Getting burned out on your craft, art and livelihood isn't something that any entrepreneur wants to admit. Its easy to slip into comparison mode, looking around at everyone else and wonder HOW IN THE HECK everyone is making their business happen. Doing something that you love doesn't mean that you're exempt from feeling exhausted, burnt out and uncreative. Being a creative person running a creative business means you are going to experience highs and lows, especially emotionally.
Jason and I both go through seasons like this, usually varying at different times from one another. Does it mean we don't love what we do? NO. Does it mean we should quit and give up? NO. Does it mean we are bad business owners and photographers? Absolutely not.
It simply means we are HUMAN.
Something we quickly realized the first year we launched our business, was that we were going to have to do a few special things to ensure that the creative juices keep flowing. Something to protect us from potentially crashing and burning hard in the fast paced business that we run. In our first year and first year alone, we did over 150 lifestyle sessions. The entire year was a massive blessing, a total dream come true, and a complete blur. We looked at each other after the dust settled (wait, HAS it settled??) and vowed to make sure we would do a few things to keep us loving what we do. The last thing we ever wanted was for our ART to feel like a job. And we think that because of these few things we try to do, it's helped us to avoid a total burnout and creative drought. So we share these here with you today. These tid bits are short, sweet and to the point but we hope this helps you in whatever job, art or passion you might be working in.
First, it's important to GET OUT doing some kind of activity apart from your craft/job. For us, it can be as simple as a date night or as elaborate as a road trip. Making sure to have activities outside of your job that you're passionate about can really help with your work. It refreshes your brain and helps keep you interested in life!
Second, is THE DREADED WORKOUT. Getting some exercise a few times a week is a GREAT stress reliever. There is NOTHING soothing about sitting in front of a computer for 60 hours a week. Trust us, we know. And while we love the business side of our jobs (truly!), it's amazing what a little work out can do for your overall health, even mentally!
Third, is BUILDING SOMETHING. We just spent some time together building our two boys a swing set in the backyard. Not only was it something that would be great for our family to have in the backyard, it was awesome to spend time together back there building it. For us, building something usually means doing some kind of project around the house. And since we work at home, it's really rewarding and spirit lifting to make sure that things are taken care of at home. I encourage you to find some kind of project around your house or workspace and work to make it better. Your morale at work will go way up AND it will help revitalize the way at your look at the space you spend so much time in.
Fourth, is TAKING TIME OFF. Even if it's hard. Whoa. This one is SO HARD for us. We are total workaholics and it's because we LOVE what we do! That, and there is SO much to get done in one day. But it's essential that we make sure to take time off. Whether it be for coffee with a friend, a road trip or just to go to bed early, it's imperative to have a break. It's not good for your family, clients or yourself if you're worked to the bone, stressed and overly exhausted. Set some boundaries and take breaks! I promise the work will be there when you return and you'll be more productive when you come back.
Fifth, DO WHAT YOU LOVE FOR FUN. We have to make it a BIG priority to do our craft for FUN. We always have fun with our clients and we LOVE shooting weddings. But the time we have to go out and photograph in our free time is limited. So we try to make sure to carve out time, especially when we travel, to photograph things in our spare time. Searching out ONLY things that inspire us and for no purpose except to keep our passion alive for photography. Whatever art you master, it will do your work good if you carve out time each week to create something that is purely for YOU. Something to help you remember why you love and got into this field to begin with.
Overall, we are talking about BALANCE. We are both extremely busy people with a LOT to balance. WHO ISN'T? What we don't want is to fully burnout because we didn't pace ourselves. We work to live not live to work. And we want our passion for photography to remain a PASSION for as long as we live. We got into this business because we love it and we love people. It would be unfortunate if we let a creative rut or the overwhelming business side of our art get us down.
Breathe, set some goals, set some boundaries and take a break once in a while. You work hard and deserve to be in your field for the long haul!
Your clients deserve that from you too!