It’s now more than ever, as the holidays approach, that I’m reminded to take a step back and look at how I am balancing my business and my personal life and how often those two are hard to tell apart. When you own a business, that line between work-life and home-life is so often blurred. It’s more of a dotted line than a solid one and too often than not, one or the other slips through the cracks. It’s bound to happen and I’m determined over the next few weeks, as we jump into Thanksgiving next week and then Christmas soon after, to take a step back and examine that line, soaking up as much family time as possible while still maintaining a successful business. It’s not easy, friends. Some days are, of course, easier than others. But here my rules and they seem to help me find that balance that we, as business owners, are constantly looking for.
Unplug During Family Time
This is HARD to do, but when you’re with your family, try to put your phone away. You’ll be so tempted to check Facebook or Instagram and see how many likes that last post got, but what’s more important than what’s happening in the virtual world is what’s happening right in front of you. Your family and friends will truly appreciate that instead of looking at your phone, you’re looking at them.
Remember Important Dates
A great tip for keeping a planner is to use different color pens- one for work commitments, one for family, and one for miscellaneous (like doctor’s appointments and housekeeping things you don’t want to forget). Not only does this help you stay organized and help you feel like you have a game plan and a vision for what’s coming up, but remembering important dates like your daughter’s field trip or your spouse’s work dinner will help your family feel like they matter, like the things going on in their lives aren’t going unnoticed. People who work a more 9-5 job may think that because you’re not in an office, you have all this free time. But building and maintaining a successful business takes time. Networking, editing, blogging, posting on social media- all of those things keep you very busy. You may not be able to attend every school function, but just remembering and acknowledging it shows you care.
Make Time When There Is None
We’ve all been there- you have photos to edit, a deadline to meet, a phone call to make. But the work will always be there. No matter what, if you’re very lucky, your inbox will always be full. You’ll come to a crossroads where you’re faced with a choice: do the work now or spend this gorgeous afternoon with your kids at the park. Choose the park.
I know you’ve heard it a million times already, but personal time to do what you love is just as important as everything else. It’s hard to give your job and your family 100% when you don’t have any more to give. Recharge with a new book while you sit on your porch with a glass of wine. Go get a pedicure. Grab a latte from Starbucks while you walk down every aisle at Target. Choose something you love and give it just 10 minutes.
For a lot of photographers, your busiest season is coming to an end as the winter months approach. Choose to spend this downtime building your business, but also cultivating your relationships and spending time on yourself. This Thanksgiving be thankful that you get to follow your passion and that you have a personal life that supports you every step of the way.