Time management is one of the most challenging aspects of any small businesses owner. Photographers are no exception. Consequently, find themselves overworked, tired and often cannot find the balance between work and play.
Seasoned photographers have figured it out. Photographers need to set a dedicated time to work and stop working when the time is up. Just like any other business owner. It is easy to get stretched in every direction, replying emails to potential customers, setting email marketing campaigns, trying to write blogs on your website, maintain Facebook ads.. . list goes on.
Time management is not about getting everything done in a day, it’s about prioritizing your to do list and checking them off as you get it done. It takes discipline to make this a habit.
Here are some ways photographers can manage their time.
Set up Business Hours:
Most photographers tend to skip this step, since they are working from home. Specially when you are first starting out. Make sure you set business hours and stick to it. Make sure you are not distracted with household chores, family phone calls etc.
Make sure you add lunch breaks (or smoke breaks if needed). Make sure your family and friends know your work times and do not disturb you during those hours. Same goes for your clients – make sure they know your work hours, so they do not call you at 10 pm on a weekend.
This will help you structure your life, and finding the balance between work, friends and family.
This makes a big difference.
Multitasking is a myth. It only makes you more tired and takes you longer to finish your tasks. This has been proven over and over by psychology. Want to read more about how multitasking REALLY works? – Read this article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/creativity-without-borders/201405/the-myth-multitasking
Focus on the task at hand. Finish the task before moving to the next. This will help you check more tasks off your list. This brings us to another important point. ..
Set a Schedule:
Set a daily schedule for yourself. Set up a time that you will answer emails, or return phone calls etc. Stick to your schedule. Use a timer if you need to. This will help you prioritise your time and give you perspective on the tasks that are not as important.
Stop saying “I don’t have time to .. .” – instead use this “It is not my priority to ..”
This will psychologically make you put tasks into a priority list, and be more efficient with your time.
Structure Your Process:
Create a structure for your creative process. Once you have decided on a style you want to maintain. Try to create a process – a step-by-step breakdown of the process you go through to achieve it. Write it down, as if you were explaining it to a person that did not know photography.
Once you have it on paper. Try putting it into point form.
Now chunk tasks into seperate parts of the process. Add the amount of time it takes for each part of the process.
This will give you a better understanding of the amount of time you will be spending on each process in the future and help you schedule accordingly.
Take Breaks When Needed:
Make sure you take breaks when you feel tired. It is important to recuperate and return to your task, it keeps you from burning out. You feel fresh and are in a better state of mind to complete the task at hand.
Modify Your Process if Needed:
Always look for more efficient ways to achieve your goals. If you feel like outsourcing a part of your process will help you free up your time, DO IT!! You can then use that time to get tasks that are more pressing, or use that time to grow your business. Answer more client emails or more phone calls etc. This helps scaling your business.
Keep modifying the process as long as the quality of work is not affected.
Increase Your Prices:
If you still feel like you are putting in a lot of hours but making very little, it’s time to Cut-the-Fat.
Reduce the number of clients you take on by increasing your prices.
Most people are afraid they will lose the flow of clients when they increase prices. When in fact, what happens is you start getting clients that are willing to pay higher prices… and most often these clients are easier to work with. They may need a little more customer care than the ones who like to pay low prices.