Lately my life has been a whirlwind of meetings, events, and projects. I feel like I have been running around non-stop, doing everything all at once and yet somehow at the end of the day having very little to show for it. Part of this has to do with so many projects and things happening at the same time and being in constant flux, but with one wedding assignment finished and a freelance project out of the way, I can at least feel as if there are some concrete signs that I have been working as hard as I feel I have been. And yet, although I am well aware that I have been diving into everything head-first, I am feeling that horrible feeling of guilt due to the lack of blogposts I have been able to produce with my full schedule as of late.

But when I met with the owner of My Goodness last week, I was reminded of a really salient point. A huge part of conscious living is being able to have the presence of mind to recognize when we are spreading ourselves too thin and to be able to let go of the reigns for a bit in order to focus on our mental and physical health. I am guilty of doing this far too infrequently. And as much as I know that burning the candle on both ends can only lead to an inevitable burn-out (which, in the end, makes us less productive and works against the workaholic’s nagging need to be productive 24/7), I can’t seem to stop myself.

Therefore, I have decided to make 5 important promises to myself in order to strike a better work-life balance and practice what I preach.

I promise to take time to breathe and enjoy life

I love the work that I put into each and every assignment, be it photo- or blog-related. But as much joy and inspiration as work brings me, I do not want to turn around at age 60 and realize that I never stopped to smell the metaphorical (or actual!) roses. I promise to actually set aside time each day when the work day ends and relax, spend time with myself or friends, or dive into hobbies away from the computer.

I promise to not feel guilty when not working

It is so hard for me to not feel as if I could be working and furthering my career when I am doing other things. In fact, it’s only when I am at the gym or skateboarding that I seem to be able to live in the moment and not focus on the guilt I feel for not working. I would like to incorporate this mindset into after hours when watching TV or reading. (Seriously, when I watch netflix, I am always simultaneously instagramming for work and this needs to stop!) I promise that I will enjoy my time away from my job and allow myself to relax guilt-free.

I promise to not feel like a failure if not everything on my to-do list is finished by the end of the day

I often write up extremely ambitious to-do lists for each day, which in all honesty, are probably damned-near impossible to complete. And even when they are do-able, things always come up or certain assignments tend to take longer than others. I promise to be okay with the fact that success is not defined by how many things I have crossed out on my list and that self worth is not determined by a completed to-do list.

I will start and end every day thinking about the day’s accomplishments and feeling gratitude towards myself

It’s so easy to dwell on all of the unfinished things or new projects you are dreaming up, but by focusing on the undone, we often forget to celebrate what we have already accomplished and how far we have come. From now on, I promise to remind myself every morning when I wake up and every night when I go to bed that I am doing a damned-good job of it all.

I will make more time for friends and family

I am the first to (sadly) admit that the minute I feel overwhelmed by work, the first things to suffer are the relationships with friends and (to my regret, mostly) family. Which is really crazy because to be honest, it’s the people in our lives that give our existence the most meaning. I promise to make more time for family and friends, even if that means limiting my workaholic tendencies and taking a little bit more time to complete projects.

I will give myself one day a week away from work

I work 7 days a week. Now I may not work 9 hour work days every day, but I can assure you that if I were to add up all the hours I devote to my photography and blogging career it far exceeds a 40-hour work week. Just yesterday, for example, despite being sick and telling myself I was going to rest, I spent 3 hours going through emails. Weekends are also usually filled with photoshoots or events (hell, weekdays are as well). Therefore I promise to take one day a week of my choosing to do anything BUT work.

With these promises, I hope to find some kind of balance and work towards living a more fulfilling and conscious life. What kind of promise are you willing to make with yourself in order to strike a better balance between work and play?

photography: Sara Tortora
editing: Rae Tashman

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Stay conscious, Rae

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Rae Tilly

Rae the EIC of LFB and YEOJA Magazine. She is also a photographer and social media influencer.


  • sweet, amazing rae, it’s so exciting to see your work grows as day goes by. but please don’t forget to take a break and rest, no matter how fun the job is. finding the balance is hard but you can do it! the point “I will start and end every day thinking about the day’s accomplishments and feeling gratitude towards myself” is very very good. i think i might try to do the same. to start the day by being grateful sounds like an amazing plan. good luck with everything!


    • rae

      Thank you so much for the kind words – it’s comments like this that makes me happy to blog! I think one of the reasons I work non-stop is because my photography and blog work do not create enough of a financial stream to be “full-time” jobs even though I work constantly. And yes, I think it is really good to focus on the positives and not always what we still need to do so I am glad you will be taking this advice and trying to do the same! Thank you so much, Tannya!

  • These are amazing reminders that, I think, many can relate to. I hope you get to take a break from all the workload soon and get enough rest. Finding a balance in life is definitely a struggle because you can’t simply just cut this or that away from a day that has just 24 hours. But constantly being reminded of the accomplishments is a great way to motive yourself! Good luck with everything, Rae, loved reading this <3

    Hugs, Hannie | Missing Wanderer

    • rae

      Sometimes I selfishly wish that just me and a select few had 6 extra hours in the day, but I don’t think that would actually solve the problem! I am really glad that you can relate to these reminders too, that was the intention behind writing this post! Good luck with everything as well, Hannie! I am thinking of you!

  • These are all such great promises to yourself, Rae! Having freelanced – albeit on and off – for more than 4 years, I know firsthand how the work and play balance is a difficult one to strike. It’s so easy to feel guilty (often brought on by others, amirite?) for not working ALLTHETIME because ‘omg you must have so much time to do nothing’. I genuinely can’t remember the last time I just sat and read without touching my phone every 2 seconds or Netflixed on my own without meticulously planning my Instagram feed. I even found myself replying to emails in the bath the other night.

    This month in particular has been a real struggle for me balancing work, the blog (I always like to prioritise this in my free time) and friends/family. It’s a tough one, isn’t it? Hope you manage to keep the balance, more, girl! x

    • rae

      I am not sure if I have asked you this before, but what kind of freelance work do you do again? And yes, it is a really hard balance to strike but I would rather have workaholic tendencies than the opposite! And actually surprisingly all my friends and family tell me to slow down most of the time and I’m the one like, “NO! I must work non-stop until I create a profitable business!!!” lol. And yeah, I sometimes think we should just ban ourselves from our phones and emails for a certain amount of hours each day. Thanks for your support and hope you also find a balance! Although, I think part of being a freelancer is all about having things in constant flux.

      • I’m a freelance copywriter/editorial assistant! All of the online words!

        Yes, I’d rather be a workaholic freelancer also ;) the best combination ha. I’ve recently installed Forest to my phone in a bid to keep myself off it in the evenings – the app grows a forest as long as you don’t tap into apps! Kinda cute.

  • I feel guilty every second I notice myself drifting into procrastination world or not doing things that are on my mind, although I realise that I cannot possibly do 5 things at the same time. I have given myself a little slack though, and do not overthink stuff during the weekend or right before bed. Hope you will get your relaxing time as well! :)


    • rae

      I think it is great that you have given yourself some slack and have come to the realization that it is impossible to do 5 things at once! It’s quite an important realization to come to! Thanks so much, Lii!

  • #3 is also one of my downfall. Doing what you love is great,
    don’t forget to take a break and recharge yourself c: Xx
    Ice Pandora

    • rae

      It’s really tough, I always feel like I should have completed more each day, but I am starting to accept that as long as I am putting in 10% effort most of the time, I should feel satisfied with that! And yes, taking breaks and recharging is so important!

  • I noticed you’ve been a little absent recently! Based on this list, I’m guessing you have a pretty type A personality. #3 is something that I’ve been trying to do. It’s a tricky one. #4 is a great one too. Ultimately, they are the people you are going to remember more than the work that you did!


    • rae

      It’s funny because I think I have quite an A type personality when it comes with being hard with myself and trying to get stuff done, but am extremely passive and non-confrontational and happy when other people make decisions, so it’s a bit odd lol. And yes, #3 is super hard, but I always think – Imagine if you were not you but a friend – you would give that person words of encouragement and see all the positive things that they have accomplished rather than dwell on the things they have not yet been able to do!

  • I love these promises so much I’m actually going to write them out (with my own personal twist to make them specific to me) out in my journal now! It’s such a fine line between being all go and thriving, and being all go and on the edge of burning out! I think that one day off a week will do you, and probably your work, the world of good! Stephie xx

    • rae

      I love the idea of putting your own twist on them and being able to use this post as a jumping point! That is exactly why I wrote it! And yes, there is such a thin line between working and over-working! And yes, I am really going to try to take that ONE day where I don’t to a lick of work!

  • This is great Rae, I hope you find the balance you’re looking for. Stay happy! Much love x

    • rae

      Thanks so much!

  • Beautiful post! So motivating and deep :) Thanks for sharing!
    xx Elisa

    • rae

      Thanks, Elisa!

  • I loved this, Rae, and good on you for making these promises to yourself. I often feel dread and guilt when I realize I have not been productive, too. It’s a bad habit, and I think I’ll have to make some of these promises to myself, too.

    Good luck, Rae!


  • Carmen Jny (carmitive)

    Wow this is such an inspiring post Rae! I think it’s great to make yourself promises like these and I will definitively do this as well. Taking time for yourself is so important. I think I could not concentrate myself if I would always think about the same thing or I wouldn’t stop working.
    Thank you so much for this motivating article!
    xx, Carmen –

  • I just discovered your blog! I love this post, Rae! Personal posts like these definitely make me want to come back. I definitely agree with you- to not feel like a failure when you haven’t conquered everything on your daily to do list. There are only so many hours in the day. That’s life! Lovely post! x

  • Love this post! It has a great and deep message to everyone. It’s important to always find the right balance, in order to achieve a plenty life! I love your blog layout too!

    Vanessa, xo!

  • One of my goal this year was to take the time to have a me day once every month or week but I’m really disappointed that I didn’t really focus on that. I have a lot going on in my life that requires me to constantly worry about the future and think everything through. It has forced me to grow up a little and sometimes I miss out of just being a kid but life is like that. Especially with school and work, I have no time at all just to relax and watch a movie marathon on Netflix or something. I’m either going so homework which takes about 2 hours and I have to start writing college essays and putting together my resume.
    I love this post. It is definitely a good reminder to live life to the fullest. Might take a day off work and relax a little.
    Wishing you all the best,

  • Excellent promises, hope you manage to keep them :) I tend to spend too much time playing when not working and not enough time recharging. But keeping busy is infinitely better than having nothing to do! I can feel a cold creeping in right now so even though I’m going away this weekend for a party… I promise myself I will leave early and get some sleep.

  • These are all great promises to make for yourself =o) I just moved and am trying to find my work life balance again because I commute longer to work and so I find that I have less energy to do anything when I get home. My favorite promise of yours is to not feel like a failure if you do not finish everything on your to do list. I am constantly beating myself up about not finishing what I thought I would get done.

  • I need to do this. I’ve been working 60 hour weeks and everything else is suffering. I totally need a weekend of laughter, socialising and fun. You’ve reminded me that actually I do deserve down time.

  • Sophie Lee

    Very inspiring <3 love your thoughts

    xoxo, Cool style for men

  • Bivisyani Q.

    Wiser words have never been said. I really should save this for future references, when I feel like I need it. Thank you for sharing this promise. It’s highly necessary, I believe :)

    Alive as Always