Hi everyone, Lauren Layne here!

I’m in that crazy-giddy time in an author’s life known as “release week,” where we spend a lot of time self-talking, like. “Be cool, LL. Just be chill. Do NOT yell at strangers and insist they go buy your book.”

This self-talk works about half the time. Mostly we authors drink a lot of champagne and bask in the euphoria of having a book out in the world.

And you guys, today I’m extra euphoric, because my new release?

I’m in love.

It’s called For Better or Worse, and it’s the second in my Wedding Belles series (although all can be read as standalones!)

This one’s particularly near and dear to my heart, partially because I think it has some of the best banter I’ve ever written, but also because the heroine’s a bit of a workaholic, and well … it’s something I can relate to!

As a full-time author, I think I have just about the best job in the world, but I find I’m happiest when I find ways to keep myself sane.

Here are 5 LL “hacks” for work-life balance, that I’m positive Heather from For Better or Worse would approve of. 😉

(1) Find your “sweet spot” hour and protect it with your life

We all have that time of a day where we’re best “in the zone,” with our brains primed to do All The Things. For me, it’s first thing after I wake up. For others it’s after their cup(s) of coffee, others late at night, others while their colleagues are all at lunch, and so on. Start paying attention to which time of day you feel the most focused/motivated, and prioritize it. Do your hardest tasks then. Ignore invitations for coffee or the devil on your shoulder that tempts you to do other things during this time. Using your best hour for your hard stuff will free up those hours in which you’re struggling to concentrate to do the easy/fun stuff.

(2) Write your To Do list the night before

Any other to do list addicts out there? Here’s a tip: write tomorrow’s to-do list today. Not only do I find I forget fewer tasks this way, but I find I’m more Zen about a busy day when I come into it with the tasks already laid out. Then you can get right to work instead of wasting time figuring out what you’re supposed to work on.

(3) Schedule family time/break time/creative time

I used to only schedule those things that were “work,” figuring that all the other stuff … meals, date night, lunch with friends, walking the dog, exercise, would fit in around calls with my publicist, or page proofs on my next release, etc. It didn’t work. See, when you start treating certain tasks as set-in-stone, and others as willy-nilly, others will too. Hellloooooooo stress. At first it will feel counterintuitive and guilty to write down “watch episode Game of Thrones with Hubby” or “stare adoringly at giggling baby for 30 minutes.” But writing it down tells yourself and your family that those things are important—that they are important (bonus: writing them down will make it more likely that it really is just one episode and not four, and that 30 minutes doesn’t turn into 2 hours)

(4) Do your least favorite task/chore early in the week

In both work and home-life, do that thing you dread the MOST on Monday. For me, this is vacuuming and copyedits. So I’ll vacuum on Sunday/Monday, and front-load as much of my copyediting tasks to Monday as I can. If you’re a Monday-hater, this may feel counter-intuitive. You’re thinking, “Shouldn’t I be wanting to go easy myself on the dreaded Monday?” Nope. Because you’re not giving yourself a break, you’re just procrastinating! Then those things you hate will LOOM, and there’s nothing that adds to stress like LOOM.

(5) It’s okay to work on weekends

Yep, you’re reading that right—I’m breaking all of the “no work on weekends” rules to tell you it’s okay to put in some work-time on Saturday/Sunday (only if you want to). I’ve always rejected the notion that work could/should get done only on a certain day of the week. Sometimes I actually find I’m more motivated on a Saturday morning than a Monday afternoon to do a certain task, so why not take advantage of it? Just make sure it’s not taking up your WHOLE weekend!

And there we have it … 5 LL-approved productivity tips.

Plus, the upside of trying out the ideas above?

You’ll have more time to read For Better or Worse! It’s the story of an assistant wedding planner hell-bent on a promotion, and her pesky man-child neighbor who’s big on brawn and banter, maybe not so much on adulting. Unless, of course, he’s hiding a secret …

Be sure to pick-up or download your copy now, and don’t miss the rest of the Wedding Belles books!