Hi! My name is Rachel! If we’ve not met before, I’m a wedding photographer and business coach on a mission to help wedding professionals elevate the quality of clients they attract, craft a luxury client experience by focusing on what matters, and profitably automating everything else.
Today we are talking about 3 keys to getting out of burnout and restoring creative energy in your business. I believe that when a client invests in my services for their wedding, a huge part of what they are investing in, is yes, their wedding memories…but it’s their wedding memories channeled through me, and that means that how I show up is really important.
I veiw stoking my creative fire as one of the most important things I can do for myself and my business, and this isn’t something I just naturally do. I have to purposefully and intentionally spend time getting into that creative headspace. Like many results-focused entrepreneurs, I’ve had to learn how to do this, and I continue to learn!
Come fall, that’s when a lot of wedding professionals are getting tired, burnt out, looking at their editing load and just feeling overwhelmed. It’s my mission this year to not let myself get to that space, to really be purposeful about going into the end of the season with creative energy and NOT burnout. For me, this starts now, prior to the season really getting into full swing.
I thought I’d share with you today some of the things I do to keep myself in that creative zone and recover from burnout.
- Grace for your to-do list
We only have so much time in the day, and especially as a mom, we really don’t have “extra” time. I want to prioritize time with my daughter, time with my hubby, time with my family, time for myself…and yet there’s always this to-do list of urgent matters, big problems—things that need doing.
What I’ve come to believe is that it’s actually an unrealistic standard to hold over myself that I SHOULD be getting my to-do list done. That I’m “behind”, being lazy or failing if I don’t get as much finished off my to-do list as I wanted. As an entrepreneur, it’s really easy to develop an internal dialogue of shaming ourselves for stuff not done. The TRUTH though is that we are usually doing 2-5 people’s jobs on top of being a good mom, wife, etc.
So the answer here is—give yourself grace for the to-do list. Most of you are not procrastinators, most of you are not lazy. Really ask yourself honestly, do you believe you are lazy? When I ask myself that, the answer is a resounding no. Sometimes I misplace my time, but I am not lazy, so I shouldn’t be accusing myself of that.
Often there’s extra circumstances in our life—relational situations, life events, accidents, medical emergencies—and those things take time. Give yourself grace for living and tending to your life.
The to-do list will always be there, and you can always come back to it. It can wait a few hours, a few days, I promise. This is something I have to tell myself every day:
You are where you are supposed to be. Trust yourself.
As an entrepreneur, the go go go, do do do trap is real, and something to actively guard against as it WILL burn you out.
- Getting into your heart space
I’ve learned to be very purposeful about spending time getting into my heartspace. For me this means spending time in the morning off my phone, not letting other people’s thoughts and experiences into my thoughtspace. Letting your thoughts breathe and just have time to decompress and think is crucial for me getting into any kind of creative zone.
I also try and take an early morning walk when I can, even if it’s super cold outside, because I know that my brain needs that forward momentum and movement. I usually take a quick drive to a place with a beautiful view and purposefully spend time meditating, praying, saying my affirmations, letting my thoughts have space, listening to good music and going for a walk.
When I first started doing this, I didn’t think I had time for a whole hour to myself in the morning, but as I developed the discipline and actually forced myself out the door at 6 AM to have time to myself, the more I’ve really come to value that time. I come home refreshed, energized and ready for the day. My hubby works from home, so I have the flexibility to do this, and I know not everybody does, but try to find a way to do some of this for yourself.
Get away from distractions, from other people’s thoughts for a while and allow yourself space to breathe.
I also try and do other non-stressful creative things that don’t take up all of my brain and just let me experience creativity outside of my business. For me those are singing in a chorus that meets weekly, going to a weekly dance class, playing the piano, singing my heart out while washing the dishes, hand making a card for a friend because I want to, drawing, painting, etc. It’s when I’m doing these things that I usually have a lot more of my inspiration moments.
For you it will be whatever you just feel complete joy doing. What makes you feel creative without stress? What can you do to just create and enjoy beauty, enjoy art, enjoy music etc.?
I also like designing several creative photo shoots during the year, what I want to see in my portfolio, what I love to shoot, and just spend a day with some amazing creatives making beautiful art.
Basically, in order to avoid burnout, you need to allow yourself the grace from your to-dos and be purposeful in nurturing your creative spark.
And really, doesn’t work go so much faster when you’re inspired to do it, when you can just kinda flow through it, rather than push yourself to do it? I know it to be true that when I focus on geting into that creative zone, rather than pushing for that finished list, I actually get a lot more done!
- Assess what’s stressful and get it off your plate
So we’ve talked about giving yourself grace from your to-do list and spending time nurturing your creative spark, but now we get to the part where YES there are things that HAVE to be done in order for our business to function.
Like I mentioned, we as entrepreneurs and small business owners are often doing 2-5 jobs worth of work, and so really the best thing you can do for yourself is to assess what is stressful about your business or even your life, and get it off your plate as much as possible.
For me, that means hiring an assistant who does all of my social media posting, all of my blogging, submitting, client mailing and video editing for me, as well as a system for culling and editing that takes very little of my time. For others, maybe that means hiring a personal chef to do meal prep for you, a housekeeper to come help every now and then, help with housework, etc.
Chances are most of these things are actually a lot less expensive than you think. I know for me, the ROI on being able to stay in the creative zone is huge because I spend my time charging forward with creativity, rather than getting bogged down with the busy work. It allows me to have massive forward momentum toward the big vision of my life because I’m getting the stressors and the busy-work off my plate.
I get to spend more time coaching other photographers, which I love doing and makes me so happy, and I get to spend more time doing the creative work I love. Am I done, is my life perfect? Heck no. there’s still so much more I would like to do to get more off my plate and improve about my business.
The students in my Empowered Weddings Masterclass are getting really practical help with all of this as we are going deep into actaully understanding and implementing all of this for them. We are taking a look at their business processes and making changes that allow them to scale, allow them to grow, and allow them to keep the creative flame alive and well so they can focus on the really important things in life.
If you want some personalized help with understanding more about what might be keeping you in burnout, I offer free 15-minute business audits. These audits are not sales calls, they are literally there to get you clarity and help you find the missing piece.