Today, Matt and Kia discuss work life balance, specifically with a family/children. When Kia first started work as a photographer, she worked 60 hours a week and that didn’t stop when she had her first two children. You don’t want to miss Kia’s story after a life changing event occured. Kia says you’ll never be perfectly balanced or perfectly comfortable. Shoot for work life integration, versus balance. It doesn’t have to be 50/50. Matt talks about how parkinson’s law affects our lives. You don’t want to miss this all the great advice in this podcast!
00:00 Welcome to from nothing to profit, a photographer’s podcast with Matt and Kayak where each week they talk to photographers about what is working in their business now so you can swipe those ideas and grow your business faster.
00:17 All right, welcome everybody to the podcast today. Matt and I have a very interesting conversation topic that we’re going to be discussing and one that is super close to my heart. So Matt, you had a question the other day. What was your question?
00:31 Well, so a lot of people send me messages all the time because I do some coaching and stuff and they talk a lot about worth like more. I can’t even speak now, work life balance. And so I feel like I can help them. But there’s been a few that I couldn’t help lately and it’s because it’s based around like family. And so I just thought you could answer this better because you got children and what work life life balance work looks like for somebody that is raising kids and has kids and soccer and stuff like that.
01:00 Yeah, yeah. Oh you mentioned soccer. Absolutely. So work life balance is something that I have definitely struggled with over the years and had, I’ve, I’ve made a lot of different decisions, tried things, a lot of different ways to figure out how I can be in a comfortable position. And so, uh, just to go back a little bit, I started as a photographer right out of college. So I was married and 22 and uh, working in a family business and I was working 60, 70 hours a week. And then I had my first daughter when I was 25. And so I continued to work 60 or 70 hours a week and just brought her to work with me and then my second daughter was born and continue to work that much and they both would come to work with a nanny and then they were both in a car wreck and they were winning.
01:52 Yes. My girls and the nanny were in a car wreck. She, uh, she took them to the city. We, uh, lived in a city in a small town about 20 minutes outside of the big city, and she took them to the city to get lunch for everyone and was late coming back. Uh, and some of my, someone had said to me, well, she’s late getting back. And I was like, yes, with my children, I don’t care about lunch, I’m worried about my children. And then we got a phone call and, uh, what had happened is she, her car had, um, my car actually had a hit, a, a piece of metal that had been dropped off the road right in front of her, so other cars and had had swerved and she wasn’t able to. And so it had rolled and it was just crazy.
02:38 Like it was the grace of God truly, truly the grace of the car. The car rolled, the car rolled multiple times. Yes. Okay. Yeah. And so you don’t know the story, Matt. That’s great. Obviously don’t, so yeah. So the paramedics came up on the scene, saw all of the, she had actually also gone to the store and bought some like children’s toys. Um, this photo session. So there were all these children’s toys strewn out all across the road. The car was hanging upside down air, the other car was upside down and they pulled up and they were just sure that they were going to come across a horrific scene. And, uh, they, my five month old daughter and my two and a half year old daughter and the nanny were in the car, they were all perfectly fine except the nanny had like hurt her foot a little bit.
03:23 Like it was like her toes were smashed a little bit. They got them all out and uh, they, someone people recognize the car and someone that knew the family came up to the nanny and handed her the phone, dialed to my work and she said, we’re in a car wreck. Everyone’s okay and this is where we are. And I, my, I had, my brother worked with me at the time. I jumped in the car with him and we drove a million miles an hour up to where we were and they were all in the, um, then the ambulance and uh, went to the, um, to the hospital to check everyone out and they were all perfectly fine. But that was a turning point for me. And I was like, no more. I am not going to have a full time nanny. And she was wonderful and continued to work for me at another couple months until I made the big decision to change things. And so I made a commitment to only work two and a half days a week away from the house. And they still did come to work with me. And then I had family watched them a lot of the time. And then I eventually did have babysitters that stayed at home with them. But from then on, two and a half days a week was my max that I would ever work.
04:26 And how did that affect your business? Because from what I understand, it didn’t happen. I mean it changed your life and your business, but you’re also still highly successful. So it’s like you didn’t, I mean, did you feel like you were six days a week versus two and a half days a week was like dramatically different?
04:43 Yeah. You know, I think, um, I’d always been a very like, uh, achievement minded person. And so to me I was willing to do whatever it took to make the business great. And it did seem like I needed to be there physically be there to shoot and to be a part of everything. And it was easy because they were sweet little girls and so they just would run around the studio and that type of thing. And I felt like I was there and a part of their lives. But that moment, um, it was such a big change for me that I was like, no, I need to physically be there with them and not be doing work at the same time. And, uh, I had always been struggling with the guilt and I read in a, I don’t, I don’t know, it was some like the Times magazine or something, this big cover article about women and work and there’s this guilt factor of you feel guilty if you work, you feel guilty if you stay home.
05:37 Like there is not an in between, you know, you’re guilty no matter what. And I was always struggling with that guilt and so, um, to figure and I didn’t want to stay home. I love my job and I loved what I did. But the discipline of not having anyone there to help me with them and to take care of them made me, uh, be present with them in a different way than I had been. And I do. I did all, all through the years. I have my two and a half days of working. I did have, um, nannies and babysitters and my kids really loved all those people and made really good friends with them and I loved having them in my lives. There are some of my best friends and I would, you know, they would come to work and I would visit with them for a while.
06:20 Then I’d had a off over to the studio and then I come back and nurse the babies or whatever. And so I, what I learned is that you’re really not going to have this perfect balance and you’re really not going to be perfectly comfortable no matter what you’re doing because, uh, I think that traditionally women stayed at home and although it is a good thing that women through off them the, uh, those constraints and are able to go out into the world, there’s still these expectations and the, the way that we’re built that makes us think that we need to do all of it. You know, that now
07:01 did the expectation is you just, there’s an expectation that you’re a good parent and raise a good child.
07:06 Yes. But no, I’m talking about like the world, the expectation that you need to be the one there to do everything. You know that you, that you need to be there for their first step and you need to be there for their first smile and you need to be there feeding them every single meal and you need to be there doing all of that. But at the same time you also need to go out in the world and you know, have this job and that’s very successful and you also need to go back to your baby weight beforehand and you also need to, you know, do the groceries and make all the meals. Like there are these expectations that women, whether the world puts it on you, you put it on yourself to be the supermom. And so I heard the other day a great phrase, so it wasn’t work life balance, it was work life integration. And I think for me, yeah,
07:51 what I figured out how to balance implies 50 50
07:54 yes. That’s possible.
07:56 That may be 80 20 for a while and you’re happy doing that. And then all of a sudden you’re like, I can’t do this anymore. I need to stay in needs to go 60 40 or 80 20 the other way. And that’s fine. Like, you know, we’ve talked about this a little bit, like you’re like, okay, you know, when the summer comes we’ve got to do podcasting differently and things like that because like it’s just going to change, but it’s never going to be 50, 50.
08:14 No. And uh, I think one of the things that I’ve figured out is that sometimes I just hang out at home, you know, like I just forced myself to chill out and because I am at such an achiever and so I don’t, I put myself in situations where I can’t work, you know, where I have to go do things. And then the other thing is, is now that as my children have grown and they’re not little anymore, so I was, my schedule was working two and a half days a week. Right. So the other two and a half days I was home and sometimes I would do work and I would have things that I was doing at home, but I was home with them. No one else was there to take care of them. And then now I do it a bit differently than that. So I, I typically work two or three days a week and have those days, you know, that I go to work. But now that they’re older, I make sure that I go to as many of their events as I can go to typically.
09:10 Yeah. So I go to all of their events, uh, that I can and typically if I can’t, it’s because I’m at someone else’s event and then I just mark everything off on my calendar. And I also try to be home after school two to three days a week so that I’m here when they walk in the door and we have a conversation about what happened that day because that’s when they’re, you know, teenagers in upper elementary or ready to talk is when they get home from school. And so we’re channel them.
09:35 And so it’s like, okay, if I, if I’m going to pick 20 minutes to have with my child, you strategically, you’ve chose to pick like the 20 minutes when they get home from school, which that 20 minutes may be more valuable than having been with him two hours later. You know what I mean? Like, cause later they’re like, I just want to be on my phone, mom. I don’t want to talk. Yeah,
09:53 yeah, yeah. And I don’t necessarily leave, but uh, I definitely know that there are times that are, uh, they’re ready to talk, they’re ready to interact and then driving them to their activities. You know, we talk a lot of times when I’m driving and not, not all the time, but you know, we have good conversations driving them to activities and that type of thing.
10:11 Yeah. Or like have the, so like with my parents, it was always best right after school and while we were in the car. I completely agree with that.
10:18 Yeah. Especially with boys when you’re, the car is really good because you’re facing the same direction rather than looking at each other. And so boys are more comfortable at talking, um, side by side. So, uh, so that addresses kind of work life balance with your family. I think for me it’s definitely been something that I had to come to terms with because I knew that it was never going to be exactly perfect because neither working and not working both, we’re going to make me uncomfortable. And so I had to find something that was integrated and in between, but then also, you know, speaking of work life balance life is not just children. So there’s also work life balance with you know, exercise and eating and all of those types of things. And so I think I’m just the type of person that um, essentially I go in cycles and so sometimes of the year I do more walking, sometimes of the year.
11:13 I do classes sometimes of the year. I do like yoga. And so I just, I’ve come to the point where I just kind of allow myself to have those cycles of activity. And then as far as eating goes, I’ve really, um, I have to be really careful with what I eat anyway. And so, uh, again, kind of go in cycles of allowing myself some indulgences and not, but, um, because I have like some food intolerances and allergies and so, um, but yeah, so work life balance there. Oh. And then friends, I actually scheduled that, so I, um, hang out with a friend or two every week. And so some friends I get up really early in the morning, others I would go to lunch and we go kind of hang out. And so it’s a bit, it’s an important part of my, um, of my life and, um, I don’t do it like, oh, I need to see friends, so I’m going to do this.
12:06 I do it because I’m like, Ooh, I want, you know, this, this opportunity came up and I’m just make it a priority. So I schedule those kinds of friend hangouts to, yeah, complete sense. So does that touch everything on work life balance? I think it’s a good transition to kind of where, how I think about work life balance because you have a different, well you know, and the thing about it is, is I have a lot of people that work for me that typically don’t have kids, you know, they’re younger and so, um, I have to really help them figure out how they’re going to do it because like I don’t really, I try not to talk to the people that work for me over on the weekend. Now some of us go to church together so we visit, but I try to like really make the weekend not about work and you know, unless we actually have shoots on the weekend.
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14:22 It will help you book more clients now and create the business you’ve always wanted. So what do you do as someone that doesn’t have kids but still needs to have a, you know, you have the opportunity that you could work all the time if you want it to. Yeah, we love to work and so sometimes when we’re firing on all cylinders, work life balance feels like it’s right in line because we’re here all the time. But then there’s other times, like right now, this time of year where like I don’t want to be all the time,
14:52 you know, I don’t want to be at the studio. And so we, you know, when we’ve gone through some transitions lately too as well, like where we live right next to our studio now, we used to live 30 like 30 minutes away and now we literally live like 500 feet away from our studio. We bought a condo like right next door to our studio, which in some aspects of what has given us some good work life balance because we’re not in the car for an hour a day, but at the same time then it’s like, it’s too easy to just come over here and just work and keep working till eight o’clock or work until exactly when dinner’s done, you know? So that’s not healthy. So. So yeah, I was trying to find the balance of where you, you’re not working all the time and you’re not like just ignoring your friends and things like that.
15:32 So what I do, a couple strategies I do is I put everything in my calendar. So I scheduled stuff in advance. So like I’ll start scheduling for like, it’s a Monday right now while when we’re recording this. And I’ll start looking at next week and try to start scheduling my friend’s stuff first. Because the calendar, we’ll just fill with work stuff. If I let it, you know, there’s this whole thing, I think it’s called, I want to say it’s like called the Parkinson’s law. Um, it always throws me off cause of Parkinson’s disease, but I think it’s called Parkinson’s law. And it’s, the idea is like whatever resources you allocate to a situation, you’re going to use the resources. So if you’re, if you allocate eight hours a day to something, it’s going to take you eight hours a day to do it. But if you only allocate for, it’ll only fill up to four.
16:15 And so, you know, it’s not just time resources, but everything. Like if you allocate $1,000 Joe Project, you’ll spend $1,000 on it. And, um, so where do some careful with my readers, here’s the definition of Parkinson’s law, Matte work, fill the time available for its completion. Yep. So I’ll give you, I’ll give you just a concrete example. Like I know that I can work from like seven in the morning until seven at night. You know, I can find customers to fill all that time. So a week before, like next week I’ll start looking and like, okay, you know, I’ll, I’ll start looking for like sporting events that I can watch with my friends or I’ll look at the chamber of Commerce and see if they’re doing any events and things I enjoy doing outside of work and I’ll just, I’ll just put them on the calendar. So then they’re just blocked up and there’s no resources to allocate towards the business because of the times aren’t taken.
17:08 Now the secret to this work, I think people fall down as this, as they put something for themselves in the calendar and then they just move it. If a customer wants that, and I’m really good about like, once something’s in my calendar, it’s almost impossible to move it. And so that’s good and bad, but, so I’ll schedule, you know, people hang out with and stuff like that. The other thing I do is I have a whiteboard in my office and whenever I think about somebody that I haven’t talked to in awhile or I haven’t connected with, then I’ll write their name down. And then my goal within the next week is either to schedule an event with them or actually call them. And that kind of removes me because I’m a social person that kind of removes me from just constantly working. So for example, on my board right now, I have a Michael Malia Winslet written on my board right now and there’s somebody that I want to reach out to in the next couple of weeks.
17:55 And I mean obviously you live in Georgia so I’m not going to go see him, but um, I can have a two hour conversation with them and it takes me out of work and I can just talk to them about stuff when we may talk about work, cause we’re both photographers, but I just want to check in on them and stuff like that. So I’ll put people on my board and eventually I’ll move them to my calendar where it’s like, okay, on Tuesday at 10 o’clock I’m going to call Michael and just even if I leave a message or whatever. So the calendar is really important for me in terms of, you know, navigating those resources for sure. Um, I’m trying to think what else that I do worth while I work with my wife, which is really interesting and you can talk about this cause you used to work with Andy and so we got to find a way to like not talk about work when we are done working.
18:39 Um, and we’ve done a pretty good job of that and I think that just took some time. We still occasionally catch ourselves talking about work while we’re on the couch at home, which has never good cause it’s like eight o’clock at night. But um, we had to find things that we both like to do that doesn’t, that can removes us from work. So one of the things I do that I don’t think about work ever as when I’m fly fishing. So I have some kind of hobby that totally removes me from that. And so I can, I can do that without even thinking about work. I can go fish for like eight hours and I don’t even, email doesn’t come into my mind or anything. Um, the other thing now is Alison fly fishes with me and it’s really good at when we go fly fishing together, we don’t talk about work.
19:19 We’re definitely talking about what’s going on on the river, what’s, you know, all these different things, our dreams of where we want to go one day and things like that. Um, so that’s pretty healthy as defined that hobby that removes you from work. And one of the other things I do, which drives people crazy as I don’t, I don’t take a camera with me anywhere. You know, like when I go to events and stuff like that, I don’t carry my camera. From a networking standpoint, that’s probably bad because people may not even know I’m a photographer and if I was carrying a camera, they would know. But if, if I take my camera, I ended up working and then I ended up, you know, in some capacity or I, I’m producing images, I got to come back and edit later. And so I just don’t even take my camera with me.
19:56 I actually have a really good buddy, his name is Andy too. Andy, not your husband Andy. He loves taking pictures. Like that’s his hobby. He actually does marketing and hot phase hobbies, photography. So like I hang out with him a lot and he just runs, he does camera stuff and runs all that stuff and it’s great. And I allows me to really take a break from the camera on, from the computer and stuff like that where I can just be present and he, and then he’s also getting joy from doing the work that would actually not bring me joy. So yeah, those are just a few of the strategies that, that I do to keep my work life,
20:28 that’s for sure. Yeah. And I think, you know, over time everything changes. It’s funny cause you said your hobby was a fly fishing. I think my hobbies probably driving my children to their activities. And so I’m thinking, oh, Andy and I are going to need a hobby. And we just went to Phoenix a, you knew that, um, a couple months ago and we were hiking and I was like, Oh, this is so fun. And so one day we had nothing going on, no kids at home. So we took a dog on or our dog to the dog park and hiked through the dog park, which wasn’t, you know, really a hike like in Phoenix since we live in Kansas. But I was thinking that’s probably something that we would want to do together. Uh, so
21:09 yeah, sometimes you just fall into things like that. Like, let’s go on a hike and then you’re like, wait, this is really pleasant for our relationship and yeah, you know, it, it’s just as good. So like, let’s try to figure out how to build this in and don’t overdo it. Like we’re like, we’re hiking every Tuesday. No, it’s just like no opportunity comes when nothing’s on the schedule. Like, Oh let’s try this hiking thing again. And it may actually eventually go away and not be something you’re into. But the meantime, you know it’s really good for you guys. So yeah, you’re, yeah. I don’t know if I showed this on the podcast, so Kaia like literally on like a w I’m going to tell my version of the story like on a Wednesday, like books, plane tickets to Phoenix and sends me a message cause my parents live in Phoenix and she’s like Indian and I are going to Phoenix like tomorrow. What should we do? And I’m like, uh, and so I’m trying to think of all the stuff that I’ve done with my parents and with Alison down there and hopefully I gave you guys, gave you some good ideas, but it looked like you guys had a blog.
22:02 Yeah, we did. And def, that’s something that else that we do is traveling for me is one of the most important things to just give my brain a break. Let me step away and find some balance. But I also am always so ready to get back to work and you know, and go, okay, I thought of all these things while I was gone.
22:19 Yeah. Well, okay. Well let me talk about trauma real quick. So traveling is really interesting for me too because I love to travel and for years all I did was travel for work and so it became this thing that was like travel equals work. And so I’ve tried to break that in the last couple of years. We’re travel equals fun tune and I travel a lot for fishing now, but I need to start, I’m trying to try to add travel back in with my friends and I haven’t quite done that as well. But I want to reclaim that joy of traveling and not have it be associated with work either. So that’s a work in progress for me.
22:49 Yeah, yeah, for sure. Okay. Well, I think we’ve had, uh, touched on some good ideas for work life balance. And I think the most important thing is just to realize that, uh, like you said before, I think bringing the Parkinson’s law and to, uh, the discussion is really important because you can shrink your workday, you can shrink your work time and still get the same amount of work done. You know, when I went to two and a half days of shooting and rather than five, I just shot more during those days and, and shrunk the shoots down and still did like Strunk the time down, but still did the same amount of work in that time and still generated the same amount of income. And I think if you really are finding yourself frustrated with your work or with, you know, how much you are able to give to your life or your family’s getting frustrated, your spouse is getting frustrated, um, that you can change things and just step right in and make those changes.
23:43 And I’m like, Matt and I have talked about, we’ve both made lots of different changes over the years and I’m sure I will be doing that again in different ways. And um, you know, the beauty of having your own business is that you can make a, you know, you can make changes anytime you want and then you can switch them right back if they don’t work. But I think that they will, I think that anytime you give yourself more time to just enjoy life, you’re going to enhance your business and have a better product for your customers
24:11 as well. Yeah. Just to summarize it real quick and then let go. The best of your, Alison I ever had in our business was a year that I committed to doing fly fishing one day a week. So I was, I was on the river at least one day a week and she was training for a marathon. So she was running like like five times a week. And you would think that that would crush our productivity at the business. But we actually had one of the best years possible cause I think we were better to be around, but we also, there was just way more efficient with our time because we had allocated times towards fishing and running. So take the leap, you know, definitely take the leap and uh, try to rebalance everything and I bet you’ll be totally happier and in your business will be just fine in the end. So.
24:50 All right. Thank you guys so much and we look forward to visiting with you again. Awesome. We’ll see you guys next week guys.
24:57 Thank you for listening to from nothing to profit a photographer’s podcast with Matt and Kaiya. Be sure to subscribe for more business strategy and ideas to help you create that profitable and successful business you’ve always wanted. See you on the next episode of from nothing to profit.