These simple time management tips for photographers (and other creatives) will help guide busy entrepreneurs towards more successful and effective use of their time.
Many photographers fall into the trap of never-ending-multitasking without utilizing the right tools to keep them on track. Things start to get postponed or forgotten, but the workload seems to grow bigger by the day. The problem isn’t necessarily too much work, it’s the inability to properly manage the time that you do work.
So, where do you start?
Set firm business hours
It’s easy to get really flexible with your work hours when you’re self employed. Make it a point to start your work day at the same time everyday – the earlier, the better.
If you have other priorities like young children at home, a regular 9-5, or college courses, it’s extremely important for you to have strict business hours.
Without setting firm business hours, you risk losing work-life balance. Important relationships require attention, so make sure quality time with the people you love is a priority.
Multitasking is probably the number one thing that’s really eating up your time. According to Time Magazine, just 2.5% of the population can actually multitask effectively. Odds are you (and I) are not in that 2.5%.
You’re probably not even aware that you are multitasking. In the digital age, it usually involves some sort of stimulating media.
Sitting on the couch with your laptop while you watch television is a big one. Looking at your phone while you’re answering emails is another.
Removing distractions is the first step in locking your focus to a single task. Remove all your social media notifications, put your phone somewhere away from your desk, and install apps like News Feed Eradicator to prevent you from falling down the Facebook rabbit hole.
So if you have a ton of things to do, how do you conquer them all without multitasking? Well, you’ll need the next tip.
This may seem pretty straight forward, but I find that many creatives are not organizing themselves effectively. Getting organized goes beyond writing things down in a planner.
Project Management Tools – They can help you create project related tasks, timelines, and you can share them with other members on your team. I use Asana and love that you can do quite a bit with the free version, but Trello is another great free app. Since I run multiple businesses, I appreciate that I can create several workspaces, but still have everything in one place.
Fun Stuff Last – Start your day off by clearing your inbox and then tackle tasks you dread doing. Maybe it’s bookkeeping or even editing photos. Get it out of the way first thing in the morning when you’re the most motivated.
This is also great because you can wrap up your day completing a task you enjoy.
Calendars & Planners – Utilize both digital calendars and paper planners. I love that my Google calendars is synced to Asana, but that I can also see personal appointments and can toggle various calendars on and off.
Despite having everything available to me digitally, I also write everything down in a paper planner. Research has proven that you’re more likely to remember to complete a task if you’ve written it down with pen and paper.
Take 15 – Start and end your workday with a simple 15 minute routine to set yourself up for success. End each workday by taking 15 minutes to plan out the following day. Set up timers and alerts to help you stay on task.
It’s easier to jump right into a busy workday if everything is all set up for you and ready to go.
When all else fails, outsource. Find reliable help with aspects of your business that drains the joy out of your creative process. It can be editing, studio managers, or even personal assistants.
Outsourcing can actually increase your bottom line.
For example, you track your time and discover you spend about 25 hours a week doing day to day business task and just 5 hours shooting. If you’re able to outsource 20 hours of work a week, you’ll be able to bring in 4x times more income.
Hopefully, pinpointing your distractions and utilizing these simple tips will help you conquer your time management woes.