Like everything else in life, working a full time job and trying to start a photography business is a delicate balancing act. If you aren’t mindful of your time and priorities, things very quickly go from manageable to straight up cray. I am heading into my last week of doing this tightrope act, but I decided I would share some tips and other things I’ve learned along the way in case they might benefit someone else. Hope this is at least a little bit helpful to at least one person!
1. Make to do lists For me, if something isn’t on my list, it just doesn’t get done.! I love making lists, but I love crossing things off of lists even more! It’s just so satisfying! Sometimes I will even add things I’ve already done to the list and cross them off because it gives me an extra boost of motivation and also gives me credit for all of the work I really did. As far as the physical list goes, sometimes I write it out on paper, but most of the time I create the list on my iPhone in the Clear app. It’s 2.99 in the app store, but well worth it. I love the satisfying little noise it makes when you cross something off of the list! I also really like being able to access the list from anywhere I go. I might not remember a paper list, but I always have my phone with me!
2. Pre make your meals or be really really nice to your spouse (or roommate, or parents, or the Papa John’s guy). I found that cooking, eating, and cleaning up after dinner took up at LEAST an hour of my evening every night, if not more. Pre planning out what I was going to eat every night helped out so much because I could buy all of the ingredients and do prep work ahead of time or even make a bunch of meals all at once and separate them for later consumption. I won’t lie though…I didn’t do this all that much because my AMAZING husband cooked for me most nights. We were also really not ashamed of going out to Subway or Chickfila for dinner once (or twice) a week to save time.
3. Set aside a little bit of time each day to clean. I’m one of those people that can’t STAND clutter. It just makes me stress and freak out. And freak outs are never good, so we try our best to stay on top of cleaning. It doesn’t always happen, but we are TRYING so at least that counts, right? The best way we have found to keep our apartment from turning into a pig sty is taking 15-20 minutes a day to maintenance clean. That means for 15-20 minutes an evening (when it happens we do it between when I stop working and chill time) you go around and put things back where they belong, wipe down surfaces, etc. It’s really just surface cleaning to keep things orderly until we can get to the real cleaning on the weekends.
4. Blog in advance! I actually create a schedule in google calendar with all of my post ideas for the month as tasks. I then write out as many of them as I can in advance. This post was actually written last week! If you have your blog posts done ahead of time it makes it SO MUCH EASIER to stay on track with blogging. I have some more tips on this, but I’ll share them in another post.
5. Schedule your editing/working time and stick to it! I typically edit in the evenings from six til about eight. Sometimes I eat in between there and sometimes I don’t (meaning I eat a late dinner…I never pass up food!). I try my best to wrap up all of my work by 9 so I can hang out with John until 11 (our bedtime). Sometimes it doesn’t happen, but scheduling things really does mean that more often than not I’m going to get to actually spend time with my husband.
6. Don’t be too hard on yourself! For those of us who love what we do, it’s easy to become a workaholic without even realizing it. I find that I feel the best when I take some time off every once in a while and do something stupid and frivolous like watch Keeping up with the Kardashians all night and nothing else. You need time for yourself because overworked people do not make great artists. I know it’s a struggle to say no to things and I’m constantly working on that myself, but maintaining your mental health is extremely critical to the success of your business and most importantly your quality of life! If your quality of life goes down because you are so overworked and stressed, you have to think, why am I even doing this at all? For me, I never want to get to that point where I’m so overwhelmed I’m just tired and burned out and sick of photography. I love what I do so it’s important to me to take some time off to be a regular human so I don’t wake up one day all burned out and emo.
I hope some of these tips are at least a little bit beneficial to you guys. I’m no expert on time management and my life has definitely been a whirlwind since I started my business, but hopefully if you apply some of these small tips you can balance things a little bit better and enjoy life a little more fully 🙂