We asked our speakers at The Bookseller's Marketing and Publicity Conference 2019 how they maintain work-life balance and keep themselves sane when the pressure gets high. This is what they told us...
Poppy Stimpson, Orion
Call me unprofessional, but I literally never check my work phone outside of work hours—unless I'm on tour with an author. I also always try to remind myself of that wonderful phrase: "It's PR, not ER".
Joanna Rose, HQ
We are all so connected, all of the time, that switching off can feel almost impossible. But giving yourself permission to put yourself first is really important. For me, singing with my choir is the one time in the week that is purely for me, and I guard it fiercely. Everyone at work (and at home) knows that Tuesday is choir night—I leave on time, I don't take work home with me... and it's not negotiable!
Abbie Salter, HarperCollins
I try to cycle to and from work most days. I feel noticeably less stressed and more motivated when I avoid the Tube.
Rosie Beaumont-Thomas, Waterstones
I took my work emails off my phone, and I have (almost) never looked back. Also, when programming events, I block out dates each week on which I don't allow myself to plan events, so that I don't end up working until 9 p.m. four nights a week.
Ruth Barnes, Chalk & Blade Audio
Monday to Friday is a seemingly never-ending stressful juggle, so I make sure I ringfence the weekend. Nothing messes with weekend family time downtime, no matter how serious the meltdown. Folks can wait until Monday!
Sanne Vliegenthart, producer/consultant
It's easy to get stuck doing emails and admin every day and then realising you haven't progressed on long-term projects, so I book out one full day a week for creative work, with a "no secretly glancing at emails" rule. It definitely makes me feel more free and fulfilled.
Claire Leon, Acorn-I
Working to ensure client needs are exceeded at all time, as well as juggling the demands of three young children, means I have learnt over the years the importance of prioritising and
being very strict with time. I try to ensure that I am there for my children at certain points during the day, even if that means I have to work a little bit later in the evening. Learning what is important, and focusing on that each and every day, helps me achieve a mindful balance.
Chloe Healy, Vintage
I've found a hobby that I love—pottery. It's a great way of refocusing at the weekends and on occasional evenings, and very relaxing and satisfying. Also, you can't check emails on your phone when your hands are covered in clay!
Ross Caveille, Acorn-I
Since launching Acorn Intelligence, I've developed an understanding of when I'm most productive. For me, first thing in the morning, before most business hours start, are highly productive and it creates a sense of starting the day well. I can achieve a lot of my "to-dos" for that day before mid-morning.
Simon Heafield, Granta
I've never found it hard to resist checking my email after the end of a working day, but there are definitely times when work thoughts are still buzzing through my brain after I down tools. Often I like to process these on my cycle home—by the time I'm back home, I have usually worked out a plan or drawn a conclusion and can switch off for the night. I also find it really helpful to have one organised evening activity per week. It could be an evening course or singing in my choir; the main thing being that it's something that demands 100% of my attention, thereby squeezing out any possibility of thinking about work.
Cari Rosen, Gransnet
I find walking--to and from work, where possible--immensely therapeutic. The fresh air, the quiet "me" time, the exercise, the endorphins... A perfect combination.
Kajal Odedra, change.org
Working in activism means you're always thinking about how you can help improve things for others, so the "self" often gets neglected. I think one of the most powerful things you can do is say no to things. Say no to taking on work that you don't have capacity for; no to doing things that aren't vital to your core work; no to spending time with people that drain you. Boundaries are vital for self-preservation.
James Spackman, consultant
If you have a bazillion things to do and one of them is "go for a wee", then go for a wee. Then you can concentrate. No one can work at 100% all the time. Your mental energy is finite, so spend it deliberately and allow yourself to defer a task if you just can't face it. Tomorrow, you'll race through it.
Emilie Chambeyron, HarperCollins
I try to go for a walk, swim or go to the gym a few lunchtimes a week to make sure I don't eat at my desk and spend all day sat down.
View the full programme for The Bookseller's Marketing & Publicity Conference 2019 and book your tickets here.
- Children's Conference 2019: Publishing outside the London bubble
- Changing gears: Marketing and Publicity Conference programme launched
- Children's Conference 2019: Q&A with Scholastic UK's Catherine Bell
- The Bookseller Marketing & Publicity Conference 2015
- Bookseller Marketing and Publicity Conference: 'springboard for creativity'