Taking back my free time / no.24

taking back my free time

Like all people pleasers, I have the classic problem of saying yes to too many things.

The worst it’s ever been was in my junior year of college. I was taking 18 hours of classes, the vice president of an international organization, volunteered at a community service office, waited tables on the weekends, worked part time doing marketing for club sports, and led a bible study of sophomore girls. (When in the world did I have time to study!) It was EXHAUSTING and I had zero time to myself that year. In fact, I remember on the rare evenings when I was home and would watch a TV show or movie with my roommates, I always fell asleep on the floor as soon as it started. I was constantly on the go and constantly tired.

Over winter break I got some much-needed rest and realized I needed more of that in my life, which meant having to say no to something.

In true Rory Gilmore fashion, I made a pro/con list for each item on my plate and decided to quit my job doing the club sports’ marketing. I was worried about how I would make rent without that income, but it all ended up okay. And I was so nervous telling and disappointing my supervisor, but it turns out I had plenty of classmates who were interested in that position, who had more time to devote to it. I am always replaceable in my job. A huge relief was lifted off my shoulders and for the first time in months I felt free and in control of my schedule.

Looking back I probably should have cut out two or three more things, but at the time saying no to anything at all was a big huge deal. Since then I’ve slowly been adopting more free time into my schedule, and am learning to listen to my gut as an indicator of whether or not I should be pursuing something.

Since then, I have developed a better way of judging to what I need to say yes and no. My intuition is a pretty good indicator of whether or not I should pursue something, and I’ve gotten a lot better at listening to it when I’m at a crossroads. It’s still really hard for me to say no to things, but I know in the end I am a happier, more giving person if I have margin in my day to relax, exercise or the free time to say yes if a drop-of-the-hat invitation comes along.


Do you have this problem? Have you ever over-committed to too many things? Is there something hanging over your life that you need to get rid of? 

PS – Shoes are from Minx Asheville

Starting my career at an ad agency / no.23

starting my career at an ad agency

In college, I majored in communications (with an emphasis on public relations) and minored in marketing. I am one of the few people with that degree who is actually working in that field. Many of my friends and classmates are in an industry different than their major, which is completely understandable. Advertising and PR looks really glamorous from the outside, but it can be a pretty tough field in which to thrive. I have considered a career change a few times in the last seven years.

But in general, I really like my job and enjoy working in marketing. And a large part of how I got to where I am today is from my experience working at agencies.

In my opinion, if you’re interested in working in marketing — whether that’s PR, print, advertising, digital, etc — start with a job or an internship at an ad agency. It’s the best way to learn the industry fast. Agency life is varied and fast-paced, and you’re forced to learn the ropes pretty quickly.

My first job was working at a small agency that specialized in website design and development as a junior account manager (aka: I made sure our client was always happy). My second job was at a larger agency as a media planner for a financial client (aka: those ads you see across websites, TV and radio? I helped plan and place them.) Both of these agencies and roles were very different, but I learned SO much about the world of marketing at both.

It was never a long-term goal to continue moving up the ladder at an agency; it was always a stepping block for me. My real goal was to work on the client-side of marketing, which is what I’m doing now in my current job. (Client side, aka: developing marketing strategies in-house and hiring out agencies to design and create the work.)I’m very happy with my current job, but am curious to see where my career will lead in the next few years, especially in an industry that is constantly changing. But I know for sure I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for the experience and knowledge I gained at my two agencies.

Do you work in marketing? Have you ever worked at an agency? Are you working in the same industry that matches your degree? How has your career evolved over the years?


PS – Read more career posts, including the benefits for working for someone else, how to decorate a corporate office, and my stand-up desk. :)

Paying off my debt / no.22

paying off my debt

I took a financial peace university class when I was a senior in college, and decided when I graduated I would focus all of my financial energy to pay off my student loans. So that’s what I did. I moved to DC, got my first big girl job, and slowly month by month paid off my debt (see the full spreadsheet). It wasn’t easy and there were a lot of times I had to say no to fun events, trips, gourmet food or shopping, but after two years I had paid off $13,800. It felt really good.

Looking back, this decision was a turning point for me. It literally forced me to get creative with my entry-level paycheck and make habits on paying off debt or saving before spending it, and I have reaped the benefits of making those wise habits and getting rid of that debt.


PS – Good debt vs. bad debt, how to get out of debt, what the Bible says about debt, and the day I became debt-free!!

Playing hookie on our anniversary / no.21

playing hookie on our anniversary

Life as an adult is largely uninteresting and filled with responsibility. So my philosophy is, if you find a moment that is unique and special, you gotta celebrate it.

I didn’t think I was an especially sentimental person until I got married and realized I could make up any celebration or tradition I wanted. As our first anniversary approached, we mulled over what traditions we wanted to set to celebrate our marriage. We thought of gifts, trips, dinners, etc., and finally landed on deciding to take our anniversary off of work each year and make that our annual tradition.

We have only celebrated our anniversary three years now, but April 9th has become my favorite day of the year. We do whatever we want, eat whatever we want, and the fact that we are doing all of it on a weekday is just magical.

It hasn’t always been convenient to take off of work (this year I was about to take six days off of work to travel to Haiti... not exactly the best time to spend galavanting across town for a day), but that’s kind of the point — we make a choice to set aside our work and routine for one day to celebrate being together.


If you are married, do you have any anniversary traditions?

PS – See our first anniversary, second anniversary and third anniversary recaps. Or read all about our wedding.

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