So, I know I have been talking a lot about reclaiming some balance in my life this year…okay, okay, I talk about it every year, but this year I am really doing it! I swear I am! Mostly because having a baby forces you to prioritize and refocus on things, but I also just really want to be present in both my home and work life…not always half way into one of the other, trying to do it all at once, half heartedly. I want to be invested in all aspects of my life whole heartedly and fully present in the moment. So I thought I would share a little glimpse into the ways in which I am reclaiming some balance in my life as of late.
- Out of Office Days vs. Working Office Days: I’ve finally come to the realization that setting aside certain days as working office days and others as out of office days for meetings and shoots is the key to managing my workflow week to week. Taking meetings and shoots every single day and time, convenient or not, makes it really hard to have focused time for editing, blogging, and office working. I need dedicated hours and days for just tackling all the office work of my business, from editing to book keeping to submissions to album design, you name it. And with a schedule that is all over the place, in and out constantly, productivity is seriously hard to come by. Because even though a meeting may only take an hour and a half, in reality, it takes up a much larger chunk of my day, with travel time and prep time on top of it all. So, I am now scheduling all shoots and meetings exclusively for Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, my set out-of-office days. And with most Saturdays and Sundays being spent shooting weddings or a random family off day if I am lucky, that means Mondays and Fridays are my working office days. And so far this has been fantastic for both my productivity and sanity!
- Cutting Friday Blogs: Something has got to give in the name of balance and this one is something I have been debating and struggling with for the past couple months. I have blogged Monday – Friday for the past 3+ years now and it is something I am pretty proud of. I love being a regular blogger. I love that people can expect content every week day. I love documenting my life and work on a daily basis. I truly love it! But, boy, it can take up A LOT of your time and energy. And lately, I have found that saving Fridays for office work and wedding prep work has worked out the best for me, especially if I have spent Tuesday through Thursday out on meetings and shoots! Getting a good night’s rest on Thursday nights so I can wrap up emails and such for the week on Friday and get all my gear and such ready for a weekend of weddings and shooting makes me feel like I’m really getting to efficiently wrap the week up and appropriately prepare for the upcoming weddings. I mean, I can’t give up on being a regular blogger even if I tried, but from here on out I plan on focusing on creating better content for the blog on a regular Monday through Thursday basis, just cutting out the Friday slot. So, hopefully this means better content for the blog 4 days a week and a happier more balanced me!
- Starting the Day With Me Time: Lately, the majority of my work happens between the hours of 9PM and 3AM, and when the kid wakes at 7AM, I’m still so completely exhausted! The rest of the day is spent grappling with working at every interval I can, playing with the tyke, and trying to get just a few minutes for me. That last part doesn’t happen too often and it can leave me feeling kind of deflated at the end of the day. So, now when the little one goes back down for his morning nap, I get out of bed, make myself some coffee and breakfast, and give myself an hour to do whatever I want with. An hour to relax. An hour to spend with just me. Then after that hour is up, it’s off to the office to start my work day before the little one is up again. But, I’ve learned that just that hour to spend however I like without trying to juggle 12 things at once really helps me start the day in the right mindset. I feel more clear and focused to make the most of the day.
- Audio Books: I know I’ve gushed about Audible.com before, but getting to ‘read’ books in my free time again has done wonders for my well being! Hello productive car rides! I find myself getting far less worked up about awful traffic and bad drivers when I am in my own little world listening to an interesting book. And sitting down to edit at my computer just got so much more enjoyable with a good book playing in the background.
- Phone Meetings: A new part of the workflow around here lately is phone meetings. I have long been hesitant to have initial chats with couples via phone conversations because I have a tendency to talk quite quickly and I just didn’t think I could connect with people in the same way as I could in person, but lately I have found the great value in phone meetings. I’m finding that phone meetings are a fantastic way to break the ice and to really determine if we might be a good fit to work together. A brief phone conversation opens the door and lets all those involved decide if they would like to take the next step in setting up an in person meeting.
- Keeping It Clean: I’m not going to lie, my office has been a complete disaster zone for over a year now. It’s always the last thing on my to-do list and it just never got done. I know I am one for letting cleaning and organizing around the house become total distractions when needing to get work done, I’m a pro at ‘productive procrastination’! But my office was the one space I let fall to the wayside. I could still edit and do all the work I needed to do amidst the chaos, but it wasn’t easy! Thankfully my spontaneous bout with spring cleaning forced me to finally bring some order to the mess. And now I am kicking butt and taking names! Having a clean space has allowed me to be so much more productive and time efficient. Keeping it clean around here not only helps me keep my head in the game during my working hours to keep my time balanced, it also helps me keep my mind balanced too!
I know these are not miracle cures or the ultimate solution to having a 100% balanced life, but it’s a start! And I have to say I’m feeling pretty good that I am making a little bit of balance a priority in my life lately. It’s been a long time coming and I think even these small steps can not only mean a better quality of life, but also better work as a result!