Part 8 of the 12 part series on balancing your life.
Entrepreneurs are notorious work-a-holics. We seem to work a 24 hour day leaving our loved ones in our trail of dust. It is not surprising that entrepreneurs can get burnt out quickly. If you are one, the interesting thing is that usually you are not into just one thing. The way your brain is hardwired is different from others. You intuitively think how to do things better, how to sell things better, how to profit better. And because of this, you are constantly seeing any number of areas you can do well in. It is common to find yourself bouncing around from one idea to the next. Many entrepreneurs have what is considered an AD/HD brain. Not the medication needing kind, but truly the kind of brain that needs stimulus. I have a really hard time going to the movies. Why? There are countless other things I could be doing. If I watch a movie at home, I can multi task. This drives my family insane. They absolutely hate it. “Can’t you just relax for one second?” Actually, no. It is just who I am. I enjoy it. Okay, so, what type of person are you? You may not find yourself to this extreme, however if you own your own business, you will have this issue of having a 24/7 job. You cannot clock in and clock out so to speak. Why? Sure, you can stop working, but in reality your mind is (and should be) always thinking of your business. To do lists. Marketing strategies. Employee retention. Profit and Loss. Office supplies that need purchasing. The list goes on.
Here are the main issues you may be having:
1. How do you separate family time from work time?
2. How can you LOVE what you do for a living every day?
3. How do you stay on top of everything and not get burnout?
It comes down to scheduling, trimming, and saying “No.”
Scheduling (DMO, WMO, and MMO)
Your DMO or Daily Method of Operation should be simple and flexible. Answer your emails not every time they come in, but three times a day. Morning, afternoon, and evening. Make phone calls all at one time of day. If you are in the car with any family member, NEVER answer your cell phone, EVER. Try to never text in front of your kids. They will pick up on this as a separation from them and they will learn to loath your phone. If you have client meetings randomly throughout the week, don’t. Do it on one or two days only and stick to those days. Having clients in and out can tamper with your DMO so put it into you WMO or Weekly Method of Operation. For your WMO, give yourself at least one or two OFF days. Do nothing work related if you can. If it is the same day every week your life will not feel so chaotic. Mine is on Monday. I always know Mondays are a decompress day. Having your own business can become extremely overwhelming if you do not have a down day that is pre-determined. Your MMO or Monthly Method of Operation should be figured out based on your post production schedule if you are a photographer. If you have booked 3 weddings in one week that can become too much to get finished in post if you have another 3 the next week. I try to keep things simple. 2 weddings a month. 4 consult days per month. 2 network meetings per month. 1 industry event per month.
Figure out what you love about what you do and figure out what you hate. Get rid of everything you hate or delegate it to someone else. I know this has nothing to do with work, but I HATE doing the laundry. So… my husband does it. Surprisingly he loves it and does a better job than if we went to a fluff and fold. Apply the same rules for your business. Really analyze what you do and what areas you really wish you didn’t have to do. Let’s say you love shooting but you hate the post production. There are companies out there who specialize in doing all your Lightroom work for you. Farm it out!
Just Say No
This may be the hardest thing for many of you. Really, you need to learn that simple word, “no.” Don’t do everything your friends want you to do. Don’t go to every event, opening, network meeting, business seminar. Choose wisely. Do just one per month.
Keeping your career and other areas of your life separate can be tricky. You have to be aware of everything and be as attentive other areas as you can. Everyone will find their own routine, so whatever it is, stick with it!
Copyright © 2010 by Jen O’Sullivan http://www.jenosullivan.com
Beverly Hills Wedding Photographer, Jen O’Sullivan is a boutique wedding photographer who specializes in portrait journalism.
Jen O’Sullivan Boutique Wedding Photography | 357 South Robertson Boulevard, Beverly Hills, California, 90211 | 310-494-6547