My name is Kandis and I am a workaholic…..well a recovering one that is!
For years I would work myself to the bone, to the breaking point…past the breaking point! I’m not going to sugar coat it and say that it’s super easy and awesome being a full time business owner and a full time wife and mom; because this is hard stuff. And for years I was only making it harder on myself.
For the past 6 years I had a very twisted motto “You can sleep when you’re dead”. I lived by this in every sense of the word. I never gave myself time to rest, time to really re-group or re-energize myself or my life. We took two lovely trips to Hawaii a few years back and instead of enjoying myself 100% of the time and allowing myself to rest, I would wake up early to check emails, manage social media, edit and create new content. Instead of using my vacation to VACATION, I used my vacation to work in a new location. I can honestly say that when I returned home I didn’t like myself at all. I was so angry that I allowed myself to spend thousands of dollars to vacation only to work. But I am going to be super honest with you, that didn’t change one thing. I have gone on countless other vacations and always end up working. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. I WORKED ALL THE TIME!
My days would start by waking up 7:00 am (I know that sounds like sleeping in…but wait for it) and immediately grabbing my phone to check emails. I would read through any emails respond from my phone if possible. Then I would head to my desktop to start the social media thing. Oh but what I thought was working was totally not working. It was mindless scrolling. YOU KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT. Scrolling through feeds and pages finding inspiration that might spark something new. Yeah that’s not working…that’s wasting time. But I would do this till it was time for my girls to get up and get ready for school or for the day.
Now here is one of my biggest regrets…EVER! When I first started my business I had a kindergartener and a 1 year old. My kindergartener would go to school in the morning and it was me and my baby for the next 4 hours. I would hold her on my lap as I would edit, email, social media wasting until it was time to get the oldest from school. Somewhere in there I found time to feed her (most likely while still working) and get ready. For hours I would put my girls in front of the babysitter..I mean TV… so I could get work done. Yes mom was around but mom wasn’t around!
Too many times I heard “mom can you get me a drink?” or “mom will you cuddle?” or “mom I need help”. All to be responded with a “give me a minute.” Or a “in a second.” That second or minute was a lie. My children would have to ask over and over again for help, for a drink, for attention, until I finally gave them what they needed. And most of the time it was begrudgingly. “FINE..here!” I can’t tell you how much of their sweet little lives were wasted because I was too busy creating my personal empire.
I would work all day…editing…Facebook…blogging…creating new content….products…emails…shooting. But then I had to still be the perfect wife and mom too. So I would find time to take my children to lunch, go shopping and make sure dinner was on the table every night. But while I was out at lunch with my children I was not at lunch. I was still at work. Checking and responding to emails, updating social media and even making phone calls. If we were shopping I was always looking for wardrobe for sessions instead of shopping for my children and still constantly checking my phone for any new updates. When I would make dinner it would take me double the time because I would chop the carrots, check my email. Chop the onions, check social media…on and on and on.
If my children needed something but my phone dinged with a message, email, update…who do you think got the attention? My business or my children?
While my children have homework to do, I have work to do. Wash the counters, edit a picture. Sweep the floor, email a client. Make a bed, make a new product. “Mom can you help me with this problem?” “give me a minute, I need to email this person because they are having a problem.” I then would hear something like “It’s okay Mom, I figured it out.”
After tucking my kids in bed, I would head back to the computer to work. Making more content, editing sessions, creating video tutorials, hanging out on Facebook until 3:30 am.
Off to bed I go…for a big ole’ slumber of 3.5 hours. And then the day would start over. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead right?” NO! ENOUGH! What good is dying when the life you have lead is no life at all but endless working?
After six years of constantly working I decided that it was time to sit down and change something. I started to notice things slipping not just with professional life, but my personal life too.
The first thing I decided to do was to go to bed! Our bodies sleep people! Our brains can’t function and our bodies get worn out when they are not rested. No more of this burning the midnight oil! I go to bed now! I lay in bed with my handsome husband and watch Fixer Upper! Facebook will be there tomorrow. My images will be there waiting for me to edit them tomorrow. My emails will be there tomorrow. THEY ALL WILL BE THERE TOMORROW! They are not going anywhere.
I highly doubt I have a potential client waiting up at 2am for my response. Nope..they are sleeping!
The next thing I have done is set office hours. My work day doesn’t start until my girls leave for school. I then start my day. I have from 8:30 am to 3:20 pm to do my work and to do me. If there is editing that needs to be done, content that needs to be made or emails need to be responded to this is the time to do that. If I need to go look for a location I can do it during my office hours. If I need to run an errand it can be done during my office hours. At 3:20 all business stuff is done! OH SHOOT….. that email didn’t get responded to? Is it urgent? Oh it’s not…it will wait till tomorrow. You do not see stores like Nordstrom opening early or closing late because one person needs attention. They have work hours. If you need them you know when you can contact them. Now just because my office hours are till 3:20 doesn’t mean I’m done working. Oh no…because I’m a photographer. So that means I still have sessions I have too shoot in the evenings. I take that time between when I have a session and when children get home from school to be present in their lives. Help with homework. Make dinner. Spend time with friends. Enjoy my family. I then go to my session and I come home. I leave my memory card in my camera. That awesome EPIC image I took at my session tonight can wait till tomorrow to be edited and a sneak peek posted. Because my children and husband need their mom and wife. I get to tuck my children into bed and snuggle with my husband because my work is done. The to do list will be there tomorrow.
I have started to implement little things that allows me to do this. I take advantage of scheduling Facebook and blog posts on Monday mornings for the week. Instead of creating new content every day I do it once a week, so it’s easy to plug in and share. But most of all I stick to my work hours.
Working yourself to the bone is not glamorous at all. In fact it’s ugly. I never had time to really enjoy my life. I never had time to enjoy my children. I never had time to enjoy my husband….and now I do. I felt the burn out of my decisions to work all day and all night and my business suffered. Things slipped through the cracks. When I decided to make the change within one week of doing so, my bookings went up, my mentorings and my workshops filled up with attendees and students and my personal life got instantly better.