Creating a healthy work/life balance is something we hear about all the time. “Making time for self,” “investing in you,” or my favorite, “taking time to breathe” are all fine and dandy – but how can we take the idea of maintaining time for your business, family and self a reality?
That’s a big question that I’ve been grappling with since the New Year. Pierogi Picnic is in the sixth year of rocking recycled duds and the opportunities to share what I’m doing are endless. Invites to take part in shows, magazines, and blogs are fairly routine these days. Would you consider that boastful? It’s not meant to be since I haven’t had the ability to take part in any of them – and it’s all thanks to being on the edge of burning out.
Attempting to balance a full time indie business with a full time (awesome but demanding!) job have stretched me thin these past couple of years and moonlighters fatigue is becoming more and more palpable. So what’s the solution? Is it a matter of setting a strict work schedule (oh to only have an eight hour work day!), designating sewing days, or creating a true resting day? Perhaps – but adhering to these kind of self-inflicted rules is only part of the solution. I often find myself sneaking in some photo editing while my husband roasts a batch of coffee beans – or saying “ooh – I’ll do some PR work while these potatoes boil!”
So the big question comes up again: How do you really, really create a healthy work/life balance without compromising your vision and quality of work? I asked this very question of my fellow maker friends via social media and here were some of the suggestions they shared:
“When you love what you do it’s all you want to do. All the time. We force ourselves to take days off because we have to otherwise we would die of exhaustion. We have also learned to celebrate our achievements and let go of what we haven’t been able to achieve. Goals change and going with the flow helps that a lot. You also need to learn how to say no to things and that it’s okay that you can’t do everything all the time. trust your gut and yourself. Don’t pay attention to anyone else’s success except for yours. Don’t compare. Be positive. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your community is your ultimate life line.”
– the gals of Lost Girls Vintage
“Scheduling is key for me since I have a full time job that’s not Wanderlustings. So I try to do as much as I can in bulk: buying materials, construction of garments, emails, painting, steaming, ironing, packaging and shipping. I usually set aside 1-2 days a week to go to the post office and ship orders, one day on the weekend to construct items and an evening to paint. A week from then I’ll usually do steaming and packaging. I’ve been playing with the idea of only letting people order once a month to keep my sanity.”
– Caitlin of Wanderlustings
“I’m still getting into the groove of what I like best to maintain balance but I think it’s important to try scheduling your days with “departments” like Caitlin said she does things in bulk. Write it down and move things around to see what feels right. I’ve been trying to time my projects and giving myself 30 minutes out of studio here and there. Do things that scare you and don’t dwell if things don’t always go as planned.”
– Alexz of Bird Trouble
“I spent so many years trying to cram my jewelry business time into 3 days a week that I’m not sure how to use my time now. Looking back, I wish I would have passed on some opportunities so I could have had time to pursue other interests like I am now. Once you’re in the middle of it and have given up everything for so long, it’s easy to forget what it’s like to not be crazy busy all the time.”
– Michelle of Michelle Starbucks Designs
“No procrastination. I try to do everything as soon as it comes in. When things aren’t piling up, I don’t feel overwhelmed. And force yourself to take time off, even if you love what you do! I feel like I’m never working until I work one day too many, and suddenly I’m exhausted.”
– Hallie of Milk Handmade
“I’m still figuring it out the work/art/life balance myself but I’ve found to help stay balanced that I need time away from my studio to be social with family and friends as well as exercise and some adventure/inspiration through travel. I always feel like I *should* be doing more but I give myself a break to have fun!”
– Katie of Lady Faye Jewelry
Have you found a magic trick towards balancing everyday life with your creative endeavors? If so – please share! I’d love to hear your tips too! Here’s to making the second half of the year healthy, productive and balanced for all of us!