Finding Work/Life Balance as a Creative Professional

three women sitting behind a panel learning about work life balance

Finding work-life balance can be hard, especially at the start or the middle of your busy season, but it’s very possible!

I learned that finding this balance in my life was essential after going an entire summer without seeing the beach, and as a beach lover and New Jersey native, that was unheard of for me.

I decided to make sure this never happened again and put three primary practices into place. Not only did these help me find more fulfillment in life, but they also helped me refuel and show up as my best self for my clients.

1. Set Office Hours

This helps keep you accountable and also helps to educate your clients about your availability and what they can expect from you.

My office hours are 12-8 pm. This works well for me as a wedding planner since I regularly have evening meetings after clients leave work. These hours give me the time I need in the mornings to sleep, run errands, organize my day and/or workout and time in the evening to meet with friends or attend ministry meetings at church.

Setting office hours has given my business structure and has given me the time I need to do the non-work things that make me happy. My office hours are also in my email signature, which acts as a gentle reminder to clients each time I reach out to them.

2. Take a Walk/Connect with Nature (daily is ideal!)

It’s well known that taking a break to enjoy the outdoors is good for your health. This isn’t only true for corporate workers, but for solopreneurs as well!

So, make time to take a break. This could be a walk around the block, an afternoon workout session or simply a moment of peace and quite to journal each day.

Anything that helps take your mind off work for a minute and leaves you feeling refreshed is a good idea to integrate into your every day. Plus, these intentional breaks can even help you tackle that endless tasklist with more focus and productivity!

3. Schedule Me Time/Family Time/Friends Time on Your Work Calendar

For me, this is the most important tip. I use my HoneyBook workflows to follow up with leads and clients automatically and I include a scheduling link so that clients and prospective clients to book from me easily within the hours that I have available.

Scheduling dinner with my family and friends, conferences and trainings, important church meetings and more in my work calendar helps me to protect that space without having to say “no” to a client.

This practice has really helped me to find balance in spending time both with clients and also taking some personal time to sharpen my skills so that I can give even more to my clients when I plug back in.

I hope that these tips help you as much as they’ve helped me over the years! Do you have any extra tips? Please share in the comments!

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Overcome the Overwhelm with a Self Care Routine that Works for You

overwhelm with self care routine
Photo by THE 5TH on Unsplash

When you’re in business for yourself, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and anxious. These feelings can lead to a host of issues that can impact your health and happiness, not to mention the success of your business.

Fortunately, there are a number of proven ways to combat this besides throwing in the towel and giving up your dream (as if that were really an option!). Below, I’m sharing my top three tips for overcoming the overwhelm and crushing anxiety.

Implement these tactics one-by-one, and in a few weeks you’ll be thinking, feeling, and operating at a whole new level.

Self Care Tip #1: Move Your Body!

What is simple, inexpensive, and extraordinarily effective at improving your physical and mental health?

Exercise!

Yes, we all know exercise is good for our body, but it’s now proven to be good for our mind, as well. Personally, I’ve always been an active person, but after starting Greetabl, I started stealing time from my workouts to spend more time at work. Pretty soon, exercise was a ‘backburner’ activity that only happened when I ‘had the time.’

Once I realized how foolish this was, I committed to making exercise an everyday priority. And, WOW (!!) has that made all the difference. Sure, I miss a day here or there, but never two in a row.

The trick is to take all of the complexity out of exercising. There are only a handful of things you really need to think about (despite what ‘get fit fast’ ad you might see on Facebook).

When: Morning, noon, or night? What works best for you?

Where: Gyms or studios can be a great way to get your movement in, as long as “I don’t have time to get there…” doesn’t become an excuse. You can always go for a walk or do a bodyweight routine at home. Eliminate excuses!

What: Right now, I do a kettlebell routine nearly every day and mix in a short run or row for a little variety. I try to go for a 15-minute walk in the afternoon (and yes, that counts!). Find the activities you want to do… because those are the ones you will do.

And don’t forget, 10 minutes of movement is infinitely better than zero.

Self Care Tip #2: Tame Your Monkey Mind

You know the hundreds of thoughts that can swirl through your mind seemingly all at once? This is your monkey mind, and it is NOT helping!

As a creative entrepreneur you might be tempted to think this is where your new ideas begin, but I can say from experience that I have more (and better) ideas when I’m focused. A quiet mind can explore depths that the chaos of the monkey mind can’t even see.

So how do you calm your mind? Aside from exercise, which definitely helps, the single most impactful thing I’ve done is begin a meditation practice. Before you roll your eyes–hear me out! I was skeptical, but there’s so much science to support its role in a healthy routine that I gave it a shot, and almost two years later I have not let it go.

There are dozens of apps available (I use Calm) but, like exercise, the real key is to commit to making the time. You have to put in the minutes. I find 10 minutes to be the sweet spot between reaping the rewards and being able to commit to the time in my schedule.

Pro tip: Connect your meditation practice to a specific thing you do every day. For me, when I park at work, I do my 10 minutes…then get on with my day. If it doesn’t happen then, it gets very difficult to work it into my schedule later.

Self care  Tip #3: Go to Sleep!

Even more so than exercise, sleep is where business owners cheat themselves the most in self care. It feels so… indulgent. There’s always more to do, more that can be done. And Netflix is all too happy to keep us up a bit longer after the laptop is closed if we’re so inclined (and it’s designed to do just that).

The reason that it’s so difficult to clearly see the benefit of sleep is that you have to really pay attention–really be self-aware–to note the differences… but they add up in a big way. For instance, I know that when I’m low on sleep I more easily get angry or annoyed, I have a shorter attention span, and I’m more likely to do something truly indulgent like stress eat something salty or sweet.

Add these up and you have a day that’s unpleasant, unproductive, and unhealthy. Those are not the kind of things that lead to happiness… or success!

Give yourself a month of going to bed (without the TV on) in time to get 7-8 hours of sleep and see how you feel. Trust me!

These three tips are truly very simple, but simple does not mean easy. I suggest tackling them one-at-a-time, and reach out and let me know how it’s going!

Want to learn more about how to incorporate self care routines into your daily life and thrive in your business as a result? Get our Ultimate Guide to Self Care here.

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