We know sometimes it can be all hustle and no flow. Rachel Mae Furman is Create & Cultivate's resident Leisure Expert, founder of Smoke & Honey, and our go-to girl for tips on cocktails, parties, and the art of entertaining. She'll regularly be serving up the best ways to mix and little business with pleasure.
Making Room for Leisure
by Rachel Mae Furman
Like many in the world of Marketing, Events, & PR, I’ve spent the last decade or so building and strategizing brands. My strategy has always been to think of each brand as a personality. What would it wear? What music would it listen to? Where would it hang out after work? From there I can see the entire lifestyle, demographic, and market, and a clear vision begins to take shape. It’s like the brand and I were dating, exploring the city and figuring out our scene together.
We all combine work and pleasure, and these days our “work lives” can overlap almost entirely with our “social lives," forming one big blur of activity. And that’s okay, if we are willing to make pleasure our business as much as we let work into our personal lives.
Here’s what I mean. In my days of building brands, there was a standard formula we would follow. First, we’d build a "Brand Plan" assessing and defining the brand values and essence. Then, we’d decide on a strategy for the direction we wanted to go in that year. Do we continue to hit the same market? Branch out to a new one? Infiltrate a new scene whilst not alienating the current one?
Next, we’d create programming that aligned with those goals, plot an execution plan, figure out the logistics, and then work on “selling it in” and getting everyone on board.
So that got me thinking: why don't we make “Brand Plans” for our social lives? Let’s be honest, how many times have we sacrificed our personal to-do lists because we were too busy doing our work to-do list? We have made a habit of tossing our pleasure aside for work, and our personal lives suffer because of it. In my opinion, this is not a healthy lifestyle choice.
Now, what I’m suggesting is not that we make our social lives a chore, or forgo work altogether, but a suggestion that we think ahead and plan ahead, making it a priority to kill it at leisure as much as we kill it at business. At the end of the day, we'd probably end up getting better work done as a result of a little more "me" time.
And I think that starts with a Personal Brand Plan, or a “Leisure Strategy,” if you will. Here’s a guide to help you start:
What are your Personal Leisure Values this year?
Career goals aside, what are you into? What are you all about? Are you geeking-out on? A new hobby? Loving the home-body life? Feeling super social? In creative-introverted-hibernation mode? Live music? Nature? Check in with how you're feeling and what's most important to you. It's easy to lose track of.
What is your Leisure Strategy?
Based on the values above, what do you want to do more of? If you’ve been hibernating lately, is this a year of getting out more? If you’ve been a social butterfly, would you like to spend more time relaxing? If you’ve just redecorated your home, do you want to have people over more?
What is your Leisure Programming?
Okay, so you know what direction you want to go in. Now what are some tangible ideas to make that happen? If you want to entertain more, how about a weekly brunch at your place, and a seasonal BBQ in your yard? If you need more R&R, why not commit to a monthly “staycation” or book a day at the spa? A few outdoor music festivals? Trivia Nights at your local bar?
What’s the Leisure Execution Plan?
Now that you know what you want to do: put it in writing. Put it on the calendar. Make the To-Do list. You know you would meticulously plan if it was for a client, so why not do it for your personal life? If you can put some recurring leisure time on the calendar, or invite some friends in on it to hold you accountable, you're far more likely to stick to it.
Sell it in.
Time to get everyone on board and excited about your plans. Make a fun Paperless Post invite, tell friends to Save the Date, and build some anticipation. Or if your plan is less social and more “you time,” announce it on a social network, get excited about it yourself. Whatever the plan, get the word out and it will start feeling real. You might even encourage someone else to do the same.
My whole point is that you need to plan for leisure in order to invite more of it into your life. It's the entire thesis behind my lifestyle business Smoke & Honey, and it's treating me well. Make it a priority, not something to get around to if you can muster up an energy left after tending to work. We all know that your business will flow better if you’re happy, and your work will be on point if your leisure is on point. So, what’s your plan?
Rachel Mae Furman is a self-proclaimed “Leisure Expert" on a quest to elevate moments, create occasions and curate experiences at any given moment. She has spent the last decade traveling the country scouring the back roads and small towns of America for inspiration, then jet-setting from city to city on the corporate dime, building booze brands in the liquor business. Inspired by her Grandmom Doris to be the perfect little hostess, Rachel is known for whipping out a mason jar Old Fashioned from her purse just when you need it. Her blog Smoke & Honey celebrates the art of leisure, from cocktails to entertaining, style to homemaking. Follow her @rachelmaefurman.