We had the good fortune of connecting with Chelsea Jenna and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Chelsea, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
I personally feel that work life balance is ever-changing and fluid. I think this topic is very interesting and insightful to discuss at the moment during these uncertain times with our current global pandemic. It has been very interesting to say the least in navigating day-to-day routines as a creative during this life-shifting event with a full time job at a small business, as well as working part-time for personal/freelance work. More often than not, it is a struggle at times, especially when you are in a flow state. I think many of us convince ourselves that we need to master it in a certain way in order to achieve a happy and balanced life. But rather than striving for a fixed and perfect schedule, we should aim to be more realistic in accessing our daily needs. It’s key to establish personal boundaries with yourself and to be cognizant when you feel you are overstepping your mental capacity and to honor those feelings in order to prevent burnout, of course this is easier said than done. Just over a year ago, I was finishing my last year at San Diego State University and completing my senior portfolio to showcase to my peers, professors and business professionals and my anxiety and stress levels were at an all time high. I recently have been reflecting upon this and have asked myself, “How did I even manage to complete 6 classes of homework, two of which were heavily project based, intern part-time and be socially active in my design committee?” The answer to that was: little to no sleep. Although I managed to complete all my assignments, I was never happy with my work habits and how late I would stay up and rely on caffeine to keep me going. Fast forward to today, I recently just celebrated my one year anniversary at my full-time job and have gained an even greater knowledge in understanding and experiencing work life balance in the professional world. Did I mention my job is at a planner company? Working at a job that provides online resources and agenda based products has tremendously influenced the way I work today. Since my time here, I have been able to define my daily focus for the day and week ahead, separate my work projects from my personal projects, and break down my biggest priority tasks into small subtasks. I am grateful to work at a company that values our professional and personal needs, cultivates a growth mindset, and encourages time for rest and offers mental health days. It’s important to know when to close the laptop, put down the pen and step away for a while; appreciate and invest in the hobbies you’re passionate about and take some time to recharge unapologetically.

Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. 
I am confident when I say that I always knew I wanted to pursue art; I owe a lot of that influence to my grandparents who wanted me to create things with my hands rather than be glued to the television for hours on end growing up. High school was the defining time in my life where I knew this was the direction I’d be going in, although it definitely was not easy. I personally feel that defining your personal brand and finding a niche was the hardest for me. I knew I had this talent and ability to create things, but exactly what? I wasn’t sure at the time. Not to mention comparing yourself with other creatives. Instagram became a platform that I came to both love and despise. One one hand is it inspiring to look at what other creators are making out there and supporting their work, but on the other hand, it makes you overanalyze and question your own work and capabilities. Imposter syndrome is something I still face that comes and goes, but I know now that I truly can only focus on what I personally love and what I want to make, for myself only. What I feel sets me apart is that I don’t just stick to one medium. Most of the work I do is a mix between both digital and hand-made art. I enjoy creating brand identity and paper systems, business cards, and illustrative portraits; to wedding stationery, wax seal artistry and crafting polymer clay jewelry, as well as stationery goods such as enamel pins, stickers and buttons. Predominately, most of my designs and crafts have a bohemian-chic overall look and feel and I simply enjoy implementing warm, neutral nude tones to the mix. Something I am excited about is finally opening up an online store. This has been a long time coming and something I’ve been trying to manifest for a while. I’ve battled a lot with fear and insecurity over this dream of mine, however this time around, after many self-talk conversations and becoming more disciplined with myself in my work ethic, I am looking forward to launching Fall 2020. Be on the look out real soon!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If “finding cool places to eat and visit” was an actual hobby, I’d consider myself an expert. One of my favorite things to do is find hole in the wall small business and shops to take a peek at. However, a few of my favorite places to visit in San Diego are North Park, Hillcrest, La Jolla, Del Mar and Point Loma. I’m always looking for a foodie adventure so my go-to places immediately would be cafe’s and asian restaurants! To sum up an entire week of fun, my best friend and I would enjoy hopping from cafe to cafe: Communal Coffee, Better Buzzed, Deja Brew and Parakeet Cafe, stop by a local craft store– Pigment is always a must, and then hit the beach at either Sunset Cliffs or Torrey Pines to enjoy the beautiful coast, and end the night with all you can eat KBBQ at Gen!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to recognize several individuals who have impacted my life and have helped me to where I am today. Firstly, I want to shout out all my design professors at SDSU and my former classmates, to whom of which I still keep in contact with. Although I only attended two years there, I’m so happy to resonate with a collective group of individuals who share the same passion and are willing to give honest opinions and critiques to one another. I’ve always been humbled by your words of encouragement and support and thank you for helping me gain the confidence that I have in myself today. I’d also like to give a small shout out three strong female individuals who I hope and aspire to be and consider a few of my mentor figures: Terri, Lanie & Desiree. I am super grateful that we have all been able to connect through social media and how amazing the community online is. I appreciate the conversations and advice you each have shared with me in person and the support you show online. Your words continually remind me that I am doing the right things and I’m on the right path. I look forward in continuing to develop and grow my personal business and one day be able to table at a convention or host a workshop such as yourselves. I especially want to shout out my employer Angel, Passion Planner and my marketing/creative team. I am blessed to say that I love my job and enjoy doing the work that I do. I’ve learned so much from my time working as an intern to being a full-time employee. Prior to working at this company, I had little knowledge of marketing logistics, the process behind social campaigns and product development. Working here, I’ve been fortunate to be able to dip my hands into multiple exciting projects, continually challenge myself, and become more self-aware with who I am as an individual. It is refreshing to be surrounded by colleagues who have a drive for their own personal endeavors and to push me with my own. And lastly I’d like to acknowledge my friends. I appreciate all my closest friends who are always there to provide words of affirmations whenever I am feeling down about my work, they’re my number one hype mans. I’d especially like to shout out my friend Amandine for being a solid accountability buddy post-graduation. It can get hard finding self-motivation outside of the classroom environment and I’ve been fortunate enough to have a someone who keeps me in check bi-weekly with my tasks that I want to get done for myself.

Website: www.chelseajennav.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/designedbychels/
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chelseajennav/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chelseajennav/
Other: Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/chelseajennav/ Email: chelseajennav@yahoo.com

Image Credits
(5th Image: Brian Rimer Photography)