5 Ways To Improve Your Productivity as a Wedding Photographer
Are you like me and get easily distracted? Feeling like you're going in circles? Going through the motions but not really getting much done?
You say you're finally tackle all of those things you've had on your to do list, but when you set out to actually do them, somehow 5pm rolls around and you didn't end up actually make much progress at all, right? We've all been there. When you're overwhelmed by your business, it can be tough to be productive. Your mind bounces from task to task, you end up getting lost in the jumbled mess of your to-do list. But it doesn't have to be that way.
Here are my top 5 ways to improve your productivity as a
photographer and help keep you on track to achieving your goals!
TIP #1: Plan Your Day
One of the biggest struggles I've found with myself and other photographers/business owners is that when you're your own boss, there's no one to hold you accountable except YOU. So giving yourself a structure and a planned trajectory for your day is going to help you stay on track and actually achieve those goals. One of the best things I ever did for myself was invest in a daily/weekly/monthly planner. It's such a simple change that had an unbelievably huge impact on how much I get done.
I use the Day Designer Daily Planner but any planner that allows you to structure your whole day is great. Every day while I'm having my coffee I sit and write down everything I want to do for that day. It's become a part of my daily routine that has absolutely revolutionized how much I get done solely because I have something to refer to all day that keeps me on track.
I especially love the Day Designer planners because they have pages for day-to-day plans, weekly plans, and monthly so I can keep track of my time as a whole rather than just a small section. For every day there's a to-do list, my top three priorities, an hour by hour schedule, a reminders list, and a gratitude section to reflect on the day. It's a fantastic way to keep my priorities straight and make sure I get everything I want to do done. Each item has a little check box next to it so when I complete a task I just check it off and move on to the next thing!
Plus, it's cute lol. We love a good aesthetic piece of office supplies.
(I'm not sponsored or endorsed by them either, I really just love a pretty functional item)
TIP #2: Set Timers
With no boss hovering over me to make sure I'm getting stuff done, it can be easy to fall into the habit of taking my sweet time to finish tasks. Or worse, I'll work for hours and hours on end and then realize that it's been 5 or 6 hours and I burnt myself out on just one task!
Instead, now I use the timer app on my phone to give myself a set amount of time to complete each task on my to-do list. For example if I'm going to cull a shoot, I'll set a timer for one hour so that I know I have a deadline to finish what I'm doing. When that hour is up I know I need to be close to done or move on to my next item on my schedule. If I finish early, I move up the next thing on my list. If I don't quite finish, I'll set a timer for another 10-15 minutes to make sure it still gets done within a reasonable amount of time. But having a deadline forces me to focus on what I'm doing and not switch between tasks over and over.
I ended up loving this so much because it's turned working into a game! I'll race against the clock to see how quickly I can finish what I'm doing while still creating high quality work, or I'll set a timer and see how many things on my list I can get done.
Over time this helps teach you exactly how long certain tasks take too, so I can better schedule my days!
TIP #3: One Thing at a Time
It seems like such a dumb simple trick, but this one little change really made all the difference for me. I'm a chronic task switcher and easily distracted, so making a point not to switch between answering emails and scrolling on Instagram and editing was a huge help in honing my ability to actually finish tasks I start.
If I'm editing, I'll put all of my notifications on Do Not Disturb so I'm not tempted to check emails or messages mid edit and ruin my flow. And I won't look at my phone until I finish emails.
Being mindful of how often you switch between tasks is a great way to hone your ability to focus better and for longer, ultimately making you more productive!
TIP #4: Give Yourself Certain Days to Complete Those Bigger To-Do's
Make a weekly plan for what days you're going to tackle those bigger to-do's like culling, editing, making content. If I was to do all three of these things in one day, I think my eyeballs might genuinely fall out of my head. Instead, give yourself one day a week to do each thing so that you can keep up with the smaller day-to-day life tasks without feeling overwhelmed by the big stuff.
Every day I'm answering emails and inquiries, Instagram messages, and checking in one how things are running, but I'll dedicate a specific day to working on very draining tasks so I don't wear myself down too much every day. This means that Tuesdays are culling days, Wednesday are editing days, and Thursdays are for creating social content. Make it work for you and don't forget to schedule days off for yourself too!
TIP #5: Track How Long You Can Get Quality Work Done
The reason you might be feeling lack luster and unproductive is because you're trying to do deep work for too long. When you sit down to work on something that require a lot of focus or mental energy take note of how long you can work for before you start to feel drained. My bet is that you'll find it to be roughly the same amount of time for most deep work sessions.
If you know that you can get your best work done for 2-3 hours before you start to burn out, set a timer for that amount of remind you to stop before you go to far! Then you can take a rest, work on other tasks, and finish the rest of that deep work another day.
Lastly, take care of yourself. Don't forget to stay hydrated, eat lunch (I KNOW that you're just as guilty as I am of skipping lunch), and take breaks!
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