This will be something that I talk much more about in the future – work-life integration (not balance, as I don’t think there truly ever is “balance”).  But as we are hitting the core of the wedding season for many of us, are you actually taking time off?  Is it proactive and intentional?  Or is it last-minute as you’ve hit a wall (or got sick) and need time off?

I think that this is one of the hardest things for wedding industry entrepreneurs and small business owners to deal with.  After all, making our living in the wedding industry means that our life is busiest when the world tends to be slowest – on weekends – and our potential time off is when our clients are often back to work and back to their emails.

So how do you deal with that?  We know that working seven days a week with no downtime is a recipe for burnout – and that helps no one.  And it’s also rough on relationships, both family relationships and friend relationships.  Not to mention on your health.

So what do you do?  Do you have a set “day off” each week?  I know that some wedding pros take Mondays off.  Personally, I find that a tough day to take off, as my couples are clearly back to work and emailing me, as are new inquiring couples.  Wednesdays tend to be an easier day off for me – midweek so it’s after the get-back-to-work rush and before the wedding weekend prep.  But I also have found that I need to be flexible and carve out days off as I find them, as every Wednesday isn’t an option for me – I sometimes have other obligations that I cannot move on some Wednesdays.  And sometimes a cool opportunity for something specific to do pops up on another day.

And what do you do on that day (or days) off?  Do you not check emails at all?  Do you check them in the morning and at night but ignore them in between?  Do you carve just a certain number of hours out, but not the whole day?  With the ability to work from our laptops and our phones, this is absolutely the toughest thing to do, I think, as it’s easy to work a bit from most anywhere.  Plus, let’s be honest, ignoring our emails for an entire day can sometimes take the rest of the week to crawl back out from (or is that just me??)!  And that’s not always worth it.

But, no matter when you do it, and how you do it, carve time out for yourself.  Even if just a morning where you let yourself sleep in extra long (can you tell that I have no kids when this is one of my favorite options?), or you shut down the computer midday and go for a long lunch and walk with your best friend, or a nice facial and massage with some of the gratuities from your grateful clients…  you need some time off.  We need to remember that we can’t take care of others – be it our clients or our family members or both – if we don’t take care of ourselves too.