We get it. It’s August, which means one of two things. You’re either a photographer who is lucky enough to have had a relaxing summer, and you’re looking forward to knuckling down to work come the autumn/ September.
Or, you’re a wedding or portrait photographer who has been entirely swamped with work all summer and you are possibly so busy right now that you feel like your head is about to explode.
If you’re snapping at your loved ones, have that slight anxious feeling in the pit of your stomach, and you are starting to worry that at any moment now your inbox might be filled with emails from clients politely wondering if there is any chance in 2014 that they might get to see their images; you are not alone.
Here is our list of tips on how to stay sane when things get uncomfortably busy – this is how we fix work overload.
Using these tips will enable you to feel in control of your workload, less stressed, help your clients to think you are super-awesome and help you to start preparing for next season too. (We know. You can’t even think about that right now. Trust us, by the end of this list, you will).
1. Enlist Help
Us photographers are a little bit control-freaky sometimes, right? It’s partly why we became photographers in the first place. We want to sit in the corner and stroke our cameras and our work, Smeagol-style, crooning ‘my precious’. We can do this – alone. And for the main part, we do.
We photograph and we edit and we promote and we network and we blog and a million and one other things, all by ourselves.
Most of the time, that is fine. But during peak season, it’s a smart move to enlist some help. Whether it’s babysitters for your children once a fortnight while you edit or asking your roomie to cook for you for the next week (you’ll repay her later) asking for help is one of the best things you can do to lighten your workload and enabling you to concentrate on the task at hand.
Who can you ask for help? What can they do to assist?
Generally, you’ll find most people are happy to help (especially if payment of some kind is involved- not money, think creatively)! and the best way to make this work if you get an entire team of people together who can help you.
Spend 5 minutes brainstorming a list of tasks you are able to delegate out. You might not be able to outsource your editing but you can always outsource your dog-walking/admin/film-packaging for a short while.
2. Three Task Trick
This is my personal can’t-live-without tip for surviving busy season.
I am a busy mama-my baby girls are 1 and 2. I run my photography business which involves travelling worldwide, and I am trying to ensure that the FPA becomes a useful resource to help other photographers everywhere.
This is my absolute tip for being an FPA boss-babe.
If you don’t want to get swamped by your work, every night before you go to bed, write down three tasks you need to finish the next day. When these three tasks are done, you can continue to work if you wish, or do whatever you like.
Play with your kids, go shopping, have a nap; whatever.
Just make sure you do these three tasks. After all, that’s not too hard is it? Just 3, tiny, little tasks.
Focussing on these three tasks alone stop us drowning in never-ending to-do lists. (Who else has a zillion and one to-do lists, floating around on a bazillion scraps of paper or in a hundred different notebooks)?
Neverending to-do lists only make you panic and procrastinate.
Stop the overload. Three tasks only. Everyday. Go.
You wake up. What’s the first thing you do? Reach for your phone, check your email / facebook / whatsap.
Bam! Good morning. Have a dose of technology to start your day with. I am a complete realist, I get that as much as I would like to not do that, the reality is kind of different. Unless I’m on holiday and even then I have a sneak peak whilst using the bathroom. Yeah… I do that.
The thing is, whatever you do in the morning sets the tone for the whole day ahead. If you choose, your morning time can be a precious few minutes work-free; time for you to clear your head and reflect over breakfast about the day ahead and how to tackle it.
The alternative is to dive straight into your inbox and work from the moment you open your eyes. Is that really the dreamy life of a photographer that you imagine? The life you left (or want to leave) the shackles of a 9-5 job for?
Instead you could try implementing a morning routine. Not the shower-dress-breakfast kind. A morning ritual works like this;
– It is something that you look forward to doing. Who really looks forward to checking their facebook? Sometimes I do, but usually it’s about as fun as opening the mail.
When you do something in the morning you truly look forward to, you’re setting the tone for the rest of the day to be great.
– It’s a luxurious treat. During hugely-busy times, spending just 30 minutes in the morning doing something you look forward to can provide vital time for You. You-time, down-time, treat-time; whatever you want to call it, it’s a sure way of regaining control of your day and making some much-needed time for yourself.
What can you do? Exercise, cook and eat a fabulous breakfast, yoga, meditate, spend time with God, walk in the park, swim; whatever feels like a luxury for you.
Making time for yourself helps to make you more productive, by preventing that awful feeling of overload where your inbox hangs over you for the rest of the day, and instead replacing it with a feeling of happiness, control, and well-being.
Although it’s hard, if you can do it even for a few days a week, you’ll notice the difference.
These are 3 ways to help you through work overload; tomorrow we will be sharing 3 more ways to survive those busy periods. Don’t miss it, and join us over on Instagram where we will be asking you what your tactics are for surviving busy season.