking, shopping (at Ikea!) and building furniture.

It's amazing how much a home is like a puzzle, with so many pieces and just one way that it all fits together. We've finished the outline and are now working on filling in the picture. The toughest part is done and we're left with fun things like picking out new sheets, picture frames and candles.

Recently I put out a call for guest bloggers and I was overjoyed when Jenn Gibson offered to share her wisdom on balancing work, play, and passion.

Jenn

Jenn believes in dreaming big : she’s the creator of Roots of She. She loves yoga and the beach, is a photographer & writer, and isn’t above stealing snuggles from Bean the Boy Kitten. Daily parts of her life are paper journaling, talking to her dear sweet momma & sky-gazing. You can follow her on Twitter and visit her often over at Roots of She.

Balance

In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth. (Patti Smith)

And sometimes, may you proceed with all three at once.

In order to make my life work, I cultivate each of these things.

Abandon: This is how I choose to live, with abandon. I embrace each moment with bright joy and drink it down.

Stealth: When faced with a challenge, I move with stealth. Unobtrusively, I observe how I’m feeling, what I’m thinking, and go from there.

Which leaves us with balance, the trickiest of Patti’s trio.

Finding symmetry for balance and abandon is almost always a delicate thing, and rarely an easy thing. It’s something I keep coming up against and that I’ve been working on in my life, especially where it relates to the intersection of work and play: my job and my passion.

My job: I work for a nonprofit, and my main focus there is on social media strategy and creating original multimedia content. I’m always on the computer — Tweeting, updating Facebook, researching new social media platforms, editing videos, drafting questions for interviews.

My passion: I run Roots of She, a collaborative project that tells the stories of the female experience, in all of its shapes, sizes and forms. The site launched a little over six months ago, and it’s now in the third cycle of contributors.

My relationship with social media and technology is evolving — the more my job and passion become integrated with the social web, the more I need to ensure that things stay light and fun. That there is balance between work and play. Which leads me to this:

Tools and tricks of my trade, or: some of the practices that help me find balance

  • E-mail: I check my e-mail once a day, normally in the afternoon. It’s so easy for me to fall into the rabbit hole of rapid replies and obsessively refreshing my inbox. Putting gentle boundaries around this gives me the freedom to enjoy responding to the notes that come my way instead of having it become stressful and rushed.
  • Auto-reply: I have an auto-reply on my e-mail that lets people know that I’m only checking e-mail once daily. This lets them off the hook for waiting for a quick reply, and it affords me the space to not be constantly checking my e-mail. It removes the obligation of a quick response, on both sides.
  • HootSuite: This program saves me — one of its features is message scheduling. I can schedule tweets and messages days or even a couple weeks in advance, so when I log onto Twitter or Facebook, it’s all playtime — catching up and being silly with friends, checking out interesting links. Engaging with people in a mindful way: being present with them and not think ‘Oh I need to tweet this post’ or something along those lines. And your presence is powerful.
  • Unplugging: I recently decided on a no-Internet after work policy. I don’t turn on the computer, I don’t even open it. I went so far and removed the Facebook and HootSuite apps from my Droid. I have to tell you, it’s a lot quieter now. I’m not constantly checking to see if the little LED light is blinking at me, instead I’m rooted to my yoga mat or writing in a paper journal or sharing a conversation on the phone. I’m connecting with the people, things and dreams that live in my heart.

Because I know that when I practice these things, I feel calmer and more centered, I’m not drained or fatigued. I know that then I’m giving you the best of me, the best of what I am. You deserve no less than that, and neither do I.

Image Credit: Balance, originally uploaded by PiscesDreamer