By Tony Schwartz, “The Social Media DJ”
I’m admittedly a workaholic. I blame it mostly on a motivational poster I saw every day in college on my way to class. It read: “Choose a job that you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
What a load of crap.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE what I do. But it’s still work. LOTS OF WORK. Take a heavy workload, add in six or so months of constant stress and – as any wedding professional can attest – burnout is inevitable. And truth be told, I’m burnt out right now, as I write this.
However, I’m a smart guy and I’ve learned how to beat (and avoid!) wedding business burnout. Allow me to offer 13 tips on how I do it:
Keep This In Perspective, First.
Those mega-hit songs of the summer? I’m over them. But for my couples, and their guests, they’ve waited all year to dance to those hit songs at their wedding celebration. As a performer, I’ve always kept that perspective in mind. Mentally, I’m bored with songs by Silento, The Weeknd, and Walk The Moon, but physically, my body language is screaming “I LOVE THIS JAM!”
Relive Your Success.
Take a second look at the thank you cards, reviews, and other tokens of appreciation you received over the past year from your clients. Watch their highlight videos, look at their photo galleries and recall all those awesome memories you helped them create. Let your past successes re-fuel your desire to continue doing your passion.
Close Out The Season That Was
It’s hard to move forward to booking the next season of wedding receptions if remnants of the past season are still lingering around. Write out those last few thank you cards, file away those client folders, finish those blog entries, and clear your entire workspace of the season that was so you can focus on the season to come.
Take A Vacation.
All those summer vacations you saw on Facebook that your friends posted and left you a bit jealous? It’s time to take yours. Escape the cold winter months, grab your flip-flops and shades, go somewhere warm for a few weeks, and recharge those batteries!
Even if you aren’t the island type, no matter what you choose to do for a vacation, go all-in and avoid everything work-related.
Unplug From Technology.
That smartphone of yours? Ignore it when your work day is done. Don’t check email. Don’t answer a text message from clients and/or colleagues. Put it on DND except for family contacts and leave it in a docking station at home – this will remove the temptation to constantly look at it.
Unless I have a wedding coming up that particular weekend, emails and text messages can wait until the next business day.
Change Your Routine.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve followed a routine. However, when I start to feel burnt out, I like to switch it up. In the off-season, I like to wake up a little later, and be a little more leisurely with my morning. For example, today I woke up around 9:30, had coffee and some breakfast, hit the gym, showered, and finally got to work around 2 pm. As soon as I hit publish on this blog, I’ll be done – a nice three-hour work day.
Wedding professionals: you work an ungodly number of hours during the wedding season; during the off-season, put in the absolute minimum each day and enjoy a little bit of life.
Schedule Your Off-Season Projects.
It’s daunting to look at a large to-do list and just keep putting the entire thing off each day. Instead of procrastinating and setting yourself up for a future burnout by having to get it all done at once, schedule when to start and complete each project on your off-season calendar. Remember, the key is to keep your off-season light and easy.
Prioritize Each Off-Season Work Day Based On Your Goals.
Before you begin your work day, prioritize that day’s to-do list with what is most important and/or time sensitive. Decide how many hours you want to put in for that particular work day, and then start working from your prioritized to-do list. When your allotted amount of time is up, end the day by writing a new to-do list for tomorrow and then go home. Repeat the process daily.
Break Each Work Hour Into 45/15 Segments.
For me, the off-season is my chance to pump the brakes a bit and not go a hundred miles per hour all day, every day. So, I came up with a more leisurely approach: work diligently for 45 minutes and then spend 15 minutes – get ready for it! – not working. For example, I may work on a blog entry for 45 minutes, and then spend the next 15 minutes playing with Chesney or watching YouTube cooking videos. I’ve found that this 45/15 pace allows me to maintain focus, while producing quality work, without feeling burnt out.
For the longest time, I HAD to be in control of everything that had anything to do with my business. However, I’ve realized two things: being able to delegate means not having an ego, and understanding that most of the things I have to-do won’t matter a year from now anyways. I’m going to explain this further in another blog post, but for now, just understand this when it comes to avoiding burnout through delegation: unless it requires a set of skills I excel in, it’s easier to just assign, or pay, a perfectly capable individual to handle it for me.
Work On Improving Fitness & Nutrition.
Here is something I’ve noticed: when I’m eating clean and getting my workouts in, I am about as far away from feeling burnout as one can be. However, when I start to slack off towards the end of wedding season, I feel the burnout come on in a hurry. When we fuel and train our bodies correctly, especially during the off-season, they will be able to endure the constant on-the-go stress workload that wedding season brings.
The key to maintaining a great work-life balance is the ability to set boundaries. If a client is texting you at a time that you don’t really want to be texting, politely let them know when they can expect to receive a reply from you. Better yet, if you don’t want clients to text you at, DON’T ANSWER THEIR TEXT MESSAGES.
Regardless, take some time to consider and update your in-season and off-season boundaries. I’ll be talking about mine in a future blog post.
Schedule Next Year’s Mini-Retreats
Once a quarter, it’s nice to escape for a three-day mini-retreat. It could be binge watching Netflix on your couch at home, staying at local destination resort that for once, you get to play at rather than work at, or taking a quick plane trip to ride roller coasters at a theme park. Whatever it is, whatever you want to do, plan those mini-retreats for next year today.