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Setting Boundaries

April 24, 2014


Something that’s been knocking heavily on my proverbial door for the past 6 or so months is a little thing called boundaries. I knew when I went full time with my business that they were going to be incredibly important – no, essential – to a healthy life/work balance. I am a Type A workaholic who loves change. That’s me in a nutshell (oh yea, and a Disney fanatic) and I use to rationalized it as being okay, being my “normal – the way things were. I rationalized it because I was a full time nurse, full time photographer, and part time student.

Needless to say, my life/work balance was more “work/life and no balance”. I placed work above everything. Above sleep, food, my husband, my friends and family… even above God. You may think I’m exaggerating but ask anyone close to me and they’ll tell you. Something had to change and I sincerely thought that quitting nursing and school would fix it. In truth, it helped (tremendously!!!) but something was still missing. I thought I would magically find more time during the day for friends, family, devotional, etc. How was it that I was even MORE busy than before? Where were these extra hours in the day that I didn’t have before?

Again, I rationalized it, saying it was going to be like this during the “transitional period”. I remember my mom asking me, How long is this transitional period?? It wasn’t until the Pursuit 31 conference in October where it seemed like every single speaker was speaking directly to me. Boundaries, boundaries boundaries! Life is more than work! Your family and friends should come BEFORE your work… GOD has to be the priority! I finally realized that God wasn’t the head of my business, or even my life, and it wasn’t going to get any better until He was. The stress I feel with my business (all the time?), the burnout I briefly experienced was not because I wasn’t doing what He called me to do… which, thank God because I wholeheartedly thought I was! It was Him telling me, Hey, remember Me? I gave you this business for you to do My will. I’m the boss here, not you.

It was SO convicting! That week in October changed me. It changed my business too but you wouldn’t know it by looking at my work/life as of late. But a few weeks ago, at Connect, I was reminded of those feelings I felt in October and more pieces were added to the puzzle for me to finally put it all together. I now know what I have to do and it’s freeing. They say that you can’t blame others for how they treat you because from the beginning, you are training them on how you want to be treated. Once I realized that, the boundaries were easy to establish.

Starting April 28th, 2014 (My Birthday!) my office hours will be as follows:

MONDAY & TUESDAY 10 am – 4 pm

Wednesdays, Thursdays, & Fridays I’ll be working at the hospital and Saturdays are weddings days (duh). Sundays and week day evenings will be spent with friends and family.

On Mondays & Tuesdays I will only open my email three times a days for about 30 minutes each time: first thing in the morning, right after lunch, and right before I quit for the day. On Wednesdays, Thursdays, & Fridays I will open my email for about 30 minutes each evening. Saturdays and Sundays are no email days.

I’m shutting off all social media on Sundays. WHOA. That’s going to be a big change for me but it’s definitely necessary. No Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram – none of it. Here’s another necessary change that might take a while to get use to for you guys:

I will no longer be checking or responding to Facebook messages on my personal or business page.
If you need to reach me, please email me.

As in, I will no longer be shooting on Sunday. Sunday is suppose to be a day of rest but I’ve not been treating it as such. I will be using Sunday, ALL OF SUNDAY, to spend time in communion with family, friends, and most importantly God. I use to freak out over the thought of not doing anything work related on any given day but I’m actually looking forward to this!

When I started photography almost 4 years ago, I would photograph whatever whoever whenever. Anything to get experience. Now that I’ve found my niche, I am going to start doing what I’ve never done (or been able to do) before – I am going to start saying “no” to photographing anything other than what I feel I am actually good at photographing. That would be anything other than weddings, engagements, couples in love, and senior girls. I will still photograph newborns and families for my very close friends, but that’s it.

Now that I’ve returned to nursing (part time), it’s even more important that I stick to these boundaries or my life will run right back into the rut it was in this time last year. Some of these won’t happen overnight but I am committed to working on them until they’re second nature. Some people would assume that having boundaries causes you to be inattentive, unreachable and/or rude. Paradoxically, it’s the opposite. Having healthy boundaries allows you to be more free to focus on the important things, those that truly matter, thus allowing your work to be better. Setting boundaries is just one of the ways that I intend of simplifying my life this year to make things happen!