Does anyone else feel like they blinked and tomorrow is 2015?
Where did 2014 go?
It’s inevitable as the year comes to an end most of us make a mental check list of our goals we accomplished or chuck the ones we didn’t. Either way, I don’t know about you, but time always seems to go by so quickly and I look back over my year, or month, or week or day and say
“Where did the time go?”
In being a business owner , TIME is the little devil sitting on my shoulder telling me to check my Facebook page or respond to that email NOW, because it’s only been 5 minutes since that client emailed and a quick response is just courteous customer service, right? Time can also show up as the cheerleader on the side lines when browsing Pinterest for the latest and greatest props but somehow taking a wrong turn and ending up watching funny animal videos 45 minutes later, during “work hours.” That little devil of TIME was reluctant to tell me however, how much of it I would be wasting on those time suckers everyday and that procrastination was unpacking it’s bags in my office for the remainder of the week, or month or year for the tasks and projects I really needed to put my focus on.
Does this sound familiar?
Being photographers most of us have home offices ,which allows for some pretty awesome flexibility with your time, your kids, your family and your work wardrobe (let’s here it for pajama day at work). It’s definitely one of the perks of being self-employed in the photography business and I’m eternally grateful. However, with that comes great responsibility in managing time with efficiency and being consistent. Don’t get me wrong, most days I’m photographing the cutest babies in Arizona, editing like a super hero, or making sure each one of my clients is personally taken care of with phone calls and handwritten notes. BUT…. every now and then, the familiar time suckers creep their way back into my day and production has gone down the drain.
I believe with a new year comes new opportunities and new challenges to be our best and do our best. Sometimes we have to challenge ourselves to create those opportunities!!
As this year dissolves and 2015 springs upon us, I wanted to enlighten you with a few time sucker eliminator tips that will put time on your side, along with mine, in 2015. These tips are not a reinvention of the wheel here, but are small reminders of how we can make everyday count and keep our photography businesses flourishing with a little time management. By implementing any or all of these tips this next year, I can assure you, a shift will happen with your time.
#1 Stay Off Social Media
Ok, well not completely off. I know we all have to run our photography businesses with marketing and promotions and who doesn’t love social media? How else do you keep up with your long lost cousin Bob! However, set aside a set amount of time per day to check your feeds, posts, pins, tweets and of course The Photographers Element blog! Checking Facebook every hour is probably not productive, so plan either once or twice a day to sit down and spend some time getting social. Don’t forget to save even more time, take advantage of the scheduling posts option on Facebook, found in the ‘post’ drop down menu. To schedule all social media updates and posts in one shot you can also try Hootsuite or the Buffer app. Lastly, one of the best tricks for social media is as simple as turning off your notifications on your phone. This is my #1 goal in 2015 and I hope it is yours too.
#2 Checking Your Email vs. Stalking
Just like social media, checking your email every time you hear a ding isn’t the best use of your time. Don’t STALK your email….check it! By setting up a scheduled time to check emails, say around lunch and then the last hour of your work day, allows for thought and time to go into responses instead of quick off the cuff reactions we give sometimes. Plus, if you get into the habit of emailing clients back right away ALL the time, they will expect it ALL the time. Please don’t mistake what I’m saying, I’m an advocate for prompt client responses, just not being available 24 hours a day. If they really need you that bad they would call, just saying. I like to set my schedule to check my email in the morning and then again right before my office hours are over. This also helps me keep constant with my set “work time” and “family time.”
#3 Ready, Set, Go..Time Yourself
Grab the clock timer app on your phone, kitchen timer or a plain old stopwatch and set it. Depending on the tasks you do, use your timer to set increments of time per task. For me, I use my iphone app timer a lot especially when I’m editing a session or designing any templates for a client. I like to set 30-40 minute intervals, because when the timer goes off I stretch my legs, grab a snack or drink or rest my eye balls from the computer screen for a few minutes. This may sound tedious but just imagine what you could get done if you set up three 10 minute increments of time and challenged yourself with how much you could get done within that allowance. I bet a TON! If your a techy like me and you love downloading helpful apps, I’ve heard the 30/30 app is pretty amazing at helping you keep your tasks on task, 30 minutes at a time. It’s next on my list to download for sure!
#4 Make Friends With Your Calendar
Someone once told me they heard the most successful CEO’s of companies schedule EVERYTHING on their calendars, even time off. I’m totally guilty of not doing this. I love my calendar on my phone, and because I’m a mac user, it syncs to everything which is why I love it so much more. However, I was beginning to notice that this past year I did not schedule time off on my calendar. I would work a little on Saturday or Sunday and as the weeks went by I’d start to wonder why I was feeling tired and over worked. This story might hit home for some of you as well. I’m a firm believer now that in 2015 I’m making time on my side, just by making time to take time off. By putting NO WORK days in the calendar, I feel it solidifies it in writing and I will be more likely to do it. So in 2015 schedule your days off from shooting sessions or editing, take time for YOU and make a note in your calendar. Time off will help you feel refreshed and you’ll probably get more done when you return to work.
So that’s it, my 4 top time sucker eliminator tips for photographer, for 2015. I hope you ring in the New Year with time and say goodbye to old habits of wasting it.
a final thought…
Both my parents are retired this year and when I’ve asked them about their jobs you never hear them say, they wished they checked more emails or updated their status more. They only say they wish they had more time, or made more time, for them or their family.
With that being said, I know myself and all of us here at The Photographers Element hope your 2015 is full of abundance in all the time you’ll have to make this year YOUR year!
Cheers & Happy New Year,
Newborn Photography Instructor with The Photographers Element
Photographer at Malia B Photography
Want to make TIME for you this year in your newborn photography journey? Registration is open now for the Oh Baby courses starting Jan. 13th with me!
It’s an honor to be photographing the world’s newest little human beings. It takes that special touch, patience and a pure love. She believes emotional connection makes for influential newborn portraiture and that anyone seeking that, can find it.
Malia lives in sunny Phoenix, Arizona with her most supportive husband and her 3 fun-loving children. As the owner of Malia B Photography, she photographs the cutest babies in the Valley of the Sun.
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