Ever feel like you are in a creative rut and on the road to burnout? Living the life of a busy wedding photographer is not easy…
Booking weddings, engagement shoots, client emails and meetings, administrative work, bookkeeping, blogging, website upkeep, social media, the actual wedding day shoot, hours and hours of post-editing, albums. layouts, prints and so on.
Then there is your personal life – keeping up your home, running errands, looking after and spending time with family and somewhere in there, finding time to exercise, eat well and have a little down time? It is not an easy balance and in the past, I believe my own stubbornness was the only thing that got me through the tough days.
How do you know if you are close to ‘burnout’? First Read this article on the tell tale signs.
If you feel you may be close to the burnout stage, here are a some ideas I would like to share that have worked for me in preventing burnout:
Find what works best and stick to it:
During peak wedding season my weekdays start at 4 am. Even as I write, it seems ludicrous but 4 am works for me. I start with a cup of coffee and about an hour dealing with social media/blogging first thing, then I get into post-editing and by then, its 7 am and I have already put 3 hours into my day! It is the quietest time of day, when I get the most done as there is very little action at that time. I love the quiet and I find this is the best time for me to get the most done. If I attempted to work late in the evening instead, I know I would be tired and at my worst creatively. I have found what works over time and years later, I am still sticking to it!
Do what you can in the time that you have:
Overshoot timelines – if you have a job that you know will take you 2 weeks to complete, give a timeline expectation of 3 weeks. If your work is done ahead of schedule, you will look all the better for it, plus you have given yourself a little leeway and eased the stress.
Taking a rest day:
It is difficult to keep the hours that I do without true rest. Yes, I am up at 4 am, but I do go to bed very early. I also count on one full day of rest each week. It may be difficult to put your thoughts aside and truly rest, not thinking about your work, but it is possible!
Unless I have a vital shoot, I do not look at one photo, my dishwasher at home is empty so I can stack in the dishes and not feel guilty about housework, I do not go near my computer and I take the time to regroup, gather my thoughts, no errands and I spend quality time with my family. I adopted this method into my schedule about 6 years ago, when I felt I was on the way to burn-out. I was working too hard and I knew my creativity was suffering because I was faced with feelings of being overwhelmed and no end in sight.
Now, with my rest day, nothing interrupts this day of rest. I know it is vital to keeping me going in the week ahead.
~Keeping up with Creativity~
One resource that I have followed weekly over the last year is Marie Forleo. She has motivated me with her great business sense and her fantastic sense of humor – I consider her an online mentor that has added value to my creative business. She has loads of wonderful free videos and resources for growing your business – her site was made for keeping you motivated! Watch her video on Value What You Do: Made for Artists and Creatives.
Finding Inspiration everywhere you can:
Drawing inspiration from those that have been successful, not just in the photography world, but other artists and those that are creative in other fields inspires me as well. When I listen to music on Songza, for instance, I look carefully at the album covers as they go by. Covers are very well thought out and give me great artistic ideas! Other paths to inspiration are quotes in my day timer and Pinterest boards that I keep close at hand.
I also draw inspiration from Hollywood. Take for example Audrey Hepburn. She was know as one who had a positive outlook and child-like naivety. She was naïve in the sense that she was like a young girl and those close to her have been quoted to say that “every time that she (Audrey) found something new, or went to a market, or got a new recipe, she wasn’t blasé. She was so excited, like a little girl. She took life by the day. … she was very interested in life in general.” I too, try to keep that aspect in myself, holding fast to a sense of wonder, viewing the world from a child’s eyes, experiencing my life with a sense of wonder can be very inspiring!
I’m an introvert…I love being by myself, love being outdoors, love taking a long walk with my dogs and looking at the trees, flowers, the sky…
~ Audrey Hepburn ~
Making a few adjustments in the way you go through your day; balancing your schedule and taking time for yourself can make your work/personal life much more satisfying and will get you further towards your goals!
I would love to hear what inspires you, what keeps you going through the tough days and any tips you may have that may help prevent burnout. Leave your comment below!