We’ve talked about tools for organizing the business side of your life, but what about the homefront? When you’re in the full swing of your busy time (whether that’s wedding or portrait season), chances are your family doesn’t put everything on hold to ease the pressure on you. And when you’re a business owner, your working hours can slowly creep into your evenings and weekends, creating added tension in your family, and your social life – if you even have time for one. So the question is, how do you get through it? It’s a relatively brief window, but one that can influence your year round success as a photographer.
Here are our top three tips for surviving the busy season:
Plan, Plan, Plan
It seems straightforward, but the best way to counter that frazzled, pulled in eight directions feeling is to plan. Use your favourite calendar, be it paper or digital, and clearly denote the times you’ll spend doing each task you have on your todo list – from editing to cleaning your house. Time blocking will increase your productivity when applied to the way you work, but it can also make a huge difference in the time you actually take out for play. Schedule it into your day – and honour it. Include walking your dog, dinner with your spouse, or an afternoon at the park in your schedule, and actually do it!
Another tip for great planning is to include similar, secondary tasks within the same block. For example, make wiping down kitchen counters and loading the dishwasher your secondary task during the block you cook dinner in. You’re already in the kitchen – and pairing like tasks will get them done more efficiently.
It’s a smart idea for business, and it’s a smart idea for your life, too. Consider all the things you need to get done at home and compare the hourly cost of having someone else do it for you to your hourly rate. If paying someone else to do it is less, outsource it! From housecleaning to meal prep to running errands, most major cities have someone who is willing to do your (sometimes literally) dirty work, so you can dedicate more of your time to your business tasks.
Once you’ve got the well-oiled machine of your life humming, indulge. Book a massage, a spa day, or a tee time. Running your own photography business gives you the freedom and flexibility to take advantage of less busy days, early bird specials, or off season discounts. Reward yourself at the end of your busiest period with an out of town getaway, or a new piece of gear you’ve been coveting. Burnout and stress aren’t things you simply have to accept as a downside to being a photographer. By taking time out of your business to take care of yourself, you’ll find you enjoy the work that much more.
Feel free to share your top tips to keep your work and home lives balanced as much as possible. We’d love to hear them!