Did you have to check out our first tip on taking control of your time? If you haven’t, you can check it out HERE.
Now that we’ve identified the importance of following a morning and evening routine, let’s move onto the next time saving tip. Without further adieu…..
#2 – YOU MUST HAVE A WORK SCHEDULE
I find this is one of the biggest things that photographers and all small creatives struggle with. They have no work schedule. So imagine this, we have probably all had some kind of other job where we were an “employee”. Think about whatever that job was. Now imagine I am your boss and I call you and say,
“Hey there. I wanted to just call you and give you a little update on your job. Starting tomorrow I want you to work pretty much all day. I want you to ignore your family and be available to this job every minute. I want you to check your phone and your email and social media every 30 minutes at least, and immediately deal with anything that comes up. If you go out to dinner with your family, I still want you to be available to our clients. Oh and when you go on vacation, you need to be available the whole time as well. I would like you to work every night until at least midnight, most nights until 2am. Here is the great part…I am not going to pay you any additional money.”
Sound likes a dream job, right? NO!!!!
If you got this call, I know exactly what you would do. You would immediately quit this job. So then why do we do all these things and more in our own businesses? Its because we don’t treat it like a business. We don’t know how to run a business, and we get scared of missing out on a client opportunity, so we become slaves to our business.
So your first step in the right direction, create a work schedule! Obviously most creative-based businesses are not a 9-5 life, so create a schedule that works for you. Here are some of the elements of my schedule that work for me:
- Work Hours vs. Family Hours. I have certain hours each day that I am not available to anyone for anything because I am available to my family. These “family hours” are absolutely vital to me and my sanity. We also don’t have any technology during these hours so we can focus on being together. On the flip side, there are certain hours a day that are “work hours”, so if my kids aren’t at school or asleep, I have a nanny who watches them so that I can completely focus on getting my work done. By having this designated work schedule, I am able to focus on the task (or person) in front of me and be more efficient, involved, and present for what I am working on instead of having constant distractions and being unable to get anything done.
- MOM Day. I have one day a week set aside where I don’t do anything because that is my “mom” day. So if clients call and want to book sessions, or consults, or students want to book strategy sessions, I simply say no. Well really, I just tell them that I am already booked. They don’t need to know what I am booked with. They just need to know that I am not available. Missing that time and making that money is not worth missing out on my “mom” day. I will always be able to make money, I will not always be able to spend time with my little ones.
- No More Saturdays. When I implemented the “No Saturdays” rule I was what I would consider a “full-time” photographers so I was shooting a lot. Now that I manage a team and don’t shoot as much and I work for Seven Summers, I have been able to be a little more flexible on this rule. There are certain times of year when we don’t have sports or other activities on Saturdays, so if a client is willing to pay me my highest price, I will shoot their wedding. But I don’t do any session on Saturday that I could do on another day. I also don’t meet with coaching students on Saturdays. And I don’t book any Saturdays that are in the middle of our sports seasons. I just don’t. Being present for my kids is so incredibly important to me and I just don’t want to miss out. Believe me, sometimes it is hard, but it would be worse to constantly be disappointing my family. I am a big believer in putting family first, and it has been proven to me time and time again that if I do that, everything else will fall into place. And since I implemented the “No Saturdays rule” and even the refined “Few Times A Year” Saturday rule, I am still fully booked with clients, my income is growing year after year, and I still am turning clients away left and right.
- Schedule family commitments, sports, and vacations first. When I was first in business, I used to re-schedule trips, date nights, and other things all the time to work around my clients. I was always putting my family on the back burner. But now, I schedule my family, my kids’ sports, and vacations first. They take priority. Clients are scheduled next. Granted, there are times that sports schedules come out after I have scheduled things, so there are a few games that I miss, but I try to be on top of it as much as I can, and even try to reschedule clients so that I can be there for the games. It doesn’t always work, but I constantly try to do it all. And I have to stick to my guns. So even if a client calls me and tries to book the most amazing wedding ever that is right in the middle of my family vacation, I still say no. And here is the thing…if someone wants you bad enough, they will make it work around you. I have honestly had dozens of brides change their dates just so I could shoot their wedding. And like I said above, if you put your family first it will all work out.
If you’re not sure that building a life where you aren’t glued to your computer, or worried about answering emails, is possible- I promise it is POSSIBLE. It is possible for me and it is possible for you.
And if you are really serious about finally being the master of your minutes, I invite you to check out our 7S Living Community. Here you can have access to the full 24-Hour Work Week Course, Dealing With Digital Distractions, Unplugged Summer, “Almost” Unplugged Family and tips for every person in your family! Get all the details by CLICKING HERE.