“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” It’s a nice sentiment, but let’s face it– no matter how much you love what you do, work is still work. This last year, I’ve struggled with balancing work and life more than ever. The question I usually hear when people find out that I have a full-time job on top of my photography business and blogging is “how do you have time to do it all?” Today, I’m linking up with fellow members of the Dallas Blogger Collective to share my strategies for finding a healthy work/life balance.
1) Learn How to Say No
I’m putting this tip first, because it’s the one I need a reminder of most. When you are building a business, or just like to help people– it’s very difficult to say no. My advice is not to turn down opportunities as a habit, but to learn how to prioritize and be very intentional with accepting them. It took awhile for me to put this advice into practice, probably at a cost to my sanity, but eventually I realized that although I had enjoyed helping bloggers and brands with web design, my passion right now is in photography. I’ve been known to make exceptions, but for the most part, I’m finally getting to the point where I don’t feel guilty or panicked when I say no to potential work.
2) Streamline Your Workload
When it comes to balancing work and life, time is precious– every minute counts. Take a look at your workload and find ways to optimize it. For photography, that means using tools like Photo Mechanic to speed up the culling process when I’m selecting which pictures to edit, and Lightroom for post-processing. Pixieset is the online gallery software I use to deliver photos to clients. All of my online invoicing is done through Freshbooks. With blogging, I use Tailwind to schedule Pinterest posts, and Hootsuite for other social networks.
3) Find Your Tribe
I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for the friends I’ve made over the past year. I find myself in a constant state of awe– surrounded by incredible, talented women who not only keep me inspired, but accountable as well. This blog would have gone to the wayside months ago, if not for the encouragement and ideas of my friends. Forming relationships with fellow bloggers means that happy hours can double for blog strategy sessions, photoshoots become an excuse to goof around with friends, and it becomes a reminder that you’re not alone in the struggle. You’ve got a team behind you rooting for your success and helping achieve it.
4) Include Your Significant Other
I’m incredibly blessed to have found a partner in life who not only emotionally supports my work, but helps me with it. My husband never makes me feel guilty for being incredibly busy and not having a lot of time to spend with him. He actively tries to find ways to ease my workload, offering to edit/retouch pictures, designing logos for clients and blogger friends, or simply picking up dinner for us on his way home from work. If it’s a busy month, and I find that we haven’t had enough time to spend together, I’ll invite Holden to join me at a shoot– either assisting me, or patiently waiting at Starbucks until I’m finished– and we have a date day/night afterwards.
5) Treat Yo Self
Are there any Parks and Rec fans out there? Once a year, Donna and Tom dedicate a day to treating themselves. #TreatYoSelf is something that should happen more often than annually when you’re trying to balance work and life. Don’t get so lost in the work that you forget why you started it in the first place. Treating yourself could mean splurging on a new purchase to celebrate the completion of a big project– or in my case, giving myself a (rare) day off on the weekend to veg out with Netflix and Korean food delivered to my doorstep.