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Pros Share Their Work/Life Balance Tips

Event industry pros are good at juggling. I’m not talking bowling pins or oranges (but if you’re in need of a laugh, that doesn’t hurt to visualize), but juggling our day-to-day schedules without going insane. Admittedly, we need some help in the work/life balance at times, especially during busy season. So, how can we collectively combat the cycle of being glued to your laptop and missing out on family time? The pros weigh in on their tips and tricks to a healthy mindset, both in and out of the office.

“Many of us are self-managing machines without an off-switch, be it in the beginning stages of growing a business or when every project seems to have a conflicting deadline with another.”

Be patient with your process

Many of us are self-managing machines without an off-switch, be it in the beginning stages of growing a business or when every project seems to have a conflicting deadline with another. Katherine Healy Brown of Clover Events says, “The most important thing I’ve learned over the last decade of working for myself is to be patient. There are times when it feels like I’m not giving anything 100% (work, home, family, relationships, etc.), but I have to take a moment to give myself grace and love. I definitely won’t accomplish anything being so hard on myself!”

Sometimes this involves being realistic with yourself, according to Paulette Alkire of Chalet View Lodge. “For personal celebrations like family birthdays or holidays, I take the next day off. I give myself that day of recovery instead of feeling guilty that I was not productive at work,” she says. “I can feel good about putting in a productive day at work, get home, celebrate, and know that I have no meetings or pertinent deadlines the next day.”

Block-scheduling your time off

Go easy on yourself. Small breaks here and there won’t hurt your schedule if they’re just that—scheduled. Amy Abbott of Amy Abbott Events chimes in, saying, “Set business hours. Millennials understand the need for ‘unplugged time.’ I map out my schedule each day and stick to it barring any emergencies.”

Ashley Stork, Owner of Magnolia Vine Events, agrees with keeping your work hours consistent while valuing your own time. “Everyone else does not need to dictate your schedule and that’s fine. They will be okay if you answer the email tomorrow!”

Alkire is no stranger to giving herself time to exhale after a long day. “What has worked for me is consistency in scheduling ‘me’ time each week. For me, it was Thursday nights, around 6–7 pm. My favorite TV show comes on and I take that hour to turn my brain off—for anyone wondering, it’s ‘Rupaul’s Drag Race!’”

It’s OK to delegate!

Eventually, part of your job will involve stepping away, even in the figurative sense when you’re at the office. Delegating tasks to other employees will allow you to carve out more time for yourself and your priorities at work, eliminating the smaller stuff that could be weighing you down. Tommy Waters, Owner and Event Coordinator of The Renaissance says, “I used to be that person who would show someone how to do something and then turn around and say, ‘Never mind, just let me do it!’ Giving up your work to someone else can have a range of feelings from FOMO to laziness. I always look for a nice way to tell myself to just get over it.” He adds, “You are only one person with a successful business, so keep that success building by hiring quality folks that accentuate what you have to offer to your clients.” 

This includes setting clear expectations – with yourself, your employees, and your clients. Abbott notes, “If I know I am going to be busy or out of my office, I let my clients know so that they are aware and don’t think they are being ignored. Keep the communication open and your clients will understand that sometimes you need a bit of a break, too.”

Learning to let yourself relax is nothing to feel guilty about. There’s time necessary for the office and there’s time when you might find yourself peeking at your email on a Sunday night in preparation for the week ahead. The main thing is being kind to yourself and allowing flexibility for that extra personal time. Trust me, avoiding burn-out at all costs will help you in the long run!

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Meghan Ely

President, OFD Consulting, Richmond, VA

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. 

Photo: Melody Smith Portraits