Behind the Bar Bar Talk

The Owner of Rob Roy on How Bartenders Can Truly Find Work-Life Balance

Bartending is undoubtedly a career, and finding a work/life balance can sometimes seem impossible, but Anu Elford, the proprietor of celebrated Seattle stalwart Rob Roy, sees it as a necessary challenge.

“Realize that you won’t be able to absorb all of that information or attend every event and you might get overlooked for an event or see that Charlotte Voisey was in town under-the-radar and are super bummed you didn’t get to meet her,” says Elford. “It’s okay!”

These four tips from Elford range from advice on how to fight social media FOMO to clearly defining boundaries for work and home, and all will help ensure a higher quality of life for bartenders, both personally and professionally.

1. Never work from home.

“These days, there are plenty of coffee shops, book stores and libraries that offer free Wi-Fi and a good work environment. Coworking spaces are popping up like daisies and offer semiprivate-to-private workspaces that include printing services, reception and the endangered watercooler.

“This idea extends to cocktail creation, as well. Try and work on new ideas at the bar rather than in your kitchen. Create a place, a home for you where you can completely let go of work to relax and recharge.”

2. Limit social media time.

“Social media will bombard you with more than 1 quintillion bits of information a day. I like to show people this video on what 1 quintillion pennies look like.

“It’s physically and humanly impossible to fulfill all the social media expectations our growing millennial population wants us to fulfill. If you respond ‘going’ to an event, make sure you do and don’t feel guilty about saying ‘not going.’ Again, you can’t do everything. This leads to limiting your time on Facebook. Choose 30 to 60 minutes a day when you’ll update yourself and post, then log out until tomorrow.”

3. Feel okay saying “no.”

“By trade and personality, we are ‘yes’ people who serve people. Learn to create a work/life balance by saying no to events and projects and saying yes to time for yourself. You deserve it. It’s okay to say no. This will also direct you to start saying yes to projects that are truly worthwhile.”

4. Have a power outage once a month for 24 hours.

“Wake up with the sun and go to bed as it gets dark, if possible. Invite friends over or do it by yourself. Turn all electricity and technology off. Light some candles, play board games, get into deep conversations, read a book, meditate—the list goes on. Pouring yourself a glass of something delicious adds to the fun.”