At FOTO, we are committed to helping our fellow creatives flourish. In our new Q&A style blog series, Coffee with Creatives, we are highlighting the unique expertise of some of our favorite professionals, sharing tips and information on relevant topics to bring you some practical insight and inspiration for the important work you do.
Today, we are uncovering how to slow down and design your work/life balance with intention with entrepreneur and Founder of Intentionally Designed, Rachel Green.
First things first, how do you take your coffee? (And if you are not a coffee drinker, what is your beverage of choice to energize you?)
Rachel: I’m not a big coffee drinker, and when I do rarely drink coffee, it is usually more creamer than coffee! I’m pretty boring and drink mostly water throughout the day to keep me going.
Tell us a bit about yourself and the mission behind Intentionally Designed?
Rachel: I am a city girl turned farmer's wife who has grown to love and cherish slow living. I spend my hours on the floor playing with blocks, at the park pushing swings, and in the kitchen making meals for my two little ones. In between that, I am running my business that helps support my family and allows me to do what I love. I am an entrepreneur, designer, writer, and glass half full kind of gal dedicated to helping other women build an intentional business that gives them the freedom to live a more intentional life. I believe in balance, grace, and intention and it is my mission to share that with others.
Why do you think it's so easy to get swept up by the busyness of everyday work and life? What are some of your top tips for slowing down and finding balance each day?
Rachel: I think as women we are wired to naturally want to do it all and take care of everything. We see a list of things to do and we instinctively start working to cross them off until it’s done. Initially busy can feel good because you feel like you’re accomplishing something. But when you stop to think about what you are actually doing and how you are spending your time, it might not look so great. It’s easy to get caught up in the to-do list of each day because we can put our heads down and do the work that needs to be done, but when we really think about what we are doing versus what actually matters it might not match up. We might be filling our days with tasks that we think we “should” be doing instead of things that will help us reach our big picture goals. When I finally realized that, I learned how to cut out so many things so I could focus on things that actually move me forward with intention. Learning to slow down is a process, and some days will just be busy, but the best place to start is by taking a hard look at where you’re spending your time and energy and determine what can be let go. Balance is a long-term thing and one day won’t be exactly 50:50. But when you are being really intentional with each day balance will come more naturally. You’ll find that your work and life are more balanced when you are just doing the things that matter most in each.
As creative professionals, we are constantly seeking fresh perspective. Can that be balanced with "routine?"
Rachel: I am a big believer in routines because I think they help take the guesswork out of what to do next. But I am also a big believer in keeping your routines flexible. Establishing a good routine for areas of your work or life will help to make simple and repetitive tasks easier. It allows you to go through the same process over and over again without thinking and makes it a little faster to get through the task. You know what to expect when you have a routine but that doesn’t mean you can’t ever change it. Switching up your routine with a fresh perspective will keep you from getting bored and may make a less exciting task feel new again.
Many of us work weekend weddings, have shoots all week and edit late into the evening hours. Any advice for how we can avoid that dreaded feeling of burnout?
Rachel: It is so easy to work all day and all night when you’re an entrepreneur. There is always something to do and as the boss, you feel like you need to get it done and get it done now. But the truth is that you don’t have to. In fact, as the boss, you can set your own hours and stick to them. You can decide when you want to work, how many hours you’ll spend on each area of your business, and let others know what to expect of you. I understand that there will always be late nights to catch up on work and busy seasons that you just can’t avoid. But I think the key is breaking that cycle eventually and making sure that it’s not how you run your business all the time. I strive to stick with my set hours so that I don’t spend too many nights and weekends working, but it still happens sometimes. If we aren’t careful it will wear us down quickly. My best advice is to balance it out by alternating your late nights with restful evenings and not pushing yourself too far. Always remember that it’s ok to get behind, miss a deadline, or make a mistake. Most of the time your clients will be more than understanding because they’ve probably been in your shoes too. Be honest if you need more time to complete something so that you don’t overwork yourself and they will understand. It is never worth it to reach that point of burnout because it is a hard hill to climb back up.
As an entrepreneur, what encourages you to keep going?
Rachel: I genuinely love what I do and the people I work with. I believe wholeheartedly in my mission and want to spread that to as many women as possible. Although I never imagined I would be an entrepreneur, now that I’ve been doing this for a while I realize I was made for it. I am usually filled with motivation just by loving what I do, but for the days when I may be lacking in motivation, I find that taking a step away helps most. Getting some fresh air, taking a day off, or searching for inspiration elsewhere usually does the trick, making me ready to jump into work again. I am also deeply encouraged by my family. I want to work hard to help provide for my family and be a good example of hard work for my kids.
And lastly, what Fotostrap do you wear?
Rachel: I’ve got the James Fotostrap on my camera and I adore it! I love the look and feel of it and the little reminder to be intentional that is imprinted on it.
Looking for more inspiration from industry creatives? Check out these other Q&A's:
Coffee with Creatives: Misty Rodda's Tips on Keeping a Fresh Perspective
Coffee with Creatives: Katie Lamb's Tips on Finding that "Mompreneur" Work/Life Balance
Coffee with Creatives: Caroline Jurgensen's Tips on Running a Business with her Spouse