How This Founder, CEO, and Designer Mastered Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Integration

“I take a break when I need one, even if it's small.”

Courtesy of Amanda Greeley
Courtesy of Amanda Greeley

Amanda Greeley wears a lot of hats. As CEO and Founder of Thelma and a designer for CUUP lingerie, she puts a lot of energy into prioritizing, while still maintaining a healthy work-life integration. Greeley talks to Thrive about her best prioritization advice and the importance of taking breaks.

Thrive Global: What is the first thing you do when you wake up? Do you jump right into emails and work, or do you take an hour or two to yourself to get in the right headspace for the day? 

Amanda Greeley: I so wish this weren’t the case, but I tend to wake up naturally a little before 7 and jump right into emails. That said, I would love to make an effort to change this, as I don’t think it’s the best way to start one’s day. I love the feeling when I’m able to get up and work out early in the morning. There’s something incredibly satisfying about getting that done before most people have started their day. 

TG: If you are feeling extra stressed, do you step out of the office to hit a workout class? Grab a cup of tea? Go for a walk?

AG: Absolutely. I love getting fresh air or taking a break to sweat in the middle of the day. 

TG: Do you detach on the weekends? Do you have any set hours where you do not check your emails or focus on work to clear your head? 

AG: More and more, I try to completely detach on weekends. They go by so quickly, and I hate being on my phone on the weekend. But, I do find that when I totally detach, I have a little anxiety on Sundays about what might be waiting in my inbox.

TG: What else do you do to achieve better work-life integration? 

AG: I’ve really been trying to listen to myself about what I need. I feel best when I’m productive, and when I take a break when I need one, even if it’s small. I love cooking and being outside, so for me, unwinding usually looks like cooking, or taking a walk on the beach, or a bike ride. Outside of work, my boyfriend and I are pretty much not into our phones. He doesn’t have any social media, and I really only use mine for Thelma, and honestly I’m not good at it. We don’t have a T.V. in our apartment. We are so overstimulated these days that I try to avoid screens as much as I can (although I still enjoy a good Netflix/HBO binge now and then). I also try to make time to catch up with friends, even if it’s during the week, by planning a weekday lunch or a coffee date with a girlfriend when I’m at home. 

TG: How do you manage commuting between Charleston and N.Y.C.?

AG: I’m lucky that I’m not commuting every week. Some people do that. I’m up in New York about twice a month at this point, and sort of feel like I have it down to a science — the Monday 6 a.m. flight from Charleston to LGA, and the 8:30 p.m. flight back toward the end of the week. That said, when I throw other travel into the mix, it can feel like I’m constantly packing and unpacking my carry-on. I manage it by having a bit of a routine when I’m in New York. Typically I’ll have one social night when I’m there, and I’ll keep things low-key on the others. I like to wake up early and work out in the city, whether I catch a class or go for a morning run. I love New York early in the mornings before the craziness sets in. 

TG: You are also preparing for a wedding; how are you managing planning a wedding on top of running a business and designing for CUUP?

AG: This has been a bit funny. I don’t know if I’m in denial about the wedding or something, but I feel pretty relaxed about it. Part of the reason I wanted to get married in Charleston is because it didn’t involve a ton of logistics. Most of the people helping with the wedding are people I had relationships with beforehand, so that makes it less stressful. My only goal, really, is to throw a great party for our friends and family. I’m pretty decisive about these sorts of things… It’s all happened quickly. Not long after we got engaged, my boyfriend asked when we should get married. I had no idea. As soon as I started looking, I realized just how competitive booking venues can be in Charleston (I guess I shouldn’t be surprised). I texted a friend from college (who is married) about how finding a venue seeming like a pain in the butt. She assured me that was one of the worst parts. So, after that conversation, I was determined to figure it out, and after that, I basically had all of the big details set within a week. One of the best things has been that because we picked a January date, it’s a little less competitive than other months, and typically January is gorgeous in Charleston, so… Fingers crossed! And I’m lucky that I work with a really great, understanding team at CUUP. It is hard to always be on top of everything, and the truth is, sometimes one thing suffers at the hands of another. But, as I get older, I’m trying to be better about prioritizing, saying no, and keeping things in perspective.

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