Happy Friday! I’m so excited about this weekend. I have a few sessions and it’s OFFICIALLY fall, so my heart is bursting to get outside and enjoy the cooler weather, drink a hot cup of coffee on my back porch in the morning, and spend time with my family. What is it about fall that tends to remind us of what is really important and the people who are close to our hearts? Halloween, Thanksgiving, and then into winter with Christmas…all my favorites. Oh, and boots. Can we wear boots now? Please!
Last week I gave you guys a breakdown of what a “normal” day looks like for my schedule. Today I want to dig in a little more about how I manage to get my job done in just a few hours at a time. If I were to sit here and tell you that I have absolute focus and determination to get my to-do list knocked out at every second of work time available to me, I would be lying through my fingertips. Some weeks I’m solid and super on top of everything. Other weeks, I feel like I’m dragging my feet just to get up and get the kids out the door. Then there are those times when I’m killin’ it and in the groove of knocking things off that list when I get a call from school, and I have to stop and go pick up my babe because he’s barfing. Life can be difficult, and sometimes it’s pretty convenient, but rolling with the punches is how I go from surviving to thriving in my work environment. **Please let me say this loud and clear…I am 100% not posting this series so that I can be glorified or praised. I just want to show you professionals and business owners that just because you’re daily schedule doesn’t run 9-5, Monday- Friday, doesnt mean that your work isn’t valuable or effective. That being said, now on to the timeline!
I thought it would be the most beneficial to give the breakdown of what my to-d0 list entails for these time blocks that I mentioned in the previous post here. First I will start with that early morning portion!
7:15-8:30am- Quiet Time + Culling/Editing Images
I normally wake up around 6:30/6:40 everyday and get Riley and Anthony out the door, grab a cup of coffee and my Bible, and park it for a few minutes. If I don’t set aside time for myself to sit, read my Bible, and think about Jesus, then the rest of my day consumes me and I miss that chance all together. So, for me, first thing is best. After that, I keep that caffeine IV dripping and open my laptop while my little miss watches Curious George and eats breakfast. Culling my images used to be a nightmare for me. It took forever and I was spending so much time waiting for the images to fully load in Lightroom. About 6 months ago a friend shared with me a program called Photo Mechanic and it changed the game for me! I adapted Photo Mechanic into my workflow, and now I can sit down and cull a whole session in 20 minutes or a whole wedding in a couple hours. This used to take me HOURS to do in Lightroom alone, so I highly recommend Photo Mechanic for you photographers out there that waist loads of time digging through and selecting images! After I have culled my images, I can close my laptop, get my little miss ready for school and myself ready for whatever is next, and not feel bad about it. I got it done, knocked it out quickly (but thoroughly I have to add!), and I’ve already got a starting point for when I sit down next.
*Next time block*
10:30-12:00- Email/Phone calls/Paperwork
I REALLY love communicating with my clients, vendor friends, and colleagues in general. If I could just get paid to sit and have coffee or wine with these people who are a part of my everyday, I would do it in a minute! But….when I’m at home alone in my office and looking at a computer screen, the luster gets a little worn off, and I can get easily distracted. If I set up my schedule so that I take that specific time to work on my contracts, bills, emails, returning phone calls, paying (gulp) taxes, accounting, and working on things of that nature, then they don’t overwhelm me. I know that I HAVE to go pick up my girl from Pre-K at 12:00, so there is an end time, and that is extremely helpful to me. It’s like going for a long run. If you just set out to run with no goal or distance in mine, it could go on and on and seem really daunting. If you have a specific location you are running towards, then you know you will get there, no matter how fast or slow you go. Talking on the phone is far from my favorite thing to do, so I make sure that calls get addressed first, followed by emails (which are my favorite!), and so on. At 11:45 I know I have to stop what I’m doing and go to school to get Reese, so that definitive end acts as a mental timer. As soon as I am done, I am up and away from my desk for a few hours. End of story.
To translate this all into steps that you can take to make the most of the hours you have to get work done(no matter your industry!)…here is what I suggest:
- Pick tasks that you can do fairly quickly for first thing in the morning. You get to carry that feeling of accomplishment with you throughout the entire day and finishing an item on that to-do list makes it easier to pick up where you left off the next time you sit down to work.
- Incorporate software and programs that will assist you in your workflow. I’m a firm believer in outsourcing things that you don’t love to do, and one thing I don’t love to do is wait forever for my images to become crisp in Lightroom before I select them for my final images. I have a slew of things I outsource, and I will definitely share these later! And these apply to anyone with a business, not just photographers
- Set a specific start and end time for tasks that might not be your favorite. Just like you can do with cleaning your house (i.e. 15 minutes picking up your living room, 10 minutes doing dishes, 10 minutes vacuuming, etc), set a start and end time to the tasks that are necessary but may not be your first love. This gives you the incentive to get them done without allowing them drag on forever.
I am not pretending this schedule works for everyone, but it works really well for me. Creating a timeline helps me stay on track so that when the day is over, I can enjoy what I’m working so hard for in the first place…time engaged with my family and friends.
Next week I’ll break down those afternoon/evening hours and tell you why I will never stay up to crazy hours working again!