Last October, I took this dream of mine full time. More on that story later, but when I made that leap I was so hopeful for a better life of less stress and more time with my family and friends.
HA! I could laugh at my naive self over and over! When I worked full time, I had a set schedule. I got up, took the baby to the sitter, went to work, picked the baby up, went home, get the baby to bed, start working on business (editing, paperwork, etc.), got to sleep around 1 am, then wake up 5 hours later and do it all over again the next day. Weekends were spent shooting a portrait session, or wedding…and I was EXHAUSTED. I was drained beyond belief, but I had a schedule and that helped keep me focused.
Once I’d finally had enough, I found it so refreshing at first to just be able to decide when I was doing things. I got to go to the park with my daughter in the middle of the day. I was able to actually do housework…and answer inquiries for weddings or sessions as soon as they hit my inbox. But soon, this lack of schedule, and “always open” office hours were taking its toll…and I didn’t know how to stop. I had set the precedence that I was going to answer emails or messages within seconds, and began setting impossible turnaround time standards for myself…that all only created unnecessary stress and anxiety. I was praised for responding so quickly to emails. Praised for a two day turnaround on portraits. Praised for this and for that….but my family suffered for it. My daughter…she suffered for it.
I’d started to check my emails constantly, probably at least 20 times a day. I’d come home from a session on a Sunday and edit it immediately.
“I just need to send this one email.”
“I just need to respond to this inquiry really quick.”
“Mommy can’t play right now, just a minute.”
When I worked full time as a Nurse, I was stressed, unhappy, and so tired of spending absolutely no time with the daughter I’d worked so hard to bring into this world. I was going through the motions of life, without actually living! I quit my full time job last year to take back control of my life. To be able to do the thing I loved, while getting to spend precious time with my family. I didn’t notice that I was doing to myself, exactly what I had fought to get away from. If I kept going at the rate I had been, burn out would be inevitable, and I just can’t let that happen!
SO! I’ve put myself back on a schedule. I’ve been sort of on a schedule for months now, but with the husband on a different shift, Lyla in a million places on different days, my busiest season ever coming up at warped speed…I need a schedule that is set in freaking stone!
My office hours will be Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, starting next week! Wednesday is Lyla’s dance night, so we’ve moved some days around to make that an off day so the day is a little less stressful. Wednesday and Thursday are what I call “Lyla days”. These days I will have limited office time. Generally, nap time will be the only time I dedicate on Lyla days to do any sort of office work. This incredible little girl deserves to have my full attention when we are together…and doesn’t deserve to be ignored while I answer emails or edit for hours. Office hours might vary every once in a while (sometimes more, rarely less) but for the most part, this is what the week will look like.
Recently, some have noticed that I changed to only scheduling portrait sessions & engagement sessions on weekdays. That is correct! My weekends are often filled with shooting weddings, and sometimes I don’t see a weekend off for months! My sweet husband works all week long, and our little family of three deserves time together too. So, weekends will be reserved for weddings, or family time. I do love shooting portraits so I will absolutely continue shooting portrait sessions during the week! There will be absolutely no office work or sessions scheduled on Sunday’s. With the exception of a wedding, Sundays will be spent in church, with family and friends, recharging for the week ahead.
The amount of time I’m spending on work isn’t changing, I’m only being more intentional with the time and when it happens. I’ll spare you the details of what exactly is on the schedule for each day, but know that you will be well taken care of, as always!