The issue was that I would see those days and think “Oh, we’re just doing something in the evening” and I would schedule something for the next two days as well. After several years of this, we started realizing that it was draining and I wasn’t being very realistic about our time. If we schedule a DC engagement shoot, we have to leave the house at 1:30pm to allow for an hour of potential traffic and still make it to the location in time to scout the area before starting at 5:30. If the shoot goes from 5:30-7:00pm, that means we’ll be getting home at 10:00pm (if we don’t stop to grab dinner somewhere). It’s almost a 9 hour commitment!! Yikes! So if I scheduled these shoots multiple days in a row without any days at home, you can see how this would be draining! Now, not all sessions are in DC or northern VA (thank goodness!) so it’s not always a 9 hour commitment but it’s still time away from home. We’re trying to be conscious of our time away and how much we’re balancing life/work/travel because we know that one day, down the road, we’ll have kids and we be on the go constantly. Now don’t get me wrong, we LOVE our engagement sessions! They are SO important and a vital piece of our client’s “Wedding Experience” with us and so we’re thankful that our brides and grooms make their shoots a priority! However, we’ve noticed that we serve our clients better when we have BALANCE in our lives and we’re working hard to figure out how to do this!
So! Our solution?! “ORANGE DAYS”…. or “Stay at Home” days. “Stay at home” days aren’t all necessarily “days off”… some are, but not always. These are days that I’m scheduling 2-3 months in advance (that is key, schedule them EARLY!) and I’m marking them with an ORANGE label on our google calendar. These are days when we are committed to being HOME… ALL DAY. We may be working or cleaning or walking Bokeh twice in one day or just laying on the couch casually responding to emails or preblogging. These are days that we can wake up, workout and not rush to get out of our sweatpants. I think the BEST part of this new system is that I have days that I look forward to! If I have a crazy 3-4days but I know that I have two ORANGE DAYS coming up, I look forward to them! I’m not as stressed when I know that I have some days coming up to just be HOME!
So here are the reasons to consider this:
- If you don’t mark days off, you’ll never get them! (We know from experience!)
- Knowing you have some “Stay at Home” days coming up is a stress reliever. A break is in sight!
- Allotting time for rest is not just a gift to you, it’s a gift to your clients. If you’re shooting continuously without a break for one week straight and then think you’re going to be on your A game for Saturday’s wedding, you’re deceived. Your clients deserved a well rested photographer! So maybe this means your “Stay at Home” days need to be on Fridays if you’re a wedding photographer!
- You’ll actually have days that you’re available for friends! Now for Michael and I, “rest” is “not working”… but it doesn’t mean that we lay on the couch all day. It’s “restful” for us to spend a day with our friends Buddy and Jill at their farm… or going out to eat on a weeknight with our friends from Church. The issue we were running into was that we didn’t have free nights for these things before marking our “Orange days”!
- You’ll feel balanced….. and that’s a GREAT feeling. It’s hard to accomplish this and we don’t always feel balanced and refreshed but we’re getting better at it! Thank goodness for the “Orange Days”!!!
Ps. The “green” on our calendar is our “Blogging Calendar”! Just in case you were wondering! :) Also! I realize this isn’t ideal for those with 9-5 jobs. This is catered more towards the full timers who need help determining their schedules like us!