The past 6 months – 1 year has been a real shift in my career; it’s been CRAZY. Crazy good though, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’m no longer working part time jobs that have no relevance to dance; I’m working under my own company name and taking on more exciting freelance projects. However because of this influx it can be hard to have a social life too. I’m so excited to say YES to everything, that it can take the balance ‘off’ a little.
I thought it would be interesting to write a post that talks about what I do to try and balance this ‘hecticness’, and see what tips I can pick up from you folks! I think actually writing down what my week entails is helpful, so I can look in detail where I can start to strike that balance.
Due to the nature of my work, not many of the people closest to me actually know what the hell I do haha! So this hopefully will let them see what ‘a week in the life of Karen’ might look like (I say might ‘cos it varies every single week – which is another reason I love it so much)
8.30am Working at DanceEast Box Office today.
4pm Cover work for 2 weeks -teaching two back-to-back Contemporary classes at DanceEast for 11-16 years.
6pm An hours tea break, with a 15 minute meeting thrown in for Ipswich Choral Society Project (ICS).
7.15pm Dance Unlimited Performance Company class – me time!
9.30pm Crash! (and watch the Walking Dead, obviously)
8.30am Working at DanceEast Box Office.
2.30pm Hop on a bus/eat some lunch
3pm Arrive at Northgate, set -up and teach my Youth Company session. One of my favourite parts of the week for sure.
9am At the computer this morning replying to emails, mainly related to my project manager role for ICS.
1.15am Meeting at a primary school in Ipswich to discuss The Seedling Dance Project in Summer 2018. Really exciting discussing this – just need to get the funding sorted now!
3.45pm Dress and Tech rehearsal for the Northgate Dance show – my Youth Co. performing for the first time this term. We shot some video footage for the UDance Application during this too!
7pm Show time! Proud moment!
9am Up at the computer working on emails for ICS.
9.15am FaceTime with Mary the choreographer to catch up on things for the project.
10.15am Meeting with StartEast. Exciting chatting to them about my Youth Company and it’s future! Feeling spurred on for the day!
11am Get home, start to edit video footage of the Youth Co. for our UDance 2018 application.
12.45am Meeting with Jonny the Technical Manager regarding ICS Project.
1pm Set up and assist with Care to Dance? This is another massive highlight in my week, dancing with people living with dementia and their carers. Absolute joy!
6.15pm Back at DanceEast to usher the Shakespeare Schools Festival performance – not normally something I’d do, but enjoyable!
9.30pm Grab a late dinner and straight to bed!
9am A whole morning spent editing video footage for Karen Louise Youth Dance Co. Submitted 2 performance platform applications! Feeling productive!
1pm Grab some tea, coffee & biscuits for class, and hop on a train to Stowmarket for StowMovers! Third highlight of the week dancing with this 55yrs+ class.
5pm Back at DanceEast for a short evening shift on the Box Office.
8pm Home with Matt, chill time!
8.30am Back up early for a morning shift at the Box Office – supporting the Buildy Uppy Dance Show – I LOVE IT.
1.30pm Head home and enjoy the rest of the weekend off (rarity!) Catch up with Wendie over coffee and chocolate!
DAY OFF! Day spent with Matt, autumn walks and roast dinners!
There is it, a big yo-yo of jobs with something different every day pretty much. There’s not one part of that I don’t enjoy though, from teaching young people and seeing them on stage performing my choreography, to writing emails to organise schedules and rehearsals for a big project, to assisting in the dementia friendly classes weekly. It’s all building my skills, experience and love for dance even more.
It’s just the timings can be random, especially with the box office element. I don’t always get to see my friends when I’d like to – a lot of them live in London or far away which doesn’t help – but having some time to jump on a train would be brill. I either need to plan waaaay in advance or try a last minute call or text to see if someone’s free that eve.
One of my best friends is a primary teacher and she works crazier hours than me, and chatting to her definitely helped put things in perspective. She manages to do things in the evenings, either a workout class or dinner with a friend, and she makes sure she has time for this, no matter what. I need more of this mantra.
So I’ve started with small steps – I think that’s probably key too, start small – for example every Monday I make sure I attend Yoga class before I start my performance group class. It’s great because I have dinner with my friend Lizzie beforehand and we get to have a giggle in class together. (It also makes me feel amazing before I go into the more intense class straight after too)!
My friend Emily and I have started sending voice clips to each other – it feels way more personal than a quick text, like they’re in the room with you – and we can chat for hours back and forth without feeling guilty it’s not a text that we still need to reply to! Maybe I should bring letter writing back? That’s so much more personal. My friend who lived out in Cambodia and Nicaragua sent letters whilst she was away and it was beyond lovely to receive them.
Luckily my friends, family and boyfriend all support me like hell – even if they get confused what projects I’m working on – and understand that my life is a bit nuts right now. I’d love to hear some of your tips for striking that work/life balance. What are your key elements to achieving both a great career and a social life?
(Other photos: tanyaforgan.com)