Finding the right work / life balance as a wedding photographer

If you haven't heard back from me via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter quite as quickly as usual it's because I've been on 'holiday' for a week. Why the quotation marks? It because that I'm now self employed rather than an employee.

After working as an employee for 20 years or so, being self employed sounded great. I could fit my work schedule around my family, I'd be doing the work that I wanted to do and I didn't have a boss breathing down my neck. Of course, the reality is a little bit different.

Yes, I can take a break when I like in theory, but I can also work when I should be relaxing with my family. My iPhone is my office in my pocket and I can receive and respond to a wedding enquiry e-mail at 11:00pm. I get notifications via Twitter ands Facebook, and even through Instagram. It's easy to pull out my laptop and edit some photos when I think I have a spare half hour. Of course half and hour turns into an hour and then two hours...

With a regular job it's easy to demarcate your time - you're at work, so you're working. When you're at home, you're not working. It's far more blurred when you're self employed and work from home and it's easy for your family to suffer as a result. And that's just crazy because one of the main reasons I wanted to work for myself is to be able to spend more time with my family!

To that end, I have put a few things in place to ensure I leave my 'office.'

The first is that I have designated every Thursday as family day spend this time with my wife, Alicia and my daughter, Audrey. On a Thursday I won't respond to anything but the most urgent e-mail or phone call.

I have also booked out family holidays throughout the year, just as I would do if I was an employee. This past week was the first such holiday, where I kept my work phone calls and e-mails to an absolute minimum.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not complaining about my lot. I'm just working through something I didn't even consider would be an issue when I started this journey. 

I'd love to hear from any other photographers or self employed people reading this blog. How do you find the right work / life balance?

Here are a few pics of what I got up to with my daughter last week.

It's just a shame that the weather was so poor!