Managing a family, a day job and working on a growing photography business takes more than a good juggling act. Succeeding at all three takes commitment, a time management plan, and setting goals. It’s easy for kids and family schedules to derail even the most well-organized plans. Knowing what to do when these things happen will help keep you on track.
Keep a Detailed Calendar
I like to use a calendar that both gives me a whole month at a glance and allows me to write activities into hourly time slots. If you have kids, then you most likely have something happening all the time, so you need to know what’s coming up. Photography jobs are usually planned weeks or months ahead of time so knowing what family obligations you have means you don’t have to cancel on one or the other. I’m a bit old school and I hand-write my calendar, including my goals for each day in my schedule. If electronic calendars are your thing, there are many good ones to choose from.
The key to fitting everything in is to make a specific time for everything. If you’re a working mom, this task is exceptionally challenging. You will need to make sure your family’s activities, birthday parties, play dates, grocery shopping, daily chores and exercise are all given a time slot. You’ll also need to schedule in time for business development of your photography business. Make sure you include time for marketing, contacting new clients, and for researching ideas for your next shoot.
Depending on what your day job entails, you will be scheduling your meetings and appointments during the day. If you are scheduling photography appointments, those might have to be done in the evening after the family has had dinner or on the weekends. If you don’t schedule it, it won’t get done. If you write it down and plan for the time, it will be easier to manage all of your obligations. Don’t forget to schedule some time for fun!!
Don’t Try to Multi-Task
With the available technology today, it is easier than ever to be at your desk, checking your email, talking on the phone and looking for inspirational images for your next shoot all at the same time. If you give everything half of your attention, then you will never be giving anything your best.
Set Realistic Goals
Goal-setting is the foundation of success, but you won’t accomplish any of them if they aren’t realistic or attainable. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Instead, make small, daily goals, as well as long-term goals. Make personal as well as professional goals. If you write them down at night for the next day’s list to tackle you can end the day with a clear mind, knowing the next day is already well planned. As the day goes on, cross off each completed task and goal. This will give a sense of accomplishment and will keep you on track.
If you need help editing your images after a shoot so you can fit in some family time, you should find a source such as Photographer’s Edit. For a fee, they will edit your images. This particular site specializes in weddings and portraits. If cleaning the house isn’t your thing, then hire a house keeper. If you aren’t a good book keeper and you find your growing photography business is getting away from you, hire an accountant. Outsourcing is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it will empower you and allow you to give 100% to all of the important things in your life.
Ironically, making time to create a time management plan has to be worked into your schedule too! If you take just a couple of minutes at the end of each day to plan for the next, your day will flow more easily and you will find yourself getting things done quickly and more efficiently. If you wait until the morning to start planning your day, the phone or your e-mail messages will start to take over and your day will get away from you.
Having a solid time management plan will help you keep from having too many chaotic days. Not only will to help you to know what you should be working on next, but it is also the key to reaching your goals.