Being an entrepreneurial parent can be both a blessing and a curse! We are seeing a huge trend in the industry of moms looking for work to do as they stay at home with their kids and many are stepping into the world of photography! It seems perfect on paper – take a few photos on the weekend or evenings and then spend time with your kids! Right? As you quickly may have realized, being an entrepreneur and working for yourself can be quite the opposite. You may have huge goals to become like these other photographers you see, but all of a sudden it is midnight and you only had 3 things done on your 50 item list and plus, you feel like a horrible parent as you rushed your kid to bed as fast as possible. You see other moms get to finally sit and relax and enjoy their tea when their kids are napping, but not you….you are rushing to the computer to try and cram in as much editing as you can before that sweet little lamby “interrupts” your work! It is a juggling act for sure!
I’m one of those moms that has a really hard time ignoring my work checklist. I envision all of these people waiting for me – waiting for me to reply to their emails, waiting for me to deliver their photos, etc. and somehow that can become such a priority for us, when, at the same time, we have this precious life in front of us waiting until their mom will play with them.
We cannot live up to everyone in the industry! We have a special, unique role where our number one job is our family! We have additional responsibilities like field trips, birthday parties, homework, dance classes, sports, waking up in the middle of the night, the list goes on and on…..SO how do we have time to put our energy into marketing, business planning, meetings and, oh yeah, shooting?
I know you’ve heard this mentioned before, but make sure you have REGULAR WORK HOURS. Write them down right now and put them on your office door. Also, make sure someone is holding you accountable! For someone like me, who has a hard time getting out of the business mind and putting my 100% focus on my family, knowing when I will have the focused time to work on my list, gives me the freedom to know that I can completely be wife and mom on certain days. Make sure you have a few times during the week where you have big blocks of time where you can focus on work. It is hard to get enough done in a 1 hour nap time. The word “regular” is added in there because it is harder to stick to a schedule when it changes every week. For myself, I know that Tuesdays and Thursdays are my days to focus on being a mom and Mondays and Wednesdays are when I have our little one looked after so I can 100% focus on work.
The other thing I would stress to you is to have less expectations of tasks in a day. I’m pretty unreasonably ambitious and will have a list of 20 items that I want to get done in my 6 hour block of time and often find I only have time for 4 or 5 of those tasks, then feel defeated or stressed because I still have more to do. At the start of your day, write down 3 tasks you want to do whether personal or business tasks and focus on those. If you find you have time left over, then you can add another one! Set yourself up to win!
By setting up consistent work hours and by allowing yourself to do fewer tasks in a day, you will surprisingly find yourself being more productive. High fives to all of you parent photographers!
Check out this post if you want even more ways to WIN at the Work / Life Balance!