This post has been planned for 2 weeks now. It’s ironic to me how long it’s taken me to actually sit down and write it, but here’s the plain, simple, honest truth. I’m burnt out. Getting motivated to even turn on my computer at home is like trying to get motivated to run a marathon with no training (ok, perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration, but you get my point). :)
In a 6 week period, I shot 4 weddings, 5 engagements, 2nd shot 1 wedding, and launched my new website and blog…all while working full-time and trying to actually sleep a bit at night. Now don’t get me wrong, I would not trade ANY of my couples, any of my weddings or sessions at all!! I loved them ALL!! I think the burnout came from the unrealistic expectations I set on myself…and as the owner of my business, there is no one else to blame. For nearly 2 months straight, I worked nearly every waking minute. When I would get home each evening from work, I would immediately head up to my office and dive into my editing or website work. My weekend days were full with shoots, so the only editing time I had was on the weeknights, so that’s what I did.
Ben’s job was just as crazy during this time, so it was easy for me to make excuses to myself about staying busy. And on top of all of that, the holidays were approaching and I KNEW I wanted to be done with everything so I could enjoy them! So I worked tirelessly up until November 20th, when I hopped on a plane and headed out west for a quick visit with my BFF and my grandma. And on that plane ride is when it hit me…I was BURNT OUT. Wholly and completely burnt out. I had no desire to pick up my camera, turn on my computer, even read blogs that I love! I had not given myself a break for nearly 2 months, and that is not healthy at all.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve had time to reflect on those crazy 2 months, and how I can avoid crashing and burning out like this next year. All expectations that exist in my business are self-inflicted expectations. It’s vital to have expectations for your business, for yourself, but those expectations have to be based on what you know you as an individual can handle, based on your life, other obligations, and other desires. They cannot be based on other businesses you see and admire…you cannot compare your business with someone else’s when they have a completely different lifestyle or dreams than you. That is so unfair to yourself, your family, your friends, and ultimately your business!
So, I’m setting boundaries for next year for myself, and I’m excited about it! I LOVE what I do. I LOVE being a part of my couples’ wedding day, I LOVE capturing those once in a lifetime moments, I LOVE getting to know my couples and spending time with them and loving on them. This is my passion, my dream. But I don’t want it to become my life. I want to see my husband. :) I want to enjoy a leisurely walk with him and the pups or a trip to the river in the middle of the summer one evening. I want to start cooking more and dive back into my baking. I want to enjoy a spur of the moment coffee date with friends, or plan a dinner out with a group of them. I want to enjoy every wedding, every session, every time I pick up my camera. I want to enjoy life and not get burnt out.
Next year is already looking to be a big one for our families…2 of Ben’s brothers are getting married (!!!!), and my brother and his wife are having a baby! And all of that is within a span of 2 months, so who even knows what the rest of the year holds!! I plan to love on and enjoy our family and not overwhelm myself with self-imposed deadlines and expectations. So what does this mean??
I am much more careful about the number of weddings and the dates of weddings that I will shoot. I want to love on my couples and be a part of their day and not be overwhelmed by the workload I have waiting at home. My couples are the backbone of my business and loving on them is so vitally important to me! I am SO incredibly excited for the weddings I have next year!!! I seriously cannot WAIT!!
My editing time may be longer. This is the biggest self-imposed expectation I have on myself, and I’m ok with lengthening it (a bit). Don’t worry! It’s not going to be lengthened by weeks at all. I still have goals of editing quickly, but if something in life happens? I plan to be ok with blogging and finalizing a wedding a couple days later than originally planned.
I won’t be shooting many sessions other than weddings and engagements. Weddings, marriage, love…those are my passion and where my heart is. I want to focus solely on weddings and engagements and my fabulous couples next year!
Grace with my blogging schedule. At the beginning of this year, my goal was to blog 3 days a week, all year long. In general, for the first part of the year, I met that goal…and then the busy season started and blogging fell by the wayside. Really, ever since I launched my new site, my blogging has been almost non-existent! I DO plan on changing this in the upcoming weeks, but I’m heading into next year with more grace in my blogging schedule. I would LOVE to be able to blog 3 times a week, and I know there are weeks where that will definitely happen…but I know there are weeks where it won’t, and I am not going to let that stress me out. I love blogging, I truly do! But I want to continue loving it, and not let it become a mundane task that I have forced myself to do.
There are other personal boundaries I have set for myself, and personal goals. I’m excited for what next year is bringing, and I’m excited to implement changes in my business and my personal life!!
What about you? Any ideas, tips, suggestions, or things you have done to set boundaries for yourself with work and life?