YouTube star Estee Lalonde can educate, inspire and interact with her 1.1 million subscribers without ever leaving the comfort of her own home. Sounds like a dream setup, right?
“My life is on the internet, it’s a digital life,” she says. “It can get lonely just to be home all the time, at your desk, without much interaction. And when you do get interaction, it’s about work. It was hard for me to get used to that— just me in my living room or bed. It’s lonely.”
The 26-year-old Londoner has been filming beauty and lifestyle videos for her YouTube channel (formerly known as Essie Button) for the better half of this decade. Originally started as a way to combat homesickness (Lalonde moved from her native Waterloo, Ont.), her following quickly grew as she shared her charmingly high-energy beauty tutorials, fitness journeys and DIYs with hundreds of thousands of fans. Her cult following amassed to such a number, Lalonde snagged a book deal with “Bloom,” her debut memoir out now from Appetite by Random House.
But how does she do it? Here Lalonde shares her advice for maintaining a work-life balance, when your work is… well, your life.
Designate a no-screen zone
When screens and all that come with them are such an integral part of our lives, answering that one little e-mail in one tab, while we cozy up in bed to Netflix on another can’t be that bad — right?
Wrong. “I have a rule where I cut myself off at 7 p.m. no matter what,” says Lalonde, who typically works from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the weekdays with scattered hours over the weekend. “My boyfriend and I also have a rule that we have no laptops in the bedroom — that was the hardest to get used to. Eventually you’ll just get into the routine where you don’t need to be checking all the time.”
Create a clean workspace — and maintain it
“I’m at home pretty much every day, to be honest, unless I’m traveling,” explains Lalonde, who can be typically found shooting videos in her bright, minimalistic workspace. “I always make sure my office is clean. If I have papers everywhere, it drives me insane. I keep it ready to be worked in.”
And even when your home is your office, the distractions can pile up — literally. “If there loads of dishes in the sink, I get distracted,” she confesses. “I think keeping everything tidy is so important.”
Plan ahead and keep your eye on the prize
Lalonde says she plans out her content about two months ahead of time, using iCal to organize the days and the times she’ll release each new video, which she films a month in advance.
“I like to keep content flowing,” she explains. “[Creating] content a month in advance keeps me available to travel, or if I have a conflict.” A long-term calendar of deadlines and publication dates not only keeps Lalonde plugging along with a sense of purpose through preparedness; it provides an idea of when she can actually feel done.
“I work a lot,” she says. “I’m not shouting it from the rooftops, because everyone works really hard. I love being busy, I find it fascinating and I get a lot of fulfillment from it. But I’m trying to work toward having more personal time. I’m getting better at it.”