As creatives, we are so lucky to be able to follow our dreams and pursue our passions as careers. But as we start working for ourselves, it’s easy to become consumed by work. Every email, every proposal, every session has to be perfect. We want to serve our clients to the best of our ability. We push ourselves harder, work longer, and rarely take time for ourselves. Busy takes over. Yes, it feels good to look at our calendar and see all the dates full. It feels good when our friends say, “Wow, you seem SO busy!” But we know the truth, we feel like we are barely getting by. Busy is consuming our lives. So I made the decision to choose balance over busy. Balance in my work life and my personal life. When I set boundaries, time off, and days to just create, my life filled up with the right things instead of just “busy work.”
These are a few steps to help you find balance in this crazy busy-bee, boss lady world we live in.
Write it Down
Hallelujah for cute notebooks, daily planners, and iCal! If it wasn’t for these sweet devices, I know I would feel more stressed than normal. When you are feel overwhelmed and too busy to even breathe, write everything down. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just get it out of your head! From there, you can categorize what you wrote, make a list based on immediate priority, and start tackling one thing at a time. Write it down, before it lives in your head forever.
Create for the Sake of Creating
Sometimes your creative career can start to feel more like work and less like fun. It’s important to make time for passion projects or creative things that fuel your soul. Whether it’s a styled shoot or another craft you’ve wanted to try, it’s ok to just make art! It doesn’t have to be for work. Let your brain go for awhile and just create something beautiful!
Schedule Breaks…and Stick to It!
Setting aside time for yourself isn’t selfish, it’s necessary! One of my favorite quotes is, “When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” If you make time to take care of you once and a while, you’ll be able to do more for others. So schedule breaks in your calendars and stick to it! This also goes to setting certain work hours in your day too! You don’t have to answer that email coming in a midnight! You can choose when and what times you are working and when clients can reach you. Make sure you are choosing days for YOURSELF too! Seriously, you’ll see that open space on your calendar and want to fill it with work, but I’m telling you not to! Whether it’s treating yourself to a manicure, picking up a book you’ve been dying to read, or dancing your heart out in your living room, take some time to do something for yourself!
Find Other Creatives
A creative life can be a lonely life. Let’s face it, we spend way too much time rocking our pajamas and messy buns as we stare at our computers for hours than we care to admit. That’s why finding other creatives is SO important! Whether it’s a Rising Tide Society meeting or reaching out to get coffee with another photographer, get out from behind the computer and meet up! Every Monday, I get lunch (which usually turns into an all day thing) with two other creatives in my community. We share our weekly struggles, brainstorm new ideas, cheer each other on, laugh so hard, and drink way too much tea. These women inspire me beyond words. I know those Mondays fuel my spirit and help me conquer my week ahead!
The best way to help you focus is to move your body! Even if it’s just a quick stretch, nothing helps me turn my brain off more than working out. My favorite workouts to put the pause button on feeling overwhelmed include yoga, Pure Barre, or a long walk/run outside (fresh air is also super important.) Not only do I turn off my mind for a while, but I come back feeling refreshed and ready to take on my next task!
This is the big one. So big, that I will be sharing a longer post about this in the future. Saying “no” is tough and something that took me years to do so don’t stress if you are having a hard time with this. Saying “yes” to every little thing, every project, every work opportunity sounds like a good idea. But remember, when you say “yes” to something, you say “no” to so many other things. Are you saying “no” to your family, your friends, your sanity? Balance is all about aligning yourself with people and opportunities that are FOR you instead of agreeing to do everything. Choose what’s right for your life.
Forget About the To-Do List
If you’re anything like me, the to-do list will never end. The inbox will never reach zero. There will always be more to do. So, you know what? Don’t worry about it! Just do your best every single day. Tackle the most important things each day and don’t be so hard on yourself. You are already doing so well! Find peace in knowing that you are doing everything you can and let the rest go.