3 ways to find better work-life balance!
You guys know I've shared a bit recently about my struggles with anxiety. I had been feeling overwhelmed and too available and I didn't even realize I was experiencing it until my husband pointed it out. Luckily I am doing much better now because of a huge shift in our business and by following some simple but effective tips. I've been finding more balance between my work and my life and although I'm not perfect at it yet, I'm a firm believer you shouldn't wait until you're perfect at something to share what you've learned. So here is what's been working for me in finding that balance and helping with time management!
1. Scale down your workload.
Obviously this is much easier said than done and my solutions might not work perfectly for your situation, but I thought I'd share some ways I've taken the burden of working off my shoulders.
It started by making a huge mental shift in our business. For the last 3 years I have supported ourselves as Bryant went to school. I completely paid for our bills and while Bryant helped out, the burden to provide rested on my shoulders. There's totally nothing wrong with this but now that Bryant is out of school and we're wanting to start our family soon, the need to step away and let Bryant be the true provider has grown. So one day we both decided that Bryant is now official manager, boss man - whatever you wanna call it - over all of our businesses. I'm still the face and want to focus on the creative stuff, but now he manages our schedule, makes sure things get done, and takes a bunch of the every-day responsibilities such as emails, scheduling, and other non-creative aspects of our business. This shift make a HUGE difference for my anxiety knowing that he would be responsible and take care of everything!
In order to make this shift, I listed out all the responsibilities of our business including the projects we're working on as well as the day-to-day stuff that keeps us afloat. I highlighted everything that needed to be done by me (such as writing blog posts) and everything else could either be automated, delegated, hired out, or done by Bryant. I also schedule social time, me time, and fun time so it doesn't get overcrowded by work. We are still working on perfecting our system but now that my to-do list is a lot smaller I can focus more on the big stuff!
You guys - business is NOT meant to be done alone. You can't be the entrepreneur, manager, AND technician. You should be the entrepreneur - the visionary, the face, the big idea guy - and everything else should eventually be hired out, delegated, or automated. Trust me on this one, the only way your business is going to grow and be successful is if you DON'T do it all.
Another tip I have in lessening your workload is to only focus on 1-3 major things per day. Write down all your big projects or workload in order of most important and break it down into steps. Each day try to just do a handful. Don't get overwhelmed and break it down even smaller if you have to. Also understand that you don't need to do it all at once. If it's too overwhelming to post every day on Instagram focus on just posting 2-3 times and make it high quality.
2. Say no.
You guuuuys! This one is a STRUGGLE for me. I'm a die hard people pleaser. I love to help out. I love to support. I say yes to every freaking thing. And pretty soon I end up having a break down because my calendar is way too full.
This is a lesson I've learned time and time again. I actually felt like I've been pretty good at it for the past year or so, but recently my yes-man mentality has caught up to me. My schedule is too full and I probably should've said no to most of the things on my calendar. I just hate disappointing others and I want to be friends with everyone. Guys, it genuinely stresses me out when someone reaches out and I don't actually have time to hang out with them or answer their question. I've hurt a lot of feelings and made people disappointed because I said I was too busy or didn't have time.
But I am learning there is a better way and it's called being honest.. and saying no. Just because you can technically squeeze someone in on Thursday afternoon after your doctor appointment doesn't mean you should.
There's this weird thing that happens when you get a large number next to your name on Instagram. Suddenly everyone wants a piece of you. And most of those people are genuinely kind, amazing people who just want to meet or have their questions answered. And most of them will get really hurt or disappointed when you don't answer them or can't meet up. It happens to me almost every day, and it's honestly hard not to feel guilty about it. I want everyone who messages me to get a novel back expressing how thankful I am. But it's just not possible or even healthy for me to do so.
I've had to learn how to say no. For me, creating resources such as my Facebook group (where other amazing people can answer questions) or my equipment guide (to answer the question I get the most) has really helped in saying no. And it's allowed me to say more yes's to my husband, my family, my friends, God, and myself.
Like I said, I'm learning. But there's always something that can be taken off the calendar. You can finish your dream projects one at a time. You don't need to do it all, right now. Take it slow, do one thing at a time, and make room for what really matters.
3. Create a morning routine.
Since coming back from Europe Bryant and I have hit some bumps trying to create a new routine (since I've always worked from home and he's been at school) but I feel like we've FINALLY got it! We're in a good rhythm now and having this routine has seriously helped me out when it comes to finding better work-life balance. Lots of people get caught up in making the perfect routine that they'll stick to forever but just recognize that your life will change and so will your morning routine. I am always changing ours but I think as long as we are intentional most of the time then it's fine and not a big deal if I execute it perfectly forever.
Here's how most of our mornings go lately:
Wake up and immediately go for a run (we run just over a mile) and dip in the ocean after we do some burpees or other warm ups.
Then we come back and finish our workout - usually just do a circuit that involves weights or pushups / pull ups. (I secretly miss the gym though).
Afterwards we've been loving the Down Dog app. It's free and there's no yoga classes in our area so it's the next best thing. The meditation side of it has helped me mentally SO much.
Then we make a big breakfast! Usually some combo of a smoothie, toast, or eggs.
While we eat I read scriptures out loud to Bryant. Sometimes I go off and read on my own and pray afterwards.
Bryant usually has my schedule prepped for me by the time I'm done so I can get started working right away. I usually get the easy tasks out of the way and then work on bigger projects.
After we head to the beach, go get some shoots out of the way, or go on a hike. Other than photo shoots I try not to work in the afternoons since that's when I'm least creative and functioning!
When you're an entrepreneur it can be hard to separate your work from your life. There is always more that can be done for your business and it's not like a 9-5 where you can just clock out and head home. There's more to life than being busy, and while your work can be important and fulfilling, it's not what life is all about. The world is going to keep turning if you take a day off. Your business isn't going to go under because you took a little "me" time. More opportunities will come even if you have to say no to this one. Give yourself a break, remember what truly matters (your relationships), and find that balance.
Have any of these tips worked for you? Do you have anything you'd add to this list? I LOVE to hear from my readers and can't wait to read your comments below!