7 Tools For Balance
It’s not uncommon for creative entrepreneurs and business owners to feel off-balance, or like our lives are leaning more in one direction than the other. For most of the creatives in my life (myself included), the scales typically lean more towards work than life. We’re all looking for that elusive “work-life balance,” which leads us to seek out new tools and hacks. But naturally, it can be a trial and error process before we find what really works for each of us.
To help me stay in balance, I’ve personally found a number of tools to help me—both in my life and in my work. While these may not work for everyone, I do think it’s good to play around and see what sticks. Most importantly, you need to find the tools—whether digital or not—that really help you achieve the balance that you want and deserve.
I talk about this app a lot, but I love it that much. I’ve gone through my own journey with meditation, moving between guided meditation and non-guided meditation, depending on my mood. What I’ve found is that I love the structure of Headspace and the different topics I can choose to guide me during this time I set aside for myself. They’ve expanded their library quite a bit in the past year or so, and they have a variety of themes to choose from, based on where you are at any given point. Mindfulness is a huge component of balance for me, so I can’t recommend this one enough.
Audiobooks are a great way to learn new things and entertaining yourself “on the go.” They let you listen to a book when you may have your hands full, or when you’re simply craving a moment to yourself. I use Audible for business books that I can “passively” listen to, but I don’t necessarily recommend it for denser books that really require your full attention. I find that having this app gives me something to absorb during those in between times—on a morning walk or driving in the car—that is a bit more constructive than endlessly scrolling through social media.
Terrible name, but a great calendar app. Fantastical links with your Google Calendar and—I believe—it has a much more user-friendly interface. It lets you create events and reminders and has a strong native language capability that makes it easy to add via voice. With the easier interface, and with desktop, phone and even Apple Watch apps, it makes it easy to stay on top of your schedule and to have everything in one place.
Client and team management systems
Monday is a project management tool that I’ve recently stumbled upon, and I find that it really works for me and our studio work. It includes a basic to-do list, but also timelines and overarching project goals that help keep everyone on track. There are plenty of project management tools out there to help you find that balance in your own business, but Monday is what’s been working for me and my team.
Basecamp offers a central location for all of the studio’s client communication, which is a real lifesaver. All attachments, communications, and everything we need for a client project is all in one place—nothing gets lost. This has come in handy in daily project management, and saves us a lot of time by not having to dig around for, “that one important email thread.”
Simply put, Slack is a great internal communications tool. It has a nice chat feature that you can separate out by topic or client, and private message areas where you can have conversations with specific members of your team. This helps us separate client communication versus internal communication, which has helped build a better internal balance for me and the Marbury team.
Just for fun
Because we’re talking about balance, I have to mention one other tool I use frequently to get aligned and spend a few minutes focusing on something other than work or personal tasks. Horoscopes. There’s an app called Daily Horoscope that I enjoy using when the inclination strikes. I don’t necessarily buy into my horoscope 100%, but I do enjoy looking at overarching months to see where I’m at with my astrological sign. I know a lot of people don’t necessarily believe in horoscopes, but I find them to be a great way to touch base and visualize life on a larger scale.