1. Create a Workflow…and Stick to it
Workflow is something we talk a lot about at Aisle Planner, and for good reason—it really is the number-one key to preventing burnout and ensuring you save some of that all-important sanity of yours. Think of your workflow as basically an action-item list that acts as a formula you follow for every single client or lead. It helps to ensure you’re not reinventing the wheel every time you sign a new couple by giving you a list of formulaic steps to work from. So, if you don’t have a defined workflow now, stop everything you’re doing and get to writing one. You can learn how to define your workflow here, and read about how to use Aisle Planner’s checklist feature to help drive your workflow here.
2. Take Regular Breaks…No Really
The struggle with screen addiction is real. As planners, there’s never a time of day that we’re off work—and we often do that thing where we tell ourselves, I’ll just answer this one email and then I’ll take a break…only to find ourselves still glued to our work three hours later. Trust us when we say—we know how hard it can be to step away from work. As small business owners, we aren’t guaranteed a one-hour lunch break or two 15-minute breaks throughout the day, as is the case for those who work a typical 8-5 for an employer. Every minute we’re away from our laptop is a minute we’re not building our brand and booking leads. But what good are you to your couples if you work yourself to the bone and, as a result, end up making mistakes or missing a big to-do for their wedding? Forcing yourself to take breaks throughout the day is absolutely imperative to both your personal mental health and your ability to do your job well.
A good trick for all of you workaholics out there? Pencil in 15-minute breaks as you would a meeting—set calendar alerts to remind you when it’s time to get up and get some fresh air, and don’t allow yourself to skip these breaks (just as you wouldn’t allow yourself to no-show for a meeting). At first, you’ll find it’s hard to turn your brain off during these breaks—but, after a few weeks of breaking at the same exact time each day, you’ll have retrained your brain to accept those breaks as downtime, and shutting off for a 15-minute walk or coffee break will start to feel natural. Plus, you’ll return to your desk feeling refreshed, invigorated, and ready to tackle the rest of your to-dos.
3. Rethink the Way you Look at “No”
Every time a wedding planner says no, a bridal angel gets its wings…or so we like to think. As planners, we tend to be perfectionists. Couple that with the fact that our society often equates the word “no” with failure, and it’s easy to see why we can fall into the trap of overbooking ourselves. We challenge you, though, to retrain your brain when it comes to the ideas you have about the word “no.” Every time you say NO to something, you’re actually saying YES to something else (by saying no to that after-hours fundraiser, you’re saying yes to spending time with your family; by saying no to baking those cookies for that bake sale, you’re saying yes getting other work done; by saying no to that birthday party for an acquaintance, you’re saying yes to a Friday night spent recouping and relaxing).
It’s that age-old economic concept of “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” In order to be somewhere, we are giving up the ability to be somewhere else. Stop worrying about hurting feelings or looking like the bad guy and, instead, focus your attention on what you’re gaining by saying no (or what you’re giving up by saying yes). The next time you’re getting ready to automatically say yes to something out of obligation, ask yourself what you’re saying no to. By saying yes to helping design that powerpoint are you then saying no to being able to get your work down at a reasonable hour tonight? And, most importantly, is that a sacrifice you’re willing to make?
A good tip for turning down a request? You don’t always need to make an excuse–don’t feel like you have to justify your response with a white-lie (“I’d love to, but I’m not feeling well!”). You’re an adult and, as such, have every right to politely and gracefully decline a request without offering up an excuse. (“I’m sorry, I won’t be able to help with this–but I appreciate you reaching out!”)