Wedding Season Burnout
Every year at this time, I have the same conversation with my girlfriends at early morning exercise. I’ve been up early sewing before heading over for exercise. I will be working long hours getting my work done. I am turning work away, but there’s still so much to do. Sigh… Every year they give me the same advice. Raise your prices so that the only ones who call are the ones who can afford you. I do raise my prices every year. It makes no difference. More work than I can possibly do, turning away business, and trying to find a balance between my sanity and the income potential of adding one more dress to the calendar.It’s hard to find that balance. And sometimes, all the planning in the world doesn’t solve the situation when you get held hostage in a “black hole of time” dress that never seems to go out the door.
How do I survive burnout year after year?
I have a few pointers that may help rookies who are being taken by surprise by the burn out. Those, like me, who have been in the bridal alterations business for a while know it’s coming every year. We have survived this busy season and have our own personal strategies. Let me share a few of my own. See if any of these suggestions might work for you.
Burnout Survival Tips
- Expect alterations to take longer than you think, and build that into your schedule.
- Exercise. It gives you energy. I know you don’t think that makes sense, since it takes energy to exercise, but it really works. It is time well spent.
- Make a “Fun Fund” with a certain amount of the $ coming in during the busy season. Somehow the work seems less demanding when you can look forward to a vacation after the busy season. The work seems more like a reward.
- Black hole dresses happen. Here is a good strategy to keep them from hijacking your schedule. When you can see the dress is throwing you off schedule, stop. Put it back in its bag and get working on the other dresses that are due. If you finish the other work and have time to go back to that dress before the fitting, great. If not, reschedule the fitting, or have the fitting with the dress completed less than you were hoping for. Honestly let the bride know that the dress is taking more time than expected, apologize and move forward. It’s better to let the “problem child dress” take the hit, then have all the rest of your work be thrown off schedule.
- Get your sleep. Mistakes happen when we are sleep deprived. As a boss, we would never expect an employee to work 24 -7. Yet we do it to ourselves sometimes. Treat yourself with the respect that you deserve.
- Most importantly, learn to say no. You are one person who is capable of doing x amount of work. That’s it. At some point you have to face reality. It’s not even ethically honest to take on more work than you can handle. Your work suffers and is less quality. Think about that..
- What if you are in a time crunch and it’s making you panic? I will give you some advice: Hunker Down. What that means is that you completely focus your energy on the task. Spend your energy on getting your alterations done. Break it down into individual tasks with a check box after each. Take this list with you as you eat. Take only the smallest amount of time eating as possible. As you eat, review in your mind the next steps on the dress. Speak as little as possible. Mute your phone and stay off it till you are completely finished.. Don’t spend any emotional energy getting dramatic about how much you have to do. Trust me, it will sap all your energy and leave no energy left to do your sewing. Again, focus all your time and energy on the alterations that have to be done. You can do it!
I’m sending out 100 hugs to all of you suffering from burnout. I know it’s a real thing, I’ve been there many times myself. Try a few of these ideas and see if they help. Sending love to all of you fellow alterations people out there. If you have some other ideas for getting through “busy season” I’d love to hear from you. I’m sure there are some great ideas out there.