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be the first to admit that we’re not pros at this. We don’t have it all figured out and we don’t claim that we do things the “right way”… but Michael and I are often asked during coaching sessions and workshops “How do you balance LIFE and WORK”?! Well, we’re still working on that. However, over the past year we have been finding more ways to make sure that we’re balancing LIFE, WORK and TRAVELING. Michael and I have found that when we had weeks where we worked at home in the morning but then traveled to an engagement shoot in the evening, we didn’t feel like we could really get a lot done.

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:

  1.  If you don’t mark days off, you’ll never get them! (We know from experience!)
  2.  Knowing you have some “Stay at Home” days coming up is a stress reliever. A break is in sight!
  3.  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!
  4. 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”!
  5. 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!

xoxo, Katelyn
8 Comments Ask Anything, Education
  1. Megan reply

    This is awesome! Orange might become my new favorite color.

  2. Stephanie Messick reply

    Yes!!! This is definitely something I am doing this year! I decided to take off Sundays and not schedule more than 2 sessions (3 tops) a week! It makes a huge difference in personal and business life. :)

  3. ashley barnett reply

    SO GOOD. I literally just breathed a sigh of relief reading this post – this hits EXACTLY what Jeremy and I struggle with. Sometimes, we just want a few days AT HOME with no commitments to get things done, watch bad TV and eat three meals in our living room. This is something I am implementing RIGHT NOW. Thank you! <3

  4. Lauren Swann reply

    So good. I need to start utilizing this for sure!!

  5. Caroline Logan reply

    Oooh man I need this. You’re so right… if you don’t reserve these days ahead of time, they get filled with SOMETHING. I really think I am going to try to implement this this year, cause I sure love a good day at home. :) Thanks Katelyn!!!!!

  6. Kelly reply

    This post is so helpful! Thanks for being so open and sharing!

  7. Christy Tyler reply

    Ha! This is exactly what we do and our calendar looks very similar! I made the mistake years ago of just booking booking booking if I had the time and not realizing how vital days in the office were on their own! Now we have “office days” & “days off” marked as soon as we start booking up, so we are home at least 3 full days a week. It makes a world of difference and has SAVED our business (& marriage!) in the past couple years! :) Glad to see you’ve created some balance this year!

  8. Package Designing » Stephanie Messick Blog | Wedding and Portrait Destination Virginia Wedding Photographer reply

    […] I took yesterday “mostly” off since I had a wedding Saturday/Sunday and all I can say how beneficial that was! I still blogged, caught up with emails, cleaned/cleared equipment and culled through both weddings so they are ready to edit today but more importantly, I was able to clean up my house! You know that awesome feeling of cleaning up your home and waking up feeling super refreshed? Love it! With the season being super hectic, I have not been able to take care of personal things like laundry and tidying up my home in a few weeks. So embarrassing! I was even considering hiring a cleaner for just this one time … but no! I specifically booked in my calendar, TIME OFF so I can take care of these personal things. :) <= Thanks for the suggestion Katelyn! […]

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