Hello lovelies, welcome back to my little blog-corner of the wedding industry.
As previewed on my Facebook page last Monday, today I’m sparing a few words about my new office hours, because they reflect a more complex development in my time management and organization plan, which is ultimately affecting my coordination services for your Italian wedding. This is my goal, anyway.
Over the course of the past few months, I’ve managed to dramatically increase my productivity and level of service by working less. Yes, that’s right, less.
If you know me, and have worked with me in the past, you very well know that I usually give all I have, pulling all-nighters as well as 18-20 hours days when the project demands it. I do that gladly, without so much as a whimp. But I’m also aware that it ultimately affects the quality of my work. I, like anybody else, need to be well rested and focused to give my best, and to be so I need clear boundaries and a regular schedule. I had tried one in the past, but it ended up being too complicated to pull off and distracting, so I decided to revise it.
Let’s be clear here, it is now universally accepted that working less hours is a tremendously powerful pull to working better. Productivity studies show that longer work days actually decrease our efficiency, rather than enhancing it.
Basically, the longer hours we work, the less we accomplish.
Moreover, last season I had got to the point were I was worn out and almost bitter about working 24/7, Sundays included, without a break. I felt burnout and without an ounce of creativity left. So when I read Lara Casey’s program to create work boundaries I had an epiphany. As she splendidly puts it:
How do you think your clients feel about you when they see an email timestamped with 3am? Even 9pm? First they think, Oh, great! I can email them anytime I want because they are awake and working! In the same breath they may think, Wow, that person has no structure… no time management skills… too much to do… […] When you are around someone who is frazzled and never sleeps and works 24/7, you can get the feeling of imbalance.
Since my ultimate goal is always to provide you with a stress-free, balanced and serene client experience, this struck a cord in me. Also, it’s very important to me that I can be my best self when working on your wedding, because I like that person, and I know that she can do great things for you, supporting you through the path to your perfect Italian wedding. So I reduced the number of projects I work on, I started to turn down requests, narrowing the number of weddings I do every year to no more than ten.
At the same time, I set new office hours: mondays to fridays, 9 am to 3:30 pm CET.
I always arrange all appointments well in advance, working around different time zones, trying to have as few nights and Saturdays at work. Whenever I choose to devote a Saturday to meetings I always make sure I finish earlier on another day, or take a couple of hours off in the morning, going for a walk or an inspiring trip.
The only deviation from office hours is on my mobile, where I answer calls and messages until 6:30 pm (CET), while I welcome Whatsapp messaging only for emergencies around the time of a specific event. I try never to download emails during the week-end, unless I had a busy week and I need to catch up, which I would do on a Sunday night while prepping the week schedule, writing emails and saving them to drafts for an early Monday morning group send. But I try to have a digital detox week-end at least once a month, and I find that it gives a great creative boost to the following working week.
Naturally, this is a regular schedule which will flex to longer hours during wedding season. Whenever I’m in the final steps of a wedding prep 18-hour-days are the norm again, but these are notable exceptions that I try to compensate with a day off as soon as I can. Then I’m ready to bounce again.
So, what do you think of this minor revolution? If you’re considering hiring me for your Italian wedding, what do you make of these office hours, do you find them satisfactory? And if you’re self-employed too, have you found an increase of productivity when you work less hours? I’d love to read your insight and feedback in the comments.
I’ll see you here next week with a special inspiration feature, perfect for a Spring wedding. Have a lovely time until then!