For years this is how most of my weeks looked like, Monday to Thursday during the day answer emails, update social media, schedule meetings, run errands, cook meals, plan shoots, some days I would shoot on location somewhere, oh! and keep K alive. Once K went to bed then I would either go out for meetings, answer more emails or edit until about 2 or 3 in the morning, then go to bed and wake up at 7 to start it all over again. Fridays were a little different since I would have a wedding on Saturday, Friday during the days were pretty much the same as the other weekdays but in the evenings I would stay home to prep for the next day, print out the schedule, email the team any last minute updates, clean all my gear and plan out my routes on Waze or Google Maps. Saturday wedding. Sunday more meetings and engagement shoots.
And I'm sure this is pretty standard for most mamapreneurs juggling motherhood and business. Slowly I started realizing how little time I actually spent with my family, especially quality time. K was growing up and growing up fast and I felt like I was missing so much of it. Even so, I didn't really do anything to change how my life was, I felt like I needed to be busy and felt guilty when I wasn't "working". I struggled a lot with feeling like I was failing at being a good mom and also a successful business owner, I was constantly fighting to be better at both. It wasn't until last year when I finally accepted that I wasn't going to be good at either if I didn't make some serious changes. Work/Life balance is attainable but not without some effort and planning.
SET OFFICE HOURS
Ok so I used to answer emails at all hours of the day and night which meant I had no separation between work and personal life. It was all jumbled up into a big messy ball. Even if you don't have a physical office, setting hours not only sets the expectations of your clients, I also find it helps with productivity too. I know that during certain hours of the day I'm devoting my time to work, so I'm less likely to be distracted.
LEARNING TO SAY NO
How often do you say yes to something only because you didn't want to say no or felt guilty saying no? I still have a hard time saying no but definitely getting better at it. When you're doing too much, you're not going to be able to provide the kind of quality service and product to your clients you would want to be providing, so in the end no boy wins. Learning to limit what I take on has been a very valuable lesson for both my business and personal life.
USE A PLANNER
I'm talking about a physical planner (like the one in the photo above). I used to only use my Google calendar and a single giant "To-Do" list to manage everything. It felt so daunting, like I always had so much to do! This year I bought myself a (pretty) planner that lets me also plan one week at a time. I leave this planner open on my desk and every Friday morning I look at what I completed that week and carry-over what I didn't to the next week. Then I plan out the next week and don't look at it again until Monday. I found this keeps me productive during the week knowing what to expect. It also let me enjoy my weekend more and not constantly worrying about what else needs to be done for work.
SET ASIDE "ME" TIME
This is definitely the hardest thing to commit to and the easiest to push aside but I feel is so important in order to find balance. I know I speak for many entrepreneurs who feel burnt out and don't know how to avoid it. Setting aside time for ourselves heals our souls a little and in return makes us better to the people around us. Another mamapreneur introduced me to Lush fresh face masks. She actually bought me a whole care package for my recovery after my surgery and I can't thank her enough for it. I used to think who has time for masks? Now I'm addicted, it doesn't take long but it means I dedicate 15mins to just unwind, destress and have some quiet time, plus my face feels awesome afterwards. I think the next level will be to do a mask in a bath, I haven't gotten to that point yet but maybe in the near future.
It's my 8th year running my business and although it took me awhile to find a healthier balance between my work and personal life, I'm happy to finally be here. Running a successful business doesn't mean you have to give up your personal life, I actually strongly believe it's the other way around where your business is successful when you have more time to enjoy your personal life.
Let me know what you do to keep your work/life balanced! #UptownMamapreneur