A Step Back

I’ve been working. A LOT. Like…too much. 70 hour work weeks. Last weekend I had one of those moments where I realized I needed to take a step back. I don’t mean “quitting” anything necessarily but moving things around and restructuring. It was a great weekend to think about it all. One of my friends had her baby boy, another is pregnant, I photographed our friends’ engagement, and two of our best pals moved in down the street. The real stuff. I’m not saying work, blogging and my crazy obsession with Instagram isn’t real. It’s just not what I want my entire life to be consumed by. So what changes am I making? Here’s a list (I love lists):

  • I’m hiring an amazing virtual assistant (details to come). For now, she will handle all inquires and new client emails. Hopefully we’ll build up to her helping with scheduling, blogging and invoicing!
  • I’m turning off my computer by 10pm daily. This is huge for me. I’m usually awake until 12-1am working on freelance projects.
  • Adam and I will wake up at the same time and spend at least an hour together before work. Breakfast, reading, and a kiss goodbye. No more rushing.
  • I recently switched my invoicing platform to Freshbooks. I can’t get enough of it. I’m also starting to track my time on every.single.task so get a better sense on what I’m doing with my time.
  • When in doubt…walk. I want to take more walks with Adam, maybe just Desh and sometimes by myself. Maybe I’ll take a camera. Maybe not.
  • I want to look into either a chiropractor or a monthly budget for a deep tissue massage.

Those are just a few of things I’m implementing (I started this week). I think I’ll be a better wife, friend and business owner if I take steps backward and look at the big picture more often. The photos above were taken recently. Getting tea with Adam, exploring Columbus, and sending letters to my best friends…all good things.

How do you stay balanced & healthy? When do you know you’ve reached your limit? Any tips or recommendations?

*Top four photos taken on my Minolta SRT-201. Bottom two photos taken on my iPhone.

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  • Reply candace m.

    ha, we’re like the same person. (insert group x mario twins reference here).

    i have a friend who is a licensed massage therapist. she’s actually a VP at chase, but she really enjoys helping people, so she went to massage school in her “spare” time. because she does it out of enjoyment, she comes to you AND she has the most competitive pricing i’ve ever seen because she’s not in it for the money. let me know if you want her info! <3

    April 25, 2012 at 9:20 AM
    • Reply Allison

      Oh yeah!! You’ve told me about her. I need her info!!

      April 25, 2012 at 1:52 PM
  • Reply Danie at Pasadya

    This is such a great list…especially turning of the computer at 10 and waking up at the same time as your husband. I feel like I used to do those things just a few months ago, but now I can’t seem to pull myself away. Thank you for this! You’re giving me motivation to get back into the groove.

    I definitely need to track my time of tasks also. That should be helpful!!

    My husband and I are trying to take out time to work out together with swimming on Tuesday and Thursday nights and doing “mini workouts” daily. I always feel much better if I work out and eat healthy. That chocolate’s always staring me in the face, though.

    April 25, 2012 at 9:52 AM
    • Reply Allison

      Danie–it’s so easy to fall out of routine. Especially when you get stressed or burned out. I love the idea of working out with your husband! Maybe after Adam is done training for a half marathon we can do something like that!

      April 25, 2012 at 1:53 PM
  • Reply benji

    Maybe it’s because I literally just moved, but my life is chaos right now. I definitely need to get organized so I can enjoy life, while also being productive.

    April 25, 2012 at 10:21 AM
    • Reply Allison

      Yes…moving really throws everything out of whack.

      April 25, 2012 at 1:54 PM
  • Reply Jess

    I realized recently that I am definitely happiest when I’m busy. And I think that’s why I’ve been so unhappy for so long—work wasn’t quite what I was looking for, I didn’t have any outside work, and I wasn’t volunteering or using any time to give back to the community. Of course, all of that has changed now.

    But I find that when I’m busy, I also need some more downtime, so I haven’t felt a lot like socializing. It’s an interesting mix that can be tricky. I do think that having a big job/career shift is making me think carefully about how I spend my non-traditional work hours to maximize how I feel about my personal life, creative endeavors, etc.

    I also find that when I reach my limit, I email or call my best friends and spend more time talking to them. They’ve seen me through a lot and they usually have a good sensibility about how I act and react in stressful situations.

    I’m also trying not to try so hard. I’m finding that when I worry about blog ideas or stuff like that, nothing happens. But then when I least expect it or I just pause to take a break, ideas just pop up. So I’ve been trying to take more time to relax, read, and enjoy offline activities.

    Additional notes—Freshbooks is awesome. We use it here at work and it’s super useful to keep track of project hours! And congrats on the virtual assistant—like I said, I think you need one! :)

    April 25, 2012 at 10:53 AM
    • Reply Allison

      I love this novel-esque comment :) I agree…I am happiest when busy (but not overworked). When I’m bored or feel like I’m wasting my time, I get a bit stressed and edgy. I also tend to throw out the “social” part of my life. Living near all my friends (you, Megumi, etc) really helps though.

      I’m glad you’ve found sort of a groove and are enjoying work and volunteer life! That’s such a good feeling.

      April 25, 2012 at 1:56 PM
  • Reply Lindsay Jo

    I am glad you’re stepping back a bit.

    I have been a chiropractic patient my whole life (most people think you can only go when you are hurt, and this is not the case).

    I feel so much more open and able when I com consistently getting adjusted. I go about once a month now and it does wonders.

    April 25, 2012 at 11:14 AM
    • Reply Allison

      That’s so good to know! Thanks for sharing :)

      April 25, 2012 at 1:56 PM
  • Reply Adam Lehman

    Your budget for deep tissue massage just got approved, as long as mine did as well…. :)

    April 25, 2012 at 11:21 AM
    • Reply Allison


      April 25, 2012 at 1:56 PM
    • Reply benji

      Twist ending, your deep tissue masseuse is Bruce Lee. **KAPOW**

      April 25, 2012 at 3:14 PM
  • Reply Andrea

    Nice Allie! I have a great chiro and the clinic also does massage there as well that will be covered by insurance. It’s in Dublin so I don’t know if that is too far for you but if you want the info just let me know. :)

    I am a HUGE proponent of self-care. People don’t take enough time for themselves and I think a lot of stress would be eliminated if they did! I make sure to read every night before bed. It helps me relax and calm down after a long day. I also make sure that I get Scott time at the end of the day. Whatever it is we do, watch TV, chat, game, as long as we’re doing it together. At least two hours of that. I also try and make sure we eat lunch and dinner at the table. It forces us to slow down and take our time.

    April 25, 2012 at 11:44 AM
    • Reply Allison

      YES! Self-care is so key. I definitely don’t deny getting sleep. That’s usually my #1 priority. I’m worthless if I’m exhausted. I think I’ve just been so mentally exhausted from thinking/creating/engaging allllll day. I’m definitely going to look into a chiro. I’ll get the info from you via email! While I’m working for the state of ohio, I may as well use the great insurance!

      April 25, 2012 at 1:57 PM
  • Reply Jessica R

    Yay! Can I say I’m proud of you? Because I am.

    April 25, 2012 at 11:47 AM
    • Reply Allison

      Aw. THANKS JESS! This made me smile.

      April 25, 2012 at 1:57 PM
  • Reply Marcia

    I like your post! I am a virtual assistant. Please contact me at the email address above to talk about how I could help out by being your virtual assistant.

    April 25, 2012 at 5:13 PM
    • Reply Allison

      Hi Marcia! Thanks but I already found one!

      April 26, 2012 at 10:49 PM
  • Reply TJ

    your images are absolutely stunning! so happy i stumbled across your blog today :)
    xo TJ

    April 26, 2012 at 7:10 PM
    • Reply Allison

      Thank you TJ! Totally made me smile. Thanks for reading.

      April 26, 2012 at 10:50 PM
  • Reply Siubhan

    I can definitely identify with this, and I think taking a step back and making a good list is the best thing to do. Turning off the computer at 10pm is a great one – tough, but definitely healthy!

    April 27, 2012 at 4:38 AM
    • Reply Allison

      Yes! Lists help me a lot. And announcing it on my blog :) More accountability.

      April 29, 2012 at 7:13 PM
  • Reply Design Curiosities

    […] up to this weekend? We are finally celebrating our anniversary tomorrow. Tonight we are going to a walk, and Sunday? Who knows! Here are some links for your Friday: Single screen Super Mario. This […]

    April 27, 2012 at 5:01 PM
  • Reply allison lehman : show + tell / Colorful Haze

    […] Wednesday, I shared that I was taking a step back to re-evaluate and prioritize. I’ve only messed up a few times but other than that it’s been working really well. […]

    May 2, 2012 at 9:00 AM
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