What To Do When Your Studio Takes Over Your Life

It can sometimes feel as if your studio is taking over every aspect of your life, right?  Especially in the early days or when you are expanding your studio quickly.  But, this is not what you signed up for.

Back when I taught in the school system, I would routinely work 60 hours a week.  At certain times of the year, those hours would bump up to 80 hours per week.  One of my uncles pointed out that 80 hours was impossible during the workweek.  I asked why he thought I was only working Monday to Friday.  Sound familiar?

When you work those kinds of hours it’s hard to feel like you have time for anything other than your studio.  And, when this happens it can lead burnout.  Or, even closing down your studio for good.

A studio-centric week

I got into teaching because I love it.  I opened my own studio so that I could have the freedom to choose my hours & which clients I took on.  And if I was a betting person, I would say that your reasons are pretty close to mine.  Right?

Sometimes the road to that freedom can feel more like roads filled with construction, detours & people not paying attention to where they are driving than the open highway you originally envisioned.

Do any of these describe your current situation?

  • You can’t shut off your brain from work.  Even when it is supposed to be “personal” time.
  • You sleep fewer hours in order to get everything done … or have insomnia even when you do try to get some shut-eye. (read this for ideas on how to stay healthy)
  • Answering phone calls/emails/texts regardless of the time of day (or night) is a normal part of your routine.  Even on days when you are supposed to be “off”.
  • Personal relationships are routinely pushed to the side in order to “get things done”.

These are all signs your studio is taking over your life.

But, the good news is there is a way to solve it!

4-Step plan to take back your life

You wanted freedom & freedom you shall have!  (It’s my version of Oprah’s “Free cars for everyone!”)

If you are saying “no” to your studio taking over, then follow this 4-step plan to change your life.

Step 1:

Set aside small blocks of non-negotiable time for things outside of your studio. And, I do mean non-negotiable.

This includes:

  • Time with family & friends
  • Personal time to recharge
  • Hobbies

“But I am completely booked up!”  You can find 15-minute blocks to start with.

For example, I wanted to read more books that were focused on professional development.  I realized that my kids & I were all reading as we ate in the morning.  So I began reading a chapter from a professional development book during breakfast instead of whatever current novel I am on.  I went from reading maybe 5 professional development books a year to reading through a book every 2 to 2.5 weeks.  And, my kids still get to enjoy their comic books.

Small blocks of time can make a huge difference over the long haul.

Step 2:

Schedule it on your calendar.

Mark it as “busy”, “unavailable”, or whatever you want so long as it becomes non-negotiable.

There will always be something that “needs” to get done.  It can wait.

Your health, relationships & life can not.

Step 3:

Step away from anything work-related before bed.  The usual recommendation is at least 60 minutes, but our teaching schedules can make this a challenge.

Instead, create a bedtime routine that transitions you from work mode to sleep mode.

  • If you have young children, read them a story before bed.  If your children are older, perhaps read something just for you.
  • Listen to relaxing music.  Put on noise-cancelling headphones to block out the kids as they have bedtime snack.
  • Put your devices on “do not disturb” mode.  You are no longer answering calls/emails/texts until tomorrow.  If you feel you don’t have the willpower, keep your devices out of the bedroom.
  • Dim the lights.
  • When you find you have work thoughts, write a reminder on a post-it, journal or Google Keep.  Then let the thought go.

And, if you want to make this even more powerful.  Create a morning routine as well.

For example, first thing in the morning these days I write my current big goal in my journal along with why that’s my big goal & 3 things I am grateful.  I am working on meditating though that is a work in progress (lots of outside thoughts pop in to say hi).  And, finally I workout.  This is all typically done before my kids wake up for school.  And, it has made a difference in how ready I am to get down to work once the kidlets are out of the house.

Whatever routine you create, stick with it.  Remind yourself of the benefits when it is oh-so-tempting to make an exception.

Step 4:

Let your clients know that going forward you will answer calls/emails/texts at ‘x‘ point in the day.  If you are taking back your weekends (or part of them), let them know this.

This will be an adjustment for everyone.  I promise that it will be worth it.

Be sure to let clients know how changes (like when you handle communications) benefits.

Some of these benefits include:

  • Responses will be thought out, rather than rushed.
  • Taking regular breaks from the studio (instead of going 24/7) means you can be 100% focused on them when they are with you.
  • You will be well-rested which means they get better lessons with you.

Remind them as often as needed of these benefits if they mention you aren’t getting back to them as quickly. This should be part of your routine both before lessons start & during.

Take back your freedom

These 4-steps have made a huge difference in how I’ve balanced my studio & personal life.  And, I know they will do the same for you.

To help you get your clients on board, I have created a FREE “Client Email Templates” PDF just for you.

FREE Client Email Templates

Which of these steps is helping you take back your freedom?

NOTE: This article was originally published on Feb. 5, 2020. It has since been updated with new ideas!

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