Balance is something everyone strives for, whether its a balance between being a good parent and a good spouse so all parties are happy, a balance between eating pizza and eating broccoli so you aren’t too fat or feel too deprived, or the big kicker which is the balance between work life and home life.
Balance is something that is defined differently by everyone. The basic idea of balance is that when different elements exist in one setting, they are in the correct proportion to one another. The “right” amount will be different for everyone. And it’s an especially challenging balancing act when you own your own business, or work in the events industry where “normal business hours” are something out of a science fiction movie.
I wanted to write this blog after hearing several complaints from various event professionals about the long hours and the challenges of not being able to participate in fun social weekend activities. Yes it does suck getting out of bed at 1AM to tear out a wedding, and yes I’d really love to attend every MSU tailgate of the year. But it’s also pretty hard to complain when on a random Thursday afternoon I can head over the Sephora for a splurge while everyone else is still at work.
Here are a few tips I’d suggest if you are in anyway in control of your work hours, to achieve more balance in your life. *I should note I do not have children and have no business doling out advice for those balancing children as part of their home life.
- Set a dang alarm, and get out of bed. Duh.
- Check your email immediately: This pretty much goes against every rule I’ve ever read about having a peaceful, stress-free morning. However, I like to know pretty immediately how fast I need to start my work day with how urgent my emails needs responding to. It may be the difference between curling my hair and putting on a full face of makeup or sticking with the ole standby of a wet ponytail so I can respond to an email a half hour sooner.
- Don’t dilly dally around your house: eat, get ready, get your stuff for the day together and go to work. I’m guilty of not always following this (thanks a lot Real Housewives while eating breakfast, I can’t quit you!). I’m 100 times more productive at work than I am at home with my TV, my deck to lay out on and 3 kitties, versus just the 1 I take to work with me, Yay for Clementine/Lemon-Lime!
- Do your best to stick with a set schedule. For me, this is a no brainer because my husband works about 7:30AM to 5:30PM most weekdays. When scheduling appointments, we always tell a prospective client we prefer to meet no earlier than 9AM and no later than 4PM (so we can be outta here by 5:30PM). We have done night meetings and we have done weekend meetings. But if at all possible, create a “normal” work schedule for you, even if it’s not necessarily 9-5, maintain a semblance of normalcy and routine. Once my husband and I both get home, we generally eat right away, watch Pardon the Interruption, and then depending on the day play volleyball, read on the deck, go for a run, mow the lawn, or sit, be lazy, and watch Netflix. It’s not so much about routine at home, as it is setting a routine for work that allows you to have the most quality and quantity of home life possible.
- Weekends….oh weekends, you are the most challenging because it’s a lot of early mornings, and a lot of late nights and some open time from late afternoon/prevening (Thanks Sheldon Cooper!) until about 11:30PM, and it’s when everything is happening socially. Balance on the weekends is difficult, but not unachievable. I find the best way to create balance is to merge home life and work life. I work with people I love. My husband and mom work with me most days, and my two event designers, Jamie and Kathleen, I would consider amongst my best of friends, not to mention the other amazing people I have-Teah and Rob, Dream Team, what what!? So while I am getting up to work, I’m basically going to hang out with my friends and family and making someone else’s day that much prettier in the process.
- Always remember no matter how much you love your job (which I really do, even if I won the lottery I’d still do what I do, though I’d probably add a few more trips to Tahiti and Greece in there) you work to live, not live to work.
Cheers! (Feel free to use actual, not metaphorical, champagne)