Brittany Campbell
art director + designer


Up at 5:30. A Story about Work + Life Balance.

After signing up for yet another gym membership, I was determined to make it a ritual of going to the gym 4 times a week. I knew that in order to do that, I would have to work out in the mornings. After-work gym trips rarely happen. I tell myself I'm tired or I have to work late. Friend, family, and industry events pop up. So when I signed up for Orange Theory Fitness I booked the classes a month in advance and committed to attend the 6:15am class every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I planned to sleep in on Saturdays and hit the 9:30am class. Along with the required class booking, the hefty price tag helped me stick to my goal.

In order to prep for the day and still make the 6:15 start time, I would have to wake up at 5:30. The first few weeks it was rough but now I wake up every morning around that time. On some Tuesdays and Thursdays I sleep a little later but usually I am up and moving no later than 6am. I have noticed so many benefits that I would have never thought of...

Stress Free Morning Routine
In the past I would wake up 30 minutes before I needed to catch the train to work. I wouldn't give myself enough time to enjoy my morning routine. I would forget something or need to run the few blocks to the train station. My commute was a 30 minute ride of stressing about being late while being squeezed in between other sweaty commuters who were constantly checking their phones for the time.

Now, I can take my time. I can do my makeup, blow dry my hair, drink some tea, or take the long scenic route to work. I started parking my scooter a few blocks from the office so I wouldn't have to deal with traffic. This allowed me to get a nice walk in before I had to sit for the rest of the day.

Healthy Breakfasts
Previously, I would find myself grabbing an unhealthy pastry or skipping breakfast all together. Now I'm able to think about breakfast. I am able to leisurely eat it while at home instead of scarfing it down during my sprint to the train.

ReadingIn the past, I haven't had nearly as much time to read as I would like. One of my favorite things is to sit on my couch or hit up a coffee shop first thing in the morning and read. I have taken this opportunity to learn about things I otherwise wouldn't have learned. I've been reading about travel, grant writing and personal budgeting. Since I'm not reading while on the train, I can take notes and actually study the content I'm reading.

Early Morning Productivity
Here is a little something I have learned: The grocery store has no lines and is fully stocked at 7am. Taking time in the morning to run those errands that I dread doing after work has allowed my evening schedules to become more free. I'm able to attend industry events, meet with friends, or clean my house without allowing other parts of my personal life to slide. I recently moved into a new apartment and one morning I decided that the best use of my time was to paint a wall before work. This allowed for the wall to dry during the day and I was able to unpack that room when I got home.

Work Doesn't Take Up My Whole Day
One of the most rewarding things I've discovered about waking up early is work is just another thing on my calendar. I got stuck in a funk where I felt like all I ever did was work. I would wake up, go straight to work, then come home and watch tv until I fell asleep. Waking up early gave me more hours in the day and allowed that 8 hours of work to take up a smaller percentage of my time. Even if I had to work later I was able to have time in the morning to run errands, make personal goals, or just relax.

I have a lot of friends and colleagues who seem to always be on the search for a job that can offer "Work + Life Balance." I think a lot of job seekers are looking for that in their next job. A lot of us see balance as the responsibility of an employer, and yes, sometimes it is. However, I encourage you to think of ways to change your morning routine to make your work and life balance possible in your current situation.