People often ask me how I manage to pursue photography while also having a job. And my standard answer is that I'm not sure, simply that I make it work because I love what I do. I'm driven by a combination of absolute passion, caffeine and that feeling you get when you need to pay the mortgage each month.
Once I got the show on the road with my photography business I soon realised that there was a lot more to it than just clickin' away at photoshoots and sipping lattes while editing. My inbox fills up daily, my website doesn't design itself and creating & maintaining an online presence is a 7 day a week game.
I've had to develop ways to juggle a business, a day job and also a life. So here's 3 things I've done that have helped me immensely in trying to achieve a balance & I think they are definitely worth a go if you too enjoy life in a hectic, crazy-paced kind of way!
I cherish structure
I give myself a full day and two evenings each week for photography and I try to give myself at least one weekend per month off. I work hard to control the hours I work in my business because it is far too easy to lose track of time when you're doing something you absolutely love.
The simple structure of having a set time to turn the computer off each night helps me achieve more when I'm working, because I know what I need to get done & that I only have a set amount of time to get it done in. It's easy when you're not accountable to anyone to be unproductive & distracted, so I stay accountable to Matt. If I'm not out of the office by my set time, he comes in to turn the computer off for me.
Structure in my business creates freedom in my life too. It gives me the chance to walk the dog, spend time with loved ones, go out for lunch with friends and get to sleep at decent hours. If I didn't maintain structure it would all become a blur and neither my clients nor my loved ones would get the 100% of me that they deserve. I used to be one of those people that edited until crazy hours of the morning because I'd got nothing achieved during the day, taken time off when I shouldn't have because I was exhausted from overbooking myself the week before - it's a terrible cycle & it's not worth it. Add a little structure & stick to it.
Turn off notifications & schedule social media
I learnt early on that running a business & having a smart phone was a dangerous combination. My phone is always on me therefore I have 24/7 access to my social media, emails and more. And while it's convenient & perfect for checking up on things while I'm out of the office, it's a total distraction from being in the moment and living life.
Lying in bed at 11pm and I hear my phone beep - I could never help myself, I had to check it & usually I'd end up replying to the email or message because I just had to - yes, had to. So in the end I turned my notifications off. Yes I can still check everything from my phone, but now my phone never alerts me - making it my decision when I receive, read and process things, rather than having my life run by my phone.
And you know how I said before that maintaining an online presence in this social media crazed world is a 7 day a week game?! Well I lied just a little bit. I schedule half of my social media posts. So while it may seem that I'm always online, keeping up with things - I am often busy with new clients or out living life ;) Sneaky huh!?! But that's how it works, a little research into Facebook's ever-changing algorithms and some marketing know-how, tells us that if we aren't always being seen and heard, we get lost in the noise - very quickly. So to keep my work as seen as possible I schedule posts, think ahead with blog posts & get a week's worth of social media done in half an hour. Of course I post photos as I edit & I come up with things as I go, but scheduling posts definitely saves me hours here and there each week. Time I can spend being more productive in my business.
Pen & paper
For all the technology in the world, my life would be chaos without a simple pen and paper. I'm the type of person that has to write things down, otherwise it gets forgotten. I structure my months, weeks and days around a planner. I have all my bookings in there, my session planning and client workflow, my personal events and marked days-off. Before I started doing this I kept finding I'd overbook a month, forget to give myself a day off and burn myself out, or worse forget to return someone's phone call or email. This planner helped create the structure I need.
What small things do you do that help you maintain balance?