My friend posted this on Facebook yesterday…
…Does anyone else feel like this?! I know I certainly do! I spent what felt like months gearing up for “busy season,” which started in April for me and will be continuing without a break through the end of June. And now it’s May already?! Busy season this year hasn’t been nearly as stressful as I anticipated, which is encouraging but also makes me evaluate why. When I’m really honest with myself, I think I can attribute my calm and collected nature (at least most days) to two things. One is definitely a good thing, the other I’m not so sure about! Let me explain…
1. I’ve grown as a photographer, business owner, and wife.
Compared to last year, both my photography and business skills have grown in leaps and bounds. I invested in a fair amount of education (actually, most of it was free online!) over the past several months, and because of that, my editing time has been cut in half. I’m able to be more accurate in-camera which saves me so much editing time on the back end! I’ve developed systems (or, let’s be real- stole them from other photogs) for importing, culling, editing, storing, uploading, and sharing so nothing gets lost and I don’t waste extra time trying to sort through a mess of unorganized images.
Business wise, I have so many more systems in place that practically run my business for me and make life so much easier. Josh and I both have designated bank accounts and credit cards for our businesses, and we use an app to track our mileage each month. Our online client management system houses contracts, invoices, and questionnaires all in one place. No more mailing checks or shuffling papers from folder to folder. It’s all right there in my computer. It’s amazing!
When I say I’ve grown as a wife, most of those areas could also fall under the category of “adulting.” Maintaining a home when you run two businesses out of the same space is NOT easy, because it always feels like your business should come first. At least for me, that’s been a huge struggle! But slowly (and sometimes verryyyy slowly…), I’m learning what balance looks like. Balance looks like not editing on the couch at night when Josh is around, unless it’s a very urgent project and I specifically ask him before I sit down and tune out. Balance looks like closing the computer to put on a load of laundry and make those banana muffins that I’ve been planning to bake for the past week and a half but “never have time.” In essence, balance looks like not putting my business above my family. I’m still on that journey, but I know the direction I need to go!
2. I haven’t been pushing myself as hard as I could have been.
No matter how much self-disciplined you are, it’s hard to push yourself day in and day out. There have been Netflix days, Youtube days, and days when I’ve sat down with my to-do list and then realize an hour later that there’s nothing new on Facebook and I have zero checkmarks on my list. Yeah. It happens.
I’m all for relaxation and not pushing yourself to the point where you break and collapse into a heap of emotional and physical exhaustion. There were some times in college when I was there, and I don’t have any wish to go back. But at the same time, it’s totally possible to go too far the other way. We’re human, so we lie to ourselves all the time and say things like, “You deserve a break today. And not just a break. You deserve seven breaks in a row!” Or how about when the to-do list is mounting and we decide that before we even begin, we’re going to sit down and watch an episode of Netflix just to “recharge our batteries.” And before we know it, it’s several episodes later and the to-do list is sitting right where we put it before. There’s that fine line when rest morphs into laziness.
It takes effort to be in tune enough with your body and mind to know when you need rest and when you’re just being lazy. There have been lots of times over the past several months when I’ve completed everything that absolutely has to be finished… but neglected the other tasks that while not mandatory, could really help my business grow. I haven’t pushed myself to accomplish them. Katelyn James has a blog post about dividing your to-do list into “Maintaining Tasks” (emails, editing, etc.) and “Growing Tasks” (the exciting, new things that will really propel your business forward), and “rewarding” yourself with a growing task after you finish a maintaining task. What a concept! I’m definitely going to be implementing that into my routine, because just the thought of some of these “growing tasks” I’ve been wanting to accomplish makes me excited to get to work!
It’s time to wrap this up, I have muffins to bake, a wedding to edit, and an office to decorate! Three cheers for making it through the maintaining tasks to get to those growing tasks! What is a growing task in your business or home that you can use to motivate yourself? 🙂