December 20, 2018
I’m a hustler. I always have been and I swear, I was born to be one. I was literally created for this entrepreneur life but that doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle with it. As I’m writing this, I’m sitting at my kitchen table while my daughter watches Captain Underpants in the room next to me. Everything is frustrating to me today. Everything is stressful and the phrase “to-do list” is a four-letter word right now. So what do you do when you don’t have the mental health capacity to tackle your to-do list?
I wake up ready to hustle and take on the tasks, big and small to keep my business going, ninety-nine percent of the time. So why do I feel so damn guilty for saying no to work? Why does my mental health get pushed to the backburner? Why do I push through to tackle more of the daunting tasks that don’t really mean much in the grand scheme of things at the end of the day? Don’t get me wrong, I know the work I’m doing is important for my business but how important is it that I do it today? In most cases, it’s not.
Today was Brantley’s last day of school before the Christmas break. Do you know what that means? Send in ___ on this day, buy a book for the book exchange, send in _____ for the Christmas party, don’t forget pajama day on _____ and holiday pictures on _____. Also, there have been cases of strep, stomach viruses, the flu, and lice so remind your kids to wash their hands and not to share hats…and she’s only in preschool.
Don’t mistake my venting for anything other than that. I know that one day the holidays won’t be a big deal at school and I’ll miss the days of school parties and pajama days. I’m only saying it’s a lot to keep straight and even supermom would feel like she’s drowning.
Normally I start in January and I’m finished by summer time but this year was totally different. We renovated our forever home and made it the house of our dreams (well, mostly. We still have a few big projects coming — remodeling is EXPENSIVE!) and we moved right before school started.
Since we knew we were going to be moving, I put a hold on Christmas shopping so that we wouldn’t have to hide, move, and rehide gifts. Of course, things got busy with back to school, my busy season, birthdays, getting our old house ready to list, selling our old house, and now Christmas. So I’ve been out with the rest of the last minute crazies and everything from the crowds in the stores to triple the normal traffic — and in Atlanta, that’s saying A LOT — leaving the house just stresses me out.
Luckily I only have 3 gifts left to purchase plus stocking stuffers because I have zero self-control and I can’t buy Christmas candy until like 12/23 or I’ll eat it all.
Again, not complaining because we feel so blessed that Brantley has so much family. She was able to meet all of her great-grandparents and all but one are still with us. I know how lucky we are in that aspect. We’re also lucky that everyone lives so close. The majority of our families live within a 3-hour drive. The problem is we end up traveling so much during the holidays.
We spend the 23rd with my family, the 24th we honor Colby’s traditions growing up, Santa visits our house on Christmas morning, and this year we’re going to his sister’s house Christmas afternoon. I love our busy holidays because it means we get to see all the people we love most but I swear I need a vacation afterward because it’s exhausting. If you know me, you know this part isn’t to offend anyone and I know that others have to do way more traveling than we do, I’m just making a point and I promise I’ll get there soon.
While the busy season is officially over, the “real” busy season has just started. There’s very little to shoot for most photographers this time of year unless you live on a tropical island but now it’s time to analyze all of our metrics for the year and make adjustments. We’re preparing our documents for tax time and planning our strategies for next year.
I’m creating a lot of content. I’m setting goals and figuring out how to reach them. I’m scheduling posts on social media because as much as I love posting about my work and my life, I want to be present with my family through the holiday season. I’m creating systems and fixing the broken systems within my business so that I’m able to better serve every single one of you and every single one of these things are stressful.
I’m hoping that in the next few years I’ll have a better routine that will make this process easier or maybe I’ll be able to outsource some of these things that bring me so much anxiety but for now, I’m mentally overwhelmed and I need to get back on track.
Don’t. Take the day off. Take 24 hours for yourself without email, without social media, and without worrying about next year’s numbers. Go to lunch with a friend, stay in with a cheesy Netflix movie and a bottle of wine, reach out to a professional and start outsourcing the things that are constantly bringing you stress and anxiety.
Is it constant or are you only overwhelmed right NOW? Start by writing down ALL of your tasks that you need to tackle. Got it? Now highlight everything that is time sensitive. I don’t mean time sensitive in the sense that it needs to get done, but time sensitive in the sense that it needs to be done and done soon.
Now look at your highlighted list and see if there’s anything you can outsource, either to get it off your plate for now or consistently. Put a star by the things you plan to outsource. Great. Look at everything that’s not highlighted. Think hard about what is actually important and what actually needs to get done. Can you eliminate anything from your list? Great! Put a line through the things you don’t have to do. Now you need to prioritize the time-sensitive tasks that you can’t outsource.
I like to have a list of 3 things I need to get done each day. I don’t always finish my list, sometimes I finish way more than my 3 tasks, but this keeps you on track without being super overwhelming. I normally do super well with breaking my tasks down this way (time management is such a fun topic for me to talk about and I understand that’s completely weird!) but I’ve gotten way off track this holiday season. Not to worry though; I’m getting my list of priorities straightened out this weekend (;
Perfect! Now go to the spa, get a massage, read a book, go for a walk, take a trip to the grocery store BY YOURSELF (and all the mamas said, “Amen!”)
You deserve to take care of yourself. Don’t let your mental health suffer because you feel outside pressure to get things done.