Redefining Time in One’s Life and Work

Time is a funny thing! It’s bittersweet, to be honest. You have so much of it, yet so little. I for one, am one of those people who perpetually want to do it all in one very moment! My FOMO is literally running out of time and not accomplishing everything I want to see, do and experience. However, as with all things in life, things take time and I consistently have to keep reminding myself that everything happens in the right moment, for the right reasons when the TIME is right.

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One thing, I am unfortunately very guilty of, is complaining that there are not enough hours in the day to complete all the things! Part of that is probably due to the fact that I can get distracted by something as simple as my pen falling onto the floor, the other is that I am constantly taking on more work than one probably ever should. I am always spending time organizing, trying to get my life and business sorted and planned, and yet it still seems like complete chaos! No matter how much I plan, write lists and buy fancy planners, time still seems to run out and I end up writing articles, such as this one at 2 am.

I had a great conversation with a good friend, who also runs her own small-business, and as we got talking about time, being busy and getting burnt out, she introduced me to this quote, which is actually what inspired me to write this article:

Guard your time fiercely. Be generous with it, but be intentional about it” – David Duchemin

I know this is not revolutionary, and most of you are probably thinking “well duh Kristy!” However, this perspective has changed my entire way of thinking and it really got me reflecting on the choices I am making and how I am balancing my work versus my life.

Let me give you some perspective on how a typical day in the life of Kristy Archibald generally goes. 9 am, go to one of my part time jobs (yes, I have two!), throughout the day I will reply to the odd email, post on social for a client and even get some work done on an article if I get a break, 6 pm get off work, 7 pm workout, then I procrastinate and try and work for the next few hours, 12 am WRITE, bedtime is 3 am and then I do it all again the next day! As you can see, efficient is not the word someone would use to describe this schedule and it frequently leaves me tired and unable to do my best work the following day – which is something that I take extremely personally!

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As a result, of the quote above I am slowly, but surely making some major changes. Why? Because frankly as an extrovert I enjoy having a social life and sleeping, while also making an income and doing what I am passionate about all at the same time. It’s possible, it just needs to be done right and how that may be is different for everyone!

This article is not simply to tell y’all how to succeed at time management; because clearly, I have not got it figured out yet and quite frankly I could use some of your advice! These are a couple of ways that I am shifting my focus, in my life, my business and with my relationships. Because I believe you can have your cake and eat it too, because I love cake, you just have to be strategic about it.

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Choosing the right client over making monies AKA saying NO

This one is the main priority! I am a yes girl. My mantra is, say yes and figure it out later. I would say this has been a strategy that has gotten me where I am today in my career, but I hadn’t ever given it any thought that I can be picky with who I work with. Now there is a line with this because at some point one needs to bring in money. However, I have begun to see my client relationships the same as I do a boyfriend. If there is something off, they are simply not a good fit, or we don’t click, then the relationship will never work. Saying no is hard, but I am finding it is crucial for my success and my sanity. I love everyone and I wish I could work with every brand and business, whilst volunteering for everything I am passionate about, but of course that is not possible! Focusing on doing a few things well, rather than spreading myself too thin is what I am aiming for.

Decluttering

I mean everything, but primarily my office! When I am working 24/7, organization goes out the window and I merely end up living out of my home, rather than in it. However, when things get bad and I can’t see my floor amongst all of the clothes, then I know that something needs to be done. When my things are a mess, my head is a mess and that just means that creativity is not going to happen. Minimalizing my life will hopefully allow for more efficient organization, which will result in a more productive Kristy. This is a big project, but slowly but surely I am making my way through it!

Lay it all out in front of me!

This means combining all the sticky notes, calendars, and to-do lists into one sheet that lays out each week for me. Then I can visually see what is coming up, what I need to begin working on and what needs to be prioritized, as well as when I can take a bit of time off. I am a visual person, so I highlight and create a list everything, but the key is having it all in one spot.

Not forcing my work hours

If I am not feeling inspired, or an article is just not coming together at 1 pm, I will either move on to a different task, such as eliminating my inbox or take a break altogether. This is hard, especially when I have multiple looming deadlines, but it’s much more effective to move on to something else rather than wasting 4 hours writing 4 sentences and beating myself up about how I am a terrible writer!

Taking a day off a week!

So far I have only gotten as far as to sleep in till noon on a day that I don’t have to be anywhere. Then I usually get up and dive into my inbox, because by that point it’s usually exploding with keeners who are wildly productive before noon – I wish! Currently, I’m planning in advanced, certain days that I can take off and head to the mountains for a day trip, or just see friends. Then at least I can begin to work my schedule around these days, instead of spending the entire time feeling guilty about all the work sitting waiting for me on my computer.

Put my phone away

As I have mentioned, I am very easily distracted. So when I am working, unless I am posting on Instagram for a client or I have a phone conference, I try my very hardest to “loose” my phone somewhere around my house. I am also finding that unplugging on a day off is key to my rejuvenation. When I have my phone I am always checking my messages, social media, and email. When I see an email come in, it’s my first reaction to is to read and then respond, but then there goes my so-called “day off!”

Working out of coffee shops

Getting dressed and out of the house can do wonders for my creativity. If I am not feeling inspired, heading to a café can be the best thing I can do. The white noise of people is calming for me and allows me to reset and dive right back in to my work. You also never know who you will meet when working in a café, it can be great for networking!

Being more mindful of my time

This can include waking up 10 mins earlier, enjoying the moment while I sip my coffee or being present while I am with my friends + family, rather than having my mind wandering to my work. Specifically mornings and I generally do not get along well and I usually end up getting out of bed at the last possible second, which adds a layer of stress that I don’t need, and sets a terrible tone for the day. Being more mindful of my time, rather than running from place to place will hopefully allow me to spend each moment succeeding at my current task.

If you have any more tips for me in my time management journey then feel free to send me a message! I would love to hear other’s perspectives on this subject!

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Outfit details

This look is fantastic, especially if you’re looking for an outfit that serves multiple purposes throughout the day. I can go from a brunch date, to a client meeting, to a board meeting, to an event while still looking polished and put together. Versatility is crucial when freelancing and buying key pieces that can be worn multiple ways is what gets me through my long crazy days – and its hella comfy!

All photos were taken by the lovely Sarah Beau of Sarah Beau Photography!

XX Kristy

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My Career Highlighted in 7 Defining Moments

Life is about moments: Don’t wait for them, create them.

When I look back at my entire career and see the path I have taken, I can distinguish specific moments that have lead me to this very moment in time – writing this blog post. These were pivotal events that threw me in a direction that was amazing, scary and wonderful all at the same time. For a girl who thrives off having a well-organized plan for almost everything, including a shopping trip to the mall, you can imagine that this was initially a slight shock to my system. However, my career path has been a fascinating ride and I am continually learning and eager to see what is around the next corner.

Here are 7 defining moments that stand out in my career thus far as learning experiences, growing experiences or a moment when I realized I was exactly where I was meant to be!

Let’s start at the beginning…

The moment my love affair with communications began

A close friend had mentioned to me in passing what she was doing in her PR class, it sounded interesting, so I enrolled myself in an “Intro to Communications” class to see what it was all about – I had zero expectations. When I walked into that auditorium there was no going back, I remember listening to my professor discuss the basics of Communications Theory and from that moment on I was officially a communications student.

From there I went on to immerse myself in the communications program and University as much as I possibly could, as I wanted to make sure I got the most out of my 4 years – and that I can truly say I did! I became good friends with many of my professors, I traveled to Spain on a 3 week ‘Food Culture’ group study and I became the President of the ‘Students in Communications’ (SIC) Club for one out of my three years of involvement. I threw myself in and I came out the other end with a BA and a strong motivation to conquer whatever came my way!

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One of the things that was immensely important to me was graduating with actual work experience within the communications industry on my resume. As a result of my efforts, I ended up with an amazing Summer Student Position at CNOOC Ltd., then known simply as Nexen. I was placed in their Corporate Responsibility Program and got sent to STARS Air Ambulance, on behalf of Nexen, to assist them for the summer.

At STARS I got the unique opportunity to work with the four pillars of their Foundation’s team – Events, Stewardship, Communications, and Fundraising. I had a hands-on summer of completing multiple projects for each individual team, while learning how a non-for-profit worked and was organized, both from an internal and external perspective.

At the end of the summer, STARS offered me a part-time job, as a Development Coordinator, while I finished my degree – I wholehearted accepted the opportunity. This role was streamlined specifically to internal tasks that primarily included creating research profiles for the fundraising team to use when they were going in for an ask and other administrative duties. By the end of my time there I was organizing weekly meetings with multiple teams within the foundation and even chairing a few meetings that involved the research profiles that I had created.

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We rise by lifting others” – Robert Ingersoll

One of the best pieces of advice I could have ever been told was to “get involved” – sounds simple, but it was revolutionary to my success. Throughout my entire career I have thrown myself into different volunteer initiatives and strategically looked at opportunities for me to put my skill set to good use, while also learning and growing within communications. As a result, I have worked with some incredible teams and witnessed firsthand how powerful volunteerism can be. Each community that I have become a part of has influenced me in one way or another and has empowered me to connect my passion to a purpose, making a difference in something much larger than myself.

Two experiences that stand out are my involvement on the Special Events Committee at Making Changes Association and The Black and White Ball Committee with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks. Both offered me opportunities to hone in on my digital media skills, as I created detailed social media plans for both events, along with editorial calendars, campaign suggestions and written content to be posted that was consistent with the branding guidelines of both the event and organization. Eventually, I got to the point where I was posting the content directly into Hootsuite myself on the various social media platforms on behalf of each of the organizations and executing the entire social media strategy myself. This opened many doors for me within the world of social media and soon led to my next key opportunity!

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#GetSocial with Social Sesame

Through my work with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, I met my soon-to-be boss at the social media agency, Social Sesame, and within a month I was a full-time employee. This is where my career took another steep turn! All of a sudden I was managing multiple clients’ social media accounts on a daily basis and learning the inner workings of the immense world of digital media and social media marketing – and getting paid for it! I adored creating a strong relationship with clients, as we worked together to create a digital marketing plan and strategy, and execute it in a way that would enhance their brand and connect them with their target audience.

It was in this same instance that I began to see my writing career flourish, as this was quickly becoming one of my favorite parts of the job. For many clients, whose social media I managed on a daily basis, I would also manage their blogs and be creating original content for them on a weekly basis. Throughout my life, I had always been a creative person, but I just had no idea how to build or sustain a career out of that – this was my official aha moment! Creativity had officially been infused into my career and I could not have been happier knowing I was doing something that fed my soul and made me want to jump out of bed in the morning.

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Becoming a lady boss!

“If you can’t stop thinking about it don’t stop working for it.”

Due to the unfortunate circumstances of Calgary’s economy, I became a contractor at Social Sesame and at the same time gained a few clients of my own. It was then I decided to take the time to work on my own personal brand and figure out what my next move was. Starting a blog was always something that was in the back of my mind, but never something that I had pursued, mainly due to time constraints and the overwhelming thought of creating my own website. However, since I was no longer working full time I decided it was the perfect opportunity to take the leap and just do it!

Creating my website was a process – a long one! I ended up teaching myself the ins and outs of WordPress, along with basic coding techniques and other website technicalities, but eventually FloralandBows was born. FloralandBows quickly became my creative outlet and currently contains my fashion and lifestyle blog, my growing writing portfolio and my freelancing services that I offer to my clients. Since launching almost a year ago I have had the sincere opportunity to work with an incredible array of people within the community, write for various magazines, blogs and editorial platforms and once again steer my career in a direction that I could have never imagined.

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Staying inspired

“Always keep your eyes open. Keep watching. Because whatever you can see can inspire you.” – Grace Coddington

I very quickly learned that if I was going to pursue a creative career, I needed to find ways to always be inspired. Luckily, I didn’t have to look far, as I found the things I was most passionate about were what inspired me and kept my creativity flowing.

  • Traveling: discovering and learning about new cultures, while getting to know the people that make up a place and going on memorable adventures is something that feeds my soul. It allows me to grow and learn things about myself I could have never imagined while keeping me active and always inspired.
  • Fashion: I could talk about fashion for hours – literally! This has been something that I have been incredibly passionate about from a very young age; so being able to incorporate it into my career has been monumental for me. Anna Wintour, Iris Apfel and Bill Cunningham are just three role models that I always find myself greatly inspire by, not only by what they do professionally but by how they go about it and what they represent – individualism.
  • Supporting the local community: I have always been a huge supporter of local businesses and entrepreneurs within Calgary. I find now more than ever when I get the opportunity to talk to someone who is incredibly passionate about whatever it is that they are doing, I am immediately intrigued. These people always give me new ideas to think about and motivate me to be better in the pursuit of doing the things that mean the most to me.
  • Living a healthy lifestyle – staying active is how I recharge, clear my mind and allow myself to reset after burning the midnight oil or working on a large deadline with a client.

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My Communications family

For me the two most important things that allow you to fully grow within your career is constantly working on your professional development and having a strong network behind you along the way. I found both of these when I joined the Calgary Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC/Calgary). I initially joined as a student member, but very quickly found myself becoming increasingly involved within the organization. I began as the Newsletter Coordinator, gathering content and sending out the newsletter on behalf of the organization once a week. Within a year I moved onto the Board of Directors as the “Director of Student Development,” due to my immense involvement within the student community when I was in University.

Now, I currently sit on the board as the “Director of Marketing.” I lead a team of social media rockstars who work to maintain and manage the IABC/Calgary social media channels, that includes Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and our brand-new Instagram account! 2017 also marks the 50th anniversary for the IABC/Calgary. As a result, I am working with the 50th Planning Committee to create a promotional video with a Video Agency that will work to promote the gala and the legacy of the IABC/Calgary throughout the year and for years to come.

I also work to collaborate with other board members and ensure that all marketing efforts are being completed within each portfolio. It’s through this collaboration that I have found a professional network that I can rely on, along with a group of true friends within the industry that are always willing to help and support each other whenever possible.

The here and now!

“It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion come together”

Whew! What a journey! My career has been nothing close to boring and frankly I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Currently, I am working as a full time freelance writer and am a writing contributor to the Daily Hive YYC, The Yellow Pages Business Pages, Moments Magazine, Dote Magazine Press Board PR, Standout Publications and YYC Girl Gang – just to name a few. The diversity is incredible, as I am always writing on a different industry or topic, which keeps things interesting and allows me to constantly be learning new things. At the same time, I continue to work on the board of the IABC/Calgary, while perusing other volunteer related ventures.

Where do I see myself heading? Good question! It’s my dream to someday be an editor and to work with a team of inspiring, like-minded individuals to create great and wonderful things, while still pursuing my writing and creative career. All I know is that I am eager to see what my next career defining moment will be and where it will take me!

XOXO Kristy