We’ve often heard from founders that running a business can be a 24-hour experience. Still, recently, many of us are denouncing hustle culture for a balance of our own. As women who wear multiple hats, how we spend each moment of the day matters.

For Black women, time is precious, but often we forget that the time we spend outside of building our empires is just as important. In this ESSENCE.com series, we’ll get the scoop on how some of your favorite entrepreneurs and executives are spending time off the clock to refuel, recenter and to remember their north stars.

Meet Vanessa Anderson, Owner and President of the AM PR Group, Los Angeles, 36

Behind all of our favorite celebrities is a powerhouse publicist. Vanessa Anderson and her team of 10 employees have provided public relations representation for our favorite stars, including Issa Rae, Amanda Gorman, Marsai Martin and Karrueche.

The life of an entertainment publicist can seem like a 24-hour affair when you are helping to meet client needs from whatever time zone they may be. The Los Angeles native is strategizing campaigns for five or six client accounts during the day. In the evenings, she works on her business’s administrative and operation side. Some days may be extended while others are manageable, but with over 12 years in the industry, Anderson has found a way to implement weekly moments that bring her joy.

Getting active in the morning.

If Anderson’s schedule allows, she likes to start her morning with an activity that helps her move. Some days she opts for a five-mile walk around her neighborhood. “That’s a goal for myself for this year is to just be more aware of my body and to get moving more physically,” she shared. Her form of exercise is hot yoga, and if the morning is light, she will find a class to attend.

Dress code for work.

“I think it’s really important that you prepare yourself in the morning for work,” Anderson said. Not only does Anderson work on mentally preparing for the day by getting active, but she also finds it important to spend time on how you present yourself to the world that day. “I also think that as Black women, we are scrutinized a little bit more by our appearance. So I never wanted anyone to ever make a comment or second guess our abilities as publicists or as business women because we looked too casual,” she explained. She implemented a business chic dress code and practices getting her wardrobe ready for meetings or time in the office. She stays true to the dress code even for Zoom meetings.

Driving gives her peace.

Anderson shared that she loves to drive, and during the early parts of the pandemic, driving became a way to escape the cabin fever she was experiencing. “I gotta get out of this house and just feel some fresh air on my face, like just a change of scenery and change of pace. So I would go on long drives at night. Two to three hours, and didn’t have any destination in mind,” she shared. You can catch Anderson on the Pacific Coast Highway late at night doing her weekly drive. She loves listening to music, audiobooks or podcasts during the ride or sometimes she likes silence to reflect. 

Weekly massages are mandatory.

“The second I started making anything that looks like real money, the first thing that I started to do for myself was get massages,” she explained. One thing Anderson doesn’t go without weekly is a massage because it brings her peace, comfort and joy. “I just wanna take care of my body. I don’t wanna feel in pain or just sluggish,” she shared. As someone constantly connected to a device, Anderson admits that her weekly massage appointments are the only time she gets to unplug from her phone. 

Making vacation a priority.

Having a team of people who cared about how Anderson spent time on vacation allowed her to unplug for a week for the first time in a long time. She went to France in the summer of 2021 for work and extended the trip to a personal vacation. “It really forced me to detach from work and what was beautiful about it, too, is that the women in my office were also committed to making sure that I didn’t do any work,” Anderson shared. On her trip to France, she visited Monaco, ate at Michelin star restaurants and shopped. Anderson even rented a car to drive up the coast and see the French Riviera while stopping in Saint-Tropez and Cannes. 

Why being off-the-clock is essential.

As an owner, she is learning how to live a little and let her team support the times when she needs to take time for herself. “It’s crucial for me as a leader to not only pour into other people but pour into myself,” said Anderson. She understands that if you don’t rest or unplug, you aren’t as productive or creative. To be what she needs for her clients and her team, she makes time for herself.