When people hear I run a successful photography business and still practice professional nursing in a busy Labor and Delivery I get a lot of puzzled looks. Next comes the question, “how do you balance it all…work and life?
The truth be told for the first 2 and a half years I did a terrible job at balancing any of it. Starting and running a business is hard. It’s something you have to really want. And I do mean want.
I spent my days off from nursing, school hours, and the time not shooting clients on the never ending list of to -do’s. Often, those to-do’s rolled over into late nights, early mornings, and weekends not spent with my family. It is ridiculously hard, time consuming, and required a ton of sacrifice for me and my family.
Owning your own business, as rewarding as it can be, can take it’s toll. I was spending more hours than I want to admit away from my own family, late night editing and mindless snacking packed on an unwanted extra 10 pounds. At any given time you could find an empty diet coke can and an array of Kind bar wrappers crumpled on my desk. Not to mention, I was an avid runner that no longer even new wear my running shoes were. I wasn’t taking care of my family or myself. Socializing with my friends started to become fewer and fewer occasions, and the list goes on. Dave Ramsey says, “success requires sacrifice. The first step to a good plan is deciding what to give up.” Great words and advice, but unfortunately, I gave up some of the wrong things. Lessons learned for sure.
Thank God for my unbelievably supportive family and the best husband that picks up all my slack. And I do mean all of it, the house, the laundry, the grocery shopping, and carting the kiddo to and from his many practices. I do no know what I would do without him.
It’s such a catch 22. You start a business to have more freedom and work for yourself and end up putting 80 hour weeks. What?!
I get asked all the time why I continue to nurse. Truth is, I still love that too. I have significantly cut down my hours at the hospital, but I’m not quite ready to walk away.
The last few months I’ve tried hard to regroup my life, set boundaries, schedule my days, and say no to the things that just don’t serve where I’m at right now.
I’m still far from perfect but on my way to making some big changes and feeling better about things.
I would like to share some of the things that are helping me, if you are also struggling to balance everything in your life.
Nursing days are nursing days. These are already 14 hour days and I will not do anything else on those days.
I have created a system for my days and no longer willy nilly my way through the day without a plan. I have set aside days and blocks of time to accomplish certain necessary tasks like answering emails, marketing my business, writing blog posts, social media and on. The last thing I do before shutting down for the day is write a list of the three things I must get done the next day. This way I start the morning with a plan and I’m not guessing what I should be working on. This sets me up for what Justin and Mary call “winning the day.” If nothing else gets done I can still call it a win.
I have a morning routine that gets me off on the right foot starting with clearing the clutter off my desk from the day before.
When I’m working on something I have to get done everything else gets turned off. This means no email notifications and no open browsers with Facebook distracting me down a never ending rabbit hole.
I’m focusing back on my health and I’m proud to say exercise has been back on the top of the list for the last 2 months and I’m feeling so much better about myself. Exercise is now penciled into my calendar. This usually happens in the middle of the day for me and gives me a welcome break to do something for myself.
My brain runs a mile a minute with to do’s and never ending ideas. Seriously, Evernote has been the best discovery I’ve made all year. This online notebook gives me the perfect place to dump my brain and move on. Then, when I’m ready or in need of a little inspiration I know where to go.
Lastly, and still my biggest struggle is shutting it all down at the end of the day. I’m returning to my love of cooking a yummy meal for my family, sitting down to dinner together, and ending with movie snuggles. I’ve so missed this. My boy is getting so grown up now and with one already out of the house I need to savour every minute with him.
So, my life balance is still a work in progress. I work a lot and I work hard. Truth be told…it makes me happy.
Here’s to having a dream and chasing that dream no matter what that is. I deserve it and you deserve it. Here’s to you and me, the ones fighting and working our hearts out to get where we want to go.
Keep going…we will all get there with enough hard work and patience. Balance is also work…let’s make it happen.