How to Balance a Creative Studio & Your Personal Life

Do you ever get the sense that your studio may be running you instead of the other way around?  It is possible to have balance while running a creative studio.  It just takes a little time.

When I first started my studio, it was hard.  I felt like there was no balance between my personal & work life. 

Honestly, it made me wonder.  “Why had I left a teaching job with health benefits if I still wouldn’t get to spend time with my family?”

Thankfully, I realized that it didn’t have to stay that way.

Do you know your priorities?

When I was much younger I came across the Ladder of Priorities.  It’s an exercise that made it clear really quickly that I wasn’t spending my time & energy on the things truly important to me.  And, that in turn has lead to a framework for my studio decisions.

And, if you are wondering just what a Ladder of Priorities is … watch below!

What is important to YOU?

It’s easy to say my family is important to me.  But if I …

  • Schedule clients at times that work for them even though that time was originally set aside for my family
  • Do makeup lessons even though it means I’m away from my family many more hours

… maybe this isn’t the priority I originally thought it was.

The things that are truly important to you are the things that you should spend time on.  Stress & overwhelm come when there is a disconnect with your ‘priorities’ & reality.

And, don’t get me wrong.  It’s hard to say “no” to clients.   It’s scary to reduce the amount of time clients get access to you.  I remember worrying that I would lose clients & my studio would have to close.  But, I also wasn’t willing to go back to the work situation I had before our twins were born.

What do your actions say?

The ladder of priorities has a way of showing these inconsistencies between what we say or think & how we really act.

Do your actions match up with the things that are truly important to you?

The good news is that if they don’t match up perfectly, there’s hope!

Balance comes from decisions made throughout the day, week, month & year.

You won’t always get it perfect, but that’s why there is a fresh start each day.

As I have gotten older, this truth has helped me balance a creative studio with a fulfilling personal life.

It can do the same for you.

The Joy of Saying No

Once you know what is important to you, the next step is saying “no”.

Wait, what?

Is it the right time?

I’ve been grateful for the opportunities that I have had over the years with (including things only available in TopMusicPro*), Vibrant Music Teaching, Keys to Imagination, APTA, PTRT & MusicEdConnect.

P.S. The *TopMusicPro link above does provide a small fee that helps cover the cost of the site & other free resources.  I have gotten so much value from the membership & love to share those resources with you.

I’m grateful that I get to work with amazing teachers like you each day.  It’s my purpose on this Earth.

But before saying “yes” to anything I look at what my priorities are. 

Do I really have the time to commit & give my full effort to a new project?

Will I need to compromise on my priorities to complete this to my standards?

If the answer is “no”, then I politely decline the opportunity. 

Though I will admit this can be super hard because I almost always really want to say yes.  And, then my husband gets to hear the run-down (probably again) on all the positives. 

After which he reminds me that saying “no” now doesn’t mean “no forever”.

Opportunities will come. 

We just have to figure out the right time to say “yes”.

Is it the right option?

Perhaps a great family contacts you for lessons.  Your schedule is already full for their preferred day or time.

What do you do?

The temptation to say “yes” is there, right?

The dilemma 

One of the best pieces of advice I got about becoming a parent was this …

“It’s important to take the time to remember what brought you together because it is so easy to fall into being ‘Mommy’ & ‘Daddy’.”

And the ever-so-smart lady who told me this?  My mom.  As a nurse in NICU she saw many parents struggle to re-connect with each other as they adjusted to parenthood. 

This isn’t to say that you can’t be a great parent and a great spouse.  You absolutely can.  But, it takes a commitment to making time for both.

For me though, this means that date night is sacred. 

I won’t teach lessons, answer work emails/texts/calls, or attend webinars.  In fact, I probably will have my phone in my purse as I have dinner with my man so we can actually talk instead of staring at our screens.

Why?  Because making time for my husband is a priority to me. 

And that might mean saying “no” to a great family that can only have lessons during date night.

What are you willing to say “no” to?

When you say “yes” to something that means you are saying “no” to something else. 

Maybe it’s time set aside for rest, connecting with those important to you, staying healthy … whatever that time is for, are you willing to do that for another student in your studio?

And while it’s easy to think it’s a one time thing, I can tell you from hard-won experience that this is rarely the case.  If you do this once, it can quickly snowball into not the exception but the rule.

Maybe you want to make a super creative set of assignments or implement a big change in your studio.

But if you’re already to your eye-balls (or higher) with other projects, is it worth burning out over?

Sometimes, a project has to be put on hold or modified to fit within our priorities.

And that is just fine.

How to Balance a Creative Studio & Life

Let’s get a plan in place!

  1. Fill out your Ladder of Priorities.
  2. Decide what you will say “yes” to … so you know what you will say “no” to.
  3. Join us over at the “Unfinished Lesson” Facebook page or Instagram page & tell me something you are saying “yes” to … & something you are saying “no” to!

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