This past month, well…past fews month have kind of been a whirlwind. I’m somewhere between feeling like an organized powerhouse and a chicken with my head cut off. Really depends on the day. I’ve been trying to make as smart and bold business decisions as possible to reach my 5 year goals on time, if not sooner. But that often means taking on much more than just wedding planning. Shoots, attending and hosting workshops, speaking, hiring, travelling, networking, and a whole lot of reading has dwindled down my thoughts to 90% work and 10% life. I’m okay with that because it’d be a complete lie if I didn’t say I just revelled in all of it, but finding a balance has taken some time.
I’ve been asked by quite a few people why I don’t have a team of other planners. It’s not that I don’t want the extra money and it’s not that the demand isn’t there (there’s enough weddings in the Okanagan to keep every planner fully booked for a long time), but learning to say “no” has become crucial to my survival. I guess that’s my secret weapon to finding balance, so I’m sharing it today in case anyone else has felt as drained as I have at certain points this year.
When I say No:
1. Thursday Nights: Thursday nights are for date night. They are not work nights, meeting nights, Skype date times, or even evenings with friends. Thursdays are specifically reserved for date night with my husband. Some times we get creative and do something original but other times we simply make hot chocolate and go for a walk or watch a movie with popcorn. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing, as long as it’s just us two and it’s free from distractions.
2. Emails before Coffee: I think people think I’m obsessed with coffee. It’s not the coffee itself I like.. I mean I like it but if you gave it to me black it’d probably sit there until it got cold. It’s the idea of coffee I love. At least once a week Royce says to me, “I can’t wait until morning!” Whoever wakes up first in our house makes coffee for the other one and brings it to them in bed to wake them up. We don’t talk about work, read emails, or do anything until we’ve had coffee together. I feel like when your day starts on a good note that the rest of the day just comes easier to you.
3. Networking Events: Take this with a grain of salt, because this isn’t right for everyone. For me, I found that I had a hard time genuinely engaging in conversation with people at networking events, so I cleared my schedule of them and just meet for coffee with people I’m really looking forward to talking to. I value my time and I value other people’s time and for me this was a way to respect that and create authentic relationships.
4. Bookings: This one is painful, but I turned away almost as many inquiries as I took this year. I’ve learned that I just can’t do it all. I want Created Lovely to grow with consistency, intention, and purpose. Sometimes I’m just busy, sometimes they want a service I don’t offer, or sometimes it’s just not the right fit. My biggest fear is to be a planning company that people are price shopping for and I work hard to share my style and values long before my pricing. (This is a really hard one though so don’t think it comes easy.)
5. Guilt: Another hard one that’s a constant work in progress. Over the last two months I’ve been feeling an insane amount of guilt. Guilt if I spend time with friends during the daytime. Guilt if I didn’t get enough work done that day. Guilt if an email sat too long in my inbox. Guilt if I instagram being out of the house when clients are waiting on me. Like wowzers, get a life Nikki. I need to relax on this. Mainly because I’m finding the guilt is hindering my creativity, productivity, and my every day life. I’ve let go of a lot of this lately but this is a constant work in progress to not scold myself for wanting/needing to feel human.
I think that’s it, my constant effort to find a work/life balance. I haven’t perfected much on it other than date night and emails before coffee but it’s a start!! How do you find balance? Any suggestions?