One of the questions that I get asked most frequently, from both friends + fellow photographers, is “how do you balance your business and your personal life?” This is a pretty huge question, and the thing that I struggle with the most. Being a student, friend, daughter, girlfriend, big sister AND professional photographer is SO crazy, and sometimes super hard to balance. I struggle most with always wanting to put my business first, and never thinking of myself. They’ll be a week where I have a session Monday-Friday, so I block off Saturday as a personal day, but then I get an inquiry for that Saturday and feel like I HAVE to book it! It’s SO hard for me to buckle-down and say no, because I LOVE what I do and I don’t ever want to take breaks!! But, after a year of being in business, I’ve learned that taking breaks and “personal days” actually BENEFIT my business, because I am not stressed out and over-worked!
So, here are FIVE tips I’ve learned to help find that balance:
1. Block off at least two days a week
When you are scheduling your weeks and booking sessions, make a point to find at LEAST two days of the week to block off as “personal” days. For the upcoming fall season, I will not be shooting on Tuesdays or Fridays! Other than emails, these days are OFF days! It also helps if you choose specific days of the week (like every Tuesday + Friday) because then you know that you will always have those days off, and it’s easier to schedule things to do with friends or family!
2. Set specific times to email
If you do not set a schedule for your emails, they can consume your entire day in the blink of an eye! With so many messages coming from all different venues (email, Facebook, texts, Instagram and even Twitter) trying to reply to them all on the spot will fill your time! I respond to emails twice a day: once when I wake up in the morning, and once before I go to bed at night. This way, it’s not a super rigid time where I feel pressured to have them done, but my clients are still getting responses within 24 hours!
3. Spend time with family + friends
While this one may seem super obvious, make sure that you are blocking off time to spend with your friends + family! As photographers, A LOT of our time is spent behind a computer, so days can fly by without us even noticing! Make sure you are keeping track of how much time you spend working, and leave time for your loved ones. You’ll regret it if you don’t!
4. Put the phone away
This tip is the hardest for me to apply to my own life, because I struggle with feeling like I am not in control of what’s going on in my business. For some reason, when my phone isn’t in my hand, I feel like I can’t keep track of what is going on with emails or clients! Overcoming this and putting the phone away, even for just an hour, can make a huge difference. You may not realize how frequently you pick up your phone, but it makes an impact on the people around you when your attention is constantly being diverted.
5. Make “to-do” lists
This is probably the tip that I am most awful at! My mind is always wandering and thinking of the millions of things that I have to do, and therefore I can’t concentrate or direct my attention to my friends or family. Making daily “to-do” lists can get all of these thoughts organized on paper, and keep your mind at ease throughout the day as your check off all of the items on the list!
I hope this post will help some of you find peace and balance in your life + business! I am spending this week with family in Florida for our family reunion, and thought that this was such an appropriate post to share! I apologize for the lack of blogging + posting, but I have been enjoying this time with loved ones and will be back in “work-mode” next week at the CLIC Conference in Alexandria!