(Editor's Note: Today we welcome our friend and colleague Meghan Ely of OFD Consulting, with a fantastic piece on whether work/life balance is actually an achievable thing in the wedding biz. Read more about Meghan at the end of the post!)
Ah, the ever-coveted work/life balance. From my experience, most people tend to lean towards one side or the other – rarely is it a 50/50 split. In the event industry, it can be especially difficult to prioritize your time as we’re often dealing with weddings and events on the weekends and weeknights.
The truth behind a supposed work/life balance is actually that there is no one solution. Everyone sets their own expectations for themselves and it’s up to each individual to find the right balance for their lifestyle. Some people may go crazy if they don’t have a two-day period to themselves, while others may prioritize dinnertime with the family every night.
It’s crucial to your sanity to set aside time each day to truly be in the moment and remember that life is about more than just work, work, work.
“I believe it’s really important to take some time for yourself before, during, and after the workday,” shares Araceli Vizcaino-S of Azazie. “If you have a flexible work schedule, take time to do what you really love before starting the day, whether it’s working out, reading, or cooking a yummy breakfast. During the day, take breaks for a quick coffee or a walk around the block – it’s a good way to rest your eyes and give yourself a fresh start for the rest of the day.”
Sometimes, however, a fresh breath of air just isn’t enough to sort everything else. When work gets overwhelming, you may have to start using that two-letter word everyone hates – “no.” While it may not be easy, it’s necessary to be able to draw boundaries to protect yourself and your business when you need it the most.
“During wedding season, I mark days off on my calendar so I can make time for date nights with my husband and lunches with my friends,” explains Kaysha van der Heyden of Kaysha Weiner Photographer. “If it’s on my calendar, I won’t schedule work during those times to ensure that I make time for myself and loved ones. Many times, I have to say no to events, shoots, or meetings on a certain day because I know I won’t be at my prime. It’s actually the best thing you can do for yourself and your company. ”
One of the unique aspects of the event industry is the cycle of peak season and off-season, especially when it comes to weddings. While off-season is by no means a hiatus from being a business owner, it does provide professionals with an opportunity to take a step back and regroup. This is the perfect time to explore a new passion or take a trip with family – but avoid the temptation to check in on things while away.
“Scheduling time off is huge,” stresses Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound Event Services. “But you have to respect it as time off as well. I hate to say it, but it’s not vacation if you’re checking your email every 20 minutes. Take the time away from work and know that everything can be handled when you return. Surround yourself with a great team, so you don’t even have to worry about taking time off because things will be managed.”
At the end of the day, it’s all about finding a balance that makes you happy – not your clients, not your employees, and certainly not your competitors. Just because somebody else seems to have more work than you, understand that everything comes with its cost and even the busiest, most efficient people have to give-and-take as well. Don’t feel guilty about taking time off – you deserve it!
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.