Happy New Year!!


I know this post is a bit late, but I can’t believe it is 2013 already!! Where did the time go? It feels like only yesterday that we were breaking up for Christmas and now we’re already back at work. I hope you all had a fantastically festive few weeks with friends and family and fancy food. For those of you that follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram you will know that I spent this Christmas in snowy Poland. My husband hadn’t been home for Christmas in about eight years and I had never spent Christmas in Poland so we decided that it was well overdue. For years I have dreamt of a white Christmas and I wasn’t disappointed. We arrived to temperatures of -17c and snow up to our knees (up to our necks in places), and it really was beautiful.

Snow in Kalinowo Poland  Winter 2012

Whilst I was in Poland I didn’t have an internet connection so I was offline for most of the holidays, something which I normally try to avoid as any self-confessed internet junkie would. (This explains the lack of blog posts here). Once I got over the initial shock however, I realised just how relaxing it actually was not to be constantly connected. But during this much-needed downtime I also realised just how exhausted I am. 2012 was a pretty busy year for me and I hadn’t really realised just how much I had been doing until I stopped doing it. Whilst in Poland I discovered an uncomfortable truth…I am a workaholic! And when I am not working I spend every free minute thinking about work or feeling guilty that I’m not working. I don’t know when to stop, when to log off, when to disconnect. And it was only an enforced break that made me realise just how far and how hard I have been pushing myself and how exhausting this is.

Now I’m not really one for making New Year’s resolutions, but over Christmas I decided that in 2013 I need to make some very important changes. The first of which is to try to achieve a better work-life balance. I need to give myself a break, to cut myself some slack, so I can switch off and recharge my batteries every now and again…guilt free. The difficulty comes though because I love what I do. I really and truly love writing and blogging about design. It’s more than a job or a hobby, it’s also my passion and it’s hard to make yourself stop doing something you love. But I’ve realised that if you’re not careful, you risk losing that passion as the very thing you love becomes something you start to resent. And that is not what I want.

Social Media Collage

I recently read an article over on Erin Loechner’s blog Design for Mankind about the rebirth of slow blogging, (it’s a great read so I suggest you pop on over there and check it out) which really inspired me. So I’ve decided that in 2013 I also need to slow down and work smarter rather than harder. I need to learn to say no and to recognize when things are getting too much. I need to take time out, away from the computer, to enjoy all the things I never seem to have time to do and believe me there are plenty of them!!

The problem is that life online is so fast and its easy to fall victim to the pressure to keep up, to post often, to tweet constantly, to take a snap of everything you do. But in doing all this it’s easy to lose sight of what is really important in your life. For me, in 2013, this is slowing down so that I can have a life outside of writing and blogging. I want to spend more quality time with my husband, I want to do craft projects with my mum, I want to read more, to learn to crochet, to improve my Polish, I want to take more strolls on the beach, learn to take better photographs, meet up with friends more…oh the list is endless. And I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way I can achieve this work-life balance is to slow down, work out what’s most important, pace myself, learn to say no and log off occasionally, without feeling guilty. After all the internet will still be there if I take a day off right? If I can manage to do this, I reckon 2013 might turn out to be a pretty good year.

What about you guys? Do you ever feel this way? Like life is passing by so fast you can barely keep up let alone take a breather? And if so what are your ways of ensuring you maintain a healthy balance? How do you step away from the work when it is one of the things you most enjoy doing? Answers on a post card please? Or you could just leave me a comment below. I’d really love to know your thoughts!

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  • Stacey, This is such a great post and I think we can all relate. As you convey so well, when you love what you do and it’s truly your passion it’s so hard to step away from it without feeling like you are stepping away from future opportunities and slacking in a way – as silly as this sounds! Thank you for your honesty and loved hearing about all the hobbies you are looking forward to spending more time on in 2013. Hopping over to read about slow blogging now – xo!

    • Hi Sarah,
      Thanks for your lovely comment! I was feeling a bit down over Christmas and when I wrote this. Thankfully though spending time with you guys in Cologne really did help to restore my motivation and my passion for blogging and now I can’t wait to write about our adventures together. xxx

  • Hi Stacey
    I’ve always found it quite difficult to get a work/life balance and now with a new business and trying to keep up with everything that’s involved in this, it’s really hard most of the time. I like to escape by going out walking – just connecting with the landscape, nature and the weather again – I just need to do more of it!
    Best Wishes Jane

    • Hi Jane,
      Thanks for your comment. I just checked out your website and I love your products! So cheery on a dull winter’s Sunday!! I think we should all commit to doing more of the things we love this year. Perhaps we should schedule time to do it to ensure we stick to it! I’ve decided to one weekend day off a week as a starter! x

      • Hi Stacey
        Thanks for reply and kind comments about my work. Just found your interesting blog recently so now follow you on Twitter. I’ll also check out Erin Loechner’s blog you mentioned.
        Best Wishes Jane

  • Hi Stacey. I really enjoyed your post thanks. I learned the hard way about over work a couple of years ago… and I’m still mentally scarred by the whole episode. In essence, it’s really not worth it. Life is too short (to use the old cliché).
    When I moved home in the autumn just past, I was away from my blog & Twitter etc. for about 6 weeks. I felt guilty at first and then settled into it. It was quite cathartic to be honest.
    For me I want to make the time I spend online really count. That’s where I need to get better at things. I hope you can find the balance that works best for you.
    Have a great 2013 :-)

    • Hi Gerard,
      Thanks for your comment! It’s so nice to know that other people have similar problems and it really helps to put things in perspective hearing from people who have been there already. I’m already feeling better about things since hearing all the lovely comments. Like you I also want my posts to have more meaning in 2013 and if that means posting less regularly then so be it!! I hope you are enjoying your new home by the way!! Happy 2013!! x

  • Just read your splendid post. Great to read about Poland as recently visited Krakow and Warsaw – husband is a film maker and was working there. Loved Poland and have huge respect for the many Polish people we’ve met, including those who come to UK and, despite many obstacles (language + sometimes negativity) are very hard working, enterprising and lots of fun.

    Like you Im a workaholic, and as a designer/maker this is in the job description to ensure you continue (without an inheritance!). As you say… it’s never a chore – its so much fun- Ive had fantastic commissions and wonderful clients over the years plus visited many amazing houses and been honoured that people with gorgeous things want something made by hand! I’m quite new to social media, and whilst it has many benefits, the downside is the speed!! Its NOW NOW NOW! I have loads to say but want to do it with reflection and thought. The design process takes serious time, consideration and development – it is not instant. So many blogs just show images and then move on to the next one. You absolutely have to work at your own pace and with confidence that this is OK….so no guilt…just a realisation that if your goal is to be a maker/blogger etc you have to be honest and work at your own pace and ALWAYS remember the hare and the tortoise!

    Happy New Year and keep up the blog…its definately one of the few I actually READ!….at leisure!! xxx

    • Thank you so much Sarah for your lovely comments!!! It’s so nice to know hear from the people that read my blog and to know that you are listening. As you said the online world moves so quickly and I don’t think people even have the time to comment anymore before they move onto the next link or the next webpage. I’m guilty of that myself! But receiving comments is so rewarding! So thank you for taking the time today!

      I totally agree with what you have said too. I have lost count of the times that I have been to an event that I wanted to write about but haven’t had time to do it immediately and then after a few weeks I feel like it is too late to write about it as the moment has passed. It’s so sad that so much great content goes by the wayside as it would be considered out of date within a matter of weeks. And like you say if you want to create quality these things take time. Posting images is quick and easy but I prefer to really get inside the design or the mind of the designer so I can better understand where they are coming from. But I can’t churn out quality work at that speed I just can’t. And where would you be as a designer/ maker if you just churned out hastily cobbled together work? The hare and the tortoise!! We should all strive to remember that in 2013!! Thank you Sarah!!

  • Girl, you are speaking my language! When I took a position as a full time blogger with the intention of keeping up my personal blog, the first thing I thought about was burn out. And it’s hard – I do the same, constantly thinking about it, ensuring I keep up with trends, connecting with people (which is the best part I reckon), staying inspired by taking in as much as possible. But I know that it’s a slippery slope. This year, I want to get more into photography, to learn to use my camera in ‘Manual’ mode (!) and I’m hoping pursuing a different hobby will give me a better balance. We live in a world where we fear we’ll miss out if we ‘unplug’ for a day but obviously, when you returned from your gorgeously lovely Poland trip, the internet was still here ;)

    Best of luck in your resolution hun and thank you for such an insightful post and for the inspiration I need to get out there with my camera and enjoy the world a bit.

    Kimberly xxx

    • Hi Kimberly,

      Thanks for your comment!! And congratulations on your job at Appliances Online!! I had no idea you had got the job, because, surprise surprise, I was too busy writing to check out their new blog since I wrote my post for it a couple months back. And in another confession I haven’t had time to pop back to your blog since I discovered your gorgeous home renovation. This is why I need to slow down. There are so many awesome blogs out there written by such talented people and I don’t have time to read them!! It makes me so sad and angry with myself!! Well that must change!!

      I too want to learn how to use a camera in manual. I have no skills whatsoever there so it will be a challenge, but I hope you manage to master it this year too and look forward to seeing your progress on your blog(s)!! xxx

  • This is me to a ‘T’ Stacey. I really punish myself when I think about stopping. I think being surrounded by social media and seeing people “achieving” all the time doesn’t help at all, but then you don’t see behind the scenes of all that do you? I made the decision to blog 3 times a week and take a little more time over the content, take time to actually LIVE too (who wants to read a blog where the writer doesn’t actually do anything anyway?!)
    I think it was Grace Bonney of Design Sponge who had a serious burn out a few years ago because of all the work she was doing and felt she had to do. She made an active decision to cut herself some slack and although she said she found it difficult to let go in the beginning I think she sees the benefits now. Just keep telling yourself that when you start feeling the urge to pick something up…says the girl who can’t stop!

    Poland looked awesome by the way! Happy New Year!

    • Hi Tiffany,
      Thanks for the great advice. I already feel better knowing that I am not alone in this. I think it is so easy to see everyone blogging away and tweeting and announcing exciting news and feel like you are not doing enough. But like you say, for all we know they are knackered and heading for burn out too. It’s not healthy and I’m sure readers prefer good quality content rather than rushed daily posts.
      I love your blog by the way!! One of the things that makes me so sad is the lack of time I have had to read all the blogs I used to read and leave comments to show how much I appreciate the work they do. I’m so busy writing that I haven’t had time to read, which has always been a great passion of mine. Your blog is top of my 2013 blogs to bookmark list. I’m gutted that I didn’t know about your gift box project. What an absolutely fantastic idea. I am definitely taking part in this next time you do it! You and your blog have really inspired me this morning and this is the first time I have felt inspired since well before Christmas so thank you so, so much for rekindling the spark for me!!! xx

  • Stacey, welcome back! Great insight!!!

    You know I’m much older so didn’t grow up online. Hence, my balance is pretty good. When I feel I tip over slightly, I take myself away for a day or so to re-group!

    I know you’re passionate about design and writing but being a workaholic is something different again.

    For me, there is no better way of connecting to myself than nurturing myself with cooking, drawing, going to the cinema, reading, seeing friends and spending time on my own.

    Go and grab those new hobbies. Guilt is a wasted emotion!

    Happy New Year. Glad you had snow:)

    • Hi Tina,
      Thanks so much for your lovely comment and for your great advice. 2013 is definitely the time to make some big changes. If I can’t crochet by this time next year I will be very angry with myself!! I hope you had a great Christmas & Happy New Year to you too! xxx