Being self-employed typically means being self-directed. No one is there to tell you when you’re wasting time or being unproductive. But, if you’re anything like me, and like most creatives, your attention can get distracted easily. Here are 5 tips that help me to be a more productive photographer and business owner.
1. One of the very first things I do every morning is write in my “business journal”. This might seems kind of silly, but in my journal I outline my goals, create a to-do lists, review the previous day’s goals, and brainstorm ideas, etc. I have found that doing this first thing in the morning, while sipping on a cup of Joe, helps me gain focus and purpose for the day. Take the time everyday to determine your direction.
2. Unplug from social media. This is, without any doubt, hard for me. So much of what I do revolves around the communities on social media networks. On certain days, I’m cognitively very active on social media, but other days, when it’s not part of my goals, I find it best to completely unplug, uninstall, and turn-off notifications. I use the site called Later to schedule out 100% of my social media business posts. This helps me to continue to be current, while not actually taking up huge portions of my day.
3. Pick up your phone and call people. So much going back and forth in emails could be resolved by a simple 3 minute phone call. I find that scheduling the phone call can also be tedious. If I expect the call to last less than 5 minutes, I just cold call and get so much done right away.
4. Give yourself very specific deadlines and work hard to meet them. I like to cull my images right after a photo-shoot or wedding. I have found if I make somewhat of a game out of it, by setting a stopwatch, or deadline, I get the culling done so much quicker. I like to challenge myself to be faster. For example, I can now cull about 2,000 photos per hour. This process used to take me so much longer.
5. Systemize, systemize, systemize. There’s a theme here. You need to look at your processes and consider them in depth. Create systems that speed up the process. Everyone’s processes are different and they likely need to be individualized. An example of something I have found very helpful is having a list of pre-written generic emails. For example, I receive multiple inquiries almost daily. Typing up a response to every one of these would be unnecessarily time consuming. So, instead, in my Gmail account, I have canned responses ready to go. I make just a few small adjustments and send the email. Another example is look at your editing flow and perfecting your presets.
I hope this was helpful! What other techniques and tips help YOU to be a more productive photographer? Share them below in the comments! Remember to focus on what matters most, and why you’ve chosen this path in your life. If you or someone you know could benefit, please consider giving it a thumbs up and re-sharing it. Cheers, until next time.