Freelancers Guide to Slaying Work and Life Balance with Change Cadet

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As a young creative in Los Angeles, it can be challenging to stay loyal to your creative pursuits while managing to build a career for yourself and balancing your day job. How do you feel empowered in reaching your career goals while also self-care outside of the office? The answer lies in your perspective and time-management skills. Meet Akilah Cadet, a diversity inclusion and career coach, who understands the importance of feeling empowered in your career. Akilah’s consulting agency Change Cadet offers an array of support in the work place, from corporate life down to seminars for women, Akilah works to create systematic change to improve the workforce experience. LA Pulse Mag spoke with Akilah to learn her tips for success in balancing work and play. Apply her advice to elevate your creative career:

What are your tips for balancing work/life?

1) You must love what you do as it will fill less like a balancing act.  As a freelancer or consultant, you left the 9-5 in order to focus on the projects and work that you love to do.  You can make work what you want it to be and that is a gift!

2) If work is not what you love, then find a way to make it work! What this means is, the things that bring you joy with your project, do more of it. Now as freelancers and consultants, there are times where we do things we may not want to do to pay the bills, but you must still find a way to do what you love.  You may have a client/project that brings in steady money but is not aligned with your dream work so volunteer or have other projects (that may not bring in as much money) in your passion to balance out the frustration from building your company. Work/life are one in the same as a freelancer making it important to make your passion your purpose in order to fully enjoy life.

3)  To achieve work life balance you must be able to say NO in order to get to the things you value in life. This may even mean saying no to a possible client because their work expectation is unrealistic or to demanding for you. Make sure you set boundaries with your work, stay on a strict start and stop time, communicate those expectations to collaborative partners and clients, and take breaks and staycations!  Even little half days hanging by the beach or ending early to see a movie are little ways to celebrate balance.  Whatever you do, you need to put YOU first so you can always be your best self!

What have you implemented in your personal life that's elevated your work/life balance?

Honestly, starting my own business has improved my work/life balance.  For example, either Monday or Friday I do not schedule meetings.  This allows me to always have a long weekend to relax into or out of the weekend and/or get things done for my company without distractions.  I also communicate to my clients that I will not reply to emails after 6pm or on the weekends (aka saying no).  This allows me to always have my evenings and weekends where I can reset and refresh.  Block out you time on the calendar and protect it. Also working in sweats is the most productive I have ever been; it’s the perfect combination between comfort and confidence!

What are daily habits you would recommend for enhancing wellness?

1) Hydrate! Water is key to a great day and the foundation to balance.

2) Stretch! We spend so much time looking at screens that we forget to give our body and our eyes a break.  Most smart phones and watches have built in reminders to encourage breaks. Also naps! I have a home office, so sometimes I take a power nap and immediately feel refreshed!

3) Love What You Do! We spend 8+ hours a day at work; a significant chunk of our lives is with our work. If you feel your work is a chore, it will be impossible to have overall wellness as you will think about being that one project and going to meet with/or not wanting to meet with that client.  When your work is part of your passion and/or purpose, then wellness will automatically be a priority.

As a creative, how you do focus on collaborating and building with a winning network?

I am always prepared!  I have my business cards and elevator pitch (30 second pitch including your name, what you do, what you are looking to do, and contact info) ready to go because you never know who you are going to meet.  My friends and colleagues are also great resources for new clients and projects.  Let them know what you are doing or would like to do and they will advocate and connect you! I am also open to unexpected opportunities as they can open doors I may have overlooked. Be ready.  Be open!

We love that you empower and inspire others, especially women and POC. What are some female/poc-owned businesses in LA you'd recommend supporting? 

As a women of color it is an honor to advocate, support, and empower WOC and POC businesses.  Adaeze Cadet, is not only my twin, but she is an architect by day and designer by night.  House of LVA is a Beverly Hills clothing line that is the perfect mix of fashion forward and timeless design. Check out her beautiful designs at House of LVA.

Zoila Darton, is the mastermind behind WORD Agency.  She gives a platform to women of color by building their brand, creating partnerships, and developing strategy to empower their vision. If you are women who is building company or you are looking for exposure to take you to the next level, contact this Hollywood based company. 

What do you do to balance your work and life balance? Comment and share below!