Work Life Balance: How to survive when the s*!? really hits the fan

Of course, you know that I’m a Wedding Planner.  That’s a huge part of my identity. But that’s not all I’ve got going on.  I’m a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a neighbor . . .  Yup, I’m just like you.  Most of the time my life is hectic and challenging, but I’m able to keep a good work life balance, but every now and then, the s&*! really hits the fan and I can feel like I’m standing up to my shoulders in the breaking waves of an ocean getting knocked over again and again, having no time to catch my breath between each wave.  Sound familiar?

Well, I’m fresh from one of these periods of time.  I’ve been hard at work for my clients while taking on the extra work of launching WedMasters, my new and improved online planning courses.  At home . . . I was under the weather; my daughter was hospitalized for a kidney stone, my son was getting himself into some trouble and my husband was changing jobs.  It has been . . . in short . . . chaos!

You’ve been working towards launching your own wedding planning business; I’m sure with hopes that the flexibility of working for yourself will help you maintain a good work/life balance. Believe me that can really be a perk.

But what happens when it makes it more difficult?  When you’re your own boss, can you call in sick? Take a personal day?  Take a sabbatical?

It’s certainly not as simple as calling your HR Department to break the news that you won’t be in today, but there are ways for you to relieve yourself of some of that pressure so you can catch your breath, take care of the important things and get back on track:

  1. Prioritize:  In times of overwhelm, it is absolutely essential to identify what MUST get done and what can be put on hold.  Write down everything you can think of that needs to be done. Highlight the non-negotiables, then . . .
  2. Delegate:  Having help on both the home and work fronts are essential to maintaining balance.  Of the essential items, figure out what you need to do yourself. Anything that you can get help with (whether it’s the dishes or attending a networking event), find the right person and ask for help!  You’ll be surprised how people will step up and how much their contributions, however small, can help.
  3. Cancel and Postpone:  For any items that aren’t essential and can be postponed or canceled .  . . cancel or postpone. Starting to see some white space on the calendar will relieve so much pressure and keep space for the only really important stuff.
  4. Be honest and set expectations:  When I first started out, I was afraid to tell clients no for any reason.  I wanted to think I was available to them whenever they needed me. Since then I’ve learned how ridiculous that is.  Clients understand that we’re human and have lives outside of our work. If you are going through a difficult time and need to take some time off, take it.  Just be sure to communicate your limitations in a professional manner. Put an Out of Office message on your email and voicemail. Reach out personally to any necessary clients to let them know that you’re taking some time off and how and when they can get ahold of you.
  5. Self-Care.  You may not have a lot of time, but take a little bit of it and give it to yourself.  Just a few minutes to take a walk, clothes your eyes, listen to some music, take a bath . . . whatever works for you to clear your head and catch your breath.

Have you heard this before . . . if you don’t take care of yourself, you’re no good to anyone?  Well, it’s cliche but it’s true for Wedding Planners too. To be good at our work and great for our clients, we have to maintain a healthy balance between work life and home life.  That is truly non-negotiable!  

Namaste fellow planners!

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