Let’s be honest… work-life balance is a hard thing to come by.
I remember when I was single and without any obligations besides myself and maintaining a work-life balance was more attainable… but then I became a business owner… and a mother… and now the struggle is real.
For most of us, there really is no balance. Instead, there’s a fluent workflow from taking care of your kids needs to getting work done to household work and then back down the line. It’s a neverending flow that feels less like a balancing act and more like a crashing wave you can’t get out of.
For me, it even feels like I’m working when I sleep! As an entrepreneur, your mind is always on your business and even those supposedly ‘sweat dreams’ you’re supposed to be having at night are of upcoming shoots, when shoots go wrong or you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night unable to get back to sleep because you’re thinking about the day ahead. Add into the mix working from home and you really do never feel like you leave your work behind.
So how to do you find work-life balance? Is it a myth put together by those who afford nanny’s and a cleaner and a partner who can support them financially so they can approach their day with more ease? Or is it actually attainable for the everyday, hardworking entrepreneurial mama who loves her family and her business?
With both of my boys now in school, I find attaining a work-life balance a little easier to come by so I wanted to share my tips with you for bringing more balance to your life both with and without kids by your side 24/7.
If you have kids in school or kids in daycare:
1. Work while they are away.
If you have kids that are in school or if you have a daycare or some other form of childcare available, intentionally work during those hours. Try to schedule all of your meetings at that day if possible so you can do them without interruptions from kids and try to get editing done during this time, too. Any task that requires focus should be done during these hours.
2. Clean your house during the weekend.
I find that cleaning your house during the weekend does a few things; first, it allows you the peace of mind during the week to know that when the weekend comes, you’ll be cleaning! Second, it gives your life more structure by having a schedule! If your weekend is full of shoots, schedule in yourself some house cleaning time for one hour during the week while kids are at school. Try splitting it up each day to a different room or task and set a timer so you don’t go over the one hour of the allotted time.
3. Schedule breaks.
A 30-minute break for a power workout or quick yoga class will make you feel accomplished, will help reset your brain and will release endorphins to make you feel accomplished and ready for the rest of the day. Sometimes the tasks you’re doing can feel long and daunting (I hear you, wedding photographers culling 10+ hours of wedding images!). During this time, take a 30-minute break and do something to move you and make you feel good!
If your kids at home with you:
1. Routine, routine, routine.
If you can’t tell, because I said it three times, being in a routine is absolutely crucial in this stage of life. Setting you and your kids up with a routine where they can learn and understand the routine will help it stick. I suggest doing something in the morning with your kids that is more physical to burn them out a bit. During lunchtime, naptime and after bedtime is when you can get work in without worrying about what the kids are up to. You will be able to spend time with them while they are awake and you can work while they sleep!
2. Get help.
I’m not talking about a nanny or any sort of hired help. In this situation, I’m talking about getting your partner, family or friends to help. Chances are there are people in your life who are willing to help you out-- but do you take them up on the offer? Do you feel like a burden? Take up friends and family on their offers to help when you have evening shoots or weekend shoots and make sure you and your partner are splitting the at-home tasks so you aren’t feeling the pressure to do it all.
3. Create boundaries.
Creating boundaries is key when working from home. You need to learn to say no to little things so you can say yes to the important ones. Remember, you can't do it all and that is okay! You are an amazing person with talent, a voice and people want to work with you. If that means they need to wait a few weeks until you can shoot them based on important things in your life, they will wait. Create both work and personal boundaries and you’ll be glad you did.
You can do this. I believe in you. You can begin to add little steps into your everyday life to begin to find a balance between work and life and when you begin to see the balance pay off, you’ll be so glad you started today and didn’t put it off thinking balance was nothing but a dream.
How do you maintain a work-life balance? What are your tips? What works for you and what doesn’t? I’d love to hear so please share.