We sent out this article in one of our newsletters a few weeks ago. If you are a photographer and you’d like to start receiving our newsletters & tips, you can sign up HERE!
This month, the focus on our newsletter has been about finding balance!
One of the things we have struggled with and have worked harder at doing better this year is finding balance in our work and our personal life! Being self-employed, there is ALWAYS something you can be doing!
Being a photographer, business owner, administrator, marketer, etc is hard work! Then throw kids into the mix and that adds another huge curve-ball to your business! We’ve had a lot of unproductive days and a lot of days we sat our kids in front of the TV so we could get some work done! I know we’re not the only ones. Those days, we are not an effective photographer or an effective parent! Even if you are not a parent, it takes a lot of motivation and organization to stay on task and to be productive while working at home!
Here are 5 tips we learned over the years and some we are still reminding ourselves of:
1) Schedule your work time
Make a weekly schedule of what hours you normally work! Even go as far as writing down your hours on a piece of paper or a white board and put outside your office door or beside your computer! Stick to those hours as best you can. When working for ourselves it is hard to have boundaries of our working time, but you are the boss and you need to make sure you have certain times during the week that you work and certain times scheduled where you don’t work. Obviously there are going to be projects that come up that you’ll want to work extra for, or a kids concert you will want to go to even though it your working time. Of course there is flexibility, but having set hours will ensure you are more productive!
2) Get Childcare
I know for a lot of you mamas (and maybe some daddy’s) dreamed of being a stay-at-home mom and you wouldn’t DARE put your kids in daycare! I’m one of those, but I also learned that it just doesn’t work to be a really good mom at the same time as be really good at our business. I’ve learned that I needed to have a few set times a week were my kids were in other people’s capable hands for a few hours. For myself, on Mondays our youngest goes to our neighbours daycare for 4 hours while the other two are in school. Tuesday evenings Matt is in charge and I work that evening. Thursday my sister- in-law watches my two youngest for 6 hours (and I watch hers earlier in the week as a trade off). This way, I have the focused time to get work done and I don’t need to be distracted when my kids are with me!
3) Dress Up & Clean Up
It is definitely a privilege to be able to do some of your job in your PJs, but I think it is safe to say that if you dress up and do your hair (& make up), you will be more motivated to get a lot of work done! Try it! Also, have a clean office space! This is an area that I fail at sometimes!! I love having a clean working space, but it only takes a few minutes for the clutter to build up. If you’re office area is cluttered, it is harder to be organized and productive. Take 5 minutes to clear off your desk!
4) Make a List
I’ve been trying to “train” Matt on making lists forever, but 10 years and still no luck! Even if you are not a list-maker, it is vital to have a plan for your week and your day. For myself, I have a big white board in my office that I write my main goals for the week, what blog posts I plan to post on which days and projects that I’m working on. Each day, I break it down and write down what I plan to accomplish that day. Having 3 important/must-do tasks that you plan to do is a good starting place.
5) Stay Healthy & Energized
There is a big difference in my productivity if I have exercised, have taken my vitamins and have eaten healthy snacks throughout the day! I’ll be the first to say that this does not happen every day, but I notice a HUGE difference when it does. At the moment, I am using all my will-power to not go get the licorice that is in my cupboard to munch on! Having healthy snacks like almonds or veggies handy will help you feel your best.
Hope this helps! If you’d like to receive more tips geared for photographers and business owners, CLICK HERE!