How I Managed to Achieve Work-Life Balance as a Solopreneur Illustrator

I wrote in a previous blog about my resolutions for the year 2018. My main concern was to achieve work-life balance. Now that it's been 6 months since I started working on my goals, it's time to evaluate and adjust.

Several of my goals are either in progress or accomplished but I'll let you be the judge.

  • Health

  • Eat

  • Exercise

  • Disconnect

  • Work

  • Develop Old Skills

  • Learn New Ones

  • Market Your Skills

  • Hobbies

  • Languages: Learning Spanish


Our health is our main asset. Yet when we focus on work, we tend to spend so much time sitting in front our screens and we either forget to eat, or we eat so much junk food. A healthy lifestyle translates to more happiness and productivity. It shouldn't be our last priority.

  • Eat

My meals revolved mainly around starches, dairy and some proteins with almost no fruits and vegetables. Since food was boring I ate even less meals. I found myself sleepy, tired, sometimes even less motivated to do anything. I decided that this had to change.

I came across the 5-a-day website a while back and I thought gotta start somewhere. Simple recipes and ideas to incorporate more plant-based food into your meals. Some look great and won't even take 30 minutes to prepare.

At first I was basically grating them to hide them into other ingredients but later I actually started to like them! sometimes with dips. It's a challenge and I can't say I did my best but I still see much improvement overall.

Time-Management Tips on Buying And Cooking Food.

  • Follow some Youtube channels that share simple recipes.

  • Take notes to look at when you run out of ideas.

  • Only shop for what you have on your shopping list. Yes write one!

  • Shop by the week for food with a short shelf-life, and every 2 weeks at least for everything else. Less trips to the supermarket = one less thing to worry about.

  • Buy foods that last 2 or 3 days, other foods that can last a week, other types that last several. Eat them in that order.

  • Mix and match ingredients to eat more variety of nutrients without getting bored.

  • Use leftovers with some tweaks the following day as a new meal.

  • Batch cook when you can.

  • 1-pot cooking = more nutrients + less cleaning up later

If you put some effort into making a healthy meal look and taste delicious you're less likely to fall back into your old habits.

  • Exercise

I'm not much of a sports person. I can bike and roller skate but that's about it. Working on a computer all day was causing me physical pain. I had no idea there was a right and wrong way to use a computer.

There are no awareness campaigns in Egypt about pain from overusing the computer. I actually found out about this online through friends from other countries. I started to take it slow, take frequent breaks, stretch and do any physical activity away from the computer.

Simple Exercise Ideas you can do almost anywhere:

  • A few minutes on a bike or a still bike.

  • Go for a walk (alone or with family/friends)

  • Dance to your favorite songs.

  • Fold laundry & organize your sock drawer.

  • Do the dishes in a relaxed position.

  • Disconnect

People posting several times a day EACH! Others who think every social medium is Tinder or that women are online because we have time to kill. There are also those who can argue non-stop over politics or whatever...

So I figured I needed to spend less time online. Save your soul from being sucked into the black hole of the internet!

Tips to help you disconnect:

  • Install a plug-in that lets you hide Facebook's feed to have nothing to look at.

  • Cap the time you spend on the social media. Do your thing and sign out!

  • Say NO to interactions, online and offline, that burden you.



I set more goals for work because you either stay at the top of your game or you're out. not only as an illustrator but as a solopreneur. I run my own business which means I need to learn a bunch of stuff to keep my business running.

  • Develop Current Skills

I need to keep growing as an illustrator so I set a goal to level up within 6 months. During that time, I added more illustrations to my portfolio....different dimensions, different perspectives/angles, different subjects, different color schemes and lighting. My focus was still on portraits.

First Day at Day Care: Fear and Curiousity digital Illustration by heidiGFX

  • Learn new ones

I need to learn Z brush to help with my character design career. haven't started yet. I may have to push it till next year. I already used to do some light modeling on 3Ds Max and on Cinema 4D so I'm not like freaking out. Getting used to the new tools is a learning curve though.

  • Marketing

» Update Your Portfolio

You want your work to get seen AND to look fabulous! Make it easier for people to see what you can offer them. Also since my portfolio lives on my website, I had to redesign my website.

» Photography

Presentation is as important as the content itself, some would argue more. For traditional art that meant to take better photos.

When you figure out how to create appealing compositions and lighting you save time wasted on editing ugly photos or on retaking them after everything else has failed! 2 birds with 1 stone!

You can also start a session for a bunch of illustrations at a time. BATCHING! a recurring theme here. I'm sure you can notice how my photography improved over time. I believe it's very visible on