I feel like I’m constantly talking about finding a work/life balance on here… but I can’t help it. Because in case you haven’t noticed – this is definitely the thing I struggle most with in running my own business. I’m SO passionate about what I do – and so, so excited to get to continue to do it day in and day out – that I work my tail off for far too many hours day after day to ensure that I get to do this for (hopefully) many more years to come.
The problem with that is – all of this isn’t worth a whole lot if I don’t have someone at home with me to enjoy it with at the end of the day. I know I talk about date days with James and taking time to focus on your loved ones – but I’m not the best at following through on this. I mentioned last week that James and I had a date night – but it was our first real date night together in over two months. And the thing about maintaining a happy relationship is that you can’t choose to focus on it just one day every few months. Like those crazy crash diets that never work – you can’t just decide to not eat for a day and expect that you’ll keep the weight off for the rest of your life. No… you need to make lifestyle changes, eat healthier, and work on it day in and day out. Relationships are just the same. You can’t expect to focus energy on it one day out of hundreds and expect the change to stick. You need to make conscious lifestyle choices and changes that bring your relationship to the forefront of your life, where you are working on it, and nourishing it day in and day out.
So, while I talk about quality time a lot, and date nights, and all of that… I don’t ever do a great job of following through on it. I realized this when we had an amazing date night last week – but then it was followed by days and day of hardly speaking about anything other than our business, working around the clock, and not holding a real conversation in almost a week.
Because of that – James and I were both on edge… we felt disconnected… and that is not a fun way to go through life.
So after talking with James (and having him call me out on a few things) – I realized that I need to make legitimate lifestyle changes to make this work. I need to be accountable for my actions and my choices in my personal life and my business. I can’t expect one day focusing on our relationship every few months to keep us together and happy for years and years to come. Instead, I need to make daily changes so James knows that although I love our business and what we do – I love him more. That no matter what – none of this is worth a thing if he isn’t here with me.
What does this mean? It means I plan to hold myself accountable – and you guys better too! To show James I’m serious about this – I printed out calendars for him from August through December – with a day off scheduled into every week. I’ve realized that if I don’t do this – I will schedule a shoot and/or work meeting for every night of the week… especially this time of year when I’m shooting weddings, engagement sessions, and meeting with potential couples for 2013 basically every night of the week (as you’ll see over the next couple weeks on the calendar below).
On my day off - I won’t be on my phone or computer. I won’t be replying to emails. I won’t be distracted. I will be spending the day with James, focusing on us. Talking, heading out into the city, hitting the gym, going to movies, making dinner… who knows! The possibilities are endless – and it is pretty exciting!
For the most part this day will fall on Mondays (since we’re shooting all weekend normally). I’m not going to lie and say it will be easy – because the thought of not replying to an inquiry or business email within minutes of it coming into my inbox freaks me out a bit. I get scared that potential clients will look elsewhere and that current client won’t be happy to have waited a full day to hear back from me – but I have to do what is best for my little family – and that is to take time off for us.
In addition to a day off together per week, I hope to start keeping more regular office hours – which means I won’t be replying to emails after 7pm unless it is an emergency. (This also means I need to stop working by 7pm, so we can enjoy our nights together like most normal couples.) I kid you not when I say I sometimes reply to emails throughout the night – all the way past midnight and beyond. The second it comes into my inbox – I reply. And… well… that’s just not necessary.
No more crash diets around here. No more one date day every few months, and then neglecting my marriage for weeks/months. I’m going to make a conscious effort to focus on us day in and day out… to keep more regular office hours… and to show James that he is what matters most to me in this life.